Did you know that I used to stay in an obscure, blind spot of Malaysia at one point in time? The place is called Gelang Patah. My mother, sister and I used to joke about Gelang Patah being ‘Nowhere Land‘, just like the one in the cartoon show “Courage the Cowardly Dog”.
Today, Gelang Patah is rapidly growing in development and a lot of people – Malaysians and Singaporeans alike – can be seen using this small town as a means of transiting via the Second (Tuas) Causeway Link.
I haven’t been here for more than a year, almost two in fact. The roads to Gelang Patah are long and winding, with nothing but forest on the left and right. It’s like one of those interstate rides on the North-South Express Highway.
Two reasons brought me back to Gelang Patah this time. To settle my car loan in full… and to get a haircut. 🙂
I first arrived at this little, obscure town in the last quarter of Year 2003. My family moved out of Petaling Jaya earlier, and after a lot had happened, I continued my last days of high school in SMK Gelang Patah as a substitute student. When I came back here this time, there was more traffic than usual. And I suspect it will be a big town in years to come, possibly sooner than I think.
My mom stayed here for most of the time until we all moved out to town area in early 2006, whereas both my sister and I were here on and off. I got my first and last full time job in PJ in 2004 and then started my Internet Business from here in 2005. When we moved out of this place eventually, the small, little town was going through signs of development since Gelang Patah is strategically near Tuas, the second Causeway Link to Singapore.
Even though I didn’t grow up here, nor did I spend years growing up in Gelang Patah, it sure is a ride down Memory Lane. I was greeted by development and bittersweet memories when I came back here. A lot of things have changed since.
When I was here, Internet connection was dreadful. The one and only Cyber Cafe I knew was 10 minutes walk from home and it was old, drabby and mouldy… and so 56k. That time, the entire Nusa Perintis is fully monopolized by TIME NET, and you know what that means? Yep… Dial-up Internet connection!
Yet that was how I did my business online back in the early days. Looking back, wow… I actually paid RM700 – 900 a month for snail paced Internet access!
Today, they have this uber awesome Cyber Cafe right here in this small town.
When I entered the cafe, a lot of people were playing DoTA and a host of ‘dance dance’ games like crazy. And there’s even my favorite Company of Heroes too! I’m never a fan of DoTA but damn… I came and go two years too early. 😉 I also reckon that Broadband connection may have reached this town already.
Right outside the Cyber Cafe, I saw this.
Now they’re planning to build a mini amusement park here too? Amazing! I must be missing a lot. I sure am getting envious! 😉
They’ve built this new Community Center right in front of the football field too. Notice that there are no skyscrappers around? Yet some things still remain the same.
This was the backalley ‘short cut’ we always used to get to the Grocery Store to buy our goods and return home. Again, notice that there are no skyscrappers around? 🙂 This is still a relatively peaceful place to be in.
Oh, and we used to stay in that house too. 🙂 Can you imagine? Rent was only RM480 a month! Great deal for a small double storey house. Even so, money was tight back then and paying up for rent in time was a trouble too.
Even though the house was small in size, Mom and I kept good care of the house and we cleaned it very often to maintain a homely environment. It’s amazing in many ways though: this house has seen the best in me when I studied hard for my exams like never before (in spite of the 3-month abscence handicap)… and this is also where I made my first dollar online. 🙂
I would have finished my schooling in SMK Damansara Jaya if not for my parent’s divorce that took effect the same year, which most people would refer to as ‘the best year of your high school’.
Instead, I finished school in this alien environment where no one speaks a word of English. I’m a banana so you can imagine how I had to face going to school every day with 1,200 pair of eyeballs always staring in my direction during assembly, recess and leaving school. I kept mostly to myself but I guess many people were just waiting to know me. Only if language wasn’t a barrier.
This may be a government school on the outside but, it’s ruled heavily by religion. Going to this school for just three months was hell too. Gang fights are a norm every day at this school, and they predictably break out every last bell. Racism was the order of the day too. I must have created a default fourth faction of my own when I entered this school: The Banana.
There was a great silver lining behind all the dark clouds though, however, and I have had learned a handful of priceless lessons ever since. The teachers at this school were great and showed no boundaries in their dedication. They were not motivated by money at all when they helped tutor me for free after school hours, what I needed most when I was also at my most broke too.
I must say that their sheer value and dedication had shamed many of the teachers from my former school. Seriously. I still remember their lessons by example very well, and I continue to practive them with spirit in my business everyday.
After settling my car loan in full, cruising around the town and reminiscing memories, I wrapped up the mini trip with a haircut.
When time permits, I’ll put up some photos from my earlier school days back in SMK Damansara Jaya. I won’t be updating this blog for a while though, as I will be going overseas from April 12th through 19th.
Until then! 🙂