Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Our Little Flash House on Saint's Hill


    Photo: An excerpt from the second chapter of Bet of the Foothills
The Little Flash House on the Hill
After a month of holding our breaths
In a small rented unit at the rear of a stage house 
By the brook in the valley 
Which served as a natural boundary
To the football field ...
Up on the hill yonder
Ma found a trusty builder  
Who constructed a one bedroom structure
A hundred metres from the gurgling stream 
Which flowed from the lonely tin mine  
Izuan Shah Yani ImanAfter a month of holding our breaths

    In a small rented unit at the rear of a stage house
By the brook in the valley
Which served as a natural boundary
To the school football field.
Up on the hill yonder
Ma found a trusty builder  
Who constructed a one bedroom structure
A hundred metres from the gurgling stream
Which flowed from the abandoned tin mine
On a TOL* patch of land
The builders pulled the weeds and levelled the earth with bags of sand
Then they marked the sections – the family area, the only bedroom, the narrow kitchen and the ‘sky roof’ bathroom
And poured sacks of cement
Mixed them with water and spread as floor
Next they assembled and erected the wooden frames, posts and walls
And finally, a silver zinc roof as its crown
Voila, we have our very own little ‘flash’ house in a wink!
When clean water gushed from the pump
Ma bought a huge porcelain water pot
With a fierce dragon
Draped around its circumference
We carried plastic tubs and pails
To wash our grubby faces and limbs
As the sun set
We got ready for supper and bed
Ma lit the wicks of the kerosene lamps which brightened the living room
And cast long shadows into the bedroom and beyond
When dawn broke
Ma warned us of the slippery moulds near the old well
In the common backyard
Mid way to the wooden steps down the slope
To the ‘tiny hut’ over the clear water of the rushing stream 
Where crafty shrimps hid behind huge boulders  
And dodged our hand-held flimsy nets
While we ignored the quarrels from the Bawean** barracks across the bank
Along with the mutterings from the Nyonya*** ‘dulang’ washers, head-bowed and covered with layers of rough cloths and straw hats  
We got to know our new neighbours
They were from different states -
Kak Ani, Abang Man and their son Din hailed from Betel Nut Island,
Kak Shimah, husband and sons moved west from Turtle Beach,
Pak Hekam sailed from the Land Below the Wind,
And Mak Fauzi ferried from across the Straits.
On most mornings, we would hear the ‘knock, knock’ on our front door
Followed by a hearty call “O, Bet!”
From Din, Kak Ani’s toddler,
With a pacifier in his mouth and a ‘stinky pillow’ in his arm
Mid mornings, Ma and Mak Fauzi would chat for hours
About safe hair dyes, Minangkabau dishes and the Japanese Occupation
Pak Hekam made sure nobody slips and falls
By cleaning the mildew from around the well
And we would all rush to the rescue
Kak Shimah’s husband
Whenever he struggled with his seizures.
Then came the fierce monsoon season
And the brutal tropical storm which brought our walls down
T’was sad to leave our little flash house on the hill
Plus the neighbours’ idiosyncrasies
For the cold flat
By the industrial zone of Section 13

* TOL - Temporary Occupational Licence
** Bawean - an ethnic group from an island approximately 150 km           north of Surabaya, off the coast of Java.
*** Nyonya - a broad term used to refer to Chinese women

