Archive for the ‘people’ Category

10 reasons why I love KL

This 1st February, Kuala Lumpur turns 44 years old as a federal territory of Malaysia. Love it or hate it, KL is the lady in red that makes an impression. Tacky or classy, it’s in the eye of the beholder.

But in keeping with the concept of this blog, and in honouring this city I’ve lived in for 17 years (gosh, it has been that long?), here are 10 reasons why I love KL and will continue to call it home, even though I’m from Penang. Yes, I still identify myself as a Penangite even though I’ve lived longer in KL than Penang.

 

  1. KL is great for non-drivers

Traffic can be horrendous in KL for drivers during the rush hour commute, and expensive parking rates will put a huge dent on your wallet if you’re working here, but it’s relatively easy to move around by public transport or on foot. As someone who can’t drive, KL works for me.

My main mode of transport into the city is by train (KTM Komuter, LRT, monorail). From the train station, it’s possible to walk to many places, unlike the suburban townships that are mostly surrounded by highways. And the best way to discover the city’s nook and crannies is on foot.

What about taxis? Yes, our taxi drivers are on the world’s worst list, but there’s Uber and GrabCar now. Buses? Frequency and punctuality of buses into the city centre still need to be improved but within the city, you can hop onto the free Go KL buses.

 

  1. The greenery is a soothing sight for sore eyes

Despite the skyscrapers that dominate the city’s landscape, KL is still quite green. Shady trees provide respite from the scorching sun and soften the edges of the concrete jungle. There’s even a forest reserve (Bukit Nanas) in the heart of the city, at the base of KL Tower.

 

  1. Its population is very diverse

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KL has always been a tempat cari makan (a place to make a living) for out-of- towners and foreigners alike. Today’s Bangladeshis, Nepalese and Myanmarese are last century’s Chinese and Indians. You can find a sense of belonging even among strangers. When I first moved here, I used to attend mass at St. Joseph’s Cathedral. I called it the church for lost souls. Unlike community churches in the suburbs, it’s easy to maintain anonymity here if you want to. Old city dwellers, Filipino maids, diplomat families, new arrivals… all can come and go without much fuss in the house of God.

 

  1. Free activities

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City living is always expensive but there are places you can go to for free. How about catching a free movie at KLpac (look out for free screenings of international films every two months or so) or Content Malaysia Pitching Centre?

If you’re an art buff, visit Galeri PETRONAS, Ilham Gallery, and Bank Negara Museum and Art Gallery.

 

  1. There’s something to do every weekend

I don’t know why some people say there’s nothing to do in KL. There’s so much happening I need a 3-day weekend (one day to go out, one day to do housework and one day chillax and recover). With Facebook, it’s so easy to seek out groups with similar interests.

If you like photography, join photo walks or look out for special talks and exhibitions. For arts, history and culture, there are events organized by groups such as Malaysian Heritage and History Club, Pusaka and Badan Warisan Malaysia. If music is your thing, there’s the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra and No Black Tie.

Also check out Meetup for various interest groups (sports, arts, social, etc.) and Time Out KL.

 

  1. The malls have character

Ya, ya, there are too many malls here, but let’s go with the positive spin, okay? There are different malls for different folks.

KLCC is a personal favourite of mine. It was my weekend hangout I first moved here largely because I was renting a room then and needed to get out for some me time. After church, I would take the train here for lunch, a movie, Sunday banking, book browsing at the Kinokuniya bookstore, errands at the post office, grocery shopping at Isetan, art admiration at Galeri PETRONAS…

I don’t go there often now but I still love the place for it’s international vibe. The crowd is cosmopolitan, the layout is simple enough that you don’t get lost in the maze, the size is manageable (you can walk from one end to the other in about five minutes) and there’s a park outside.

While KLCC is prim and proper (yet approachable), Sungei Wang Plaza is the kooky cousin, and still hip at 39 years old. Think Vivienne Westwood vs Anna Wintour. This is the place to go for funky fashion and fun finds. Be warned that you could get lost in there, so if you like something, get it then because you might not be able to find the store again.

Pertama Complex in the grittier part of town is underrated as far as malls go. It may not look much from the outside (or even inside), but this is the kind of place where you can get your shoes resoled, fulfil your rocker dream with bespoke leather pants, give people something to talk about with a holster for your gun and source for sewing supplies – do you know how hard it is to get something as simple as press tarts and elastic bands in the fancier malls? This 40-year-old mall is also home to the Yoon Hin bag shop, where you can get genuine backpacks (Osprey, Deuter and the likes) at prices much lower than anywhere else. Just bring cash (credit card not accepted) and be prepared that Madam Sia may not like you for some reason.

