Its been 2 years since I started working in Bangkok. Being back in KL after that time, even when I’m back every few months, there are certain changes that I noticed.
In an earlier trip back home, while queuing up at the duty free in the airport (LCCT), the lady behind me produced this stack of money to pay. At first I thought she was trying to pay in Chinese Yuan. But after a close look, what do you know, we now have new RM 50 notes!
Other things I noticed is that there are lots of developments in the outskirts areas. New shopping malls, new housing estates, new high-rises, new highways. So many new ‘happening’ places that I have not heard before. Even familiar places becomes a bit alien. Imagine me telling people, “yes, I know that place”, but after further details I realise I know none of the new landmarks, buildings or roads (except for “Bali” – apparently that reference is still used even if that place has been burnt down 10 years ago). The city is growing - where did all these extra people come from?!?!
Road rage is definitely more prominent than ever. It is becoming a norm that people describe incidences of violence on the road and how drivers try to pull over other drivers to give them a piece of their mind. I always say that Malaysians have split personality while driving (me included), even the most docile person will turn into a foul swearing monster behind the wheel. Nothing much is being done to upgrade our public transport, so more and more people are forced to drive their cars, even with the escalating price of petrol. And KL is definitely more jam than ever (and I forget how stressful it is until I am stuck in one!). Is it really surprising that there is road rage?
More people are speaking English – Malay, Chinese, Indians – more people in KL are just speaking better English these days.
Inflation is horrible. All prices go up. I realise a simple lunch costing more than RM 5 is normal these days (before I left, RM 5 was a bit extravagant). While in Bangkok the prices remain about the same despite the global economic crisis, simple lunch there still costs not more than RM 3. Our currency is being devalued, but does your salary remain the same?? Another thing, I know that the 1 sen coin has been discontinued, but I was surprised when nobody now cares to return your 5 sen change anymore. What is happening to the value of the Ringgit?
Politics – ah, how to summarise this? After the GE 08, each time I read the news its like one of those HK drama series. You never know how the plot twists and you’re always looking forward to the next episode to know what happened. At least people are now more questioning.
Anyway, I’m now back in the land where the switches are terbalik.
Left side is on, right side is off. Confusing huh? (I still am after 2 years!)