These bilateral ties that bind. Despite grassroots relations being quite amicable (citizens of both countries easily have relatives living and working on both sides of the narrow ocean strait), a continual throb of psychic unease runs between Malaysia and Singapore, down to the sometimes contradictory accounts of their history and path to independence. The latter’s news media, in particular, are often eager to report that the country next door is on the brink of collapse and ruin (while being fully aware Johorean neighbours watch a crystal-clear transmission of Channel NewsAsia as much as RTM).
“But where else in the world today is the adjoining sleazy bordertown Islamic?” writes cyberpunk author, William Gibson, in an article (partially outdated) from Wired. “I assumed that the Islamic Tijuana at the far end of the Causeway was in one of those symbiotic pressure-valve relationships with the island city-state, thereby serving a crucial psychic function that would very likely never be officially admitted.”
Anyway, this scene happens after this one. When an ancient pact between two shadow nations fails to be renewed, old spirits and forgotten gods gather on both sides of the land-bridge between Malaysia and Singapore. The Lion City’s supernatural refugees after the birth of a secular nation demand entry, even at the cost of blood (either their own or those of innocent people in the path of their dark march). Ridhuan Mizan finds himself on the front lines, finding a way to defuse the situation.