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What I found in Johor which had been missing from my life since the 1960s is the time people make to meet friends. And it is easy to make friends here. We have been fortunate to meet people who are low key, have a sense of humour and laugh easily, enjoy company, food and a drink or two, gladly invite you over and are happy to be invited to your place. They also sing and dance. Mind you, eccentricity and opinions abound. Also tolerance and patience. Stories on all sorts of subjects are spun. There is a refreshing respite from the endless 4Cs, 5Ds, the garmen, the MRT, ERP, IRAS, MOE and HDB. As newcomers we are spared complaints of their own country’s woes.

And how these friends like to sing! Real music at home, and karaoke for the rest.

True, there are far, far fewer nightclubs, restaurants and pubs in Johor. And the concert and theatre life is poor. If nightlife is important to you, the choices here are very restricted. But there is still enough of it if you know where to go. And Clarke Quay is just 45 minutes away.

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