When the spiciness on his tongue from the fried rice he had in Malaysia would not go away, the Singaporean made a trip across the Causeway again to lodge a police report.
"I think I may have been poisoned," Mr Lau Thiam Huat, 60, said.
The retiree said he went to Johor Baru alone last Wednesday to shop.
For dinner, he decided to drop by a coffee shop along Jalan Bukit Timbalan, near City Square, for a plate of nasi goreng kampung (local fried rice).
The dish, which cost him RM3.50 (S$1.35), was what he would usually order whenever he ate at the same stall.
He has been visiting the stall every few months for the past five years.
"The chilli is strong, but I remembered it to be bearable. This time, it felt different.
"My tongue was burning by the third mouthful. It wasn't the kind of burn you usually get from chilli," said Mr Lau, who left the rest of the plate of rice untouched.
It was like a throbbing ant bite, Mr Lau, who claimed to have a high threshold for spicy food, told The New Paper yesterday.
"I thought it was strange that the tingling on my tongue did not go away even after drinking warm water, but I didn't think much of it."
It was only when the tingling sensation continued the next morning that he suspected his food could have been poisoned.
Aside from the sting, parts of his waist started to swell slightly, Mr Lau claimed.
It worried him, and the retiree decided to lodge a police report in Malaysia before seeing a doctor.
"I wanted to make sure I could nail them down easily if they really meant to poison me.
"I also heard that the coffee shop was closing down, so I didn't want to take any chances," he said.
He was unable to explain his suspicions when asked by friends, and could only attribute it to his instincts.
"It's just my gut feel. My friends told me that it's impossible, but you never know," he said.
Asked why anyone would want to poison him, Mr Lau said he found the new cook, who whipped up the fried rice that day, to be "shady".
When he finally saw a doctor at a polyclinic near his Taman Jurong flat two days later, he was told that there was nothing to worry about.
"The doctor told me it's normal, and prescribed a solution that I had to apply on my tongue," Mr Lau said.
He intends to go for a thorough check-up at the hospital, as the swollen patches around his waist have become red and itchy over the past two days.
NO ACTION TAKEN
Johor Baru South deputy police chief, Superintendant Abdul Samad Salleh, confirmed Mr Lau's report, but said no action has been taken yet.
But a copy of the police report has since found its way online, with netizens in Singapore and Malaysia calling Mr Lau's actions "unnecessary" and "a waste of time".
"Surely this is made up. No one can be that dumb to file a police report," netizen OhNo commented.
Mr Lau's response?
"Let them say what they want. My conscience is clear. If there wasn't a need, I wouldn't have lodged a report."
He could've 'bitten his tongue by accident'
Mr Lau Thiam Huat could have bitten his tongue by accident, and mistaken the tingling to have originated from the food, said Dr Jarrod Lee, a gastroenterologist at Jarrod Lee Gastroenterology & Liver Clinic.
"Most of the time, the effect (of the spicy food) is over once it is washed down with water," he explained.
Dr Lee added that Mr Lau could also have a tongue infection or a growth on his tongue, and advised him to go for a thorough check-up.
This article was published on May 8 in The New Paper.
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