 

  1. The weather
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The weather is always nice for a swim, especially in the evening when the sun has warmed up the water.

Hell, yeah! I actually love the tropical weather here. I hate the cold and I don’t like being bundled up and having to carry a jacket, scarf and gloves whenever I go out. I love the freedom of going out wearing something light and not having to add and remove layers of clothing. You complain so hot? Pop into a shopping mall or restaurant lah. There’s air conditioning everywhere and sometimes, even the Mat Sallehs complain our air con is freezing (I sometimes wear a wool jacket in the office).

 

  1. Democratized dining

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KL is a city of wonderful contrasts. You can be hoity-toity and indulge in omakase for RM380 at Nobu, or slurp delicious noodles next to a drain for under RM8. I tend to go for chap eats because they often taste better when it’s just about the food rather than the décor or image.

 

  1. You can play tourist in your own city

Every now and then, be a tourist. Go for a guided walk and discover your own backyard. Do the museum or temple thing. Eat your way through Chinatown and Little India. I bet you would be saying “I didn’t know we had this!” a lot.

 

  1. We have some amazing architecture

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As a person who is drawn to aesthetics, I love many buildings in KL, both old and new. In the old part of KL, the influences are varied: Moorish (Sultan Abdul Samad Building and the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station), art deco (Central Market, Lee Rubber Building, OCBC Building), colonial (Muzium Telekom), traditional (Rumah Penghulu Abu Seman) pre-war shophouses (Medan Pasar). For modern architecture, the condominiums around KLCC give the city a very international appeal.

So there you have it, my top 10 list. How about you? What do you love about KL?

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Chinese New Year ammunition for the single girl

My most favourite ang pau envelope so far. It's from Ninja Joe, a burger joint.

My most favourite ang pau envelope so far. It’s from Ninja Joe, a burger joint.

Chinese New Year is just one day away. Many would be excited but some may dread it. Family reunions for the single girl can be very stressful if not annoying when well-meaning but nosey relatives ask “Still no boyfriend yet ah?”

Even those who have boyfriends are not spared.

“When are you getting married? Wait for what?”

And if you are married, “Still no kids yet ah?”

It just doesn’t end.

And it gets worse when your much younger cousins show up with a new boyfriend/girlfriend, spouse or yet another kid to add to the brood of grandchildren. Oh wait, I’m the grandchild. I mean great grandchildren.

I can’t speak on behalf of those who are in a relationship or are married, but I can certainly offer some ammunition to shoot back at those busybodies.

This posting is inspired by something a friend put up on Facebook – a Huffington Post blogpost on 5 Things to Say the Next Time Someone Asks Why You Aren’t Married. I found it too polite and apologetic for such an exasperating situation.

I prefer retorts like these:

Please note that they are skewed towards females as they are usually the ones to pry.

1. “Why? And end up whining about my husband, kids and married life like you do?”

2. “Oh honey, I’m not into guys,” and give the person a soft lingering touch on the arm.

3. “Well, I don’t really know. But can you please tell me what on earth possessed you to get married?” while shooting the person a sympathetic look.

4. “No bonus from the company. I need the ang pow.”

5. This one is contributed by someone who got the question in church, “Because GOD hasn’t sent ME the RIGHT man.” Yes, she used capital letters for those words.

6. “Why limit myself to one man when I can have many?” – Say this with a hungry look like a cougar while your eyes scan the room for fresh meat.

7. “What to do? All the good ones are taken,” while you steal a lustful look at the woman’s husband.

I was aiming for 10 but I’m out of comebacks. Feel free to add if you have to offer.

If you’re wondering why such harsh words in the Positive Spin, I’m just being sarcastic. Great sarcasm is an art and anything that squeezes my creative juices I choose to view as something positive.

Disclaimer: I have never actually used any of those lines and I don’t recommend that you do either. It’s just to ‘lepas stim’. I would just say “Tak ada jodoh lagi (I haven’t found my soulmate yet),” while I mouth off those nasties in my head. CNY is a time to get together, eat, drink and be merry, so let’s try to keep the peace.

Plus, I still want to receive ang pows.

I should add that as I get older, people stop asking me that question. I’ve probably reached the age of ‘Why even bother asking – lost cause lah’. I’ve also noticed that it’s been a long time since anyone tried to set me up or hint, hint, wink, wink.

