Rahim’s callused knuckles dig deep into my back. He’s trying to get out the knots. It’s loosening he says as he uses his elbow to get a real good stab at it.

I’m laughing at the pain.

He said his Singaporean client  was begging for more of it  earlier tonight  as he uprooted my lover vertebrae with one of his rock hard knuckles.“If there’s no pain, my customers feel cheated.”

The bald-headed masseuse whose only trace of hair is a  rat’s tail says I  will never find anyone like him. “My technique is totally original.”

Rahim  mixes Taiwanese acupuncture, reflexology and a Malay technique. After finding the acupuncture points, he’ll continue kneading the nerve along the limb to stimulate blood flow. “That’s the Malay technique.” He applies pressure  on my shin. “That area is  for low blood pressure. I can help stimulate your sex muscles.”

More of that I say, as his wife laughs.His wife, in a headscarf, is extraordinarily pretty. She doesn’t speak a word of English. Rahim’s little grandson is playing on a tablet and he’s very shy.

His services were in demand when he freelanced on the streets of KL. Only VIP clients, he said:  “They were politicians, high ranking police and business people.” He moved back to Johor two years ago  to be with his family. He has five children and four grandchildren.

“No one on this streets wants to learn from me,” he moans. “But I know I’m the best.” I really think he is too, as he targets in on  a muscle I never knew I had.

He’s self taught and learned his trade after falling sick. “I couldn’t breath, so after three session with a master, I was cured. That was when I decided I wanted to help other people too.”

He’s working up a sweat to get my body back into shape. He’s giving it 1000 percent.

The conversation gets around to the guy who purges blood.  “That guy who extracts blood using an acupuncture technique is a con man. I wouldn’t use him,” he says.

Thanks for the warning, I’ll be staying clear of him.

The 56 year old says he’s too old to be working in the day times, and prefers to start at midnight and finish at 5 am in the morning. He’s no slouch and the pain factor is up high as he kneads a few more kinks out of my back.I’m laughing, laughing from the pain.

Rahim said he recently  cured a young woman  from Singapore who had a stroke and was paralyzed from the waist down. “After seven sessions she was out of her wheelchair and walking and returned back to work.”

I puff on my e-cigarette and Rahim gives me the update. “The sultanate will ban them in January.”

Onto the Singaporeans, he says petrol smuggling is a real no no.  “They must leave Singapore with three quarter’s of a tank of petrol. And they only have a total of eight hours before they can drive back.” He says that doesn’t stop them from stocking up on cooking oil and other products with their strong exchange rate which is up there with the Australian dollar.

Now the conversation steers towards the Sultanate of Johor. I’ve been  waiting for this.

He says that his Sultan wants to separate from Malaysia. “Too much corruption. In one year, he will reclaim Singapore that was taken away from us by Raffles over 150 years ago. It was only an agreement, we never gave it to the British like the Sultans did in  Penang.”

He proudly informs me that Sultanate of Johor is related to the British monarchy. “It was many generations ago when a British  royal family member married one of our Sultans. So that makes the current Sultan  related to Queen Elizabeth.”

As he drills holes into my back with his elbow, some Indians try to check in a hotel where he works out the front. “They won’t get in,” he says, as I let out another  fit of laughter. “They’ll be told that the place is full.” A minute later they are walking down the street looking for an Indian friendly hotel.

I tell Rahim after two sessions, my back is bruised and I’m not sure if I’m feeling better or worse. “Third session much better,” he says. “By then  bruising will be gone, and your muscles will be relaxed.”

I said I’ll be back for another torture session tomorrow. I’ve never laughed so much in my life. “Yes, I noticed,” he said, as he draws on a well deserved clove cigarette. “Pain is actually quite good therapy within itself,” he says as he shows me his callused knuckles to prove his point.



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