part of us ...

I took a cab from Bangi to Concorde on Sunday. Being a new me and trying to be more talkative and something, I had a chat with the driver. Didn’t recall his name, but his was nice. Surprisingly for me, the content of our conversation was about the company and the nation. I shared my experience and thoughts on the company, while at the same time sort of potraying a good company image to him as I knew he’s been meeting endless of our company’s staff before.
For sure the typical question or assumption, whenever you worked for such a Fortune 500 Oil and Gas Company, you get good money. Somehow, I managed to bring him deeper and money is not the driving factor if you want to work with the company. It’s serving the nation. Having an in-law who’s a CEO of one of the company’s OPUs may be made him aware on that and he quoted ‘The Company is the nation asset that should be proud.’

As we reached Sungai Besi, I just discovered he was actually from Sumatra. He’s been here for almost 30 years; still have family members there. He’s married to locals I guess. He told me his experience being a lorry driver, 20 years back in Kerteh. How hard that time was to survive as being an immigrant etc. New breed of Malaysian? We had Jawa, Batak, and Bugis, even Pan-Asian traits scattered around, why should I be offended to know he’s not originally from Malaysia? I can’t tell his loyalty to the nation and country, as I didn’t go deeper to ask his nationality. But he’s part of us here.

Our talk then went further to with what is happening with Indonesia. He shared his thoughts on the changes that woke his people, from the day Suharto retired after 30 years being a dictating the country. Other than the longest serving President of Indonesia and the corruption thing, I know nothing else, or may be I was and am not interested to know. But that was the day when the people started to realize they have right and should fight for it. People were bounded during Suharto’s era. We saw and heard what happened during the recession period what happened in Jakarta, what’s still going on with Acheh etc. It was a wake up call.

Hearing his view on this matter, I discovered the ‘Indonesian’ part of him was still there.
We reached Concorde around 2 pm. I had a good and thoughtful journey, I guess.

The story is different with another taxi driver who I met while I was taking a cab on Tuesday from Concorde to KL Sentral. An Indian guy whose name may be ‘Roger a.k.a. Raja’, who cares? He didn’t give me a good impression as he started talking with his stomach didn’t feel well as he ate something bad that morning. ‘You want to stop by to see a doctor or go to the loo. You want me to pay for your medication?’ I had that I mind to ask, but I kept it to myself and let him talked.

First half of the journey, he tried to convince me to send me straight to KLIA as he said there was some problem with the KLIA Express. Yeah…like I don’t know you could get more money. As I refused telling that I need to meet somebody first in KL Sentral, he asked about my job and then my father’s job, which he discovered as the person I wanted to meet in KL Sentral. Typical assumption, ‘You are making good money?’ As usual, I gave him the answer that I told the Indonesian-born pak cik I met the day before, except ‘serving the nation’ part. I didn’t see the rational of letting him know that.

Sensing that I was not interested on talking about my job, my salary etc. he then changed the subject to what happened to his neighbor’s new Honda Stream. It was stolen, because of carelessness. Sure, when you leave a car with the engine running, even in front in your house, in KL, you are making a huge mistake. Then he talked about the about few of Chinese business men he knows, that playing this stolen-so-you-can-claim-for-insurance games to gain more money, if not for the business, but own luxury. One of the cases that he heard was, this guy managed to buy new BMW with the first time he claimed the insurance, and then did it again and get caught on the third time. Stupid!

Then he told me how good Chinese in doing business, even at the age of 20, you’d see them driving the S-Class Mercedes or 5-Series BMW. If it wasn’t because they inherit from wealth parents, they’re actually doing this dirty business – ‘Jadi bapak ayam’ or ‘Along’. The statement just caught me to think how dark and slimy, part of our people, which I barely wanted to aware. I mean the way he said all of the things, just potraying how crude the situation inside of the nation, while been covered bed-of-roses stories, everyday.

I reached KL-Sentral around 2 and met my parents there. They were on their way for my dad’s company business-trip to Japan on the next day. Oh…we had our Raya Haji without them this year.

Anyway, it’s a rare experience to discover the stories of the nation from people around you, who you barely know. All the while, it reminds me on Karim Raslan’s Ceritalah, where you discover inside of part of our country.

The reality and truth is out there...

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