Let me share with you my experience in a cab today. Terrifying and amusing at the same time. I should be horrified but somehow it kinda made my day and I even afforded a smile as soon as I got off the cab.
So a bit of background first. I was catching a cab from Subang to KLCC this morning. I saw one parked and jumped straight in. I told the old bloke (I’m guessing 50-ish) where I was heading and then the old geezer started the engine.
Cabbie : Saya satu je tak boleh buat.Tak boleh pakai seatbelt.
And with that remark, he started to drive. And my journey begins.
Cabbie : So, kerja sekali dengan anak Merican?
Me : Ha’ah, lebih kurang. (Thought to myself.. Yeah, right)
Cabbie : (Now starts addressing himself as “pakcik”)
Pakcik kenal Merican tu. Orang Sungai Petani. Tapi anak dia tak suka tolong orang. Orang Kedah memang camtu la. Tak suka tolong orang. Keluarga sendiri pun tak tolong.
And then he started rambling on about Mahathir.
Cabbie : Mahathir pun tak suka tolong orang. Dulu pakcik bawak anak sedara dia. Anak sedara dia cerita Mahathir tak mau tolong dia la apa la.
(Oh, imagine also that the cabbie speaks with a loghat Utara)
Cabbie : Orang Perak suka tolong orang. Megat Junid tu yang tolong saya, teksi ni saya dapat sebab Megat Junid yg tolong.
He then went on about how Megat Junid awarded his company (Yes, he’s a contractor too.. “Bawak teksi ni saje saje je, boring…”) to clear some land to start a new plantation.
Cabbie : Dia punya personal life tu, hal dia la. Dia buat apa pun tak kacau kita. Tapi yg penting dia tolong kita.
Me : Hmm.. betul betul. (Berpura pura layan)
There was a brief silence for a while as we started entering the NKVE. But not too long. Pakcik then started on with another story and added more weird remarks.
Cabbie : Anak pakcik sorang balik dari Mesir skarang kerja kat Jepun, yang tua skali. Sorang belajar kat Iran. Yang muda skali jantan tak kawin lagi, dah 27 tahun.
Me : Muda lagi tu. (Again, pura pura layan… I was now enjoying this a bit)
Cabbie : Anak pakcik semua baik baik. Tak hisap rokok, tak main pompuan. Bukan macam pakcik, pakcik dulu jahat. Tapi pakcik ajar anak anak jangan jadi macam pakcik.
Me : (Thinking.. How jahat is this pakcik really?)
And, as if he could read my mind, he elaborated more on his “jahat”.
Cabbie : Dulu pakcik gi night club, jadi bouncer lagi. Zaman dulu dulu la. Banyak lagi benda jahat pakcik buat. Hisap rokok, judi, minum arak. Jahat dulu pakcik ni.
Wow. Good on ya, pakcik. That’s quite impressive.
Cabbie : Anak pakcik yg muda skali tu tak kawin kawin lagi. Susah nak cari pompuan Melayu yg OK skarang ni. Pakcik tau la, pakcik bawak teksi ni dah lama, macam macam la pakcik dah tengok. Perangai semua takde yg baik, pakcik nak cari calon yg sesuai la, tapi zaman skarang ni susah la, especially kat KL ni. Jangan harap la nak jumpa.
Me : (Nodding in agreement)
Betul tu. (This time I genuinely agree with him, tak pura pura)
Cabbie : Anak pakcik kalau 23 tahun, pakcik dok main kote lagi.
Me : (I don’t have a fucking clue where that came from, or even what it’s supposed to mean. But I guess it was a bit funny)
Now we’re cruising along NKVE heading towards the Jalan Duta Tollbooth. Pakcik got his cab in a long queue. (As you do when you drive to KL around 8.15-ish). So now we’re idling in the queue when suddenly pakcik yelled “Oi!”)
I was a bit shocked, to be honest. Tetiba je dia jerit.
I then realised that he saw his taxi buddy in the line next to us, but about 5-6 cars ahead of us.
Pakcik decided to take matters in his own hands. Switched on the right indicator lights, and without even a glance on the sideview or rearview mirror, he jumped into the next lane. Ok, not exactly into the next lane, more like he squeezed into the space between the two lanes.
O Oh. He’s jumping the queue. I always curse at people who jump queues, but today I’m in a crazy cab who’s doing it. He sped the cab right up next to his mate’s cab, signalled left, and cut in front of him. And his mate did give some space for our cab to cut in. I guess that’s one of the cabbies’ rules. Let your mate cut in front of you during jams.
I tried not to look outwards at the other motorists who I’m sure were pretty bloody pissed. I was a bit embarrassed.
Pakcik then decided that it would be good for me to know a bit more about his mate behind us.
Cabbie : Kawan pakcik tu duda. Dia nak kawin lain tapi anak anak dia tak kasi. Susah la macam tu. Kalau tak kawin, sape nak masak nasi untuk dia, nak jaga dia kan?
Me : Ha’ah. (What else was I supposed to say?)
Now we’ve passed the Duta toll, and on Jalan Duta (is it? Dunno). And there’s a slight but not too massive jam. But a jam nonetheless.
Seeing a potential delay of 5 minutes if we stayed in the queue, pakcik made a move to the emergency lane. His mate somehow managed to overtake us, I guess he went onto the emergency lane quicker than we did. There we were, two cabs speeding (relatively speaking, compared to the almost non-existing movement on the three ACTUAL lanes) along the emergency lane (Is it called emergency lane? The lanes on the most left side of a multi lane road, which not an actual lane? I dunno, but you get what I mean.)
