My Malaysia …

This was the exact sign-post where an old man once flagged my also-not-very-Ferrari Kenari two years ago, and I did what all women driving alone should NOT do. I stopped and asked him where he was going. The story, staying true to the ingredient of defiance-related situations, did not stop there of course. I shall blog about it in another post. Today being Malaysia’s Merdeka Day and so many of my Malaysian blog friends have written about their beloved country, I asked myself why am I – the self-declaring half-Malaysian never profess my lurrrrve for the country in my blog (yes yes Singapore, I love you too. Pls read the post ‘NDP-addict’ – happy?!) .

Cyberjaya was not my first posting to Malaysia. It was my second. The first time I was sent to Malaysia was to KL – Kelana Jaya to be precise. I lived in a swanky-sounding condo called ‘Shangrila’ (no kidding) and the apartment was smacked in between PJ’s sports hub. The condo, swanky as it sounds, was not as swanky though. At least not on the exterior. So my dreams of living the posh expat life was dashed.

When I first moved, my entire , and I do mean ENTIRE clan (we are talking about BOTH my Malaysian and Singapore side) trooped to my place for a Uja-dapat-kerja-luar-negeri kenduri. Now, I don’t really consider Malaysia as luar negeri, but hey, it was an excuse for my family to meet and makan-makan lah.We had caterers and we had only one small TV. We also had 30 people in our family. I had no Internet connection then and recalled how ZH, my cousin-in-law from Penang was trying to send a document to work via my then-very-sophisticated Psion Revo.The Internet connection was via my mobile phone and of course the PDA crashed. This was 2001 mind you, and 3G was still a subject of debate and discussions among wannabe techno-geeks. So of course the bandwidth on my mobile was a-bit-the-ketat.

My stint in Kelana Jaya was memorable, but nothing prepared me for the awesome life in Cyberjaya when I was posted to Malaysia again in 2003. This time, I felt like someone was playing a prank on me. I DID LIVE in a swanky apartment (wohooo!) but this time, with a not-so-swanky name. It was called D’Melor (*hide my face, quick!*), and remembered friends commenting – “Apa? Nama apartmen kau D’melor? Eee..kampungnya!’. Suka hati koranglah, Mamat.

I love Cyberjaya . It was only in Cyberjaya, the Intelligent City – that you can see a herd of cows crossing the road on a bright afternoon, going towards the Cyberjaya Street Mall. Did you know that cows are into Gucci and designer coffee too? Only in Cyberjaya my friend. Cos it IS an Intelligent City – who is to tell that those cows were not cloned Dollys.

I remember stopping my car, mouth agaped while letting the cows passed and wondered – ‘Ok Lembus, are YOU actually having coffee at the mall or what?’. The Lembus of course couldnt’ be bothered with me. They just stared blankly at my not-so-Ferrari-Kenari and walked away probably with this thought –‘Bodoh punya Singaporean. Macam tak pernah nampak Lembu!’.

There were also many mornings when I would zoom off and drive around Cyberjaya and Putrajaya in circles.On some days I went warring with the laptop – just for the thrill of finding a free wireless network I can latch onto. Hey, I AM Singaporean you know. Kalau free, mesti cari!

The two Jayas were sexy-looking cities, and I always show them off to Singaporean friends or overseas colleagues who came to visit. In my books, the majestic pink Masjid Putrajaya is unbeatable, right up there with Istanbul’s Blue Mosque or even the Imam Reza’s Mahram in Mashad, Iran.

Then, there were the wonderful evenings listening to SH’s hungry drive to make her spa the best in the world, in between live blues music in a small Irish pub in Lorong Kasawari (I think). In between, there will inevitably be her stories about men, and those were the juice! I remembered we were once followed by 2 men on a bike at 2 am in the morning, and it was SH’s fast response that saved us. Phew. It must have been her years of being close to the male species. She can detect them following from behind even when they are metres away! I didn’t have such powers nor such intuition. Not enough practice lah, kesian.