Ugh! This brings back memories of a my late grandmother’s neighbour who tried to set up ‘play dates’ between me and her son. I know I was cute, but I was six!

Happy New Year, everyone. Be nice, and if you’re married, be kind to the single ones, okay?

UPDATE 14 Feb 2014

Today is Chap Goh Meh, the 15th day of the Lunar New Year, the Chinese Valentine’s Day (which this year falls on the same day as the Western one!) and the last day for single people to collect ang pow. If you’re the ang pow giver and think that you will be spared when your single relatives and friends get married, think again.

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I’ve also got two more CNY ammunition from a single friend:

8. “Your ang pow is so small, still cannot afford to get married.”

9. “Must remain a xxx (surname withheld to protect privacy and inheritance) to inherit the Bangsar home.”

Remembering Sam

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There are a few things that would make one feel truly like a grown-up – paying for your own property, sex, having children and going for funerals, especially if the deceased is not a family member yet you go anyway.

I’m not sure how to behave at funerals. The few that I have been to were of grandparents and elderly relatives… do I have a heart of stone for not feeling enough grief? It was their time to go and I wasn’t very close to them. There were no tears to be shed. I did feel sad at their passing, but it was more of a sobering thought than heart-wrenching pain. My concern is more for the living. I don’t pray much but I would make it a point to offer at least a decade of the rosary for the deceased and for God to give strength to the family.

Last December, I found out from Facebook that an ex-colleague had died on Christmas eve due to heart complications. We had lost touch over the years but I still remember him from three agencies ago. We were not best buds but he was nice to me and I enjoyed his company. He was my senior, in profession and age –  a difference of 17 years. We met at Bates where he was a DM writer at Bates 141. I was with Bates Advertising but we shared the same office.

I didn’t go for the funeral but decided to attend his memorial last Saturday on 18th January when I saw a notice for it in the Sunday papers. It was held at the parish house of the St. Joseph’s Cathedral – a place easy enough for me to get to.

Sam was a friendly chap. He would keep to himself and mind his own business but he would be warm towards people around him. He had an arsenal of jokes, mostly bawdy though I don’t recall any of them. There were probably a few about me being a skinny person. Sam was a big guy, so big that he would often be out of breath after a walk or climb up the stairs.

When I was at M&C Saatchi and he was at Tequila down the road, I would sometimes go to his office building to meet him for lunch. He would be at the food court with his newspapers (probably Malay Mail or the Sun – I don’t remember for sure) and order a second teh limau ais towards the end of his meal.

The only time we met ‘outside the office’ was when he asked if I would like to go to a Mongolian restaurant he wanted to check out. It was somewhere in Pudu. We went on a weekend and he picked me up from my place. His car was small and when he sat in it, it would tilt to one side.

Making an appointment with Sam meant calling him at the office. He did not own a handphone. If someone from work needed to contact him outside office hours, they would have to call his house number. I wondered if that’s just to keep people from calling him back to work at night or on the weekends. Surely he had a handphone for family members and friends to get a hold of him. I asked his sister, Agnes if this was true. She confirmed that he did not own a handphone. His company gave him one but he didn’t use it. His family had to call him at the office too.

Knowing this, I was surprised to find out that he was on Facebook. When I first heard of his passing, I looked him up on Facebook. I learned from Agnes that he joined Facebook because he was looking for poker buddies. Checking his Facebook page shed more light on the kind of man Sam was. Those from work knew him as Sam (his surname) while family members called him by his middle name, Damien. He did not like to be called by his first name, Joseph. I don’t know why.

One of my favourite stories was shared by Joe Najib:

When I first met Joseph Damien Sam, it was it was in 2004. The company I just joined was leaving for Hawaii for a company incentive trip, and because I was new, I couldn’t go. So I jokingly told Sam to “bring back some volcanic rocks” for me. To my surprise a week later, he actually did! And I still have those rocks with me today.

Jovian Lee wrote about working with Sam:

RIP Joseph Damien Sam, fellow copywriter, ex-colleague from KHK who studied in Hyderabad and used to rhyme “equine, bovine, feline, canine and swine” and together we coined up names for F&N ice cream variants like “Sang Vanilla Utama” and “Lick Astley” – which the client never bought.  – they would come out with crazy names for ice cream flavours that never saw the light of day – Lick Astley and Sang Nila Utama. 