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Rhythm of the Night

I remember
It was December
‘65 school holidays
When Ma sprang a surprise:
Siddi said it’s best we shift to KL”
What seemed like a few short days
She threw most of our stuff into some suitcases
And when the Big Day came
Yat and I put on our new plaid dresses with the Peter Pan collars
And pulled on the bright, white socks tucked into the brown Mary Janes
“Don’t forget the white hankies and zipped shiny purses for purchases”
When Ma heard the ‘Beep, beep’ sound of the horn
And sighted the taxi without the permit   
With its engine running
And emitting smoke
On the dusty road
She said,
“Hurry up, girls, we don’t have the red carpet and the Rolls Royce waiting for us”
No sooner than the doors were slammed
It raced to the FMS Railway Station at the Cape of Fence
Sending us and our baggage flying for defence
Neighbours and uncles and aunties and cousins and friends
Were already there to say
Selamat Jalan!
I tagged along
As Mal and Yat paced the platform
Trying to catch the sight of the Station Master in uniform
On the side of the grimy red engine
We read the words Senandong Malam
The Rhythm of the Night was the name given to the Night Train
As we passed by the shells of the cream and dark brown coaches
We thought of dust-covered vanilla ice cream blocks on thick chocolate wafers
Thrown on the tracks by the grumpy Sun Sun Ice Cream Seller
The restaurant car was deep in the belly of the train
With shiny long tables and metal benches
And cooks-waiters in white aprons behind steel counters.
At the last few carriages, the writing Muatan Busuk Segera had us baffled
What indeed were these Perishables
That must be instantly loaded
At the tail of the iron centipede
Before they rot and stank and caused a stampede?
Soon the first ‘phritt’ was heard
T’was time to trace our steps back
We kissed our uncles’ and aunts’ hands
Hugged our cousins and friends
By the second ‘phriitt, phriitt’
We had to get our feet on the three short steps
Unless Ma let us pull some stunts
We daren’t jump on rolling wagons!
Our eyes in tears
Our cheeks wet
We jammed the stairs
Our bodies jerked
As the train made a sudden start
When the third ‘phriiittt, phriiittt, phriiittt!!!’
Trilled from the Station Master’s whistle
And his tiny, green flag was unfurled. 
We leant on the thin rubber padding with blood red vinyl covering
What passed as benches
On third class coaches
Our arms rested on the open window ledge
The glass was heavy and thick  
And the steel shutters slid down
Like guillotines!
The yellow lights were kind
But the ‘whrrr, whrrr, whrrr’ of the small ceiling fans
Kept yanking our eyelids up
Dozing off was really hard
When so many were milling about
And the ‘clacketty, clack, clacketty, clack’ as the ticket collector made his rounds
Punching holes into thick paper stubs
     Making sure no free riders were aboard

Link:            http://www.brianfloca.com/Locomotive.html

Thursday, April 11, 2013

CTT, BERSIH, TINDAK, SKUAD ABU & TAHAN

When I was roped into CITIZEN THINK TANK, a so-called voter education initiative, way back in 2007, I was assured by the two founding members that it was NEUTRAL and NON-PARTISAN. CTT was supposed to provide information, create awareness and promote discussion among voters on the track record of the candidates in their constituencies. The objective was to choose the right representatives who can best serve their constituents. There were joint events and road shows with ALL BLOGs, an association of social political bloggers whose members include Raja Petra Kamaruddin (RPK), Ahiruddin Attan (Rocky), Nuraina Samad, Big Dog, Brick and Kickdefella.
[I withdrew from the CTT pro-tem committee with another female member when we felt that the guys' mindset on gender roles was rather Jurassic. One of the founders later quit his job at a hi-tech corp to join Malaysiakini and mock the word 'Allah' by posting 'sightings' on strange surfaces such as beef patties on his FB wall. So much for non-partisanship and sensitivity to Muslims' feelings.]
Jadual taklimat PEMANTAU – updated 11 April 2013
Yellow for Monarchy or Mayhem? 
Then Wong Chin Huat, a former student from UM, came into the picture with BERSIH. I was impressed by his supposedly genuine demands for a FREE and FAIR election. Again, I was assured that it was INDEPENDENT and NON-PARTISAN. However, I was glad I didn't join the BERSIH 1.0 demonstrators who marched to the gates of the Istana Negara. The event was hijacked by Anwar Ibrahim who rode in on a big bike to the front line. At that time, I was told that BERSIH chose yellow to show its support for the King since 'the rakyat' was disenchanted with the government of the day.
The colour yellow must have stood for something other than the Monarchy when Ambiga Sreenivasan (former President of Bar Council) and A Samad Said (National Poet Laureate) led the emboldened protestors of BERSIH 2.0 towards Dataran Merdeka. Once again it was hijacked by Anwar Ibrahim, and Azmin Ali, who gave instructions to the mob to cross the barricades. What happened after was pandemonium.
Now, even the seemingly sane Harris Ibrahim with his People's Parliament in 2007 has mutated into Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM), Asal Bukan UMNO (ABU), SKUAD ABU and TAHAN, a disgruntled citizen vigilante group deployed to stop voters suspected of being foreigners from exercising their rights.
And the latest 'voter education group' in town is TINDAK, which was alleged by Tunku Aziz of Transparency International (TI) to cause disruptions at the polling stations.
Well, I'm just glad that I pulled out of the farce before I was dragged into the abyss of lunacy.
Here are two links for first time voters who would like to know more about genuine electoral/voter education programs and the pitfalls of having citizen vigilante groups swarming the polling venues.
http://www.idea.int/europe_cis/armenia/workshop_civiced.cfm
http://campaignstops.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/29/the-danger-of-voter-fraud-vigilantes/

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dissent for the sake of dissenting?

