The cat marks its territory with a piss. The toilet is busy, so I duck out the back for a piss in the alley way. That’s where I see a homeless man sleeping in a doorway on cardboard. His clothes are hanging on a makeshift clothes line and above him is a For Let sign.
Malaysia has its problems. It’s not only the Indians who sleep on the street. Johor has its fair share of homeless Chinese Malay too. There’s another older lady sleeps on the pavement near my hotel. She’s active by 6 am, and puts out her cup near the money changer.They stare at me as I return to my clean hotel room. I make a note and think how lucky I am. Unlike the capital city, there are no do gooders handing out food in exchange for their soul. The restaurants around the area take up the slack and help the reprobates who roam the streets.
There’s inequity everywhere. The malls across the road are symbols of western decadence and the silhouette of a hobo in grubby clothes begging is amplified with the largely lit posters of Mr. and Mrs Perfection smiling benignly down at him.
I’m part of the viscous system in their eyes. I’m the cashed up foreigner living it up in a nice hotel.
I think I might mark my territory again. A very stoned rat does a half- hearted attempt at escaping as it wobbles a retreat between my legs. Even the rats are content in Grunge Town and lack the fat bloated look and aggressive characteristics of their cousins in Kuala Lumpur.
Richard the Drunk has found me. “You stink, even my dog doesn’t smell as bad as you.” He’s making a big fuss. “You are in my country. You might have white skin but you stink.” He then asks for a cigarette. “I don’t smoke that low class cigarette. You haven’t even paid tax on it.” He makes sure everyone within ear shot can hear him. “Do you want money for buying soap?” he asks, as he digs into his pocket. “I’m a high class Hindu, and I don’t think Malaysia shouldn’t be letting in stinky white people like you.” After he’s spoke his mind, he beelines for the duty free bottle shop across the road. He’s still dressed in the same clothes I saw him in a week ago.
I didn’t have the heart to tell Richard that his prime minister gave me a three month visa so that I could explore and write about scum like himself.
I’m not offended by Richard in the least. This is Grunge Town after all and everyone and everything is fair game.
Just as I finish writing this post, the glue sniffer comes up to my table. I hand him a one ringgit note. Order has been restored.