Monday, March 2, 2009


My previous job involved spending several hours a day sitting in a loony bin observing the inmates do strange things and say odd things to each other, which I would then write up in a "sketch" modelled rather primitively on examples set by Matthew Parris and his colleagues.

Bar one or two exceptions (for which the inmates, rather than I, should be credited) these were on the whole quite forgettable, but they were amusing to write especially in Malaysia where, usually for no reason, one can be arrested, released, possibly re-arrested, hosed down with refreshing pepper-scented water, chased down the street, encouraged to cry with tear-gas, attacked by a mob, railed at by the inmates, etc. which is all very exciting.

It occurred to me that the political lampoon, as a form of journalism, didn't exist for the obvious reasons listed above and also because Malaysians had a habit of worshipping cows on the assumption that they provided cash. Cows have four stomachs and they eat a great deal of grass, which they then poo. They also regurgitate a fair bit and are one of the planet's principal sources of methane.

For these reasons I thought a parliamentary sketch would be a nice thing to write, and I shall miss writing them.

But I shall not miss terribly sitting on the Press bench in Parliament where more often than not I fell asleep, read someone else's paper, wrote lyrics for bawdy songs, observed the ceiling, counted MPs asleep, counted MPs awake, did the crossword, thought about lunch, searched unfruitfully for cigarettes in my bag, read yet another newspaper, and so on.

And lest you think the Malaysian Parliament is a civilised place, I believe it is the only legislature in the world where angry mobs are encouraged to attack people in wheelchairs and where security officers have jurisdiction only within the building and not in its immediate vicinity.


The previous picture (Girl #1) was supposed to be the first in a series illustrating a ridiculous story I thought up one day when the TV was broken.

Unfortunately I was distracted for some time (six months or so), and I can't remember what the story was. The tag says "The Girl and the Dog Boy" so I think I must have intended at some stage to introduce a new hapless character to maim, dismember, defenestrate, disembowel, etc. but honestly I have no idea what that was all about.

However, I now find myself with some time on my hands, or at least I imagine I do, and am thinking up something else to draw for no particular reason.

I also think that I should write a little more here, since I have apparently stopped doing it for money.