Front page report of the Oppositions' Victory in the 12th General Elections in 2008
Thomas Jefferson, one of the presidents and Founding Fathers of the USA, said:
"Dissent is the highest form of patriotism".
My journey as a 'dissenter' began when I was an impressionable pre-U student in the psychedelic '70s. My late mother used to rent out a room and provide catering service to UM students, some of whom were involved in student demonstrations and subsequently expelled. I was spellbound by their courage and sacrifice for the plight of the landless peasants, fishermen and other proletariats.
This spark was reignited when I was initiated to 'Critical Studies' at UW-Madison in the late '80s and early '90s. It was only natural to gravitate towards the community of local Critical Scholars when I returned home. To support mainstream positivist and capitalistic ethos would mean betraying the struggle for a more meaningful egalitarian and utopian alternative. In the case of communication/media studies, which was my field, it would translate into participatory communication research which empowers the subjects and small-scale, independent media enterprises which reflect a wide range of perspectives.    
The emergence of alternative news portals and 'so-po' blogs in the new millenium should have been God's Gift to critical scholars who had protested against the monopoly of mega media conglomerates, "the  mouthpieces of greedy corporations and military-industrial complex".
However, very few of the practitioners of the new media are able to remain independent and neutral. Many styled themselves as new versions of the Partisan Press, either due to political conviction or expediency. Even those who claim to be the 'Voice of the People/Rakyat' and advocating 'Change' turned out to be  critics of UMNO and supporters of PR. Within the rhetoric of 'the two-party system', there's hardly space for independent viewpoints.
The local political arena is still dominated by parties and their personalities, instead of issues and causes. The ideals of educating and raising the political awareness of citizens and voters seem to be lost by the wayside. With paid cyber troopers and hacks dominating the terrain, even unpaid supporters, sympathisers and by-standers tend to over-indulge in mindless, sycophantic adulations of the parties and their leaders. What is more disturbing is the fact that some local politicians seek foreign (read American and Australian) endorsement and orchestrate external intrusions.
There appears to be an absence of a post-colonial consciousness and an abandonment of post-Merdeka, Non-Align Standpoint. Power Struggle has replaced Class Struggle. The interpretation of 'New Politics' is NOT about empowering the Working Class, the Under Class or the Disenfranchised. Rather it's blatant contempt for the Poor, Rural, non-English Educated, 'Coloured' masses, in other words the 'Low Class' constituents.
It would be naive to ignore the Reality of Post-Cold War, Post-911 US and other adversaries' geo-political strategic mapping. National Sovereignty, Security, Safety, Political Stability and continuous Delivery of Public Goods (i.e. affordable housing, good roads, schools, hospitals, electricity, water, scholarships, loans, aids and incentives, etc.) should be on TOP of the voters' minds, young or old, when they cast their ballots in the coming 13th GE.                        
To conclude,
"Dissent for the sake of dissenting is NOT patriotic. It isn't dissent that makes it patriotic. It's the REASON for the dissent."  

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sabah for Bruneians?

Sepertimana slogan 'Singapore for Singaporeans', kita sering terkeliru dengan tuntutan kelompok-kelompok yang menggesa Negeri di Bawah Bayu ini diberikan autonomi atau dikembalikan kepada mereka.
Dalam hal tuntutan ke atas Sabah, jika berdasarkan sejarah pra-penubuhan Malaysia pada 16 September 1963, golongan manakah yang dianggap paling layak?
Mereka yang mendakwa diri mereka Orang Asal (Kadazan-Dusun-Murut)?
Orang Suluk/Tausug?
Pemerintah Filipina?
Atau KeSultanan Melayu Brunei?
Menilai hak tuntutan ke atas wilayah-wilayah di garisan sempadan pasca-kolonial bukanlah suatu usaha mudah. Kita perlu menyusuri sejarah rantau ini sehingga ke zaman awal tamadun manusia.
Makalah di bawah (Sejarah Ringkas Borneo Utara) mengesahkan bahawa jika ada pihak yang berhak menuntut Sabah dipulangkan kepadanya ialah KeSultanan Brunei Darus-Salam, bukan Pemerintah Filipina atau kumpulan-kumpulan lainnya.
[Tambahan]
Bagi pembaca tegar blog-blog 'Mistisfiles' dan Melayu Nusantara, sudah pasti arif dengan kisah pelayaran Pemaisuri Hatshepsut, Pemerintah Mesir Kuno, ke Tanah Punt atau Puni yakni nama kuno Brunei:
http://mistisfiles.blogspot.com/2011/01/alter-terahsia-bangsa-melayu-xv.html
http://lokalgenius.blogspot.com/2010/12/tanah-para-dewa.html
Perhatikan busana Mesir kuno yang mirip 'sarong' Nusantara!
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JARI MERDEKA SABAH: SEJARAH RINGKAS BORNEO UTARA:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

