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An advisory that should have covered the entire world….

Beach Club was originally sited at the intersection of Jalan P. Ramlee with Jalan Sultan Ismail.

Beach Club was originally sited at the intersection of Jalan P. Ramlee with Jalan Sultan Ismail.

Written by Aziz Hassan

Recollections & Reflections – A commentary

YET another travel advisory has been issued by the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur, this time to specifically single out Beach Club on Jalan P. Ramlee while also giving a general caution on what a traveller must be careful of.

I write this from the perspective of one who has been a regular at the club for about 14 years in total now since it opened in 1999 – hence the first person.

`The original BC was sited next to The Emporium at the corner of the road with Jalan Sultan Ismail, both owned by the same person.

For the first few years it was a club frequented mainly by Malaysians and some expats living in KL and PJ but thereafter became a club popular with the Filipinos. That marked the time when many locals decided to give up on the place. The prettier and better attired Vietnamese and central Asians came later, slowly and surely easing out the Filipinas.

For those not in the know, Beach Club used to be frequented by all manner of VIPs — royalty, senior officers in the Judicial and Legal Service and mid-ranking police officers. A former minister known to have an eye for the beautiful things in life also was a patron until some years ago.

This most recent travel advisory refers to what it said were incidents of Yanks having been victims of their drinks being spiked since 2015.

All regulars can tell you that they are not aware of even a single incident when a customer became a victim of spiking as stated in the advisory. The point about having your drink spiked at any club is that in all likelihood you will end up collapsing onto the floor, which means that everyone will know of the incident. If it happens outside the premises, say in a hotel room where you bring the skirt you have picked up to, the club you were at can’t be held accountable and responsible.

Just over 20 years ago a senior CID officer in KL told this story of similar incidents believed to be the work of these butterflies in skirts at a club with a well-known global name. He also mentioned a case whereby a Singaporean was knocked out for a whole day after taking a guest relations hostess from a popular KTV lounge back to his hotel room. He lost almost everything except the clothes he was on but the problem for this man was that while he could remember which club he went to, he didn’t know the real name of the girl. That closed the file on him.

But cases as mentioned by this advisory are a common occurrence in Thailand and Indonesia too, with those familiar with the stories from Pattaya telling you that they are a few steps ahead of everyone in the methods they use to victimise their companions for the night.

The advisor also made broad references to advise American citizens not to flaunt their wealth by showing off their jewellery or watches.

To include this in the advisory is most ridiculous since doing something like this means inviting trouble for yourself in every town and city in the world, so much so the American foreign missions should be giving the same advice to their people all over the world.

So too when alerting Americans to be extra vigilant when at places frequented by Western tourists. You might as well include London, Paris, Rome, Venice, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Sydney and your own backyard of New York and Las Vegas.

Jalan Alor in Bukit Bintang was singled out in another advisory in 2015 due to fears of a terrorist attack.

Granted that it’s the duty of a foreign mission to alert their people of the possibility of danger but travel advisories must be based on credible intelligence information.

The irony is that although there have been more terrorist-related bombings and killings in Western cities, including in the US, we do not often hear of a similar advisory to Americans living or visiting in these places. It’s the Third World that gets single out most of the time.

However, Malaysian authorities also need to bite the bullet and be honest.

The last time I read tourism-related information on an aircraft there was none that touched on the problems a foreign tourist may be confronted with here. You probably have never seen anything that advises the foreigner to be extra cautious when walking in the streets due to the many snatch thefts.

At least Bali is forthright about these matters and they haven’t lost their tourism business. They have a notice at their ATM machines, for example, that advises people withdrawing money to be extra careful with the immediate surroundings to avoid a robbery.

Surely being open about this is not going to hurt tourism or the country’s image. In fact a foreign traveller will be very thankful that he or she has been warned.




About the author

Aziz Hassan

A journalist since July 1976 with both the English and Malaya press and was with two newspaper groups before The Mole. Does corporate report-writing and translation in his free time. Currently also a contributing weekly rugby columnist for the New Straits Times.