There’s some kind of television warfare going on.
‘It’s the quickest way to get the message out,’ says Tan, a Chinese Malaysian who runs a noodle stand in the food court.
A Malay-Malaysian has been executed in Singapore. The circumstances are just bizarre, to say the least.
‘We don’t care what ethnic group he is,’ says Tan. ‘His execution could have been ours.’
The Singaporeans are giving this side of the causeway a miss this weekend.
‘They are wise never to come back,’ says Tan, who joins me for a Tiger.
He told me that the Malaysian on death row had to pose for a photograph two days before he was hanged.
‘It’s the photo they send to his parents,’ he says.
It’s the photos they send to his wife also, and it means, if you do what he does, you’ll also get hanged.
He apparently was carrying 22 kilograms of morphine in the back of his car.
‘They got him at the check point, on the Singapore side,’ says Tan.
‘Fuck Singapore,’ says a Malay who is sitting next to us.
Looks they just fucked one of yours, I say.
‘They’ll pay for it.’ He says his name is Abdul. What, another fucking Abdul?
‘It’s quite a popular Muslim name here,’ he says.
Now Mahathir is on the screen and admonishing Najib to swear on the Quran that he’s not a sly conniving murderous bastard. The food court is tuned into a Singaporean channel.
‘If it’s morality you want,’ says Tan, ‘then Singapore TV is the preferred choice.’
It was almost exciting as Animal Channel.
I had read somewhere, that Singapore was Disney Land with the death penalty.
Tan smiles at me. He’s reading something he shouldn’t.
‘We read Needham over here,’ he says. ‘As soon as we find out something is banned in Singapore, we usually embrace it here.’
‘No,’ he says. ‘We just share pirated copies. For some reason, his books aren’t for sale on Amazon Malaysia or Amazon Singapore.’
Sounds like some kind of geopolitical block the Singaporean have masterminded.
Now you would think I’m making this up.
‘I know you aren’t,’ says Abdul, who is onto to his third beer and a second Vietnamese hooker sits down at his table.
‘We are so sensitive in Asia,’ he says. ‘Bloggers are first to go down. Then writers.’
Now did that drug smuggler really drive over the border with 22 kilograms of morphine?
Tan looks at me and laughs.
‘We’ll never know. But it’s not the way I’d smuggle anything into Singapore.’
Abdul is also laughing.
‘It was a setup.’
Are you saying Singaporean officials are corrupt?
‘Only if they need to make a point.’ Abdul takes another swig of his beer and fills up the glasses of his Vietnamese companions who are in their early thirties and waiting for the go ahead to hit a shag hotel.
‘And this time the Malaysia government was in cahoots. ‘ Tan has closed shop for the night and joins me and Abdul. The Vietnamese whores might just get some pay dirt.
‘Are you saying that Malaysia couldn’t interfere with Singapore’s sovereign rights,’ I asked.
‘We both have the death penalty,’ says Tan.
‘But in Malaysia, you can pay your way out of the noose,’ informs Abdul, who I bet has tested those waters a few times.
So they hanged the poor fucker in Singapore?
They both nodded.
It looks like Singapore won’t admit it has a dependency on drugs.
‘It was a tough statement,’ says Tan, who tips the Vietnamese with a pink ribbon entwined in her long silky black hair.
‘Singapore has a drug problem,’ says Abdul who nods his head in disgust.
I said you don’t take someone out of their prison clothes and dress them up for a pre-execution photo shoot unless you have a drug problem. It just verges on the creepy side.
They both nodded again.
Singapore was well and truly on something, I said, as I ordered a few more beers to cheer the boys up. But I just wasn’t prepared to venture what it was.