Sunday, January 3, 2010

Throat Slitting Taxis in Johor

We haven't had any mishaps before taking taxis from Johor Bahru down to Singapore in our previous trips. But this time it was different. It was unfortunately a Sunday, & that's when taxis are a scarcity. And when that happens, taxi drivers become primal animals out for the kill.

A lot of things in Malaysia are just there for show. For example, the big red letters that say BUDI BAHASA AMALAN HIDUP KITA. When I approached the counter for a ticket, the lady behind the box didn't even want to look at me. I wanted to buy a ticket but she wouldn't sell it to me. BUDI BAHASA my posterior.

You probably can't see the sign below but it says RM15 per person or RM60 per trip to Singapore & that is as clear as broad daylight. It's right in your face.

But when we got into the taxi, they were asking for S$60. That was definitely cut-throat robbery, in clear broad daylight. I was fuming mad. It's ok if they were asking nicely for RM10-15 more on top of the RM60 but this was insulting & offending.

So we got off & joined the rest of the people in the waiting area who were in the same predicament. At that point we felt very lost cos it looked like there was no way we would ever get to Singapore. But we had no intention of feeding these bloodsuckers. Our badly corrupted country needs a major change now more than ever, & we were not about to continue endorsing this criminal activity.

Next to us (a whole bunch of people waiting for taxis) were a whole bunch of taxi drivers sitting there drinking coffee & waiting for suckers & hawking their prices in Sing$ & mocking us - Tak apa. Boleh tunggu. Tunggu lama lama. Mana ada teksi.

I felt like punching them in the face. But they looked bigger than I was, so I let them go.

Then a young couple next to us went up to ask & guess what. The price was now Sing$35 per person. Yes, I know. That was murder. And being principled, the couple didn't yield as well & took us just across to catch a bus.

The bus ride cost RM2.00 to the checkpoint. We got down, went thru the immigration, & went up another bus for S$2.50 which brought us straight to the taxi stand at Bugis Street. No hassle. No waiting. Everything was clockwork.

We were so grateful to the young couple. Apparently the guy was from Johor & the girl was from KK, & both of them were working in Singapore.

That particular experience in Johor reaffirms our belief that there is completely no hope for Malaysia, unless it changes, unless it removes all the corrupted politicians, from the man at the top to the taxi drivers at the bottom, unless it changes its system of administration, enhances & enforces its laws. But meeting a couple like this also reaffirms our faith that there is hope, & there is still really nice & sincere people around in this country of ours.

Coming into Singapore, we felt a huge wave of relief. At last, we were in a safe place where the taxi drivers go by meters, & will take you anywhere you want to go. We were back in civilisation.


terri@adailyobsession said...

we had the same experience too n it was unbelievable tt the situation continues. on one side, complete chaos n day light robbery n on the other, efficiency n cleanliness, in every sense of the word. n they still ask why ppl are leaving the country. last year, over 300,000 malaysians migrated, compared to abut 100,000 the year b4. students who finish their studies don't come back, n the govt is still asking why (tho behind doors they know very well the reasons). a lot of words but no action. sad. very very sad.

Anonymous said...

Just came back from Seoul. Am blown away with the customer service over there. The soflty spoken sales assistants and stewardess shown towards their own people and tourists. Over in Bolehland, they still look up to the whites and not their own.

William said...

This is the situation when corruption is accepted as part of the culture. The country is getting poorer, uncompetitive, hopeless etc. The situation will get worst in this year or two when it become net oil importer. No subsidy for petrol and oil price is on the rise. When the oil price hiot US100 per barrel, petrol will be aorund RM6 without government subsidy. My advise is leave while you still can. Getting too old, other countries will not want you.

rogermht said...

The way I see it. It is the same everywhere in the world. The difference is in country like Msia it is day light robbery and lawless. For a more "civilised" country like Australia and Singapore, it is more like "Gotcha!"

Anonymous said...

all the talk about 1Malaysia. pfft! i'd like to add in that there's no hope for Sarawak. it's time to see a change...28 years is a long time...if you get what i mean :)

Greg Wee said...

Do you remember the movie Dumb & Dumber Part 2? The movie poster showed the backward de-evolution of man back into apes. It seems like that's where we're heading.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Amongst family members we share a trusted taxi driver every time we go from JB to Singapore and back.

Good to have such a number!!

Yeah I share your distaste for all things corrupt and impolite.

dt said...

couldn't agree with you more! when i was in Singapore last year, a fren showed us how to get to Singapore by bus. I too was impressed by how efficient and how much cheaper it was. Sure u need to walk a bit more and it might not be a door to door delivery service, BUT and this is a biiiiig BUT, you don't have to vomit blood over corrupt taxi drivers that thinks they own the world.

MARLENE said...

I've only been back a handful of times after leaving Malaysia for close to 20 years. I went back to Kuching a few months ago and was sadly disappointed to see that corruption is still rampant and the Chinese are hard done by the government.

No wonder many of us immigrate overseas and few choose to return.

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