Here in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, it is a tough time as there are two gravely ill relatives, husband and wife, who cannot look after their basic needs, and as a result I find myself stuck in an apartment on the 26th floor in the Villa Angsana Condominiums, with no head for heights, offering what little help, encouragement and support I can. Today the husband will be taken to hospital for a CT scan, leaving me to be with the sister-in-law.
There is on the complex a swimming pool, in well maintained gardens, used by many of the residents in the complex of this multi cultural and religious country.
Villa Angsana, Kuala Lumpur, swimming pool from 26th floor walkway and poolside.
Yesterday, two of the many nephews and nieces, and whose parents own apartments in the complex, well the father’s company constructed the condominiums, came across to visit and to take a swim in the pool.
Now me, uncle Phillip is always game for a laugh, and is roped-in to join them for the swim. I have no objection as I enjoy being in water, and it is a chance to cool down in the tropical heat and humidity.
I put on my red swimming shorts and a white short sleeved shirt, the nephew and niece each wearing a short sleeved swimming top and tight figure hugging swimming shorts.
We get down to the pool, and I am just about ready to dive into the pool, which already had a few teenager boys in their tight fitting swimming shorts and briefs, when a guard approached us and indicated that I could not go in the pool as I was wearing shorts.
But these are swimming shorts by Speedo, they are not baggy, or too tight, showing none of my manhood, in fact being very conservative, unlike the bulge enhancing swimming costumes usually seen on the beach or swimming pools, and as the ones being worn by the teenagers.
I then understood that it was not acceptable that I did not have any covering on my upper body, a tee shirt.
But hang on, what about the teenagers in the pool already, how about the man sitting in again tight fitting shorts at the side of the pool? They all have bare chests.
I can not understand that the day before I was swimming in the same way without comments, and now?
OK, I do not want to cause offence, cause distress, go against any religious beliefs, after all Malaysia is not my country, and I must respect others beliefs and culture. It is a shame that visitors and new residents to the UK do not respect the British way of life, culture, and demand to impose their beliefs and religion on the British.
So if my bare chest is a problem, I am happy to cover up, so I put my shirt on, and jump into the pool.
Now another guard turns up, senior to the first, as he is wearing a white shirt as against a blue one worn by the first guard, and also he has more badges. He is not happy that I am swimming in my white shirt. Me? I am happy as I will not get sunburnt like I did the previous week in Rimini, Italy.
So I take my shirt off, and nothing more is said, except the phones are hot to the relatives in the apartment on the 26th floor, that uncle is in the pool swimming in his shirt.
I am confused. Keeping calm, I try to work-out the logic, the reasoning behind what is happening. I can understand the need to keep standards, keep moral code especially in a family based complex, but a swimming pool is a swimming pool, what do people expect swimmers to wear?
Perhaps it is my missing six pack which has long since become a barrel, or my white skin which is really red from the sunburn, and or my white head of hair and beard contrasting against the blue tiles of the pool. Or perhaps it is that the residents management committee is holding their AGM near the pool, and the guard must be seen to be doing his job, upholding the rules.
Such is life.