TV SMITH's Dua Sen: Men In White
TV Smith's Dua Sen
TV Smith's Dua Sen. The politically incorrect irregular columnist combines his idiosyncratic observations and tangential commentary into a blog...


by TV Smith

I was at Bitch Club the other night when a South African tourist, next to me at the bar, asked if our government requires all our pimps to wear white. Taken aback, I eventually found out that he was referring to the cabbies hanging outside. Every night, near closing time, dozens of taxi drivers (on foot) would zoom in on the 'non-scoring' matsallehs stumbling out of the club. Even without the extra services, most cabs queuing outside popular nightspots charge an additional 'midnight levy' of RM 20 to 30 flat, irrespective of destination.

Not surprisingly, many popular travel guide books have written extensively on our two most 'memorable' tourism icons; our colourful public toilets and fleecing cabbies. Whoever came up with the 'Welcome' sticker on the rear quarter glass of every taxi should be sentenced to life imprisonment in one of our public toilets. The sticker proudly invites passengers to board (Jemput Naik). If you're a Malaysian, you'll know that's either the biggest lie or most unkind joke in the world. In reality, almost all taxi drivers require you to state your destination before boarding. If you're unaware like many tourists, you'll end up getting out through the other door ten seconds later. In view of this, I propose a new sticker that better reflect the attitude and service of our ambassadors on wheels. (See pictures on right)

In most cases, the passengers are also to be blamed for this travesty of procedure. I normally don't ask and just jump straight in. If the driver refused to go my way, I'll suggest going to an alternative destination; the JPJ Office. He will usually have a quick change of mind and will be most willing to bring me to my original destination. Of course, I wouldn't recommend everyone trying this. My size, the slash scars on my face and deranged look help somewhat.

THREE TIMES UNLUCKY: three different cabs; three different excuses?
1st try 2nd try 3rd try
"out of way: not familiar with area" "out of way: changing shift" "out of way: picking up son from school"

Just the other day I was having dinner at Chinatown and I observed an Arab-looking, touristy-type family, flagging a few hundred cabs and 'negotiating' unsuccessfully. Curious, I asked them what was going on. The father explained that every cab wanted to charge them RM 30 to go from Jalan Sultan to their hotel in Jalan Sultan Ismail (some 5 minutes away). I phoned a radio cab for them and the actual fare was estimated at RM 4 (by meter + RM 1 booking charge).

I started using taxis regularly, at the same time our cops discovered this thing called a breath analyzer. Here are some of my observations;

• Not a single driver knows a single road in Petaling Jaya.
• Indian taxi drivers think everyone else enjoy Tamil music at 3000 decibels.
• If the driver smokes, you can smoke too.
• Just got sacked, released from prison or swam to our shores? Rent a cab and be your own boss.
• Many taxi drivers strongly believe they can run the country better and due to some cruel twist of fate they did not   become Prime Ministers.

Unless otherwise stated, all photographs © TV SMITH

© 2003 TV SMITH
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