Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Unlikely Angels

After years of not taking public transport, last night I decided to try out the efficiency of our KL transport services. I was fed up of waiting for hubby to come get me from the office, KL was jammed up as usual, and I decided to save time and money by taking the monorail instead of the taxi. I have heard many horror stories about our public transport system and about the people that take them. Some may think that it is weird that I should try to experiment with this now that I am 8 months pregnant, but those of you who know me knows that I am a 'spontaneous' person. Haha.

So I left the office on foot and walked uphill to the Raja Chulan station which took me about 15 minutes. But to much relieve, I managed to climb up the stairs to the payment counter and another flight of stairs to Platform B. First thing I think of is...'How does one on wheelchair get up here?'...there are no escalators. (I think a lot about the disabled nowadays because I happen to be working with one). Another "Mana Boleh" for Malaysia...woo hoo!

Anyhow, the moment I stepped on the platform, I realized I was going to be sardined all the way to my stop. There were SO many people and from what I observed the monorail to be all this time, the train is SMALL. I panicked, knowing this means trouble as I have been rather klutzy since getting pregnant. We stood waiting for the train to come and I was paying particular attention to my now very painful, swollen feet that needs rest.

I started 'assessing' the people around me. Since we are all in the mood of celebrating our 50th Merdeka and the spirit of muhibbah, I wanted to confirm the theory of why Malaysia was voted the 3rd rudest country in the world. So my first 'targets' were these two jokers standing right in front of me. They were talking loudly and fidgeting (more like pacing) non stop although the whole platform was packed. I was afraid they will step on my foot. One of them was 'wearing' a Malaysian flag and I remember thinking to myself that it's way too early to celebrate Merdeka. Then I remembered that its the Asia Cup and Malaysia was playing tonight...so maybe they are off to see the game, who knows? Anyway, he continues pacing and playing with his flag...putting it on his head, then taking it out to wear around his waist and then decided to be Superman and used it as his cape. Frankly, in my head, I (too) quickly summarized 'hooligan'.

Now the first monorail comes around the corner and everyone starts pushing. When the train stops, I know no one can board because the train was way too packed. I saw a mat salleh push his way OUT of the train and started cursing when he finally managed to get out. I thought, "Great, how am I ever going to get home now?" We waited some more and I passed more judgements on the two jokers in front of me. The second train comes and the pushing became more intense. The train stops and people realized that there are gaps in the train which they can fill! The pushing becomes violent and I get squashed. I couldn't push anyone and obviously nobody gives a s**t about me being pregnant. Then I heard a voice behind me shouting. It was the flag guy. He started shouting at everyone to let me pass, "Oi kesian lar, ada ibu mengandung!" So because of him, I managed to board the monorail. He was my first angel of the evening. I felt embarrassed that I had passed unfounded judgements on him earlier, but quickly forgot my bad behaviour at the next stop.

I was trying to balance and stand in the packed carriage when I made the conclusions that my friends (and the TV campaign/ad) were right....NOBODY will let a pregnant woman/ elderly person sit. There was a frail looking makcik standing next to me, and I decided 'Heck! if she can toughen it up, I will not complain'. However at the next stop, someone stepped on my swollen, painful foot because she wanted to get out. More people tried cramping into the train and at this point I was getting really pissed off. To add to my "pissyness" a young couple boards the train, holding each other tight, as if the girl will fall down. They cramped close to me and I wanted to smack them. Again, I started making judgements about them, trying to stereotype them with my small, stupid mind. Before I can comprehend what was happening, this young boy tapped on the shoulder of a seated moron, and asked him politely to give up his seat for me. The moron (a strong looking Chinese man wearing a shirt of a Japanese car manufacturer) looking utterly embarrassed, got up and mumbled something. The young boy replied him with a smile and said "Thank you bro. Dia pregnant lar. Thank you ah." I sat down and my second angel looked at me and smiled. I smiled back (still embarrassed about judging another decent human being) and he asked if I am OK. I thanked him and wanted to cry.

Since life is all about living and learning, I got 2 lessons from my experience last night:

1. Matthew 7:2-5 declares, "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, Let me take the speck out of your eye when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye."

2. There are still decent Malaysians who will prove the world wrong about us being rude... MALAYSIA BOLEH!!!