They wanted to double charge me at the James Brooke Gallery.

The cashier was reasonable against my claims that two-tier pricing was disastrous for tourism.

First I told her I was living with my wife here and secondly doing my Ph.D. on James Brooke, the White Raja of Sarawak.

‘But please don’t tell anyone about this,’ she said. It was done on the hush. I even have a stub that says ‘local’ on it.

Trust me it was a sweet victory.

I told a family of Malaysian Siamese about it. The mother in law said what I did was totally wrong.

‘You are a rich farang and can afford to fly here.’

I didn’t bother asking her how she got here. She was from Alor Setar in Kedah on the mainland.

What’s rude is being charged double the price of locals who by all accounts are probably more cashed up than me.

That was lost on her.

I left it to the spirit of Kuching to right a wrong. They are very reasonable people here.

I told the cashier that James Brooke would be turning in his grave if he knew that you charged more for foreign tourists than the locals.

I added that my grandfather and father both fought for Malaysian independence.

‘They are both resting at the war memorial next to the Sawarak Club.’

The cashier was sympathetic.

The Malaysian Simease was shocked.

She can remain that way. Luckily in Malaysia reason comes before xenophobia.


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