The C-Plague – Malaysia Update 2025

Malaysia has lost 15 million people since 2020. We are back to the mid-80s in terms of populations numbers, said an UMNO veteran who had served in the government. We were in a better situation then, he said. The recession lasted only a year with a 10 percent contraction. The Asian Financial Crisis of the 90s was terrible, but I have never experienced anything like the present, he added.

Do what you are or cherish what you do

In the film, Along Came A Spider, Morgan Freeman’s character, Alex Cross, a detective, said to his Special Agent partner Jezzie Flannigan: “You do what you are.” She replied: “You mean you are what you do.”

He explained: “No, I mean, you do what you are. You’re born with a gift. If not that, then you get good at something along the way. And what you’re good at, you don’t take for granted. You don’t betray it.”

It’s a matter of transport

Pre-LRT, commuters who take the public transportation to Kuala Lumpur, had no choice but to get on the infamous minibus (once painted yellow, then pink) driven by Nigel Mansell “wannabes”. To get more profit from a single route, the bus conductor would urge passengers to move right to the back until there was no personal space left between people and it became difficult to breathe. Those were the days. Now, (most) KL buses are air-conditioned and manned by drivers in crisp uniforms. Although improved, the situation is far from perfect. On major routes, the “sardine can” phenomenon still exists.

Note: This article was written in 2010 before the MRT system was implemented.

Wherever I stash my luggage, that’s my home

However, for one year, we rented a single-storey bungalow on a hill with large grounds and big fruit trees that you could climb (and I actually fell off one without breaking any bones). At night, the rabbits would scurry into the garden to eat my mother’s vegetables. From my room, I could see the moon shining mysteriously in the night sky; and for a nine-year old fed on Enid Blyton, I thought I could even see fairies dancing around a fairy ring.

You might wonder why I am waxing lyrical about this period in my life. I believe good childhood memories can sustain a person through the darkest periods of their adult life; and a stable home is an important part of it.

Life in the Slow Lane

“If shopping is your thing, do not visit Brunei. Even Bruneians shop overseas in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Bandung! But if you are looking to discover the charm of ‘life in the slow lane’, then get on a plane for the two-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Bandar Seri Begawan for a weekend break.”

Looking back at my life in Brunei in this article first published in 2014.