Dear Ambassador Todt,

Hi there. It’s me again. Your friendly, average and simple Malaysian with no entitlement. I hope you are keeping fine. Please do. Because Malaysia, quite obviously, needs a French like you to be her Ambassador.

You know, actually, there were a couple more persons who were considered to be the Ambassador of Tourism. Dato’ Shah Rukh Khan was one of them. But his propensity for not attending ceremonies, even when they were organised to ceremon-ised him, caused his disqualification.

I heard Hee Yit Foong, the lady ADUN from Perak, was also considered for this job. My inside source however told me that her inclination towards carrying morphable key-chain and pepper spray was a negative aspect causing her nomination for the job adversely affected. The final nail on the proverbial coffin was apparently struck when she was asked to orally shout a slogan to promote tourism and she instantly and very distinctively said “Come to Berak”. Needless to say Mr Ambassador, you got the job.

You must be happy. I am too, if I were you. But unfortunately I am not you. You know, it takes people like Jamaluddin Jarjis years and years of being involved in politics and serving the peasants of Malaysia as a Minister before he would even be considered to be an Ambassador. Even then, he still hasn’t got the job. But you got the job just 2 weeks after you became a 2nd hand Malaysian! Aren’t you proud Mr Ambassador? I betcha! That is even faster than a Brawn GP car. (sorry, I wanted to say faster than a Ferrari, but …. well, you know what I mean).

One piece of reminder though. Please don’t go about pinching some young asses in some bar, okay. The mere fact that you are an Ambassador does not mean that you could do that with impunity. Furthermore, I am sure Ms Yeoh would not be happy if you did that.

The word is Malaysia and France are now even. No, I am not talking about football. Because in football terms we are quite obviously not even. I mean, Platini, Le Blanc and Barthez could even play in the team with their balls collectively tied up together against our team and I am sure we would still lose by 13-1. And even then, the goal which we score would have been scored when Barthez was taking a ciggy break and Platini was having an impromptu prostate check. No. In football we are not even, quite obviously.

What I am talking about is this. We have a miserable singer who can’t sing very well in France. He is Datuk Shake. And France has a guy who can’t really drive well over here to become an Ambassador. Yes. 1-1. Even. That’s what I mean.

If you must know Mr Ambassador (or is it Your Excellency? I mean our Foreign Minister addressed the US State Secretary as one the other day), Malaysia is truly Asia. We have people who behave like some Iranian Ayatollahs here. In fact, if you go to some of our government school, you would think you are in Iran.

And some women here behave like Imelda Marcos. In addition, there is a bit of Sultan Brunei in some of our royalties. Then sometime we have the FRUs, policemen and army lining up the streets like the Thai or South Korean army and police (although in Thailand they do that because there were thousands and thousands of protesters on the street whereas in Malaysia there were only people having breakfast in a restaurant and burning some candles on the pavements!).

We also have people who behave like Ferdinand Marcos and Suharto in Malaysia. And the Tamil tigers are also here, apparently. We also have quite strong traces of the Talibans here, even in the Parliament sometime. Try bringing a Bible in Malay and I am sure you will be meeting these. Added to that, Malaysia also are very closely connected to Bangladeshis, Burmese, Indonesians, Vietnamese and what have you. Apart from that, there also appear to be many Chinese babes from China in KL, especially at night.

In our administration, our Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and its empowering law is loosely based on the Hong Kong set up. But of course, implementation and enforcement wise we are different la.

There you go. Without doubt, Malaysia is indeed truly Asia.

As the Tourism Ambassador, I am sure you must also come up with schemes to promote tourism here. I think you should tell Yen Yen or whoever is responsible to not use Visit Malaysia Year 2009 or 2010 or 2011 anymore. Tell her to use “Visit Malaysia Year Every Year” instead. That way, the Ministry concerned would not have to make new posters, flyers and whatever promo stuffs every year because the year keeps on changing. Safe some trees and more importantly, money. After all, the Ministry, through Pempena, had lost a lot of it sometime ago.

I am sure you know how to do your work very well. But, please do allow me to teach you anyway. Here are some suggestions on the do’s and don’ts.

I think you should, while promoting tourism to Malaysia your second home, advise the potential tourists on several matters. First and foremost, tell them not to wear black upon arrival. That is a complete no no. Then, if they are thinking of bringing as a souvenier to any of their Malaysian friend a bible in Malay, tell them to forget about that. In fact, tell them not to bring more than one bible (even if it is in English) for any one group. Preferably, they should be in Latin. That is because we Malaysians are adverse to the Bible as do vampires to the crucifix or garlic. Don’t ask me. I don’t know why.

Further, I think you should remind that old couples, especially Americans, should not sleep together in a hotel room, particularly in Langkawi. Otherwise, some religious authorities officers, or people claiming to be from such authorities, might storm into their room and arrest them for khalwat or adultery.

