Letter to Amir (2)

Kuala Lumpur
November 18, 1991.

Dearest Amir,

We’ve finally shaken off our jet lag and have resumed our regular schedule. Very dull it is, I must admit, after our three splendid weeks in the US.

The highlight of our trip was spending time in Boston with you. Dad and I are glad to see you’ve applied yourself seriously to your studies, and you’ve looked after yourself well by eating healthy and by working out regularly at the gym. You’ve certainly inspired your kid brother who’s now set on improving his looks! As soon as we got home, he had Aida take him to the skin specialist. A week has gone by and his pimples have not shown any signs of receding.

Aris also intends to start using the gym equipment we’ve collected over the years, much of which is gathering dust, but in the meantime he’s taken to going jogging with us every morning at six.

But back to our trip. A couple of nights before leaving Boston, Dad and I got drenched as we walked back to the Westin after a shopping trip. Dad became quite ill during the plane trip to San Francisco and had to see a doctor as soon as we got there. He made a quick recovery, however, and was able to join the Exxon Public Affairs Managers who had gathered in SF for their annual meeting, and their spouses, on a delightful two-hour harbour cruise in a big ship. Aris joined us as well. Then Exxon hosted a sea-food dinner at the Neptune Restaurant at Pier 39. Aris’s filet mignon resembled a piece of charcoal because he insisted on having it well done. I had an enormous slice of Sockeye salmon and Dad, not partial to sea-food, had a juicy steak.

We stayed at the Pan Pacific which wasn’t as comfortable as the Westin. There was no gym and every morning we had an exercise bicycle brought up to our room. I also asked for a treadmill but it was too big and couldn’t get past the pillar outside our corner room. Too bad!

Aris was disappointed he couldn’t go skiing in Boston. But the ice-skating he did in San Francisco more than made up for it, I think. Dad has video footage showing him smiling broadly and having the time of his life. He also thoroughly enjoyed trying out Time Traveller at the arcades at Pier 49 because the features apparently were displayed using a sort of hologram projector so the graphics jumped out at you.

In San Francisco we met up with our friends, David Khoo, who started his career with Esso in Malaysia, and his wife. They have long settled in SF. Other than that we did the usual touristy things, the Coit Tower, the TransAmerica Building, Ghirardelli Square, and Fisherman’s Wharf. Aris found these places more meaningful to him when he started to play games like Mean Streets and Police Quest because, as he told me later, Sierra and Access software are based in California.

We took it easy on our last day. Would you believe it, we watched three movies – Mr and Mrs Bridges, a Merchant-Ivory film, the same pair that gave us the unforgettable, “Room With A View”, “Reversal of Fortune” with Jeremy Irons and Glen Close (about the American heiress and socialite Sunny Von Bulow), and the spine-chilling, “Silence of the Lambs” with Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster.

Aida seems happy with the gifts we got her from the US. She has, however, set her heart on a velvet dress (no less!) on display at the Metrojaya Mall here and we’ve promised to get it for her. Since she was unable to make the US trip with us, we intend to take her to Singapore during our next vacation.

Well, Amir, we really appreciate your looking after us in Boston, and we thoroughly enjoyed racing around the city in your BMW.

I clearly recall you’ve excelled in your studies and was placed twice on the Dean’s list at Boston U, for Semester 1 1986-87 and for Semester 11 1986-87. Dean Geoffrey Bannister said, this is an accomplishment in which you can take justifiable pride. And as Dean Dennis Berkey wrote in his letter to you, “The distinction you have achieved by joining only 10 percent of the over 5000 students enrolled in your College, who are Dean’s List students, is one well worth applauding”.

Amir, in a year’s time when you complete your PhD degree in Computer Science, you will emerge as one of your College’s academic leaders. Dad and I are looking forward most eagerly to that.

With love from all of us,
Mum

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