Monday 9 February 2009


I am not anti-Chinese, anti-Indian or anti-Bumiputra. I am an equal opportunity person. I just do not like everybody. So do not take this piece as being anti-anything. Its just a compilation of my experiences sitting in the back seat of taxis in KL while suffering an air condition that does not cool, traffic that does not move and a driver who thinks that anybody going faster than him is "gila" and anybody going slower than him is the cause of the massive traffic jam that we were in - all the way from Bangsar to Bukit Bintang.

Open Letter to Gopalrajah (aka as Francis) the driver of the taxi that took me from Bangsar to Bukit Bintang last Saturday afternoon after “negotiating” an extra Ringgit $5 for a traffic jam surcharge – not approved by JPJ but mutually agreed to by two consenting adults – me and Francis.

It is common knowledge that the people who should really be running the country are driving taxis and they are only too willing to pour forth their views on “keadaan negara” if you are reckless enough to engage them in any conversation….even if it is to ask what the time is.
Getting into Francis taxi is an amazing cultural experience. The aroma, the colors and the music blaring from the radio requires for one to tolerate cultural and racial divergences among races and requires one to seriously accept that it is ok to be different.
Francis, as you insists on being called (can someone explain to me how one who is named Gopalrajah at birth becomes Francis?) please allow me clear up a few point of contention that we had with regards to our discussion on the legality of the decision made by the Sultan of Perak in resolving the crisis there.

You said “ Aku tau itu Sultan dulu ada kerja jadi majistrate tapi ini Sultan punya bikin sudah taruh itu Barisan control Perak”. 

To establish your credentials in discussing this  matter you said: “Saya Ipoh mari.”
In defense of Tuanku’s decision I drew your attention to the fact that Nasharudin has gone back to UMNO and that three Pakatan Rakyat’s MP have turned Independent and have now expressed support for BN. In this situation the Sultan was of the opinion that UMNO had the numbers to form the new State Government.

I saw you looking at me through your rearview mirror and after giving me the eye you said “Podah !!” - which I interpreted from the tone of your voice, as being dismissive of Tuanku’s decision. 

Biadap maybe but derhaka is to harsh a description to give to his “Podah!!” 

We went on to discuss what PKR has so far achieved in the States under their control. You were very critical of PAS propensity to take religion into all aspects of its political activities. 

You said: “Itu Hud Hud punya Islam sama itu PAS mesti ada sikit susahlah” which I interpreted as you being against the introduction of Hudud Islamic laws. Again I attempted to correct you by informing you that it was not Hud Hud (which is a M Nasir song – Apa Itu Hud Hud”) but Hudud but you stopped me dead in my tracks when you asked me “Itu M Nasir Pas atau UMNO?” because I really in all honesty cannot claim to know M Nasir's political preferences.

Then he turned his attention to me. He asked me “Encik sokong siapa?”

I said “ Kita sekarang mesti support Pakatan Rakyat pasal ini UMNO banyak itu politic wang ”

You interjected and said “Dia ada minta sikit wang bukan?” Here again your  interpretation of “sikit” was suspect but before I could interject you said: “Sama itu Polis lah”…and he was off going on about corruption in the Police, how his taking each day was not even enough to feed his family what more when he had to “feed” the polis…..and he went on and on….even managing to bring in the IGP and a Police Inspector he knew at IPK in Jalan Pudu into the conversation.

As he poured forth on Police corruption his mobile rang. He had his hands free on and started a loud and boisterous conversation which I could vaguely follow because of some bits of Bahasa and English that came through at erratic interval. What I heard from his phone conversation were……UMNO/Podah ( UMNO and podah were said in about the same breath)….MIC….. Makka Sakthi …meeting? (about five times – followed by a toss of his head in a circular motion and then a shake from side to side)…Special Branch…..and then a “aiyoyoooo” ( at least twice).
The radio was lost in the wall of sound that Francis and the hands free mobile had caused in the taxi. I was beginning to have a headache and just wanted this cultural experience to end as soon as possible...... 



  1. Hahaha! I don't often take taxis - can't stand the smell of stale smoke that mingles with the barely air-conditioned air - so it's no wonder you got a headache!

    But most of the taxi drivers I've talked to have been good guys: helpful, and friendly, and yup, with a story to tell :)


  2. Don't like everybody? I thought I didn't too, still does. What does that make us? A misanthrope. Misanthropes United - an oxymoron if there is one. Haha.