Sama Sama



In the Malay language, ‘sama’ means ‘same’. As I have written before, same old, same old is what I can bear at the moment in my life. The lack of any visible change provides me with comfort and stability at a time when I don’t know the direction my mother’s health is taking.

From September of last year, I have been spending roughly six weeks in Kuala Lumpur followed by six weeks in London. This is the third such cycle and in that time I have seen the main festivals of Deepavali, Christmas and Chinese New Year come and go. Today is the final day of the two week-long Chinese New Year. During this stay I will be in the throes of the Muslim fasting month. These are the changes that mark the cultural season in a country that has no seasons as such.



When asked how I manage the trips, I admit that the trick or secret is to not change anything. I keep everything the same. So I stay faithful to the same airline, flight number, transit time, luggage, clothes, shoes and toiletries. I have the same driver send off and pick up and stay at the same serviced apartment (and this time the same room).

In this survival mindset I can really achieve a lot of work within the first 24 hours after landing. I managed two supermarket trips, a quick shopping tour of Pavilion Mall, visit the bank, take notes from the physiotherapist, exercise with my mother and have a solo dinner in Din Tai Fung.


Cleaning is not my favourite pastime but I think these mopping slippers from Daiso are a step too far


The foods I eat are also the same, with (what I now call) the Ascott Salad a feature. D-i-L (daughter-in-law) and I have started the 30 plants a week challenge. I am already half way there in my first 48 hours with the fruit, salads, walnuts, peanuts (compliments of Malaysia Airlines) and coconut.



With such a reliance on constancy, I greatly appreciate what it says in the Bible about an aspect of God’s character, in that he does not change. We call this attribute immutability. This means that God does not change his character, his plans or his mind.

For I the LORD do not change (Malachi 3:6)

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever (Isaiah 40:8)

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? (Numbers 23:19)


We have a reliable God on whom we can depend, and it is this trait that I too hope to bring into my relationship with my mother as I help care for her.


What does not change in Singapore’s Changi Airport: their bountiful and beautiful orchid displays