SEJARAH RINGKAS BORNEO UTARA


                                      Peta Borneo di lukis oleh Sepanyol pada abad ke-16

Sebelum abad ke-6, hampir seluruh kepulauan Borneo adalah di bawah kuasa kesultanan Brunei. Sumber dari Rekod Sejarah Brunei (Brunei Annals)pada tahun 600 Masihi, merekodkan tentang perhubungan diplomatik dan perdagangan antara kerajaan Brunei  dan  Kerajaaan Cina pada ketika itu. Penempatan Cina dikatakan berada di kawasan Kinabatangan berdasarkan sumber arkeologi seperti seramik yang di temui di kawasan tersebut sekaligus menunjukkan bahawa aktiviti petukaran barang, seramik dan rempah ratus pernah berlaku.
Sebelum pendudukan British, Kepulauan Borneo mempunyai  tiga bentuk sistem politik iaitu:

1.       1. Sistem politik kesukuan
Terdapat di kawasan pedalaman yang dianggap merdeka dan di huni oleh kaum-kaum Dusun, Murut dan Sungai. Kaum-kaum ini hidup terpisah dengan kumpulan lain atas factor-faktor geografi seperti banjaran, bukit bukau, sungai dan jeram.

2.     2. Sistem politik Kesultanan

Sistem ini wujud di sekitar persisiran pantai barat dan timur Borneo Utara dan bertapak kukuh di Pantai Barat. Kawasan-kawasan ini di uruskan atau di tadbir oleh wakil-wakil kesultanan Brunei. Walaupun dalam system Kesultanan Brunei tanah dan rakyat terletak di bawah kuasa mutlak Sultan, namun dalam kes Borneo Utara, kaum bangsawan Brunei di beri hak ke atas tanah dan penduduk. Hal ini menyebabkan tanah-tanah di Pantai Barat terpecah kepada 3 iaitu :

a)      Tanah milik para Pengiran
b)      Tanah Kuripan
c)       Tanah Sultan

3.  3Sistem Politik Kuasa Bebas

Sistem ini wujud kerana keberanian, keperwiraan seseorang tokoh yang dapat mencabar kuasa Sultan.Tokoh-tokoh ini menegakkan kekuasaan dan kewibawaan mereka melalui undang-undang sendiri tanpa mengiktiraf atau menghiraukan kuasa-kuasa lain. Golongan-golongan adalah daripada ketua-ketua yang mempunyai pertalian darah dengan kesultanan Sulu serta keturunan Arab Sharif. Contoh tokoh-tokoh ini adalah seperti Sharif Usman yang memerintah Marudu sekitar tahun 1830-1840.

KESULTANAN SULU DAN SABAH.
PERTAPAKAN KUASA BARAT KE ATAS SABAH

                                                 Peta kemorosotan kuasa Brunei dan Sulu

British mula bertapak keatas Sabah seawal tahun 1760-an apabila Alexander Dalrymple membuat perjanjian dengan  Sultan Sulu untuk membuka pangkalan perdagangan Syarikat Hindia-Timur British di Pulau Balembangan yang terletak kira-kira 20 batu dari utara Kudat. Dalrymple kemudian mengganti nama pulau Balembangan kepada “Felecia”. Walaubagaimanapun pertapakan syarikat British di Pulau tersebut tidak lama apabila pulau tersebut akhirnya di tinggalkan pada tahun 1805.

Pada tahun 1840-an British telah berunding dengan Sultan Brunei untuk menyerahkan Labuan yang terletak di Barat Laut Borneo. British ingin menjadikan Labuan sebagai pangkalan, melombong arang batu, membanteras lanun serta meningkatkan perdagangan. Labuan kekal di tangan  British sehingga tahun 1907, apabila Labuan di letakkan di bawah kerajaan negeri-negeri Selat.

