The post-colonial Malaysian
Like many Malaysians, I have a curious psychological relationship with England.
In part this may be because of the trailing influence of being in the British Commonwealth (before the UK decided to hook up with the EU and ghost the Commonwealth). So I grew up with English literature equally with our own. The Enid Blytons and the nursery rhymes, the Brontë and Austen and Dickens. The Malaysian boomer generation especially, almost seem to consider London as a pilgrimage destination!
For my own part, I have always preferred the parts of the UK which are outside of its cities. I did my Masters’ degree in Bangor, Wales. I eventually married a Geordie man (the marriage did not last).
And all my life I have enjoyed a most curious phenomenon: English people, especially in diaspora, seem to ‘adopt’ me and treat me almost like their own. (If you know anything about the British islanders, you will understand how unnatural this is).
Although England was not the first country I chose to travel to when I re-booted my life, it provided a key and strange milestone to my Blue Period. And this was how and when I found myself in the English midlands.
These are the stories for how Derbyshire anchored the new me.
When I went to accompany my friend to Barnsley, I spent much of my time roaming around Derbyshire and the Peak District while she studied for her exam. Derbyshire proved to be lovely English countryside,...