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.

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