Pada tahun 1850-an, Wakil Amerika iaitu Charles Lee Moses telah membuat perjanjian pajakan dengan sewa $ 9,500 setahun selama 10 tahun  dengan Sultan Brunei. Tidak lama kemudian, Moses telah menyerah pajakan tersebut kepada pedagang AS di Hongkong iaitu Joseph Torrey dan Thomas Harris.

 Akibat menghadapi masalah kewangan, pada tahun 1875, Torrey telah menjual haknya kepada Baron Gustavus Baron Overbeck  berbangsa Austria yang bekerjasama dengan saudagar kaya dari British bernama Alfred Dent. Pada tahun 1877 Overbeck telah Berjaya mendapat pajakan seluruh hak tanah sultan Brunei di Sabah selama 10 tahun lagi iaitu dengan sewa sebanyak $ 15,000 setahun. 

                                  Surat perjanjian penyerahan Borneo Utara kepada British

Pada tahun 1878 pula, Overbeck telah berunding dengan Sultan sulu untuk menandatangani perjanjian serah hak tanah di bawah kuasa Sultan Sulu kepada Syarikat Overbeck. Sultan sulu bersetuju untuk menyerahkan haknya dengan bayaran $ 5,000 setahun. Perjanjian ini lah yang menjadi kontroversi dan isu tuntutan Sulu terhadap Pantai Timur Sabah sehingga sekarang kerana Sultan Sulu beranggapan, pihaknya hanya menyewakan tanah tersebut kepada British sedangkan dalam surat yang di tulis dalam bahasa arab menyatakan SULU MENYERAHKAN BORNEO UTARA kepada British.
Selain tertipu, Sultan Sulu juga menyerahkan seluruh haknya kepada British kerana kedua-dua pihak tersebut memiliki kerjasama sulit dalam hal perdagangan senjata api dan ubat bedil.  
Sehingga kini, Sabah masih membayar sewa kepada Sultan Sulu sebanyak $5000 di sebabkan terdapat klausa dalam perjanjian tersebut yang berkata ; “sekarang ini saya berikan ini kepada kamu sebagai sewa sehingga tidak ada matahari dan bulan”.
British walaubagaimanapun mengukuhkan kuasanya di tanah Sabah apabila Syarikat Overbeck dan Dent mengalami masalah kewangan dan terpaksa meminta suntikan kewangan daripada kerajaan British pada tahun 1878. British bersetuju untuk memberi bantuan kewangan dengan syarat hanya wakil British sahaja yang boleh berada di Borneo Utara. Dengan itu, Overbeck yang berbangsa Austria terpaksa menjualkan semua sahamnya kepada Alfred Dent.
Pada tahun 1888, Borneo Utara di letakkan di bawah naungan British di mana kerajaan British akan memberikan perlindungan kepada Borneo Utara di bawah pengaruh British.
Sepanjang pemerintahan syarikat British di Borneo Utara, banyak pembangunan telah di lakukan. Walaupun pemerintahan British aman, masih terdapat juga beberapa penentangan seperti penentangan Mat Salleh (1894-1900) dan penentangan Rundum oleh kaum murut pada tahun 1915.
Pihak BNBCC berupaya memerintah Borneo Utara sehingga 1942, selama 60 tahun apabila Perang Dunia Kedua tercetus. Tentera Jepun mendarat di Labuan pada 1 Januari dan menduduki Borneo Utara sehingga ia dibebaskan oleh askar dari ‘9th Division Australian Imperial Forces (A.I.F)’ pada tahun 1945. Selepas Perang Dunia Kedua, Borneo Utara telah ditadbir oleh Pentadbiran Ketenteraan British (British Military Administration) sehingga 15 Julai 1946 apabila kerajaan sivil disambung semula.
Pada 15 Julai 1946, Borneo Utara diletakkan di bawah jajahan British kerana BNBCC tidak mampu membina semula kemusnahan Borneo Utara selepas Perang Dunia Kedua. Kemusnahan teruk yang dialami oleh bandar Sandakan telah menyebabkan Jesselton dipilih sebagai ibu negeri selepas era Perang Dunia Kedua dan status ini kekal ke hari ini. Sistem pentadbiran penjajahan selepas perang adalah sama dengan sistem pentadbiran pada era BNBCC. Pembinaan semula dan pembangunan negeri Borneo Utara menjadi fokus utama para pentadbir.

