Information is a closely guarded in Malaysia. Ask the bank girl when the ATM will be online again, and she'll tell you, "That's P&C" meaning Private and Confidential. I'm not kidding: that's what I was told.
Not having reliable information is irritating because it means you have to rely on gossip, rumours and innuendo.
So when I went to the local pub last week (Kusar in SS15 4/E Subang Jaya) and was told by Sara that our area would have an electricity blackout lasting all Friday night, I believed him.
However, the next morning I wondered why Tenaga (our electricity company) were working all night instead of during the day. So I decided I'd call them to doublecheck the information.
Well what a saga that turned out to be!
First I called our local Tenaga office that's 2 km away from our house. They said they didn't know. Apparently they don't get to hear about supply problems in their own area. (!!!)
They asked me to call their engineer. The engineer didn't answer the phone. And has still not called back despite my leaving 3 messages.
I called Tenaga headquarters. After messing me about by asking if I'd paid my bill (YES!) they asked me to call another number, 15454 that deals with supply problems.
At this point I was curious how convoluted this would get. So I called 15454 and spoke to more people. Eventually a girl told me that she had the maintenance schedule for my whole province. She swore there was no work scheduled in my district, Subang Jaya, for the Friday or the entire week after.
Past experience in similar situations meant I only half believed her, so I was pleasantly surprised on Friday night when we enjoyed the power of electricity.
When I teased Sara in the pub on Saturday about passing on false rumours, I found out that our friend Vijay who lives 1km up the road, half way between us and the local Tenaga office, and slap bang in the middle of Subang Jaya, sat in total darkness from 1030PM until 830AM.
So now it's proven: what you hear in the pub has a strong element of truth.But I still have trouble believing that story about the duck and the politician.....