Meanwhile, this may come as a shock to me (!), but other people aren't as interested in my beard (or lack of one) as I might be.
I called up the Malaysian High Commission to ask about their student visa procedure and it turns out they have none. Monash U. will actually be doing all the work on my behalf, arranging my student pass. Then they will send it to me and wait for me at the airport. That's pretty much it. The lady at the High Commission explained it to me in excruciating detail. I was afraid I would grow old and die listening to her rambling on about the process.
In other news, I've come across some videos of Richard Feynman's QED (quantum electrodynamics, oh how I love those two words) lectures -- the same famous lectures that were compiled into the book Dada bought. I'm going through the videos one by one now. Feynman is an incredibly rich and interesting character. Witty, smart, and sophisticated, he's like the Indiana Jones of theoretical physics. I'd like to see a movie about him. Russell Crowe's A Beautiful Mind proved that thoughtful movies could be made of scientists. And Feynman is such an interesting character even if you leave aside his scientific achievements -- his days as a barfly, artist, raconteur, immersion tank experimenter, marching band player in Copacabana (Brazil) would make incredible fodder for a movie.
If they did make a movie on him, Matthew Perry would be perfectly placed to play him in about ten years' time, I think, if he (Perry) takes care of himself. I think they have the same facial structure and Perry's sense of humour would only help him. The only problem that might come up is Perry's voice. At the least he'll have to go through some practice to make it sound deeper. Might even try catching a cold :-)