This is the episode of the Chicken Rice guy and the Taxi man..

Ha ha! It’s been awhile since I came here..

This experience of mine may sound common but just like to share with you. =)

Just 2 days ago after conducting a session of training at a hotel I decided to go to a chicken rice shop (to makan chicken rice-lah!) and I spoke to the chicken rice man. He seems like a nice guy (someone around 30s) and was kinda chatty (cause not many customers at that time..). He went on speaking about ‘Rights to vote’ and how he had the ‘tidak apa’ attitude in exercising his rights to vote! I asked him did he vote the last election and he said No. This is how our conversation went:

Me: Why didn’t you vote?
Chicken Rice Guy (CRG): No time la! Got shop to jaga!
Me: EH? No time? If I was not wrong there’s a school nearby here was used as a voting center right? Won’t take you more than 30 mins to settle everything..
CRG: Haiya! No need lah! 1 vote they won’t miss lah!
Me: …… what you mean 1 vote they won’t miss?
CRG: Haiya…the election so predictable..sure la BN win in Johor…my vote don’t matter lah! (he seems to like to say lah a lot)

Me: Eh…you saw the last election right? It was a swing in votes for many places…even some places (constituencies) in Johor went to opposition. Each vote was important as right? (at this time i a bit bengang with the fella)
CRG: Haiya..ya lah! But doesn’t affect me lor…BN win..DAP win…anybody win also I still have to sell chicken rice rice bowl more important than the person sitting in that MPJBT! (the municipal council of Johor)

Me: (silence…) pointed at roast pork.. Eh, your roast pork very nice! (sui yoke)

CRG: Ya lah! I specially make one!

Me: Your chicken halal or not?

CRG: No lah..where got halal! No malay will come here lah! You sot (dumb) ah?

Me: Do you know that by not voting there is an opportunity you can lose your rice bowl?

CRG: AH? You curse my business ah?

Me: No no no! Don’t get me wrong..I just telling you this. Let’s say majority of people like you..don’t care about voting as you think it does not matter…and you all went on with your daily lives..Then suddenly, an extremist party wins your area by minority..what do you think MIGHT happen?

CRG: Nothing lah…

Me: Maybe nothing..but what if they said this area Perling (that’s where he is) is to be stricken of non-halal restaurants and every restaurant is to be suffer or not? how long you here already?

CRG: 8 years already lor..

Me: Eh, your chicken not halal..pork not halal! maybe only sell rice and cucumbers…you suffer or not? then you close shop already lah!

CRG: …(silence)

Me: Next time…don’t think your votes don’t matter…it may not affect you but may affect future generations..think about it ok?

CRG: okay la! (went off to cut more chicken as got customer come)

I left the place. The guy said Thank you very much! come again! Hope he learnt 2 cents worth of advice there…

Then at the evening I went to Sutera Mall as my client (Carrefour) was there and wanted to be mystery shopper to see how they are doing. So I hitched a taxi there. The driver was a malay guy with long hair (looked like the 90s Megadeth hairstyle) so we had a casual conversation..

Taxi: Dari mana?
Me: KL lah..
Taxi: Oh…datang sini buat apa?
Me: datang khusus..

I think I shall just translate to English-lah!

Taxi: Oh..long time here ah?
Me: No lah..going back this weekend..
Taxi: Hmmm..nowadays must be careful ya…economy going to recession.. My wife got one month non paid leave from factory (Japanese factory) for this month and will only start next month. Better than retrenchment..
Me: Ya lah ya lah!

Then he start talking about how this economy recession can lead to more crimes as people will lose their jobs..he spoke a lot about Indonesians turning violent as he picked up a guy with bad bruises as this guy had been beaten up by thugs and stole his bag (got money and passport). Then all of a sudden he spoke about the Government should be fixed and stuff.

Taxi: You whole life (39 years old) I never voted. Cause I am indifferent to whoever wins.

Me: (thinking…eh?! Another guy who doesn’t vote..*sigh*)

Taxi: I picked up one lady “kuat politics”. She asked me why I didn’t vote. Then I asked her back ‘what is the benefit of me voting?’ and she said all the standard answers like practising your right as a Malaysian citizen and etc.. I told her, I am proud to be Malaysian, however, the votes are only the benefits of the politicians. It does not affect me. What is this Malay rights they keep preaching? My rights are not given. The rights they keep preaching about is just to scare us and to divide us all from Malays and Non Malays…

He continued speaking about how he tried to apply for low cost housing and still couldn’t get it (he applied for about 1 1/2 years). He said irregardless of who wins the elections, he still have to pay his own stuffs. Have to send kids to school. Have clothes to buy, food to feed, etc. All these not provided by the government. All this will not improve my way of life. The only benefit I can see is that hospital is cheap for me as a Malaysian citizen.

Me: Haih…so you think not important? Let me ask you, how long have you been driving this taxi?

Taxi: Sudah lama adik…15 tahun..

Me: Expensive or not to maintain this Waja of yours?

Taxi: Of course! I was the first few pioneers in JB to drive the Waja taxi. Good car, however maintenance very expensive.

Me: What is expensive? Spare parts? Servicing?

Taxi: Haiya.. all lah! brakes, tyres, etc..

Me: I see. So tyres quite expensive right? Monthly license fees also quite expensive right?

Taxi: Ya lah!

Me: Think about this. If all taxi drivers don’t vote..and an incompetent politician takes over. Decides to cut back expenses on road maintenance (makan duit) stating ‘Government no budget’. Will you sakit or not?

Taxi: (silence..)

Me: Eh, look at this newly tar-ed road. This was done prior to the elections right? Easy on your tyres, easy on your brakes, easy on your car right? If they decided to cut back on road repair works, a lot of pot holes in the road, what is going to happen to your car? MAINTENANCE is going to increase significantly right?

Taxi: ya….

At this time I had reach my destination. I thanked the guy and told him to think about how he can make a difference to his life.

There. That is the story of my experience. 2 incidents, 1 common goal. So I do encourage everyone to VOTE your rights! It does not matter whom you support, just exercise your rights to vote!

Gold Chan

Published in: on December 13, 2008 at 11:18 am  Comments (2)