1. Blogging; or
Photo from www.acclaimimages.com
2. Visit Johor Bahru (JB), after the floods subside, of course.
I need not tell regular bloggers about the joys of blogging. Chris loves it because he finds it therapeutic (as he has several chronic ailments to cure). Chun See seems addicted to it because he loves to write (and the younger generation just won't listen to him when he relates his Ah Gong stories orally). As for Eastcoastlife, I don't really know but I guess it must be because she enjoys being in the limelight for she's always boasting about how popular her blog is becoming (especially when compared to mine). As for me, at first I blog to take up Chris' challenge. After the first few posts, I discovered that blogging is fun, especially when I can recount a story in a fun and humorous way.
Similarly, I don't have to tell regular Singaporean visitors to Malaysia about the advantages of visiting the country but I will do it anyway. Petrol is at half price there. Although you could only fill up one-quarter tank of it, motorists still find it worthwhile to make the trip there just for this purpose. Desperate ones even tilt one corner of the car by driving it up a wooden block so that they could fill in an extra litre or two of petrol! The food and groceries are cheap too. Even car services like polishing and oil servicing are at bargain prices. If you play golf, you will find their green fees are irresistible. And I haven't even mentioned about the prices of their other services that will surely keep the women around our Geylang district off the streets.
You probably would have guessed by now which of the above 2 options I would choose. If it isn't obvious to you, let me say that I have not visited Malaysia for nearly a decade now.
Today I received an email from a colleague whom I shall call MJM. The email, which was also addressed to Chris, contained a Malaysian news article about two socio-political bloggers being sued by New Straits Times Press (NSTP) over postings in their blogs that were deemed defamatory.
Now MJM is known to be a frequent visitor to JB. As for what cheap goods and services he goes to JB for, I really don't know. But I know that he always fills up his petrol tank to the brim, his stomach till it is bursting and his car boot till not even a 5-cent coin could be squeezed in before heading back home.
MJM is aware that Chris and I are avid bloggers. So I read MJM's purpose of sending the email as an indirect way of telling Chris and I to be careful about what we blog and not to end up like the 2 Malaysian bloggers. While MJM's intention is good, I feel that he has greater things to worry about.
I sent MJM the following reply, with cc to Chris:
Thank you for writing to the desks of Chris and yours truly, and for taking an
unwanted interest in our private lives.
Incidentally, it might interest your
goodself that yesterday, there were separate headline articles in both Today and The New Paper. It was as if both newspapers decided to rebut you on our behalf. I don't know whether it was mere coincidence but both articles were about high crime rates in JB:
a. Today - With 777 cases per 100,000 residents, Johor has the 4th-highest crime rate in Malaysia. Recent examples:
i. Jan 6, 3am: IT consultant Fareed Hassan leaves a restaurant in Danga Bay, 10 minutes from the Causeway. He is attacked by men wielding a parang and a steering lock. When the robbers find just RM10 ($4.40) on him, they ask: "What kind of Singaporean are you?" They take his car, laptop and handphone.
ii. Jan 9, 4.10am: Ms Wati, 27, a mother of two, is hurled from her friend's motorbike and set upon by a group of 12 armed men on motorcycles. She is robbed of her money and belongings worth $1,600.
iii. Jan 10, time unknown: Singaporean hawker Mohamad Bolah is robbed, stabbed and left for dead in a mangrove swamp, just five minutes from where he lived in JB.
2. The New Paper - S'porean refuses to give JB man RM$1 (S$0.45). Man whips out syringe and threatens to jab him with HIV-tainted needle. This is not the first time that such an incident happened. In Feb 2005 and Apr 2005, similar robberies happened to two other Singaporeans in JB.
I wonder who will be the next victim. Just in case that this is the last time you are reading my mail before you go shopping forever in JB, I would like to express my sincere appreciation once again for the stale news article you forwarded to us and also for your unwarranted implicit concern. I am sure that they will be sorely missed when you leave us to go shopping forever in JB.
We remain yours truly,
Chris and Victor."