I’ve rested exactly 2 weeks after I returned my taxi on 2 Feb 17. I’m looking forward to my new job tomorrow. During this time, I was inundated with invitations from friends for lunch, dinner, drinks or simply coffee. Just last Sat, I was invited by Rodney to his Hill Top Garden. Before that, I had lunch in little India with a local celebrity and the very next day I spent the whole day in JB with my ex-colleagues and friends. In between such “bonding” – (Enche’s favorite term when he met his friends for bonding), I still carry on with my 5 km brisk walking, push-up and sit-up morning routine lasting one hour at Pasir Ris park. I’ll talk about the importance of regular exercise other time.
On 8 Feb, five of us piggy backed Dark Knight’s bone shaker over to JB. It’s the last trip we made on his bone shaker. I just heard that it’s gone kaput even though there is another year of COE left. Before incarcerated in my own taxi, I used to go JB for food, shopping and entertainment. After 3 full years, I could finally go over to JB again. That also due to Dark Knight’s initiative when he realized that I’m now free and available. He and many others especially Wilson used to invite me for short trips either to the North or South but I was not able to break free from my incarceration! What a langgar situation!
We left Pasir Ris around 11.30am for JB. Before 1pm, we were already seated at Seng Steam Fish Restaurant at the end of Jln Keris in Taman Sri Tebrau, JB. That’s our favorite eatery. We never got tired of the place. 3 yrs ago I also visited this place. As the name says it, their speciality is fresh steam fish. We know that if the fish is not fresh, it can’t be steamed. Usually, we only deep fry fish that are not fresh. The place was crowded as usual. We quickly ordered our food including 2 fish dishes. The boss personally came to serve us insisting that we try their “Orange Rough Fin” or 长寿鱼. As typical Singaporeans we only know groupa, promfrets, sea bass or red snappers etc but not heard of this fish. The boss said money back guaranteed if that fish is not to our liking. Cost of the fish quoted was RM180! We settled for half of it
The bill for 8 dishes plus free flow of Chinese tea came to about RM220 (S$70). Divide that amount by 5 of us is only $14. Even after so many years after I re-visited this place the prices still remain the same. You can never expect the same back home. Before CNY and after CNY, prices of cooked food usually jump northwards and difficult to come down. It happens on every CNY and after few yrs, suddenly you realize your typical bowl of mee in a coffeeshop costs $3.50. With the recent increases on electricity tariffs, gas and water, cooked food will definitely going to cost higher! That’s the stark reality we facing in the near future economy lah!
After our lunch, we then proceeded to the shopping malls in the area on a spending spree. Dark Knight bought a month supply of groceries from Giant and “Little India” in the old JB town centre. We had our dinner at the restaurant just opposite the Indian Temple there. We took tons of roti prata, tosai, Ah Pom, Masala chicken, potatoes etc with hot Teh Tarik until our tummy about to explode! When the bill came, it was RM53 (S$17). Divide that amount by 5 is only S$3.50! Now you know why no matter how much toll fee or levy imposed by the Johore govt or no matter how they target Singaporeans, we still mati mati must go JB to eat, drink and shop!
Just before coming back, we decided to drop by at my friend’s pub for a drink. We reached De’Mirage at No:25 Jalan Persia, Taman Sri Terbau exactly opposite Crystal Crown Hotel before the big tyre shop at the corner. The pub is owned by my friend Dave. He’s running his own transport company. About 2 yrs ago, he invested in the pub. The rental is only RM1,700 with 2 full time staff at only RM50 each. The operating costs are so low that he said he could never afford to run a pub back home. The pub was quite cosy with nice antique old school furniture but not many patrons. Maybe it’s a weekday. After few drinks, we decided to leave for home cuz the next day is Thaipusam. Dark Knight had to report to the temple to say his prayers!
The return trip was also smooth plain sailing. No jam at all. Straight back to Pasir Ris where most of us live. It was wonderful trip bonding with my good friends after more than 3 yrs since my last incarceration and only recently managed to break free.