Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cab Conversations

Hi folks, have not been blogging for a while now. A bit busy with the real life. Yes, I do have a life seemingly, surprise surprise.

Last week I was on a business trip to JB, a day trip some more. Took the first flight out (had to leave home by 5.30am to make that flight, sheesh), and came back later in the afternoon.

Thing with me is, I always like to strike up a conversation with the cabbie. Seldom I find a cabbie whose not talkative anyway, most of them just need a little prodding to start going machine-gun mode. A travel guide to KL I read once said the cabbies here are the center of information, ask them anything. Whether it's the right information, is anyone's guess.

The early morning cab ride to the airport was with a young-ish Indian guy, I chatted with him a bit about his family and his work. He gave a useful tip too: from KLIA in the afternoons, better take the cab directly home rather than taking the ERL and trying to get a cab from KL Sentral. He said a lot of cabbies won't be around since they don't wanna be stuck in traffic jams during berbuka time. Since he's not gonna gain anything by offering me that advice, I decided to heed that advice later.

From JB airport to my destination, a Malay pakcik was the cabbie (Proton Saga Limo beb!). After making small talk, the pakcik then proceeded to tell me all about the Iskandar plan, Nusajaya, Syed Mokhtar, which roads are jammed, Pasar Selayang and so on. It's like a verbal Wikipedia!

After my meeting, I rushed back to the airport to catch the flight back to KL. The Chinese fella driving was very talkative, I only asked him the Malaysian equivalent of Bonjour "dah makan?", and off he goes. He was asking me lots of questions about myself and my job, and offered a lot of advices too. It went something like this:

"Boss, saya tanya you punya gaji boleh bagitau ka?"
"Err, RMXXXX (some random number)"
"Saya cakap ah, itu sangat sikit tau. You kerja polis pon boleh dapat lagi banyak. Ini you kerja sampai malam, travel sana sini, tapi gaji sikit. You tamau masuk government ka?"
"Why ah, ada best ka?"
"Ooooo, itu paling bagus punya! Gaji bagus, kerja senang sikit, takda pening-pening punya tau. You ada join UMNO ka?"
"Haha, belum lagi la."
"You kena join cepat-cepat, sana senang mau dapat peluang kerja. Saya tahu ini memang fact. Sama juga kalau saya join MCA, sama juga. Tapi saya sekolah rendah saja, you sekolah tinggi sure senang. You rasa berapa banyak harimau makan harimau?"
"Hah? Errr, tak ada la saya rasa"
"Betul, ini sebab.."

And it went on and on. He never ran out of topics it seemed. Much more fun that listening to the radio, hands down!

From KLIA back to Ampang, it was an old Indian uncle driving the cab. This guy really made the most of his job, he knew the latest price of oil per barrel ("semalam ada orang Petronas naik cab saya, dia bagitau"), the economic V-shaped recovery ("last week ada Korean businessman cerita sama saya"), Vietnam's economic potential ("saya punya regular customer selalu travel pergi Vietnam every week") and so on. He impressed me! I could actually talk shop with this uncle, and he's taking it all in his stride.

Forget the radio or your iPod next time you're in a cab and strike up a conversation with the cabbie. Chances are you'll be in for an interesting if not fruitful conversation ;)


cacah said...

never had a chance to be in cab to home from airport. (because there's always a driver waiting)...should try it sometimes. but i m afraid i ll be lost for words with the so knowledgeable fellow... hehe

kidd said...

The Indian pakcik might be bluffing. Instead of obtaining newsflash from passengers, he might be an avid follower of CNBC/Bloomberg/etc. Astro kan, MACAM2 ADA,BANYAK2 BAYAR.

The Banker said...

cacah: it's a good way to kill time travelling to and fro airports, try it sometime ;)

kidd: even i don't subscribe to the news channels. kalau betul mmg respect ah pakcik tuh!

[et] said...

hey, same here!conversation with cabbie never failed to amuse me!
i've met an account manager who became a cabbie due to work stress, an ex-israeli soldier and everything in between.

p/s: i'm the no-longer-silent reader :)

panda said...

i learnt how cab drivers cheat thanks to these small talks. hehehe.. :)

The Banker said...

[et]: glad that u found a voice now ;)

panda: the things u can learn from them, one pakcik even offered me tips to be better in bed. wth??? hahah