The night scene in KL is exuberant, to say the least. From rib-cracking theatre talents from Drama Lab, to pure, raw strums of the guitar in small pubs somewhere around the Jalan Raja Chulan area – everyone will have something to do besides shopping ! I cannot undestand why, therefore, Singaporeans ONLY visit KLCC on their trips there and THEN complain there is nothing to do in KL. Puh leeasee…

Then there is H and N, 2 sisters who introduced me to some wonderful lorongs in KL and the surrounding Selangor area where the best food awaits. I am talking about REAL food people, not the restauranty, Singaporean-tourist type. I love, absolutely love to aksi borak with the hawkers, macam-macam cerita terkeluar! I also remember how I embarassed N ( a pure-bred Malaysian) when I proudly wore a T-shirt with a the words ‘Teluk Chempedak’ strewn across it while we were hanging out at Dome in KLCC. That was how proud I am of my Malaya.

Don’t get me started on my many road-trips out of Selangor area. My not-so-Ferrari-Kenari have been to Kuantan and back within 8 hours on one crazy Sunday with my cousins. It was going at 150km/h no less. Mind you, I was a bit high on dollops of lemang and rendang daging bought from the lovely orang kampung who set up stalls along the Karak Highway. I was also in denial that I am indeed driving a Kenari, and not a Ferrari. Sigh. Double kesian.

So how can I not love Malaysia for all these adventures? I irritate fellow Singaporeans all the time when I say I am half-Malaysian just because I mastered how to say ‘kot‘ instead of ‘eh‘ in between sentences, and that my Singa friends – is the mark of a true-blue wannabe Malaysian.

Selamat Hari Merdeka Malaysia. Soon, I will get to the point when I will be an addict to your Merdeka celebrations too.


  1. heheh..i leant to say ‘kut’ too! after my 2 yaer stint in k.l, i was actually speaking in the malaysian malay accent! and .. something i’ll never forget.. the singapore malay word for ‘bum’ should never be said allowed in means..something else!! very obscene one!

  2. hehe… laa..we’re so polite. ur right, that p word. u know that one? ask any malaysian what that means! its quite a shocker!

  3. hi there, tergelak pulak cik baca ur blog- especially about the lembu. Kalau baca sejarah cyberjaya atau putrajaya – memang terkejut kan

  4. well uja, trust you to put a swanky tribute to cyberjaya, even during its gondol early years, you maek it sound so hi-tech. I was there too and have got lost in between the 2 jayas and into some God-forsaken construction site.

    wonderful tribute to Malaysia. As a reluctantly yet inevitably singaporized malaysian, i thank u.

  5. Cik, jangan gelak banyak sangat. Nanti sakit perut 🙂

    naz: u singaporized malaysian indeed ! Cyberjaya truly stays as MY Silicon Valley, I dont care what others say – gondol pun gondol-lah!

  6. come over now.. u might be surprise to see the latest development!!… I was there during gondol days and still am… tatau nak lari mana weh!

  7. Hello zaireen,

    You are making the ‘latest development’ sound like a real big mystery!

    Thats it! I am packing and driving up to Cyberjaya and KL this mth sebelum Ramadan. Must pay homage to CJ Funky Town !

  8. i went back to bangi,went to alamanda, mendegik siak, 30 km of long winding roads to go back to cyberjaya and putrajaya. but i did not mind the scenic route one bit.i must say, i am terkejut badak dgn the latest development. it actually feels a bit like singapore! only more spacious and more gagah perkasa infrakstrukturnya. no more gondol, but the unfinished bridges are still there. i wonder who got the tender to build bridges down there huh? banyak siak jembatan…lawa2 plak tu.
    my prediction is correct, MMU has to be the ugliest building in cyberjaya now that the city is more developed.

  9. Have I really been gone that long? And I was one of the first in Cyberjaya, even before MMU was even half done!

  10. aiyoyo…CJ Funky Town is turning really FANG-KAYYY!!

    Will go and take lots of pictures, after that we all can reminisce again! Yahoo!

  11. a bit late..but hope u’r reading this!..If u plan to visit, if it’s on weekdays..u can buzz me.. I’ll show u all the shortcut to Putrajaya..hehe..

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