It’s been a while since I settled temporarily in Borneo to undertake some world record projects. I’m still preparing with great patience. I’m slowly adding one education-based aid to the growing pile I’m creating. I’m collecting scrap paper throughout this tiny village with kiddies constantly helping. And I’m writing doomsday articles of social collapse for a large newspaper – all in a drive to undertake some world record attempts.
But the going’s not easy. Apart from the challenges to be expected from my not speaking the local Bahasa, from enduring endless meals drizzled in white sugar and salt against my will, and from being sniggered at by the chain-smoking locals who think I’m cheeky to tell them to stop, more challenges abound. And through them all, I’ve got to focus on what I came here for: to attempt some world records.
So, repeat hospital trips to attend to the typhoid I got from eating human poo in food served to me should not deter me. Having poisoned myself by eating a mix of delicious jungle fruits unknowingly should not dampen my enthusiasm. And nor should seeing my umpteenth plate of steaming chicken and rice emerge from a kitchen with air so thick from airborne mould that I get the feeling the cook swims around in there gasping for each breath. But there’s a solution to it all!
I go for walks in the towns some distance away and around the village, where I am forced to breathe burning plastic fumes and where bats darken the skies every dusk. Street kids follow me with their hands cupped, staring piercingly into my eyes and thereby hoping to extract thousands of dollars each. I veer my way down roads lined with wheeled carts selling anything imaginable, but always at least 15 brands of cigarettes surrounded by colourful advertising. I sit on the concrete pilings lining the jungle river and listen to thumping un-tuned smoke-bellowing diesel engines propelling sacks of rice upstream. I watch vendors peddling their fruits and Chinese rubbish to anyone who passes by them. And I block my ears whenever I pass a shop with a TV on for entertainment; most are on so loudly, a central London jackhammer operator gyrating alongside me would be considered melodious by comparison.