Surprisingly, I woke up early for work this morning despite a late night of heavy Malaysianized rock and roll at Planet Hollywood. So, there I was in my car, moving serenely slow, high on traffic jam. Suddenly my phone rang. Naza called. I was flabbergasted from my fix. The clock showed precisely 7:58 am. “Hey, first of all don’t laugh. My 5 days course and briefing will start in a few minutes and I’ve realized that I forgot to bring my towel. Could you please buy me one and send it over?”

I was still in daze. “What do you mean? You’re now in a curfew zone? You can’t get one yourself? I thought your wife helped you packed last night before you went to Planet Hollywood, right?”

Naza seemed desperate, “Don’t blame the wife. Don’t ever blame the wife. For all I know, you forced me to stay a little longer last night. Then I lost track of my packed gear. Yeah, I can’t go out from this place for the next 5 days. Plus, Brickfields’ not that far from Mont Kiara, right?”

An Apek in an old Datsun just showed me the fingers for no apparent reason. “Oh OK. I’ll send em over”, I said with a sigh. I can see the same Apek spat phlegm on the road from my rearview mirror. I then continued driving to the office. At exactly 8:45 am, ‘Lagu Kristal’ was played through the whole building’s intercom speakers.

At 1:00 pm I went to TMC and bought the cheapest bath towel I can find. The price was RM12.99. Fuck, can’t it be just RM13 for crying out loud?

I tried calling Naza on the phone for several times but failed to get an answer. He won’t even reply my text. Damn the ‘no phones allowed during briefing’ policy! I wrote Naza’s name on the plastic bag containing the recently purchased ocean blue bath towel. I even wrote his phone number on the bag. “Encik, kawan saya tengah kursus kat dalam. Dia terlupa bawak tuala. Ni saya tolong belikan untuk dia. Kejap lagi dia datang ambik. Kalau dia tak datang, encik telefonlah dia”, I told the guard at the guard post and left the bag of towel there.

I drove out from the compound. Through the gates of INTAN at Mont Kiara. Naza was on his first day serving as an Administrative and Diplomatic Officers’ new recruit for the Malaysian government. I assumed I did my country a huge favour!

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