Upon arrival, the tourists must see the grandeur of our airport. If you have the chance, bring them to the LCTT too. They would notice that our airport serves not too many people and airplanes. But still we must build another LCTT for whatever reason. On the way to KL, you of course can tell the tourist to make a detour to the F1 Circuit to see some races. But do tell them not to waste their time. Because they can witness better, and more exciting, motorcycle races along the Kesas highway or somewhere in Bandar Tun Razak or Cheras at 3am. But do tell them not to bring any wallet or handbag while watching, okay?

Malaysia has nice places in abundance. Places with high historical values are also around. I think the first place to go is the KLCC. They used to be the tallest buildings in the world. But now they are the tallest twin towers in the world. You must tell the tourist Mr Ambassador, that the KLCC is proof that a man’s ego can manifest itself into many things. And one of it is the desire to build the tallest buildings.

Indeed, Malaysia is entered as the country with the most number of records in the record book. Longest teh tarik. Biggest bunga manggar. Longest beef grill. Biggest kites. I heard we are now attempting to have the most number of Speakers in a state legislative assembly and the most number of Menteri Besar – at the same time – in a state as well. Not to mention the quickest change of government in the whole world. Like at 11am today you have one government and at 11.30 am tomorrow you have another government. Things like that. It is like quicker than a Ferrari pit stop, if you know what I mean. Do you know what I mean?

The KLCC is also home to what we Malaysian think is the most highly capitalised condom shop in the world. It is called Valuecap. Nobody knows what it does although it loses billions and was given more billions. But judging by the name, it must be something to do with condoms we suppose.

The KLCC is also the buildings featured in the movie “Entrapment”. But the darn Hollywood people made us look so bad when they doctored the picture in that movie and made it look like the KLCC was situated at the fringe of a dirty river. Not that we do not have dirty rivers here but that is totally misleading. Malaysians and the Malaysian Government do not like misleading statements especially when foreigners are the one who make them. You see Mr Ambassador, in Malaysia only the mainstream media are licensed to mislead.

On my part however, I objected to the movie because of a scene in which that wrinkly old man was hugging, rubbing and kissing the pretty babe. Please don’t be upset Mr Ambassador. I am not talking about you and Ms Yeoh. I was talking about Sean Connery and Zeta Jones in that movie.

After that, the tourists could be brought to Brickfield, our very own “Little India”. But they must not miss visiting the police station there. This is where lawyers were arrested simply because they had wanted to see their clients in the station. Oh yes. While visiting this place, please don’t wear black or carry any candle. T-shirts with the words “Head Hunter” printed on it should be okay.

At night, perhaps you could suggest that the tourists take a trip to our own “Chinatown”. This is at Petaling Street. What makes this “Chinatown” so unique, you may ask. Well, this is the only Chinatown in the world where there are more Bangladeshis and Burmese than there are Chinese. It is a Chinatown like no other. In fact it is a non- Chinese Chinatown. Here, not only the whole Malaysia is on sale. Here, the whole world is on sale. They can buy Rolex, Panerai, Franck Mueler and whatever watches for 40 bucks. And various handbags from Italy at such low price.

I mentioned just now about “the whole Malaysia is on sale”. Well, this is one of those projects that we have where during certain time of the year, all shopping complexes will be having “sales” where huge discounts are offered. Now don’t you go thinking that the whole Malaysia is for sale. That is seditious.

The next day, perhaps they all should go to Klang. On the way though, please make sure they stop at the forested area somewhere near the Subang Dam at Puncak Alam. This is where the body parts of a certain Mongolian woman (you know la…the one that I told you not to mention her name in my last letter to you), were found. She is believed to have been murdered here and blown up to pieces at this area. I doubt it. Because there is no record of her ever coming to Malaysia. If she wasn’t in Malaysia, how could she be murdered in Malaysia? Rumour has it that she was actually abducted by alien submarines. I tend to believe this more.

While in Shah Alam, do go to the High Court. This was where a very brave Judge ordered the release of an ISA detainee despite the law purportedly allow him to only scrutinise comas and full stops when a release application is made.

In Port Klang, please visit the PKFZ. This is a port support complex built to Malaysia’s highest standard. Nothing was left unattended in the building of this complex. The cost was originally 1 billion. It later became 2 billions. Then 4 billions and now it is 10 billions. Some say it is 12 billions. It is an awesome complex. I mean, it is such a complex complex. Very complex. It is so complex that a report about it had taken months to prepare and be read by the Minister. Probably the report itself has become complex now.

There is also a palace to visit in Klang. But the owner has passed away. So, let’s not talk about it.

Oh, I forgot. While on the way to Shah Alam, don’t forget to stop at a condominium called Tivolli Villa. This is a historical place. It was in one of the condominium here that our former DPM was accused of having committed sodomy. The only thing is, the sodomy was supposed to have occurred even before the condominium was completed. I told you before, we are very unique people.

