A drunk Malay was passed out under the table as 2016 kicked in. An Indian started massaging him. The Malay woke up. The Indian kept on massaging the man, who at first wanted nothing to do with him. “He good man,” said the Malay, as he walked away. The Indian bee lined to the bottle shop across the road, with the Malay’s wallet in his pocket. “He very good man,” said the Malay again. It seems the Indian drunks can hold their booze better.

I was curious how I ended on the bridge going over to Singapore. It’s actually not a bridge at all but a causeway.

I’ll be paying special attention to Google Maps next time I decide to have an  adventurous.

The air dripped with humidity as I walked along Jalan  Ismail Sultan. A shopping mall on the waterfront was falling apart, broken windows and a general dilapidated look.  It’s out with the old , and in with the new  super malls near the Immigration Arrival Hall.

On the other side of the vast expansive grounds of the Palace was a zoo. Shit on the wind wafted into my nose. The same “Beware Snipers” sign, and a hole in the fence where the locals sneak into the zoo.

Across the road, was another bewildering government sanctioned sign: “Surely, (the only true) faith in Allah’s sight is Islam.” The ubiquitous ‘Number One’ sign, adorned on shopping malls and government buildings is also another esoteric Malaysian symbol that could embody the sign I just saw. It was in Chinese for those who don’t read English. But I was surprised not to see it in Hindi. Actually I’m not surprised.

I keep on walking, and come across a Prison. The guards are bored and say hi to me through the gate. I invite myself in, but they won’t have any of that.

I reflect on the vast hole in the ground that’s fenced and being prepared for construction. It all clicks. This is the second Kuala Lumpur, and in the not too distance future, will attract the best brains and money to it’s sunny shores across the causeway.

I’m back in Grunge Town. The Indians are imbibing it hard outside a liquor store. One very fucked up Indian is talking in tongues. The cheap Gin is really working wonders on his linguistic skills.

I run into my e-cigarette lady. She’s now selling electronic gadgets. I go out the back and chat with her in whispers. Yes, she can sell me e-fluid refills. Johor just banned e-cigarettes a few days ago.

The shopping malls are doing good trade over the school holidays. The eyesore of the new canal being built isn’t deterring them.

The city is cut in half. The   fence that runs down the street, covering the eyesore, has info graphics on it showing what Johor will look like once it’s finished. I don’t think the shopaholics really care what’s on the other side, and the Indians are happy listening to their loud Bollywood music and making offerings to their gods. “You want this bracelet,” says a tout. “It has real elephant hair.” I touched it. Real elephant hair indeed.

I got a great shot of Johor and the palace today. If you got money, Johor has the merchandise. Now I’m not  sure if I should take this metaphor too far. Hell, I don’t even have enough money for that kind of hanky panky, so I’m just going to mind my own business like when I walked out of the country illegally and entered it the same way.

Johor must be a special kind of place to put up with a tourist like me. And vise versa. A tout on the street in Tranny lane is offering me ‘Superman pills.’ “New and from America,” he says.

I’d be needing more than that to get a hard on.



2 thoughts on “‘Number One’

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