The time I got more than I bargained for at the Malaysian border…

Kuala Lurah is an interesting place. It’s like the Asian version of the wild west. In Brunei it is illegal to gamble. To buy alcohol. To sell cigarettes 1km from a school. From where I live it is a 40 minute drive to the Malaysian border; to Kuala Lurah. The nearest town after the border is Limbang & that is another 30 minutes up the road. However Kuala Lurah rises like a den of inequity 10 metres past the border crossing. Offering everything that is illegal in Brunei, it caters solely to those living in there who would like an alternative night out.

I’m clearly there ALL THE TIME. Well not ALL the time, but it is responsible for me needing a new bumper sized passport every 2 years. A hodge podge of restaurants, street food, bars, it caters for expats & Bruneian Chinese. No questions asked. No photos taken. Just eat some noodles. Buy some random stuff. Go home.

So there’s this Chinese Malaysian woman who comes table to table selling stuff. As a connoisseur of random Chinese-made tat, I love her & her plastic bags of randomness. So far I’ve bought a camping light with a disco option (it’s fantastic when our electricity shuts off), 2 laser pointers for the cats, a USB charged lighter (which quite frankly is just dangerous) and some bluetooth speakers which announce they’ve switched themselves on so loudly, they scare the cats. But I love it all. Allegedly one day she was selling tasers. I think I’m lucky I missed that day otherwise I’d be here telling you what it feels like to be tasered…

So anyway. The bloke’s brother was visiting so we took him to Kuala Lurah. Inevitably she wandered over to our table brandishing a disco camping light…

“I have one of those already” I say

She pulls out a laser pointer…

“Yeah one of those too…” (clearly all white people look the same)…

She pulls out a lighter…

“Yep. What else do you have?”

On reflection she looks a bit sheepish but pulls out this USB from her bag.

“I have this” she says… “Thirty movies”

I look at the USB stick. Its blue and says SONY on it, though its clear its never been near a Sony factory in its life…

“Ten dollars” she says.

The USB stick is one that has a USB on one end and a micro USB on the other for plugging into your phone. In a split second I know I want it cos even if the films are crap I have a USB I can plug into my phone. And that makes me excited. All for a fiver, UK money.

“I’ll have it!” I declare. And start muttering something to my bloke about well some of the movies will be ok. I fish for a $10 bill in my purse.

As I give her the $10 & stick the USB stick into my phone, I ask:

“Are there any horrors? I’m not into horrors…”

She chuckles.

As the USB loads up it suddenly becomes clear…

1. There’s only 8 films on this USB

2. All of them are porn.

“Its all porn!” I exclaim probably too loudly.

She chuckles and walks away… I quickly pull the USB out of my phone to prevent people over my shoulder being traumatized. Delete delete delete!! Porn is illegal in Brunei & theres no way I’m taking it back over the border.

Fast forward three days and I’m relaying this story to my friend and it suddenly dawns on me – I had completely misheard her…

She wasn’t selling me THIRTY movies. She was selling me DIRTY movies.

No wonder she wandered off into the night chuckling to herself! I probably would have too.

One thought on “The time I got more than I bargained for at the Malaysian border…

  1. I remember you telling me about that, though I wasn’t present on that occasion. I miss over border jaunts, with the dogs running wild, expecting tumble weed any moment and the seedy, dirty, dodginess of it all. Amazing food, cheap booze and guaranteed laughs. Happy days.


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