The first rule of the Malayan jungle is: You do not stop in the middle to take a selfie.
If you do, you will find yourself quickly transformed into a feeding post for mosquitoes. Even if you are as well-wrapped up as I am, in parka and long pants (sons of bitches go for your phone-holding hand and idiot photo-taking face). Imagine here then a photo of the ripe jackfruit clustered at the bottom of the nangka tree that I saw on the way out to lunch.
Walk purposefully instead, down the muddy ruts made by the tyres of cars coming and going from the musicians’ hideout at Penang House. Keep going until you see the green avenue leading to the main road – the moss-green cobble-stone lane shaded by tall trees of your dreams. Keep going, until you narrowly avoid being run down by a three-tonner and dodge traffic to cross a dual carriageway.
There, you’re at the Warung Selera Ria. Where a plate of nasi campur plus a can of Coke is costing me RM10.50 (S$3.50). Where the head-scarfed ladies working here smile at me and are amused by my uncovered buzzed hair and complete lack of Malay conversational skills beyond “makan” and “minum”. I do the tourist thing and sit, dawdling over my rice, watching people come and go: a woman dressed in a completely white uniform, down to sensible white shoes, whom I assume is a nurse, buys a packed lunch and then drives off business-like in a little blue hatchback; a dude with sunglasses too small for his face, in a Manchester United jersey, arrives to drink teh halia with a friend; assorted pakciks shoot the breeze with clove cigarettes between stained fingers.
If this were a Wong Kar Wai movie, it’ll be 1994 and a long shot of the protagonist sitting, elbows propped on table, while the world flits by on sped-up motion would ensue. I’m warung dreaming.
Elsewhere, crowds gather this weekend at rallies in KL city.