Monday, May 25, 2009

My Ticket to Compassion

First, I need to confess – I take a bus to work and I only have to take ONE bus. In other words, I am ‘chauffeured-driven’ to work by a fleet of red-and-white buses (mostly air-conditioned), attended by ‘land stewards’, double my age – that costs me RM147 per month.

Second, whenever you see some of these buses, you would wonder if they could be driven back and forth down KL-Kuala Selangor route from 5.30 am till 9.00 pm, every single day. God has mercy on this people, who work hard to fend for their beloved family. As much as I pity these uncles to handle these old ‘sardine cans’, I was astounded to find out that they would rather drive these old buses. The buses are so old, whenever it throttled, you would pray hard that the bolts and nuts remain intact.

Third, Selangor Omnibus Co. manages these buses – I think the oldest transportation company in Malaysia as this year, it will turn 72 years old. I found an article published in 2007 about what these buses mean to the passengers, including yours truly, here. They have a picture of Mr Prakash, Medan Pasar station master who would share stories about his daughters and his failing health on our way back home, and Mr. Ang, a stern looking man but would smile whenever I flash my pass as he can rest his callous, tired fingers.

I hope RapidKL can learn a thing or two from this company and its people. Yes, RapidKL has the best fleet of buses, driven by uniformed drivers (but as usual, looks can be deceiving), I bet they can’t even come close to my Selangor Omnibus Co. in terms of service standard.

I take the bus as early as 6 am (so i could avoid the maddening traffic and starts work with a smile) and get down around 8.30 pm, every working day . There are days when I had to stay back (due to works or attending to my counterpart from some other part of the world a.k.a dinner appointment) and took a bus back around 12 midnight. Thanks for your concern, I am blessed with reliable drivers and ticket masters –they even treated me like I’m like one of their daughters or sisters – I feel secured with them. What scares me most is actually the nut-case passengers. Even then, I have my saviours – other male passengers (routines seals our silent, simple friendship), who would offer their seat, so I could avoid such horrendous experience for an hour or more. God bless them always.

My God, they have done a lot to me and that made me thinking - is it worth their pay, time and concern to do that when I pay a meagre RM147 a month? It must be their compassion. It must be their humanity that cut across any religion and racial barriers. They touch my soul.

They might not be educated. But then, what good education is if the educated ones keep trampling our rights for their self-preservation? They earn too low a pay yet they do it anyway, with pride and responsibility.

This post is for them for I got My Ticket to Compassion and that's priceless because - could you put a price to a smile? So, when was the last time you practised your compassion?


bongkersz said...

I use to travel by bus, everyday from Ampang to Damansara as well.My office was at Phileo Damansara, and I stayed in Cempaka, Ampang. Travel by LRT, then from Masjid Jamek took bus to Ampang. Everynow and then I would take this Selangor red and white bus as well.

Yes, you learn a lot about compassion taking public transportation. Once, I offered my seat to a pregnant lady, I think I saw the 'shocked' on her face. Either she never expect a gangster looking young man (I was wearing my head bald at that time) would offer her a seat, or just seldom received such offer?

It makes you see little things, more aware of the exchanges and everything happening around you, in that small, cramped space.

Some posts I wrote, on the public transportation thingy.

Seow Hock Peng said...


Many thanks for having me in your blog roll, though I feel rather embarassed as my blog has been so dead for months.

I would love to have you in my blog roll as well; but alas the un-savvy me have no idea how it's done.

Though you may see Bongkersz's blog proudly displayed there on roll, I can assure you I did not do so- for it is Bongkersz himself that unashamedly added himself in.

Fi-sha said...

My dear Bong

You speaks my heart. I'm so proud of you because men are normally self-centred and i would be so 'gila kuasa' by asking them to vacate the seat for elderly people and pregnant ladies (well, of course, after giving up my seat to others in need too). Thanks for sharing your posts Bong. I'll be reading them.

Dear Mr Seow aka Mr Oscar the Grouch

I've been dying to put it on my list (somehow, something happened and it didnt appear till i tweaked something recently:). It's OK, i dont have to be on your list to check you out :P. I should thank you too (or Bong?) for his blog.

Thank you gentlemen! Cheerio!

WanHidayat said...

Salam... teringin jugak... tapi kalau boleh nak jalan kaki jeak. Tunggu ada syarikat sendiri dan nak sediakan bilik tidur yang lengkap segalanya dekat ofis jugak.....hehehehe. Mesti seronok...

Adusss....berangan rupanya!

The Corporate Athlete said...

tried the red bus from kuala Selangor to KL last year....mmannn, time does not fly in there ...:)...

TheWhisperer said...

FiSha Dear,

This appreciation, coming from you, is indeed priceless itself.

How many people would take the trouble to even notice the dedication and sacrifices of these people routinely doing their job silently without expectation?

Good thing that you run a post on this and get the ball rolling.

Interesting blog with compassion and values.

Keep it up!!

Fi-sha said...

Dear Hidayat,
what an interesting idea Adik. Perhaps, you could get more ideas from our Japanese friends. But Adik, ive thought about staying near to my office before. However, what is 1.5 hrs spend on the bus when you can spend time with your loved ones? I cannot put a price to that.

Dear Bro PT CA
Akal bisa tegal biasa ek? Books and weary eyes kill my time :)

Dear Mr Whisperer
Thank you for the kind words. If only we believe that everyone is important, this world is a better place for all.

nightcaller said...

Compassion eh...

Why not we send all those cabinet ministers to a "summer camp" some where in Kuala Selangor and they can come to "work" using ur ol' red and white bus (it is not MU, right?) for 1 month.

Hopefully, they can come out with more compassion to us, the rakyats, once they graduate from the summer camp...

Just in case, strongly suggest that u have "pepper spray" handy...and also one of those high pitch alarm...

Fi-sha said...

Dear Mr Dnightcaller,

I love that idea sir - it will definitely bring out the best in them. Maybe we stop NS for school leavers (er..yang tak habis sekolah pun kena, macamana ek?) and start with this NS thingy for ministers and all politicians, hows that sir? I cant wait when they sincerely say this "I feel for you, people" :)

p.s. the white and red does not, never never never ok, signify MU or UMNO but Ajax FC :)

Yes, sir, i will consider having those secret weapons but the hi-pitch alarm wont do any justice if theres no one around kan?

p.s. Made me thinking to have a JV with Alagappa or Baba or Adabi - how about curry powder spray? So easy to refill :P