Monday, August 24, 2009

Please…Johore is not Johore Bahru.

During my recent sojourn to my second hometown, Kluang, I was assaulted by the thought that I am really going to miss it even it was there. I was driving frantically trying to track down the old favourite Chicken Rice stall which has since shifted, when it occurred to me that Kluang might just become… (Cue horror music here) Johore Bahru!

You see, for years I have been tormented by this particular response I get immediately when I say I come from the Johore state: “Oh, JB.” Gritting my teeth, and holding back my urge to poke their eyes ala Three Stooges, I’d tell them that my hometown is Cha’ah, where I grew up, and Kluang, where I was born and spent my early formative years. But the myopic perception is not without reasons. I tell you why (especially to non-Malaysian readers).

Johore Bahru is the capital for the Johore state, a princely, second largest state in Peninsular Malaysia, and a haven for green plantations, namely oil palm, cocoa and pineapple. The state also homes manufacturing sites boasting many multi-national corporations. Yes, some even bigger than those in Penang except that we Johoreans don’t toot our horns like our cousins from north (hey, Nasi Kandar is just normal Nasi Campur with mixed curry okay!). I know I sound like envoy from Johore State tourism, but that is the fact.

But the trouble is, everyone seems to think of only the Johore Bahru city when the name Johore is mentioned. It’s sickening. I hate that city. It’s the wrong end of the stick with shit. It’s the word I would use as acronym to crème de la crème. It’s the barbecued piece of charred meat that you usually put aside as it is only fit to be eaten by your domestic pet. It, and I’ve said this to many before, is a bastard child of Malaysia and Singapore, before they parted ways and the L'enfant terrible was shoved to Malaysians.

Okay, I made that up. It’s just that Singapore was conveniently an Island, making it easier for them to have nothing to do with Johore Bahru. Now, the city has been known for the wrong reason mostly – crime. Snatch thieves, car robbery, rape, murder and worst, terrible food, has often been attached as the label for that city and it is mostly for one reason alone – cash rich Singaporeans throwing their money around making cheap purchases because to buy most of the things in their country we at least have to make deposit using our kidneys.

Kidding again. But Singaporeans throwing money there is a normal occurrences, like yearly haze. And the fact that Singaporeans are one of the largest property owners in Johore Bahru is not a new trivia, like moronic politicians or reptilian lawyers. But by doing so, they are making themselves available to the lowest, darkest facets found in any human being, also as a result of having seeing inflation rate in the city which is not as great as Kuala Lumpur, higher than KL, just because Singaporeans like to buy groceries enough to feed the entire population of Indonesia (neighbour).

So, no. I am not from Johore Bahru. I have family members near there. My younger brother is away from the stench, about half an hour or forty five minutes drive in a quaint little town called Kulai. Another brother (actually best friend who got assimilated to the family) is staying in Kota Masai, also out of the perimeter of the city of putridity. In fact, I’d seriously consider severing my ties with them if they were to settle down right within that geographic concentration of evil

In all fairness, I would not have mind if the government, in efforts to boost the national income, overcome deficit, and really be recession proof, should sell Johore Bahru off to Singapore for, roughly around US$700 trillion. This time around, it will be part of Singapore and all the snatching, thieving, robbing, murdering, raping and bad cooking can by done by Singaporeans for Singapore themselves. The squeaky clean island sure needs some extra shades of grey. Plus it will improve ties with Malaysia, where we, especially the politicians and lawyers, screw each other within the border as well. It’s a homely thing to do nation-wise.

As for the rest of the Johore, we’d be fine. We have industrial estates outside of Johore Bahru, and huge oil palm plantation (one of the biggest in Asia…probably the world) and some of the fantastic cooking in this part of country. And when I tell people that I come from Johore, they’d say, “Oh yeah, Singapore”, and I’ll poke both of their eyes.


Velan-tino said...

Yes, some even bigger than those in Penang except that we Johoreans don’t toot our horns like our cousins from north (hey, Nasi Kandar is just normal Nasi Campur with mixed curry okay!).

My Penang pride has to answer this! If a Perakian had said this, I would let it pass, but of all people, a Johorean! You dont even have original laksa and took italian spaghetti for inspiration.

You copied Penang Mee Rebus, adding beef stock and call it Johor Mee Rebus!!!

You cooked the same old briyani and call it briyani gum because it makes the diner speechless with fright. :)

What do you know about food, you Johoreans? Even Singaporeans come up to Penang for search of good food and the only reason why they stop by at Johore is for restroom breaks or because the price is el cheapo compared to Singaporean food. :D

Nasi Kandar - you have no idea of its glorious history. Dont go for the Johore imitation or even those in KL (most probably run by Johoreans), go for the real stuff and you will know the difference.
And theres more to Penang than just nasi kandar.

(Is my response longer than your post? Sorry, this is what happens when you talk about Penang food.) rotfl

Rakesh Kumar said...

Hahaha...NOV. I know right away you will come bursting in. Was expecting that. Chumma...just to get things going. Thanks for reading and responding. I am waiting for more annoyed Penangites.

jaaze said...

JB might become clean (or atleast much cleaner than it is now) if it were to be a part of Singapore.

Btw, I didn't know a better Johore exists (for I had always thought Johore = JB).

How better is Johore, and where is it located? (pardon if I had missed anything in your post, for it confused me to where the two are located, it seems JB is in the central of Johore :? )

Rakesh Kumar said...

Thanks for visiting Jaaze. Feggedabaout Singaporen, Malaysians think of Johore Bahru when Johore is mentioned. That's how ignorant they are.

You can check out lots of websites Johore State tourism. Or get in touch with me, I shall point out places of interest.

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