And then we reached a point where we needed to get back on the right-est lane. Pakcik selambaly put his hand out, waved a bit, a cut across 3 lanes: from the “emergency” to the 2 lanes turning left, to another lane heading straight, to the lane going right. All in one movement. I kid you not. This is magic! And there wasn’t a single horn being directed at us during this crazy display of utter disregard towards safety, not to mention the sheer ignorance of road ethics. But at least pakcik acknowledge the inconsiderate driving he did.
Cabbie : Cara memandu macam ni takde akhlak punya cara.
Haha. Really? You think?
I’ve gotten used to pakcik’s constant weaving in and out of traffic, sometimes braking real close to the car in front, always jumping queues, cutting in front of blokes who’ve been stuck in line for ½ hour, with no single trace of guilt. Respect, man, respect. You must be gangsta to do this shit. It certainly made the journey much much faster. Imagine only 30 minutes from Subang to Jln Ampang in early morning traffic (around 8 lebih).
But before we got to Jln Ampang, we were on Sultan Ismail. And yet again, pakcik has a story.
Cabbie : Pakcik dah gi Iran 5 kali. Tehran, Esfahan, bla bla. Iran la contoh Negara Islam yg kuat. Negara Islam yg ditakuti. Pakcik ade tgk video kat Internet, Iran punye nuclear torpedo speed dia 400 km sejam. Tu yg Amerika cepat cepat lari tu. Takut. Setakat test yg India Paksitan dok buat tu, mmg hari hari Iran buat.
I kept quiet. Ok, let’s see where this goes.
Cabbie : Makan kat Iran sedap. Orang Iran makan kalah Mat Salleh. Makan kambing, makan steak, makan roti. Kat sana takde Coca Cola. Ada zam zam Cola, diorang buat sendiri. Tapi orang Iran ni mmg kuat minum air gas. Tu yg kena buat Zam Zam Cola. Pakcik kejap lagi nak gi beli arak Iran. Ada jual kat sini. Tapi arak yg takde alcohol. Sedap.
Me : Apa nama dia? Boleh saya cari nanti. (Well….I had to ask, I wanted to know…plus, arak takde alcohol? Biar benar orang tua ni..)
Cabbie : Pakcik tak ingat la. Tapi mmg ade jual kat sini.
Kat Iran tu Ahmedinejad pakai kereta buruk je. Kereta 504.
I had to assume he was talking about the Iranian president. And he drives a Peugeot 504 (ada ke 504? Have to check)
So, he’s telling me this:
Drives this car….
But soon after, came this shocker.
Cabbie : Pakcik ni Islam Syiah. Dah lama berguru dah ni. Pergi Iran belajar.
He then brought down the sunvisor, and there were a lot of papers terselit in between the visor and its attached strap. He removed the papers from the visor, and showed me this black cloth with some Arabic written on it.
Me : Hmm hmm. (Translation = I have no idea what it means)
Pakcik then showed me a picture of a man that was pasted onto the driver’s sun visor. I don’t know who the person is, but it looked like Osama Laden, yeah with the long beards and serban. On second thought, it might well be Osama. It looked like this:
Cabbie : Ni la ketua kita.
And the he started kissing the picture. In the middle of traffic. Kissing the picture!! More like “kucup”. But he kucup-ed the picture of a bearded Arabic dude wearing a serban. Man, read that again! He kissed a picture of a bearded Arab bloke wearing a serban in a traffic jam!
Me : (This bloke is a terrorist? God. Well, bloody fuck.)
Not wanting to end his “creeping the passenger” routine, he then proceeded with another shocking confession.
Cabbie : Pakcik ada masa 13 Mei. Pakcik bunuh ramai orang. Haha.
I could sense pride in him when he nonchalantly admitted the “killing people” bit. Well, maybe he did kill a few people, who knows? That could well explain the terrorist thing.
Anyways, we’re now very close to the junction to Jln Ampang. We were a few metres from Renaissance Hotel, approximately 20 metres from the junction itself.
The road was packed, and we were at the outmost right lane. We needed to go the outmost left.
And once again, showing some cool headedness (or just plain “I don’t give a fuck”-ness), pakcik just selamba-ly cut across 3 lanes (and about a hundred annoyed semi-road rage drivers) to get to the lane where we should’ve taken miles earlier.
Just as luck would have it, the lights turned red and traffic had to stop. But pakcik still wanted to squeeze through and get to Jln Ampang as soon as possible. The car in front was standing still and won’t move a bit at all. And what does pakcik do?
Well, he climbed up the curb!!
Yes, he drove up the curb, as if it weren’t there.
So now we have two wheels on a 6 inch high curb and the other two "lower". Its like a see saw.
Cabbie : Haa.. senget sikit eh?
Are you fucking kidding me? Senget sikit? I must look very very stupid in the eyes of the other drivers.
Alas, despite managing to elevate half the cab onto the pavement, he still couldn’t get the car to squeeze through the minute gap that existed in between the car in front and the rest of the curb. So he gave up. Finally. Decided to wait for the lights to turn green.
And when it turned green, almost immediately pakcik stepped hard on the accelerator, and before you knew it we’re already at KLCC. Amazing! He made the red white Iswara go from 0 – 100 km/h in less than 3 seconds. Eat that, Evo!! Ha-ha.
So when we reached KLCC, he dropped me off.
Me : Ok, terima kasih….
Cabbie : OK, nanti ada rezeki jumpa lagi..
And that was it.
The cab ride from hell. It wasn’t really a bad experience. It was rather amusing, entertaining, exciting and to some extent fun. But of course we could’ve easily gotten ourselves into an accident, judging by the way pakcik drove but I got out of the cab feeling kinda good. In a weird way, the cab ride actually made my day.
My cab ride back from KLCC to Subang was the complete opposite. The cabbie didn’t say a word all the way to Subang, and he was a “pemandu berhemah”. It was a quiet journey.