Hello, my friends in Brazil

The Ipoh stories I posted in May are suddenly attracting readers and could that be because Ipoh is on Lonely Planet’s list of Top Ten Destinations in Asia?

After The Sunday Times ran the story of my father’s lighthouse last weekend, I had a record number of visitors all week, thus proving the enduring power of print. Thank you Chua Mui Hoong for asking to run it, and Jomar Kho Indanan for the beautiful page.

Then my friend and fellow lighthouse-seeker Chin Kin Yong sent the link to his schoolmates from the Methodist Boys’ School in Kuala Lumpur as well as his former students and colleagues at Prime College and, suddenly, viewers from Malaysia began outnumbering those from Singapore for the first time.

A quiet welcome to Tumpat in Kelantan, not yet on Lonely Planet’s list of top destinations in Asia, but just wait till word spreads about my father’s lighthouse!

Some former colleagues from Kuala Lumpur and cousins from my father’s side popped up to say hello, along with people I don’t know who wrote to say they liked the story, were related to people who used to work in the Malayan Railways, or were even familiar with the town of Tumpat in Kelantan.

I can’t tell you how wonderful all this is. The “six degrees of separation” suddenly came to life. As a newbie at this website thing, I find it thrilling to look at the WordPress data on my site and see where viewers are coming from and what they’re reading and what the current Top Ten are.

Since I started in February, the Top Ten places from which visitors come are, in order: Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, US, UK, Brazil, India, Hong Kong, Thailand and Germany. The folks in Brazil appear to drop in regularly and it’s great to see, but it’s such a mystery! I have friends in Brazil? Who are you?

The current Top Ten stories with the most views are, in order: My father’s lighthouse, Men who beat women, Six months and counting (OMG, the day before yesterday Sept 14 was one year since I left The Straits Times!), Let’s Go Ipoh, not for food alone, That boy from Bentong, Oh me oh Mak, a noodle story, Bentong Boy: A postscript and Let’s Go Ipoh2: Beauty queens and limestone caves.

Ipoh has several new cafes with murals on the walls, exposed cement floors and furniture that’s eclectic or Simply Anyhow depending on your hipster quotient.

A curious thing happened this week. While the story of my father’s lighthouse raced from being the newest story to the best read in just a couple of days, the Ipoh stories I posted in May suddenly drew a lot of readers and have been attracting more readers in recent days than everything else.

Then Kin Yong informed me that Lonely Planet’s included Ipoh on its list of Ten Best Destinations In Asia. As this nugget spread through my Whatsapp chat groups today, one set of friends have already begun planning a road trip through peninsular Malaysia to take in Tumpat, Ipoh and everything else along the way with stops to eat at all the best food places we remember or have been told about. We’ll have to walk, or risk rolling back to Singapore 20kg heavier than when we started.

Basic Nasi Lemak at the Royal Belum resort at Temenggor Lake. There’s so much good food across Malaysia that a road trip’s sure to be hazardous to your diet and fitness plan.

I’ll cross 4,000 visitors this weekend. It’s a real pleasure to hear from people who liked something or remembered a distant memory and shared it, so please leave a comment, or hit the Like button or Share!

Thank You for coming by and reading the stuff I put here.

Xie Xie.

Terima Kasih.

Romba Nandri.

And to my friends in Brazil: Obrigado!


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