At the memorial, a few others shared their stories. Sham SunderBinwani, who was also the MC, reminisced about Sam being the first customer of his book business. And a tractor tyre that had to be brought in as a float for a Redang trip. A cousin shared about his first school holiday away from his parents with Sam’s family. Sam was warned not to tell the young lad any dirty jokes but he was deflowered anyway.

His brother-in-law shared a nice one about his son’s explanation for why God made Sam so big. Because his body had to fit his big heart and his brain had to have enough space for his encyclopedic knowledge.

The memorial was a nice way to honour Sam. Remember the good times, because Sam lead a full life and was a kind soul to his friends. It’s not about the time you spend with a friend, but the imprint you make as one. Live life fully, joyfully, honestly.

Reza Salleh was also invited to sing a few songs that Sam liked. I only recognised Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car and Talkin Bout A Revolution. He wrote this on his Facebook page:

I was invited to play at the remembrance day of Joseph Damien Sam, a man I’ve never met. He passed last Christmas Eve unexpectedly and I was contacted a few weeks ago by his sister Agnes who saw me perform at a corporate event organised by her company last year. I’ve never been invited to play for such an event before, let alone one dedicated to someone I didn’t know. I was unsure at first as it felt like I might be intruding on something intimate but Agnes said “He loved music and he would’ve really liked yours.” Last night I played to a small crowd at the Old Parish Hall beside St. John’s Cathedral in KL. It was a small, touching event, led and attended by family, close friends and colleagues. You could really feel the love for the man in the room. Wish I could’ve met you Sam.

Sam, it was nice meeting you. I’ll see you when I see you. Teh ais limau, dua!

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UPDATE 27 Jan

The other songs performed by Reza are:
What The Hell Just Happened I’m Not Really Sure
For Her
Half The Soul
Putera Jaya

The songs can be found on YouTube but the live recordings are unclear, hence I am including only the first song. Enjoy!

On death, and life

I have recently acquired a new habit. Reading the obituary pages in the newspapers.

I have not reached that age where my friends begin to check out one by one. Maybe not yet, but close enough. I already have a will in case I expire prematurely.

I didn’t think I would have to deal with death so soon. Yes, I’ve had elder relatives pass on, but the Grim Reaper seems to be visiting more and more of the younger ones these days.

Nine years ago, an acquaintance was killed when his car caught fire in front of his house. He left behind a wife and two kids. He was in his 40s.

Some years later I returned from a holiday to find out a business associate had collapsed and died. He was 30.

Then two or three years ago, a friend’s brother-in-law died less than a year after he was diagnosed with cancer. He was in his 40s.

A colleague shared about his former business partner who died of blood poisoning. It happened so fast that he did not even have time to say goodbye to his girlfriend in person. He was either in his late 20s or early 30s.

More recently, a friend’s cousin died from lung infection. It started out with a month of on and off fever and coughing. She just turned 40.

Death can happen at any time, when we least expect it. With the increase in crime, irresponsible driving, depression, stress, rage and lifestyle diseases, the probability of untimely death is now higher than ever.

The realisation that life could be snuffed out anytime even led me to write a 5-page ‘I forgive you’ letter to my ex. I was leaving for a holiday after half a year of depression and had to do spill my guts out once and for all just in case I didn’t make it back alive. Or just in case he could sink no lower and decided to call it quits.

Not long ago, my friend Wee wrote to me:

A friend of mine passed away. Dumbstruck.

I thought it was cancer because she had lost a few friends to the disease.

Heart failure. I didn’t even know she was in a coma for weeks. I know this is random – but if you really want to go to Cuba… and you feel like you want to explore freelancing, do it.

An opportunity to visit Cuba and Mexico had come up. I had another trip to a different continent lined up before that but could cancel it and go for Cuba instead. The problem is Cuba is a much longer trip and I would need to take unpaid leave. I’m fine with the unpaid part but we’re shorthanded in the office.

While waiting for my boss’ decision on my leave, I toyed with the idea of quitting my job if he could not release me – then I could go for BOTH trips.

Maybe the stars are aligning. Cuba is at the top of my bucket list and a chance comment on a Facebook post brought me that opportunity.

Perhaps this is the universe’s way of telling me to yank myself out of my comfort zone and pushing me into trying a new place or even freelancing.

While I mulled on that, I asked Wee if she could be a guest writer on my blog and put her positive spin on death.

Six days later, she shared some good news. Her sister had just delivered and she had an angle for her story – death and life.

Wee’s story

Here is the truth: At the age of 33, my life isn’t where I imagined it would be. Once upon a time, most twenty-somethings had a common dream. To grow older into a life filled with cocktails (Cosmopolitans, to be precise), designer shoes (Manolo Blahniks, again, to be precise) and endless nights of bed-breaking nocturnal activities.

