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NZ Lifestyle Block - - From The Editor - What it takes Guilia Por­relli, Cromwell

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to kill a rat in the April 2015 is­sue was fas­ci­nat­ing and brought back a for­got­ten mem­ory of be­ing in a won­der­ful place called Georgetown, Malaysia, 25 years ago.

It was a six month south-east Asian back­pack­ing ad­ven­ture and I was trav­el­ling with a fid­dle player who made a point of find­ing lo­cal venues where he could jam with other mu­si­cians. We found such a place one night, and af­ter a spec­tac­u­lar evening at a bar lis­ten­ing to Whites­nake be­ing per­formed by elec­tric guitar, bass, drums, a slightly off-key Malaysian singer and my com­pan­ion on fid­dle, we were in­vited by the bar own­ers for brunch. We were re­ally chuffed – this was what we had gone trav­el­ling for.

Brunch the next day was spec­tac­u­lar. Our host had taken the op­por­tu­nity to show­case the best of Pe­nang cui­sine and the meal was to die for, ex­cept all I re­mem­ber was the mo­ment an ex­tremely large, glossy, off-white rat ran across

the ta­ble tops next to where we were. We were both ab­so­lutely hor­ri­fied, both for the fact that we had just eaten there and for what we thought would be the em­bar­rass­ment of the bar own­ers to have a rat on the premises.

Said own­ers, see­ing our re­ac­tion, were very re­as­sur­ing. This was no or­di­nary rat. This was their rat, care­fully cho­sen for his size and dif­fer­ent ap­pear­ance. No streetlevel-filthy-sewage-eat­ing-or­di­nary­brown-ver­min was ever al­lowed in their premises due to the pres­ence of their rat in the bar, which he re­garded as his own. The kitchen staff fed him the best scraps and looked af­ter him much in the man­ner of a house­hold pet. In turn, he pa­trolled the bar and kitchen as his ter­ri­tory and kept the com­mon­place street rats out.

The bar own­ers told us with great af­fec­tion, sin­cer­ity and pride that they kept him so well fed and pro­vided for that he was big­ger, fiercer and the best rat they had ever had at de­fend­ing the bar, and by the way, wasn’t he hand­some with his glossy fur?

What could we do but agree, nod­ding weakly? We then pro­ceeded to wash down the rest of the meal with the harsh lo­cal spirit we had pre­vi­ously re­fused, as a counter to the shock and hi­lar­ity of the sit­u­a­tion and as a pos­si­ble pro­phy­lac­tic against any dis­ease.

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