Friday, October 03, 2008

The Public Transportation Zombies

Aside: The production of Batam pt 4: I Never Planned For Part Four has been postponed indefinitely due to budgetary problem and poor response from Pt 3. The producer regrets to inform that plans for further sequels and animated TV series too has to be shelved. End of aside.

Hang on. Aside again: This blog will be the first time I attempt something on horror. Yes, this is scary. It is happening in Malaysia, in the worlds only city that consumers greatest amount of Roti Canai and Nasi Lemak, Kuala Lumpur! Be afraid. Be very afraid, and while you are at it, you have something sticking on your nostril. End of aside

Today I am going to talk about public transportation. Yes, we all know how much public transportation in Malaysia suck, blah, blah, blah. It’s not exactly what I am going to talk about. Okay, it is what I am going to talk about except it is not going to be the subject that I am going to talk about. Hang on…what I meant was…

I have gone as cuckoo just like our public transportation system. The point is the current realm is such that it is beginning defining who we are or has become. I tell you why…

I have changed job, and my new place is right smack in the middle of city centre. I am no longer a journalist. As you all know journalists enjoy great time flexibilities, which mean I could still be sleeping in my warm bed when you guys are in a meeting attempting to postpone yet another plan.

Yessireebob, my days of journalist have ended, when I accepted the job of editor for the marketing department of Jobsdb.com recently. It is going to be a highly corporate environment, which means strict 9 to 6 routine and one hour lunch. In my journalist days, our lunch hour is subjective and has no precise definition. It is either a quick 15 minutes munch, or can last as long as parliament session if nobody has assignment on that day, especially when I have craving for that anuty’s Char Kuey Tiaw in SS2.

Now, driving to work is out of question. Jalan Kuching, which I have to use, is not traffic friendly from 7 to 9 in the morning. You want to challenge me on that notion? Well, try talking to drivers using Jalan Kuching at that time. See how friendly they are!

You see, traffic hardly moves that time. Try it, next thing you know you’d be Michael Douglas from that film Falling Down. Jalan Kuching is becoming Federal Highway pt 2 as best place to experience traffic jam, if you like that sort of thing. You do, don’t you?

So, to avoid that godforsaken road, one option I had in my mind was to drive to Taman Melati, Gombak, and take the LRT from there to KLCC. Cool, I thought. Back to my old public transportation days, where I could use the time sitting in the bus or train to read a book, or take a short nap with my head rolling all over the place and freak the other passengers out making them think that I have gotten into trance while sleeping.

Anyway, plan was afoot and I told myself, “dey, ditch late morning habits. Time to move on. Turn over a new leaf. Bake a new bread. Dig a new grave, etc” and motivated myself to wake up early the next day.

With much difficulty I did get up early, around 6.30 am, and crawled myself to the bathroom. It has been a long time since I got up that early, that in all the blurriness and that strange mystical sound that could be the sound of my bed calling me back, I almost brushed my face, and shaved my teeth.

Only when I stepped out of the apartment, that I suddenly got conscious and told myself, “dey, you have to drive, so wake up a**hole! (I revert to namecalling a lot these days…must stop listening to the parliament sessions).

I got to Taman Melati in short time, which I did while laughing mockingly when I passed vehicles in Jalan Kucing below the Outer Ring Road roundabout that were moving as fast as legless coachroaches. Woohooo!

All the joy ended when I saw the queue waiting for the Putra light rapid transit. There were about four queues stretching all the way to the escalator at the door opening point. I suddenly remembered my fiancé, Linda’s complain, the things she had to face in her daily commuting (she uses KTM commuter). But since she also complains about my singing (my take on Jim Morrison is a must) and cats generally, I chose to ignore her complaint.

But here I was, in same situation. I can now relate to Linda’s complain (“Hah! Padam muka!” is the kindest words she could offer to my current predicament)

So, the train came in five minutes time, but I was in for another shock! Yes, Prime Minister Pak Lah was in it!!

Hahaha. I am pulling your leg (don’t worry, you still have seven left). One trip in KTM Kommuter was enough to convince Pak Lah to reconsider date of power transition (my personal theory, don’t put me in ISA please). I don’t think he would ever want to use our public transportation again!

No, the shock was to see that the train was already crowded. You see, this station is the last, but dudes and gals from stations preceding already got into it, so that they will have seats or comfortable places to stand when the train reverses its journey.

And when the door opened, a miracle happened! Without using an inch of effort, I found myself in the train. Amazing!

How? The force of course. The force put me there. No, I am not talking about “Luke, use the force” force here. I am talking about the other passengers who pushed me, who themselves were pushed. That put me in the train; in a space that you can’t even swing Jerry the mouse. There goes my plan to read a book. Talk about first priorities between reading a book and swinging Jerry the mouse. Phew, that’s tough.

But here is the scary part: the passengers. As the train moved, lolling and bobbing over the track, the passenger, and I am not making this up, were just there still, taking the lolls, the bobs, the bumps and the thumps, their eyes empty as a vacant lot, the expression as still as cave painting and with apparent care for fellow passengers as cats would with spinach.

They have become zombies! That’s what I see. All they need is a bit of ugly make up and torn and shred clothes and they can be used to do a sequel to Michael Jackson’s Thriller video.

Every morning I take train to work I see them, though the faces are different. Amazing. What is happening to my fellow dwellers of Klang Valley?

It is not that I am belittling them (now, including me, it’s us). It’s that inept public transportation is making us to become like this. I urge the government to do something about it or face the grim future of zombies roaming all over the country looking to cram inside every available mode of public transports!!!!

I can already feel it. I am becoming one of them! I am now already a public transportation using, The Sun newspaper reading public Joe….the only consolation being, my name is not Joe. Sigh. Gad, I can feel numbness in my face already. Heeeeeeeelp!

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