Why Mat Salah?

Well, for now I have the good fortune to be based in Malaysia, where, being caucasian, I am often referred to as a “mat salleh” (being how Malays often refer to a “white man” although orang puteh is the malay for white man). The term “mat salleh” is thought to have originated back to the days of colonialism when sailors would disgorge from their ships after long months at sea and get rollicking drunk. Staggering around the streets, incomprehensibly haranguing all and sundry, these sailors were thought to have been referred to by the locals as “mad sailors” which quickly became “mat salleh”.

Now of course it would be boring to just refer to yourself as a “mat salleh” even when the term has such colourful origins. And as Sean often tells me I am wrong (my being wrong seems to be more of a reality these days – smile), he opted for a play on words by using “MAT SALAH”, where “mat” is the colloquial Malay for a guy or “Mr.” and “salah” is the Malay word for “wrong”!

So now I am MR WRONG


What is this all about?

A very good question! I blame Sean! He set it up!

However it could end up being my life! Well perhaps not my entire life, but some of the experiences that have gone towards making up my of life.

Yes, the reality is that life is a tapestry of experiences. And every life is unique. No two people can have the same life or same experiences, even though they may endlessly traverse life side by side. One’s perspective of an event can never be the same as another’s.

I am of course no longer young; and it is somewhat late in life to begin documenting this tapestry, so we will see how it goes. The past is often a blur of events with little detail and no names. I have friends who can remember the most minutae of detail from 30 plus years ago; and remember the names of even the most obscure people who crossed our path at the time. Perhaps I will have to resort to borrowing their recollections to colour my tapestry. We will see…………

Or perhaps I will quickly tire of this and my life will be just a few fragments left for you to ponder.



Whatever path this takes, I will try not to bore you. And where it is possible to infer humour please do so! And for those more erudite and educated than I, please forgive the poor English, punctuation and grammar. Microsoft and Apple maybe able to Americanize my spelling, fortunately however they have yet to work out how to force my grammar to American conformity. Hence the grammar and punctuation (G&P) are uniquely mine…..correct or incorrect!!! For the correct G&P, I will always be indebted to Margaret & Nick Clark who persevered, when all others had long given up hope…..including the ‘O’ Level adjudicators from Oxford, Cambridge and London Universities. Although, fortunately, the London University adjudicator did finally tire of my pawltry efforts and illegible scrawl and awarded me an ill deserved ‘O’ Level pass in English Language on the 9th attempt.