by Lye Tuck-Po
Originally posted in my old blog, on March 14 2009 03:15:00 AM
It's been a long day of intensive work. I must have worked late last night too: restless sleep, then woke up at 11:30! Straight to work. Reading one main text, digitally; consulting another, a thick book, which sits next to the laptop. I'm not reading to relax. It's all for research and fieldwork: I'm collecting useful notes and observations, drawing up research questions, compiling a field vocabulary. Took a break to photograph the mists rolling off the mountains [below]. Around 4:30 I cycled to town, thinking it was time for lunch and to shop for dinner. Lunch at 4:30! Ran into some friends; whiled away an hour over tea and chat. Back home; back to work. It's enjoyable; the material is fascinating; I'm focused and concentrated. But my shoulders are aching. Break time again...
Mists rising from hilltops, Kuala Kubu Bahru, Malaysia, 13/4/2009
I checked my photos. The ethnographic context I was working on was the Penan of Sarawak. The "thick book next to the laptop" I was consulting was Peter Brosius' unpublished manuscript "The Penan of the Belaga district: considerations for development", an excellent resource that I still turn to from time to time. I was living in Kuala Kubu Bahru at the time. Over a year later I moved to Penang and started my teaching career. Above was one of the photos I mentioned in the diary excerpt. It's a little green but never mind. The Batek have a wonderful word for "mists rising" - yim-yɛm. For when the mists are covering the peaks (as in this photo), their word is sərəluʔ. I knew the first word, yim-yɛm, from before but just learnt the second word - sərəluʔ. You never stop learning in the field.
Here's another photo I took while strolling around, admiring my neighbours' floricultural skills: