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I spent 20 years punching a time clock... then decided there had to be another way. Right now I'm sitting in a comfortable chair on a beautiful beach. There's a sweet, soft breeze in the air. In front of me, on the clear blue water, a boat drifts by. Maybe I'll go snorkeling this afternoon, or work on my tan. This is my kind of tropical paradise... cheap and unspoiled!
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Two Chumps and a Chimp    

By Ken Silver About Asia
3198 Views | 6 Comments | 2/6/2014 10:44:22 AM

Hey, what's this icy slush stuff? Never saw this before the Mall arrived. And only $2.

In my earlier days I used to be one third of the comedy team known throughout Southeast Asia as “Two Chumps and a Chimp.”  I played the con artist, Mr. Velly Clever. My fellow Chump was a befuddled Hippie, recruited out of the smoke dens of Kathmandu. He played, (with varying degrees of coherence and success), himself. Our third member, the Chimp, was an African chimpanzee who had retired to Asia after reading my book.

We drew big flocks of crows wherever we went.  Fortunately, big crowds of people came to look at the big flocks of crows; between crows and crowds (and some cows and stray dogs) we got some laughs and quite a few barks.

A few growls also, true.

The basic script was always the same.  Mr. Clever would come up with a scheme to get rich quick, the hippie would cheerfully go along, and the chimp would shake its head but join in anyway.  Comic disaster was invariably the result.  One particular episode had the three of us rising out of the ashes of the World Trade Towers the day after our faulty foundation repair work caused its collapse.  I’d look at the newspaper headlines and faint.  The hippie would shake the concrete out of his hair and say “Endless, global war!  Does that mean overtime? Far out, man!”   The chimp would then erupt into raucous chimpanzee laugher at us both. The crowds would cheer, the dogs bark, the crows caw, and the cows moo.

We then passed the hat.

Then one day nobody, not even the crows or the cows, came.  Certainly, no smiling people or lovely, single Asian women.  It was the same the next night. I was going to have to find a new way to date beautiful Asian women.  The Chimp and Hippie left to work as senior advisors for the Thai government, and I was all alone.

I knew what had done it.   There, over on the next block. That terrible Building from an Awful Future; it glowed and pulsated in the hot tropical night with all the fluorescent colors of a diseased coral reef.

It was the global culture, state of the art, born not of man or woman, bug free, germ free, Happy Land Shopping Mall.

No, this was not a normal Southeast Asian shopping mall!   Those were hot and crowded and filled with laughing crowds, cardboard boxes full of pirated goods for sale, and informal, sloppy places to eat.  

This new Shopping Mall… it was a block wide and a block long and many clouds high.   In its cold metal heart it held a terrible device, a Martian Death Ray of a device.  Turned on, it’s functioning  inside the huge mall somehow also swept the outside neighborhoods, small shops, and outside food stalls for miles around and left  them empty of people.

This new mall had state of the art Air Conditioning.  The Bill Gates Foundation couldn’t have bought better air conditioning.

No matter that the new visitors to this mall still wiped their asses with their left hand, like my co-performer, the Hippie. They were still welcome to wander the enchanted isles of Louis Vuitton and Company. They were free to buy donuts that cost them a day’s pay.  Now they could demand just the right Special Sauce. Now they could demean those who served them, because the Corporation loves its customers and encourages them to feel superior to the employees.  Modern air conditioning is doing for Southeast Asia what it did in the United States for Florida. Or, more accurately, what the repeating rifle did for the settlers against the American Indian.  Wiping out the native cultures and leaving the esthetic sensibilities of concrete in exchange. Asian customs, Asian culture, all tossed aside for Happy Meals.

See my magical tropical world before it becomes their Magical Tropical World!  No worries, it will still be open 365 days a year!

Where was I?

Oh yeah, this is my 99th blog on Southeast Asia.  Despite threats of legal action and worse from the Chimp and the other Chump, I fully intend to make it to my 100th.

So, let me belatedly wish everyone a Happy Islamic Christmas!

That’s one thing shopping malls here in Malaysia have done… a Christmas evolutionary miracle… Christmas has joined the ranks of Asian festivals.

Christmas was originally the non religious Winter Solstice.  It was a defiant celebration of light and fireplace chimney warmth in the middle of the coldest, deepest, darkest parts of the winter.  Here in Islamic Malaysia it has once again become a purely secular celebration in winter. Except, of course, in Malaysia they don’t have any winter. The laser light snowflakes and LED icicles are, like talking snowmen, genuine fantasies to Malaysians, devoid of any real world meaning.  So, Christmas in shopping malls has become instead a celebration of mechanical cold in the heart of the heat of the endless summer. Tropical Christmas has become a defiant celebration of cold, and all of its frostbitten icy angels, in the middle of the hottest brightest longest days of the year.

