Sunday, April 22, 2007

Yikes... Termites!

I love reading, I love books. I've spent years and heaps of money collecting books.

I have two cousins who share my love for the sci-fi and fantasy genre. One is in Melbourne and the other is in Hong Kong (he was previously studying in America) and whenever we met, we would introduce books to each other.

I remember my Melbourne cousin took me to Minotaur, a specialist bookstore, and I went crazy! Thank God for credit cards - I've never bought that many books at one go. I just couldn't control myself. There were so many stories that I just HAD to have. When I arrived back in KL with my suitcase full of books, the customs officer eyed me so suspiciously - I remember he even went through my whole suitcase and picked up almost every book.

Most of them had strange titles that he could not fathom, like 'Dragon On A Pedestal' and 'Geis of the Gargoyle' - I could see the question marks in his mind??? Then he saw one title 'For the love of Gaia' (Gaia being the spirit or goddess of Earth) and he said "Oh, semua ni love story ye?" Hahaha.. well, ok, fine - if that will stop his MM and let me pass through, fine. All love stories.

I bought the complete set of Xanth books by Piers Anthony (he had written only about 14 then), the complete 'Incarnations of Immortality' series by same author, the complete 'Riftwar Saga' by Raymond E. Feist, the classic Foundation series by Isaac Asimov, and I discovered an extremely meaningful series called 'Cat-Fantastic' - compilations of fantasy cat stories! Oh, they really touched me so deeply, I could relate to those stories like they have been buried inside my soul for years and years, just waiting to be awakened and brought to full consciousness. Yes, it is just stories about cats. But you know how I feel about cats.

Ok, so I had this amazing collection and I still read them from time to time. I also spent years collecting the Katherine Kerr series - about reincarnations and a magician named Nevyn. I remember one birthday, Peter made me so very happy because he managed to track down that one missing book in the series that I could not find. It was 'The Bristling Wood' and he found it in a second hand bookshop.

So what does all this have to do with termites?

My house has become infested with termites. I think it must have developed over the past year or two.

And their nest is in my bookcase :(

Oh woe, my wonderful books have become termite cities, termite buffets. Termite highways now link one author to the next, termite catacombs (like honeycombs) are all that are left of my Arthur C. Clarke's Rama series :(

Termites have also spread to our walls and wooded floors. The electrician, who was the one who alerted us to this problem, said our whole house is in danger of collapsing!!!

Dad immediately got an exterminator to come and check it out. They said they would set traps with insecticide and trap the buggers. Not harmful to cats or humans, but damn tasty and lethal to termites. It would cost RM5,500 for a one year contract. Wow, I thought, so expensive! But if it can lure the termites away from my books, it would be worth it.

That was about a month ago. The termite traps have not caught anything. The exterminator said our termites are 'intelligent'. Dad wrote and asked them to explain how termites can be more intelligent than the exterminator. We're still waiting for an answer.

Anyway, as this is the only weekend where Sonny and I are not working, he decided that we must clear the room. Ok, fine. Let's do it.

And we started with my bookcase. Sigh... so sad, so sad to reluctantly let each book go. Sonny was making jokes and termite puns all the way. Some were actually funny, but I was too miserable to listen. Will I ever be able to build back my collection? There was so much inspiration there...

Anyway, the one great blessing is that my much-loved Cat-Fantastic books were ok. Thank You, God.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It probably is adding salt to wounds - and I have had my books & furniture eaten by termites 2 years back.

But there is a good story by Arthur Clarke on smart termites: "The Next Tenants". I've posted a review at ""

Also, unless you have a really bad case, you might want to try some of the termite sprays on the market - we get them in medical stores in B'by. It cost me about 5 bottles, & nearly a day of my time, but it's effective. According to label, active ingredient is "anacardium pericarp extract". Good luck.

- tinkoo

10:02 PM  
Blogger jingwei said...


sorry about your book collection though...

4:46 AM  
Blogger The bartender said...

Dear Janet,

This is Joel Lim, now in Euro. I have set up a blog called and was wondering if you could contribute thoughts from time to time. I will place a link to your blog and 95% as 'payment'. The Ad Bar is a place for creatives to put ad stuff for the benefit of others. The Ad Bar (should) contains Advertising Reviews, Ideas, Knowledge, Conversations, Community. It's very new at the moment, and I'm hoping to find like-minded contributors. Hope to hear from you. I can be emailed at

2:21 PM  
Blogger janet said...

Haha! Who would have thought that Arthur C Clarke would have written about termites!
Thanks for the tip - will look out for it.

6:00 AM  

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