Let South East Asia learn to swim !!!

Recently I have read so many articles about refugees from Syria crossing the dangerous seas wearing not much but a lifejacket (sometimes a dodgy one…) that my mind is completely set on feeling on edge any time I see the photograph of someone seating half way in the water wearing a life jacket. My pulse starts going faster and my stomach feels heavy. I feel sorry for the poor people having had to leave home to travel to far away place just to be safe and more importantly to have to risk their life in the process by just crossing the sea…

So a few days ago I was sitting in a “Air Asia” flight between Singapore and Kota Kinabalu (Borneo) and I was in stitches when reading that I could get prosecuted if I had the bad idea to “steal” the life jacket from under my seat… why on Earth would I even want to do this… my bag is overloaded as it is with all the bits and bobs I collect on my way places without wanting to uplift a very bulky aged life jacket… Why would anyone want to do this?

But over the past few days I have been spending a bit of time near an hotel pool with quite a few people from China, Korea, Malaysia, even Cambodgia… and to my surprise I have seen many of them off all ages floating in the pool wearing the bulky mentioned earlier life jackets (including very young children). I suddenly understood poor “Air Asia” trouble with their lost life jackets… South Asian can not swim… they dont learn when being children, they don’t have access as we do in the UK with our numerous “public” pools, they don’t get dragged as children to group sessions… and many many adults I have seen recently do not have this essential life skill or just child fun skill of swimming.

My lady just above is not a poor refugee having just had crossed the sea looking for better tomorrows… she is a “nouveau riche” from Korea with her little girl enjoying a very expensive pool in Borneo but she simply cant swim and as such can not teach her child this simple skill.

You never before looking around know your luck and its so easy to take things for granted… when I float around relaxing in the warm water I feel blessed knowing that if I had to cross the sea in a crisis time I could swim about if I did not have a life jacket… but who else could in the crowd enjoying themselves with me today.


Please get South East Asia to learn to swim… its such a life saving skill… and it will allow Air Asia to relax a bit.

Best Wishes


Betty xx

Once up on a temple ! 

Last December I had the Great privilege to visit Angkor Wat in Cambodgia. This is a world renowned temples site dating from the 8th centure. What is left of the highly skilled Khmer civilisation which reigned over South East Asia for five hundred years during our Western European Middle Ages. A highly sophisticated and skilled civilisation who managed to erect in the middle of the jungle cities and temples where over one million people from the humble servant to the King all serving a bunch of Gods.

         A religion which had roots in India with a complicated story where any normal European looses its understanding and where half man/half gods get lost in the great milk sea and where soldiers with green monkey faces battle to save honor. The Ramayana with a different twist.

Anyway this great complex suddenly became empty at the end of the 1300 was discovered again by a Khmer King in 1600 was overtaken by the jungle again to be rediscovered in the 1800 by Europeans explorers looking for rare plants and gradually got a world wide status for its uniqueness ! For its beauty ! It’s a Unesco site only equated by the pyramids or the Great Wall of China…

It’s breathtaking ! And very very busy with tourists … Guides … Tuk Tuks … And so very hot but so worth travelling to the other side of the world !

The small circuit ! The big circuit ! The North temples for which Thailand and Cambodgia disputed for years … One must read before visiting to fully grasp what you see when visiting between steps so steep because going to the Gods and outside Libraries … Many holes in the walls for wall plaques and rooms full of Buddhas…

 I loved it it was so hot ! So tiring ! We climbed so many stone steps ! Walked kilometres in the scorching sun feeling drenched in sweat like true adventurers but I am in love with this site and I can’t wait to go back another time to check all the details I missed! I want to get up before sun rise to see Angkor Wat and drive up through Angkor Thom South Gate in a Tuk Tuk ! I want to give a donation to the Landmine small orchestras which are playing delightful music on each sites … Orchestra of ex soldiers with missing limbs smiling as they play but that is another story …

 I know there is only one God but I rather like the idea of an ancient civilisation with many Gods and great architect !

Do make the plan to visit Angkor Wat sometimes it’s one of our world’s wonder I can guarantee you will love it too!

Love Betty xx