MALAYSIA REVISITED - a strange encounter with the past!
"Last July, I visited Malaysia with my two sons following the death of their mother on May 19th from cancer, which had been diagnosed in February. The trip was down memory lane as I used to work in Malaysia 42 years ago as a young rubber planter. We called in at an estate called Kempas Devon near Malacca where I had been an 18 year old assistant manager. At the estate office I announced myself to the Indian assistant manager who seemed very surprised to see me and said "the manager would be very interested to see you". We were shown into the manager's office where we were told the following tale:
Some four months ago, an estate security guard had come on duty feeling the worse for wear following the previous nights revelry, so, instead of assuming his post he went to a Chinese cemetery on the estate and went to sleep for some hours. When he awoke he was consumed with shame and remorse at his dereliction of duty and went straight to the manager's bungalow to apologise for his behaviour. From out of this bungalow emerged a tall European who proceeded to chastise him. At the security guard's disciplinary enquiry, he told this story of what had happened but the manager interrupted him, saying "you are telling me a lot of nonsense, there are no Europeans on this estate and have not been for 25 years and anyway, I live in the bungalow. Did this European have a name?" The security guard replied that his name had been Tuan Bell. The name meant nothing to the manager until the elderly chief clerk in the adjoining office came in and said "I knew a Tuan Bell because as a young lad I worked in the field gang under him".
Tuan (Malay for 'Sir') Bell is what I was known as 42 years ago. You can imagine their surprise when I appeared in person 4 months later. Any explanation from anyone as to how my younger self had appeared to these people four months before my arrival, would be much appreciated."