Alas, the alcohol-drenched glamorous thirty-something life plugged by the ‘deceitful’ Sex and the City was not meant to be for some. And by some, I mean me. While I am still nursing the damages inflicted by the delusions of my younger days – I find myself thinking about death.

I was in the midst of throwing myself a pity party, when I heard the news: A friend I have not seen in ages has departed from this world. The first emotion I felt was shock. I couldn’t believe it. She can’t be gone, she’s my age!

Grief was the second. (She left too soon…) The third was guilt.

There I was, about to moan and whinge about the unfairness of life when the truth is – we are all dangling from a thread that could break anytime, on a whim.

It felt all too familiar. I had lost another friend, someone close, years ago, and I was fraught with guilt then – I was supposed to mourn her, to focus on grieving for her, not trying to find a goddamn silver lining from the void she had left behind. But the clichéd lesson – “Life is short, make the most of it” – managed to lodge itself onto my thoughts before the next bout of mid-life crises appeared to drive it away.

So here I am thinking about death – why must it take the passing of a friend to make one feel that no matter how unfulfilled one’s 33-year old life is – one must be grateful for every second, every minute she is given to live?

But I believe that the final, parting gift from our beloved departed is that clichéd lesson – the realisation that life is indeed short and we must, we need to make the most of it.

As the cycle of life goes, when there is death, there also is the birth of new life. My nephew arrived in the world, a week earlier than the expected due date. He announces his presence by giving the loudest of cries – and whenever I hear the strength of his voice box, I am filled with optimism – something that often plays peek-a-boo with me.

The cries of a newborn. The memories of the ones who have left me too soon. My clarion call. It is time for me to face this other truth: At the age of 33, it is truly time for me to try to live life the best I can.

Wee is a writer by profession and a fangirl by admission. Check out her illustrated humour book Fangirls Inc. and her insightful and funny ha-ha blog, Conan, Neil and Me.

Fangirls Inc,

Happy coincidence

You know that saying about being at the right place at the right time? I experienced it last Monday. A string of events led me to be where I needed to be at exactly when I was needed. This coincidence was delightful, as most coincidences usually are, but it benefited someone else, not me.

I had overslept, so instead of taking the 9.07 KTM train, I aimed for the next one at 9.22. However, as I had to prepare my lunch for work, I became even more late, and missed the 9.22. After that, the train ran at half hour intervals instead of 15 minutes, so I had to wait till 9.52, which meant I was almost an hour late on the first day of the work week. Not a good sign.

From the station, I still had to take a bus to the office. That meant more waiting. I joined the queue and a man behind me, a foreigner, asked if it was the right bus to the Argentinian embassy. He showed me an address with just a number and the road name – No. 3, Jalan Semantan.

The bus passes by that road, but it’s more like a highway with several high-rise buildings – not the kind of road you could walk along aimlessly looking for a number. Without the building name, I had no clue where he should stop and I doubt the bus driver would know either. Not many people get the chance to go to Argentina (a 23-hour flight away). I’ve been to the country but even I didn’t know where the embassy was because Malaysians do not need a visa to go there.

On a hunch, I texted a former boss who’s Argentinian. Did he know where exactly was the embassy? While waiting for his answer, the bus arrived and the queue moved.

I moved along too. Then just a few people before my turn, I received his reply. He said the embassy had shifted. Okay, I texted back with great difficulty because I had forgotten my reading glasses (again, not a good sign on a Monday)… Did he have the new address?

Before I could complete my sentence I got another reply with a complete address. It was at Menara Keck Seng in Bukit Bintang, a different direction. The line behind us was getting restless so I asked the passengers to go ahead first while I gave the man the address and directions to take the Monorel train.

That man must have thanked his lucky stars because he was at the right place at the right time. He could have asked anyone but I happened to be the one he queued up behind. And even though I did not have the answer at first, I knew someone who did and bothered to make the effort to contact him. I saved that man from travelling in the wrong direction and wasting at least two hours getting lost and trying to get back on the right track.

It sucks to be running late, especially on a Monday, but I had a spring in my step after that because this incident was such a delightful coincidence, even if it was so for someone else.

Love is like a pint of Guinness

You’ll either love or dread next Thursday. In a week’s time, it’ll be Valentine’s Day.

For lovers, pleasant surprises await. The single ones on the other hand, would probably wish that they could go into hibernation until all the fuss is over.

