Previously on First Day in Perth – here
At Haywin House on Irwin Street, Perth, Western Australia that evening I was informed that we were going to be taken to a Malaysian’s house. We went down to the street level, and true enough, a few cars were there waiting for us. It was a chilly evening, and I felt the biting cold despite the acrylic turtleneck sweater and denim jacket I brought from Malaysia.
We got ourselves into the cars and were driven away into the night.
I did not know exactly where we were going, to whose place or who were the people that drove the cars.
I had an uneasy feeling that we might be taken to some other place. The word kidnapped came to my mind. So I started observing landmarks around us. The most prominent landmark in Perth city that night was a big red blinking signboard on top of a tall building – LOMBARD.
So I tracked the location of the car in relation to the LOMBARD building. Just in case we needed to jump out of the car and find our way back to Haywin House in the city.
My apprehension about the trip evaporated when we arrived at the destination. It turned out to be the South Perth residence of Mr Abdul Rahman Haron, the Malaysian Consul in Perth. Mr Rahman lived at the house with his wife Ita and child son Hafiz.
Mr Rahman expected us and had prepared for us a Malaysian dinner – rice, and the normal things that came with it. What a joy. There was rice in Australia. Rice. Hope. I might yet survive the next five years in Perth after all !!!
I had earlier thought that we were simply placed at Haywin House and had to fend for ourselves. But pleasantly no, the Malaysian Consul was looking after us, as well as the senior Malaysian students who fetched us and drove the cars, and the officers from the Australian Government agency ADAB (Australian Development Assistance Bureau) who waited for us on arrival at the airport, took us to Haywin House, gave us a comprehensive briefing on life in Perth two days later, booked us into apartments in Leederville, and arranged for our placements at the Leederville Technical College.