If you were to ask me what am I? A Malay/Malaysian first, I'll say, I'm a Johorean first (second only to being a Muslim, but that's not what I'm trying to get at). But I have just realised, in my 38 years, I've only stayed in Johor for the first 17 years of my life. The rest of the 21 years, I had been largely in KL and some years in the UK.
But I've never considered myself anything other than a Johorean. There's no patriotic angle to this blog post. I don't think I know the roads or the new townships (and there's been a million of them sprouting up after the rain that is the Iskandar Malaysia development). My old school resplendent tree in front of the school has been torn down many years ago. My usual hang outs - the ABC place, the mee rebus place, the nasi goreng cendawan place, the mee hailam and beef steak place ...they've either moved or changed cooks so it doesn't taste the same anymore. I hardly recognise the buildings, the roads, the people and sometimes, even the air seems different.
But deep down, I am a Johorean. Ini tanah tumpah darahku. It was a mere 17 years, but it was the best years of my life. I grew up, lived, cried, fell sick, got heartbroken in Johor first. Would I go back and settle in JB? I don't know. It'll take some coaxing. Because the Johor I know, isn't there anymore.
It's all up here in my head.