As you may know, I hail from Batu Pahat, Johor which is about 1.5 hours from Singapore (by car).
I was a TV addict, but believe it or not, I
never seldom watch Malaysian TV until I was around 20 years old (I watched old P. Ramlee movies on M’sian TV). And that was because I had no choice – once you go past Muar, it’s highly difficult to receive Singapore channels on TV. My family, friends and I grew up on Channel 8’s 7-8 pm and 9 – 10 pm series and when I could understand English a little better, I was hooked on Channel 5. Until today I still miss it for the variety of programmes, but 8TV is doing a good job filling the void.
Zoe Tay, 8 Days, Vernetta Lopez, the rise-halt-rise of Fann Wong, Jack Neo and Moses Lim, Liang Popo, Ang Mo Kio, Sentosa, Kumar, Najip Ali and his talk show, 3-room HDB flats with a small playground at every other block, Russell Lee, too underage to enter a pub at Boat Quay, too underaged to visit my grandmother in the hospital ward, Yakult (it was only recently brought into Malaysia), Ah Meng, my first circus experience are among those little things that I remember.
Heck, I can even sing the Singapore’s national anthem better than some Singaporeans 😉
Then I grew up, moved to KL and lost touch with Singapore. In 2003 I re-visited this tiny island that is reaping all of Malaysia’s good qi from our Titiwangsa Range, only to be…
I mean, WTF!!!
But that visit in 2003 was also my first time seeing the famous merlion. I told my Singaporean friend and guide Pinky that I wanted to do the tourist things and she delivered.
I had a few firsts in Singapore as well. My first Hoegaarden, and my first Paulaner.
When I said before that Singaporeans queue up and wait for their turn, I was referring to a gay club somewhere in Tanjung Pagar, which was opposite a place where Jaime and I were having supper.
The queue went ALL THE WAY to the other side of the building! It looked really fun, but we were too tired to go clubbing that night, plus the idea of waiting in THAT line was exhausting enough.
There is a lot of bad blood between Malaysians and Singaporeans for a variety of reasons. They say this, we say that, they do that, we do this… politics, leaders, water, culture, media, education, exposure, history influence etc etc etc. There won’t be an end to this love-hate relationship of ours anytime soon. When all is said and done, I personally believe that there is a lot they can learn from us, and a lot that we can learn from them. Oh well 🙂 (Edit: that sounds a bit offhand, doesn’t it? We’ll leave the point-to-point differences for later.)
Happy birthday, Singapore 🙂