Yeah, yeah, like Jay Leno, we could call Valentine’s Day ‘Extortion Day’, nothing more than a commercial gimmick to pressure men and women alike into parting with obscene amounts of money to lavish their partners with overpriced flowers, teddy bears bearing heart-shaped cushions and conveyor belt set meals.

But admit it, if you’re attached, you too will jump on the Venetian gondola with all those saccharine sweet couples we loathe for their FDA (Facebook Display of Affection).

I am happiest when Valentine’s Day falls on a weekend because I could hole up home until it’s over. It’s not just restaurants with couple tables and perfume counters promoting Valentine’s Day sets that remind you that your only date is the TV at home, which of course will be screening romantic movies starring Reese Witherspoon or Meg Ryan.

Drowning yourself in work at the office is no solution. Not when the tables around you will be graced with big bouquets of flowers taunting you like Cinderella’s stepsisters.

So where does this leave us single gals?

“Maybe some women aren’t meant to be tamed.
Maybe they just need to run free till they find someone
just as wild to run with them.” ~ Sex and the City

Will we ever find someone to love and love us in return, or will we wake up one day and realise the love boat has long left the port?

Don’t despair. Love is like a pint of Guinness. Good things do come to those who wait, like Eve Pell.

The author of We Used to Own the Bronx: Memoirs of a Former Debutante recently wrote about meeting the love of her life at 67.

He was a widow, she was twice divorced. They both belonged to the same running club. Eve knew a gem when she saw one. Sam was charming, single and fit for a 77-year-old.

With the help of a friend, she set herself up with Sam. A house party led to movies, runs together, dates in Chinese restaurants, a holiday in Europe, and finally, marriage three years later.

Read the full story of The Race Grows Sweeter Near its Final Lap here in the New York Times. I promise it’s one you will want to finish. Happy Valentine’s Day.

P.S. I would like to thank the regional boss of a former workplace of mine. He anonymously arranged for every woman in the office to have a rose on her desk on Valentine’s Day. It was a very thoughtful and sweet gesture.

Karma and the taxi driver

I needed to go to Mont Kiara again. The last time I went there, the taxi driver took me for a ride. Halfway through the journey, he wanted to make a U turn because he didn’t know the way. How could he be a taxi driver and not know where Mont Kiara is?

I roughly knew the route but we took a wrong turn and ended up on the highway. I expected him to take the nearest exit but he did not.

Four toll booths later, he had the cheek to demand for the full fare. RM27! It would usually cost me around RM10. He haggled it to RM23, minus RM4 for the toll. In circumstances where the driver gets lost, he would usually give me a discount. But no, not this one. I would’ve shared the cost (which I think would be fair – again, how could he not know where Mont Kiara is?) but no… he laid the blame squarely on me. I gave him RM20 and some harsh words. 

Two Sundays ago I hailed Mr. Ganesh’s taxi from the main road not far from my home. There was already a passenger inside, so he asked her if it’s okay with her if he picked me up. She was staying just opposite my place. 

After dropping her off, he mentioned that she was waiting over an hour at PWTC.

Why? There are many taxis there. 

They didn’t want to use the meter. 

Oh. 

Kesian, dia belajar, mana ada duit banyak? (A pity, she’s a student, where got so much money?)

I took that as an opportunity to launch into a rant about the driver who cheated me. 

Karma was mentioned. I also told Mr. Ganesh about my encounter with another driver. This time at Midvalley Megamall. If you go there, make sure to leave before 10.30 or 11pm latest because after that, it would be hard to find a driver willing to go by the meter.

The scums of public transportation would hang around outside their taxis waiting to fleece desperate customers. I refused to give in and went along the queue until I found someone willing to use the meter. I later asked him why he didn’t follow the others. He said that he wouldn’t want his own wife or sister to be cheated by drivers like that. 

Karma. 

Mr Ganesh agreed. He used to be one of those scums. Money came in, money went out. When a customer gives you money in anger, the bad vibes rub off. Once, he cheated a customer and five minutes later he got into an accident. 

He finally heard God telling him to cheat no more. So he stopped. And his life improved. His kids did better in school too. When he needed money, a customer from Singapore called up to offer RM7,000. With this, Mr. Ganesh could pay for his own taxi, not renting from a company. This means more take-home-pay every day. 

A driver like this deserves free publicity. If you need to book a taxi, call Mr. Ganesh at 017-630 7902, one hour earlier. Tell him you got his number from someone who believes in karma.