Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The man on the ground is still good

So, my first trip home to KL has been a blast. I've done almost everything I wanted to do (not had roti yet, nor 70 sen nasi lemak though...) and it's definitely felt like a proper 5-week holiday. Almost getting back into the groove of living here even.

I've had good and bad experiences in these 5 weeks.

Bad experiences
Driving. Need I say more?

Except to add that I was shown the middle finger twice - once by a taxi driver and another time by a woman. Both times it was their reckless and dangerous driving that caused me to piss them off by honking at them very loudly indeed.

Good experiences
When we first came back to KL, Bruno (my old car) was having aging troubles. In the end, he overheated on Christmas Eve, when we were on our way to lunch. We had to stop by the nearest petrol station to check out what was wrong.

After checking it out for 10 minutes and calling people who could help, up pulls a taxi and out comes the driver who's heading to the station's toilet. He passes us and asks what's wrong. When we tell him that our car has overheated, he nodded his understanding and then said, "Saya buang air dulu, ya?".

He finally came out from the toilet (whose duration was more like a buang air besar than just a buang air, but who's counting?) and then checked the car thoroughly. He finally surmised that it was the fan that was broken, or the switch connecting to the fan that was broken. He started calling his friend who sells taxis their spare parts to ask if he had any for my car, but he didn't. Even his wife came down from the taxi to check it over and give her opinion as well.

They were so helpful and friendly, even when it wasn't their problem!

In the end, I got my dad's driver to call his workshop to pick up the car because Bruno just couldn't be driven safely anymore. And the problem turned out to be aged and rusted pipes that weren't sending the coolant to cool down the engine.

My next good experience was just last week, when Mumsy Bumsy, Yelleh Belleh and I went up to Fraser's Hill for the night. Halfway up the hill, there is a point called The Gap. This point is where the two-way road ends, and a narrow one-way road begins. The rule is that cars going into Fraser's Hill can use the road during odd hours and cars coming down can use it during even hours.

We had arrived 20 minutes before the gate opened, so Yelleh Belleh and I decided to look for a public toilet. We walked 10 metres down and found a burger stall with people sitting around. We stopped to see if the toilets were behind, when a customer called out to us and asked what we were looking for. I told him, and he pointed a few steps down the road. Then I asked him if we needed to pay to go in, and he said that it was 30 sen.

My face must have fallen noticeably, because when I mentioned that we would have to walk back to the car to get our purses, he beckoned us nearer, dug in his pockets and gave us coins for both of us to use the toilet. Even when I told him it was okay, he insisted on giving us the coins. So nice of him!


I'm so glad to have had these experiences, reminding me that even though the state of the country and its seemingly growing racist character seems to be going downhill, the common citizen still feels a sense of community and helpfulness toward their fellow man. Cue warm, fuzzy feeling.

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