                       Kemerdekaan Sabah pada 31 Ogos 1963

Pada amnya keadaan negeri Borneo Utara adalah aman dan tenang sehingga tahun 1960-an apabila wujudnya kesedaran politik. Keinginan kemerdekaan seperti yang dicapai oleh negara lain telah sampai ke Borneo Utara. Penyebaran semangat ini bermula dengan pengumuman yang dilakukan oleh Perdana Menteri Malaya, Tunku Abdul Rahman pada tahun 1961 berkaitan dengan pembentukan Persekutuan Malaysia yang terdiri daripada Malaya, Borneo Utara, Sarawak, Brunei dan Singapura. Malaysia telah wujud dengan rasminya, tanpa Brunei, pada 16 September 1963 dan nama Borneo Utara telah ditukar kepada Sabah. Terlebih dahulu dari itu, Borneo Utara telah mencapai kemerdekaan dari British pada 31 0gos 1963. Bagaimanapun pada tahun 1965, Singapura keluar daripada Persekutuan Malaysia.

FILIPINA MENUNTUT SABAH
                                                  Presiden Diasdado Macapagal

Pada 12 September, 1962, semasa pentadbiran Presiden Diosdado Macapagal, Wilayah Borneo Utara, telah diserahkan oleh Sultan Sulu yang memerintah ketika itu, Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Sultan Muhammad Esmail E. Kiram I, kepada Republik Filipina. Penyerahan ini telah memberikan kerajaan Filipina kuasa penuh untuk menuntut hak keatas Sabah di Mahkamah Antarabangsa. Filipina telah memutuskan hubungan diplomatik dengan Malaysia selepas Sabah disatukan dengan Persekutuan Malaysia pada tahun 1963. Perkara ini telah dibubarkan pada tahun 1989 kerana kerajaan Filipina yang baru telah menggugurkan tuntutan mereka demi untuk memperbaiki semula hubungan diplomatik dengan Kuala Lumpur yang terjejas. Sehingga sekarang, Malaysia terus menolak ajakan Filipina untuk menyelesaikan masalah tuntutan Filipina keatas Sabah ke Mahkamah Keadilan Antarabangsa. Lanjutan dari itu, Sabah melihat isu tuntutan ke atas Sabah untuk dibawa ke Mahkamah Keadilan Antarabangsa yang dibuat oleh Pemimpin Moro Filipina iaitu Nur Maisuri sebagai bukan isu, maka tuntutan tersebut tidak diendahkan.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Let's have Mi Rebus Haji Watusi for Lunch!

Rail travel has really come a long way for both sides of the Malaysia-Singapore divide. 
From Low Speed Senandung Malam to High Speed (K)night Rider (?), the modest locomotive has evolved by leaps and bounds to cut travelling time from a whole day (or night) to a mere 90 minutes.
Imagine spending Saturdays or Sundays having Mi Rebus Haji Watusi or Nasi Sambal Goreng at Hajjah Maimunah for lunch, catching up with long lost relatives all over the island in the afternoon, and heading home for KL in the evening.
A Popular Mi Rebus Joint
Restoran Hajjah Maimunah on Joo Chiat Road
Or having Ampang Yong Tau Foo for lunch and shopping at Pavillion after that for the Singaporeans. 
Famed Ampang Yong Tau Foo
On the downside though, hope this does not open the gates for the flooding of FTs from Singapore into Malaysia!   
Courtesy of transitioning.org
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PMs agree on high speed rail linking KL, Singapore

Singapore's Prime Minister, Mr Lee Hsien Loong (right), meets Malaysia's Prime Minister, Mr Najib Razak, in Singapore for the Singapore-Malaysia Leader's Retreat at the Shangri-La Hotel on Feb 19, 2013. Singapore and Malaysia have agreed to build a high speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, a move that will "dramatically improve" the connectivity between the two countries. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Singapore and Malaysia have agreed to build a high speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore by 2020, in a move that both heads of government called a "game-changer".
Announcing the breakthrough agreement at a press conference today following bilateral talks, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the rail link would create a 90 minute door to door journey for commuters, and that it will "change the way we do business, the way we look at each other and interact."
He pointed to the Eurostar link between Paris and London, which transformed "two European cities into one virtual urban community" as a model for the KL-SG link.
Malaysian PM Najib Razak said that the project will be a private-public one, with the link being built by private contractors with government infrastructural support. He declined to estimate how much the project will cost.

http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/singapore/story/pms-agree-high-speed-rail-link-between-kuala-lumpur-and-singapore-2013