Of course, the push to buy expensive gifts remains the same.

They need to work on the Christmas cheer thing a bit, though. Malaysian Santas walk through the mall silent and brooding, as though contemplating suicide in front of the kiddies.

Also, the elves could certainly use shorter skirts, for that matter. That’s the real spirit of Christmas!

Well, it’s really hot out now, and so I’m off to the Happy Land Shopping Mall.

As the Chimp used to say about human beings, if you can’t beat them, join them.

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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#2014-02-06 10:53:37 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Regardless of where you are, in a third world country or small town America, that new Mall in town changes everything, and it isn't always for the better. Nice post, Ken.

#2014-02-07 07:08:48 by Barry1 @Barry1

There was absolutely no time to waste.

Rather than politely knocking on the doors to the revered Oval Office, Silver performed a massive shoulder tackle on them, bursting through in a shower of splintering wood and machine gun fire, as the Secret Service agents attempted to decimate him.

“Hold on, boys – hold on! It’s me! Ken Silver! I have some urgent news for the President!”

At this, the machine guns’ staccato thunder stopped. Barrack Obama nervously popped his quivering head up from behind the Oval Office desk.

“My God, man!! What are you up to this time!”, he shrieked .

“Mr President! Sorry for the intrusion. Next time I’ll make sure to knock!”

“You’d better be certain to do that, Silver. Otherwise I’ll have you as well as that Chimp and Chump of yours thrown into prison!”

“Yes Sir, Mr President Sir! Sorry about that. But I have shocking news, Sir!”

“What is it, Silver? Dammit man, tell me!”

“Sir, CIA intelligence has informed me that another shopping mall has opened in south –east Asia - the third one this month!”

“Oh my God, Silver – that’s indeed serious news!”

“Yes Sir, I know. But what can we do about it?”

Barrack Obama scratched his chin thoughtfully. He then subconsciously fingered his groin area. The Secret Service agents around him looked mighty nervous, as they kept blowing the smoke away from the scorched barrels of their sub-machine guns and reloaded their weapons. Never before had they seen the President enter such a state of deep and utter contemplation.

“I’ve got it, Silver!” the President suddenly barked.

“This is the solution. My God, I’m a smart man!”, he purred loudly to himself.

“My Obama Sir, please tell us. What brilliant plan have you come up with?” the by this time, cowering Silver queried.

“It’s simple, my good man!”

“I’ve decided to let YOU come up with the plan! You’d better reveal it in your one hundredth blog article here or I’ll have your guts for garters. Now get out of here and start writing!”

At this, the hapless Silver collapsed. He was stretchered out of the Oval Office by several burly Secret Service agents. When he awoke from his coma several days later, he found himself at a large wooden desk with nothing on it except a typewriter and a glass of water. He knew then that the President meant business. He had to come up with the Final Solution to the Shopping Centre prolilferation problem in south-east Asia.

A bead of nervous perspiration broke upon Silver's sweating brow. His bulging bottom lip started trembling furiously. He knew he'd better come up with something pretty damn good. Or else.

Watch this space.

#2014-02-08 18:38:38 by twilightsmith @twilightsmith

@Barry1 Same solution Ken always has. "Buy my book!"

#2014-02-09 13:53:21 by Barry1 @Barry1


"Buy my book!"

Good idea, Ken - but first, you gotta tell me the name of it! (rofl)

#2014-08-02 04:59:39 by twilightsmith @twilightsmith

@Barry1 Hi Barry! Well, go to, your Australia branch of it, and check out
"Asia 11 -Eleven Great Towns to Live in Southeast Asia" Then clone yourself 11 times and go explore!

#2014-08-02 18:49:40 by Barry1 @Barry1


"go to, your Australia branch of it"

Sorry Ken, but these days I avoid Ever since I bought an AM band radio through the site and when it arrived in Australia, it didn't work properly. It had been configured to US specifications as far as station frequencies go.

Then I bought another device and the same thing happened. It was set to operate on 110 volts, not the 240 volts we have here.

It seems to be a site peculiarly geared to American customers. I bet the books operate the same way there also - able to be read by right handers only, giving no allowance for the fact that I'm a leftie! :D

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