By the way, at this juncture, may I remind you to tell the tourists that sodomy is a crime in Malaysia. So, all those tourists who are gay, please take note. If they are caught, they could be charged and the mattress on which they commit the act could be brought to Court. Just be careful on what they do in Malaysia. We are all very upright – morally, that is – here. After all, we have “Asian values”, you know. Speaking of which, we also have the “Malay Dilemma”. And the “Melayu Baru”. As well as the “Melayu Glocals”. Now we have “One Malaysia”.

Further to the north, of course, you would want to bring the tourists to the state from which Ms Yeoh comes, namely, Perak. Go to the state capital, Ipoh. There is a tree there which is of some significant. A whole session of the state legislative assembly was convened and proceeded under that tree. Tell that to the tourists. Then go to the state secretariat building. Look at the legislative assembly house. This is where they have 2 speakers. And 2 MBs. Two governments too. This is also a place where a key chain could morph itself into a pen drive and later a pepper spray.

This assembly is also probably the only assembly where the police could come in and forcibly removed the Speaker. And it is also the only assembly house where a meeting could remove the Speaker even before the meeting actually started. (the sodomy occurred in a condominium before the condominium was actually completed and the Speaker was removed at a meeting before the meeting started – you see the trend here?). Weapons could also be brought in. And please do visit the mamak restaurant nearby. But please do not have breakfast there. You might get arrested.

While there, do find a football player dubbed the Pangkor Pele and get your autograph signed by him. After all, Malaysia is not only truly Asia but also truly Brazil at times.

Up south, the tourists should go to Melaka and take a ride on a Ferris wheel known as the “eyes of Melaka”. This is a very special Ferris wheel. It is a mobile one. It was in Kuala Lumpur and later it moved itself to Melaka. It is probably the most expensive one too. In KL, it costs the Government 30 million bucks per year. Yes. Thirty millions. Apparently it was hand made by the French. I don’t know. That was the rumour. Don’t be surprise if next year, they would build a contact lense for that “eye” at a cost of 15 millions or something.

Then you all can go to Johor. On the way to Johor Baru, the state capital, please do stop at Batu Pahat and go and have lunch or something at Katerina Hotel. This is the hotel where a former Minister had sex with a personal friend. The sex act was secretly taped and soon DVDs of the “show” was distributed to the public. Come to think of it, while in Petaling Street, the tourists might be able to buy this DVD as souvenier for their beloved ones. Don’t forget to buy the t-shirt as well. It is printed “My dad goes to Malaysia and all I get is a sex DVD”. Awesome!

Speaking of souveniers, if the tourists choose to buy that DVD as a souvenier, they can choose to buy another tape or recording just to complete their collection. Buy both and their collection would be considered “premium”. Yes. Complete their collection by also buying the Linggam Tape. They will not be disappointed. From the Linggam Tape, the tourists could, for example, learn that someone who looks like someone and sounds like that same someone, might not be that someone after all. Very unique indeed.

Finally, you all will arrive at Johor Baru. Here, the attraction is of course the “crooked bridge”. But hang on. It is not there yet. It was supposed to be there. Then it was not suppose to be there. Now it is supposed to be there again.

Please do also visit a cluster of rocks called “the middle rocks” in the straits between Johor and Singapore. These cluster of rocks should be called “the middle finger” because it is obviously Singapore showing us, in Malaysia, its middle finger. But do go there only during low tide. During high tide, the rocks will be submerged. You see, this is again very unique. Malaysia is probably the only country where her international boundary is dependable on the tides. I am sure the tourists would be interested to know.

I wish you all the best in your job.

yours sincerely

A Harun

ps I have always wondered. Why do the French call the French toast a toast although it is not toasted?


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Posted on 25 May 2009. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0.

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8 Responses to Dear Ambassador Todt,

  1. malaysia boleh

    there is not a part of this country that is clean neat and in orderly fashion…NS is no exception…..

    i have been telling all DAP state assemblymen to organize more gotong royong and win the hearts of the rakyat but it has fallen on deaf ears.

    come next general election DAP will lose like shit…

    we voted for changes but where are the changes..

    except charles santiago the king of gotong royong..he knows how to win over new customers/voters…

  2. Soul of malaysia

    Great, your satire brought sanity to Malaysians,who are reeling with so much political heat.Really Really enjoyed this piece.Thank You and keep us posted. Thank You Art harun.

  3. Mahideer

    They should publish your article in the New York Times. It's really good. The satirical & the facts are seamless & classic.

  4. Excellently hilarious piece bro! I think it's time for Articulations Tours and Travels Sdn Bhd ;) I want to take the Arty Tour!!

  5. kayu

    Nice article in Malaysian flavour.

  6. AToong

    Thanks for the hilarious infotainment of Malaysian life and politics.

    You are so funny..

    Thank you Art Harun and look foward to your next instalment of infotainment !

  7. A MI

    You referred to Hee Yit Fong as a lady

    She looks female but she is no lady

    So Art pls do not confer such respectable terms to refer to that female

  8. The Penquin

    Did Hee really said "Come to Berak" ? She would have got the job if she have said " WELCOME to Berak" ! Ha ha…good and entertaining article.