The and Teh: How My Brain Teases Me

I spend a lot of time punching out words on a keyboard. I am a fairly fast and accurate typist, thankfully. It was the best skill I ever learned in high school, and the only one I still remember. I took a business class and during one six-week period we studied typing on those lovely old electric typewriters. I never would have suspected that the burgeoning era of personal computering was right around the corner, but when it arrived, I already knew how to type. I couldn’t be happier especially after I’ve seen my fair share of hunt and peckers throughout my days.

But, even on a good day, any typist will make mistakes. One mistake which I have been making a lot lately is I’ve been typing TEH for the THE. Now any general observer might thing that’s a just a mistaken switch of two letters rendering a meaningless word that I must swiftly correct. However, if you have ever visited Malaysia, you will know that ‘teh’ is not a random word. It means ‘tea’ and it forms the beginning of one of my favorite drinks in the world – a drink so luscious and rich that I think about it all the time – now literally all the time when my ‘the’ becomes ‘teh.’ What is this lusciousness called? teh ais

Literal translation is ‘tea ice’ but this is not your standard ice tea of America. Ha. I scoff. It is the wonderful Malaysian pulled-tea (teh tarik) with ice added to it. It is a tempting blend of black tea, ice, and sweetened condensed milk, blended to an incredibly satisfying concoction which couldn’t be a better compliment to the spicy and fragrant dishes which used to accompany me every lunch in Malaysia.

Every typing mistake ‘teh’ brings me back to the hold and smoldering lunch stalls with fans buzzing wickedly overhead and so much sizzle and smoke in the air that it was sometimes hard to breathe. Ah, I miss it!

I don’t know whether to thank or scold my typing skills. Are my mistakes trying to taunt me, or are they bringing back the good memories for me to savor?

Ah, teh ais. Here’s to you:

A Teh Tarik Master


Drinks at a Drama Meeting

I was meeting with my drama group – The RLT Players – at an Indian restaurant for drinks. And they types of drinks ordered said a lot about our culture and climate.

First off, picture an outdoor open-air restaurant with a thatched roof covering a large part of it. Then pictures rows of curry and a large tandoori oven making the hot nan bread and luscious skewers of meat.

Then pictures us drama nerds in the back of the restaurant, talking about plot-lines and ideas for our upcoming Christmas show in December 2015.

And then the drink orders:

  • Mango Lassi – pureed fresh mango with yoghurt and sweetness, topped with ice cubes – wonderfully refreshing
  • Orange Lassi – for the one girl who didn’t like mango. I don’t get that either.
  • Orange juice – freshly squeezed and sweetened
  • Watermelon juice – same as above, except with watermelon.
  • Milo Ais – Chocolately milo mix added to sweeet milk and other sweet goodness
  • Teh Ais – the refreshing blend of tea and sweet milk – one of the best drinks in Penang Island.

And all of those are, of course, just a fraction of the wonderful fresh drinks available for consumption at our amazing little restaurant of ours.  We packed away ten of those drinks for the equivalent of $8 USD.

Another wonderful perk of living on this amazing tropical island. I know I’m going to miss it tremendously someday, but for now, I need to keep reminding myself to not take anything for granted, even drinks. Enjoy them all. Bask in their glory. Extol their virtues. Write blog posts about their value.

Drama and drinks. A great combination.