Picture: This situation happened a day after Malaysian government announced the increase of petrol price. Brilliant? I thought so.
One of the suggestions which have been given was for the rakyat to fully utilise the public transporation in Malaysia. Co-incidentally, due to government's policy of moving a newly promoted staff to the rural area, I am now staying in front of a commuter station about 10 miles from Seremban. (I am originally from the town of Seremban and not from this area).
My father is hospitalised in Seremban Hospital for almost 3 weeks now. Due to strict visiting hours in a government hospital, we are obliged to follow the rules. This is fine for us because the rules are good. The last visiting schedule on a working day is from 4.30pm to 7.30pm. I was at the commuter station around 5pm. As a regular customer of KTMB, I have used to late schedules, improper announcements and a station which always close at 2.30pm instead of 5pm. As an addition to that, the machine will always be out of order- either it does not have any change or the machine can only process coins. I have encountered damaged machines several times. Not to mention that there are no lights around this station and there are number of foreign immigrants (I’m not sure whether they are legal) wandering around the station. As a respectable 26 years old single lady, I am putting things under control. I forced myself to believe that this situation is no longer an issue for me. As a typical Malaysian customer, I have to accept everything. In my opinion, if you are rebellious, you're not a typical Malaysian customer. You have to say, "it's okay" all the time. Or you can also say, "tak apalah". It is up to you. Use your own native language as we’re a multi-racial country. Sadly, the company which is dealing with this medium of transportation bears my race name. What a shame.
For record, I have been a customer for this company since I was 13. The first time I took the commuter was when I was studying in a federal government boarding school. The service was fine. The seats were comfortable and the timing was marvellous. When I was 16, I took the commuter three times to go to the Commonwealth Games, either with friends or family. When I started college, the commuter was still an important medium of transportation for me as I went back to Seremban weekly. After I graduated, the commuter was still my ride on the first day I went to my office to pick up my offer letter from my new employer. I’m still taking the commuter to go to work until today. After the price of fuel has increased, I use the transport more frequently and that will be to almost everywhere. Name the station – I might have gone there for any reasons. These include several occasions including gym sessions, weddings and even dates.
Alright, I’m going to go back to the story on 6th June 2008. I managed to catch a train around 5.15pm. Based on my estimation, I should reach Seremban at 5.30pm. Then, I will take a cab & go to the hospital. I sighed with relief when I saw the high back seats commuter. I was sleepy so the high back seat was such a blessing. I took my seat and started to flip through my new book. My brother - Atan was annoyed since he had nothing to do, so he stopped me from reading. We talked instead.
There is a tunnel between Tiroi station and the Seremban. The train started to slow as if there was no electric supply at all. My brother noted that. I was still reeling on positive thinking. I said, "No lahh...we are reaching our destination. That's why." I was already daydreaming bout meeting my father after a week. It has been a while since the last time I met my sparing partner.
Unfortunately, my brother was right. The train stopped. It was getting hotter and hotter through minutes. Half and hour passed. No announcement made by the train driver at all. Everyone started to grumble. An Indian lady in front of me was already made some racist comments. As a person from the same race, I felt uneasy. The comments made in English. I was smiling to myself. Again. This is a normal thing. A Malay girl with a scarf on her head will always be perceived as someone whose literally dumb. No knowledge of speaking proper English. Funny. As Malaysians, we were together in a train. But, what can I do if someone prefer to be isolated. I can't help it if someone prefer not to be a Malaysian.
Suddenly, I received a call which required me to speak in English (as a kampung Malay girl, I prefer to speak using my own bahasa as I'm so proud of it). After I finished the call, the Indian lady turned her head and said, "It's hot isn't it?" I just smiled. The lady and her friends started to grumble. I couldn't blame them. Who could? There was no courtesy made by the train company at all. No announcement, no apology. We were waiting without knowing anything! The lady then told me that she couldn't take it as she intended to finish some business in the ladies. The commuter held her down.
"Why don't we call the customer service? The might know something." I said. The ladies agreed. But we couldn't get through the line. Disappointing. While we were meddling with emotions, the train driver went to our coach. He grinned to us. Before we could say anything, he disappeared. Nice. It left us without information. Again.
The clock ticked. It was 6.47pm. A group of Chinese teenagers who went to God knows where have returned. Suddenly, the train door was opened. I was confused, but I kept my mine focused. Someone said, "Let's get out from here! We have to walk to Seremban!" And I heard the older lady in front of me gasped. My God. That achi was wearing a sari! I looked around me. There was a an old uncle with large luggages. A woman with a child. How on earth....I couldn't finished my sentence.
I went to the door. I nearly fainted when I found out that I needed to jump on stones which will be three to five feet below. I was terrified. I was afraid of heights. Nooooo...!!! My heart screamed aloud. My brother was standing there, chuckling. "Sis...it's ok." He jumped and he lifted me while I was struggling to 'jump'.
I looked around. There it was. The sight of everyone struggling as I was. An old Punjabi lady with her elderly husband slowly used the driver's stairs. People who just went back from work, who were wearing baju kurung, sweating and frowning while they were trying hard to jump safely. No help from anyone from KTMB.
We walked to the nearest bushes nearby. It was already near to the main road. I watched the commuter passed through, just after everyone jumped from the train. It left without any apology or any refund. There was not even one announcement made. I guess, the driver must be relieved. The train will reach Seremban safely. The driver won't have to sweat.
What a day after the petrol price increased. We even have to jeopardize our life. What if another train passed from the other platform? Where was the money we paid for good service? Yes, I'm going to be a Malaysian customer again. When the poor customer service has been provided to me, I will say - Tak Apalah.
* cheryna menulis in English okay! Harap maklum. Mintak maaf kalo ade wrong grammar ye...