Saturday, November 08, 2008

Johor Bahru

So here I am in Johor Bahru, facing Singapore. Earlier this evening I'm in an Internet cafe catching up the latest political developments in the world, the most pressing of which seems to be which breed is the most likely to become "first dog" and whether Michelle Obama's election night dress was a hit or miss. My internet addiction is finally sated and I emerge onto the busy Saturday night streets, except the normally bustling streets are almost deserted. What is going on? I pass a packed cafe. All the punters are glued to a large TV screen temporarily setup on a some upturned crates watching Manchester United vs Arsenal. How bizarre is that? As soon as people learn where I come from, the inevitable next question is which football team do I support? Football tops are everywhere, with Manchester United tops the most popular. There are sauna-like temperatures here and the TV shows people from the other side of the world wrapped in warm clothing watching a match. Odd.
Another surprise is the prevalence of mobile phones. The customs guy had two of the latest smartphones; one for work and for one home he explained as though it was the natural order. While filling in my arrival forms, the first phone rang and was answered, a little later the second phone burst into a Malaysian hit and unfazed he answered and carried on two conversations while filling and stamping the form....

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