How should we judge a government?

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no
responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Saturday, December 19, 2015

A bit on transport and its charges

More than 40 years ago, I was tasked to ferry 4 outstation girls (my fellow classmates) on my way, from Jalan Pekeliling flats to Cheras and back. I did not charge them and on my birthdays, I received some gifts from them instead.

Then for 12 years, I had to travel almost every weekend, between KL and Batu Gajah. Occasionally, I was asked to deliver some stuff for relatives or friends. Just imagine, had I been business-minded, I could have used those trips to do some business, like taking people and charging them fares or buying and selling stuff from either destination. But not being in such business, how could I charge relatives or friends? For more than 3 years, I used an RX7 just to enjoy the driving while making the trips, so taking in passengers was out of the question. Besides, despite its official 1.3 litre equivalent, the rotary engine was a real gas guzzler - even on highway best I could get was 18 miles to a gallon of petrol!

A former classmate, who is having a Bas Sekolah business in PJ, boasted to me that he is earning more than an engineer. Using an Urvan with 17-passenger capacity, and running the morning and afternoon sessions, he can earn over Rm10,000 a month by charging each student Rm300. He can add to his income by taking some to tuition centres. But I reminded him of his heavy responsibilities and he replied, 'Yah, I cannot be sick!' I think the bright side to his business is that if the 34 students are attending the same school, then it makes his job so much easier. But to think of the traffic jams which might upset his routines must be discouraging to anyone thinking of having such a business.
According to a retired teacher, some of his ex-students arrived school at 5.00 am, simply because they were the first batch of their school bus driver's 2 or 3 trips in the morning!

About the heavy responsibilities, I am reminded of how a father refused to provide capital for his son to start a Bas Sekolah service. Known for his '3-minute hot' nature in any new venture, the old man just could not bear to let the possibility of students being stranded happen... even before the start of the venture!

Yesterday morning we happened to patronise a coffee stall in Pusing market and the operator provides taxi service under licence. So the topic invariably touched on taxi charges. A friend commented that his recent trip from KL Sentral to Putra Heights costed him Rm68 plus Rm3 toll charges (the latter seems unfair). His earlier experience was Rm30 from Paradigm Mall to Putra Heights. He said he was pleasantly surprised when he was charged Rm16 from Sunway to Paradigm Mall, which I pointed out that both places were on the same side of LDP. Another friend said his son and family was taken for a ride upon arrival at KLIA, when he was charged Rm300 from KLIA to Taman Desa! That was almost what it costs from KLIA to Batu Gajah.

Where available, it is definitely cheaper to take the train. At the moment, I will not consider taking a bus from Ipoh to KL, especially with the Amanjaya Bus Terminal, which seems to serve vested interests instead of passengers' convenience. Similarly, in KL, it seems all northbound buses have to use the state of the art bus terminal at Tasik Selatan instead of the convenient Jalan Duta stadium. Either location means more trouble than its worth. Taxifare from Ipoh to Amanjaya costs at least Rm20! I suppose I need to double that from Batu Gajah. I dread to think what it would cost from Tasik Selatan to anywhere convenient in KL.

Antares complained in Facebook, about the change in routes by KTM as well as the increase in fares. Relatively, despite fare increase, train is still cheap. But what a time to add on to the burden of ordinary folks...

'Two days ago KTM rerouted its Rawang-Seremban Commuter line so that it now links Rawang with Klang. To continue to Seremban (or Midvalley) from KL Sentral you now have to change platforms & hop on the Batu Caves-Seremban line. This means that if you intend to get off at Midvalley from Rawang you now have to change trains & platforms at KL Sentral & wait an additional 15-20 minutes just to go an extra stop. On the return journey, it takes an additional 15-20 minutes because of this senseless re-routing exercise. Not only that... KTM abruptly raised its fares last month, so that an adult return ticket from KKB to KL Sentral that used to cost RM11.20 now costs RM17.60. It appears that KTM is imitating all the serious mistakes the Najib regime is making in its desperation to shore up its finances, in the aftermath of massive financial mismanagement & outright thievery. Looks like 2016 is going to be an extremely tough year for those who depend on the commuter service or who commute daily on the highways. I'm so glad I don't have to experience this stupidity on a daily basis.'

Anyway, the taxi driver related to us how he managed to get away from trouble with JPJ. Once, he was caught taking passengers from KLIA, after dropping off one from his hometown. Though he was quick to tell the passenger to say they are related, the officers were one step ahead. Driver and passenger were separately interrogated. His ruse failed when he could not even name the passenger nor his home address! But being experienced he was well prepared with documents and newspaper cuttings showing the market fire and police report with his name, and that he was badly affected by loss of income which drove him to pick passengers illegally. He was referred from one senior officer to another who finally pointed a finger at him and warned, 'Saya tak mahu nampak muka awak sekali lagi di sini.' He said he risked a fine of Rm300 or even confiscation of the vehicle. Since then, it seems the rules are relaxed.

Commercial vehicle drivers have to face possibility of being stopped by police or JPJ on a daily basis. It is an open secret that it is an easy means of extra income for the enforcement officers. Some pay tontos to tip them of any roadblock. A tow truck operator is known to be good at names-dropping, with a list of senior police officers' telephone numbers. He actually knew them through towing service. Most times, the officer would give him the benefit of the doubt instead of having to talk to any of them. Tricks of the trade in a 'cat and mouse' situation.

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