THE MRT RIDE EXPERIENCE 23 MAY 2017
It is already 1 week since 17.07.17, the day PM Najib opened the Semantan – Kajang MRT line which is part of the overall Sg Buloh – Kajang Line. If not today then it will be quite a while before I will manage to experience this new Game Changer infrastructure project that will change the transportation landscape of the city. Having a mass transportation system means reducing the need for personal transportation which have almost choked Kuala Lumpur and created a lot of tension on the road.
I jotted this note down as we go along and as I experienced the ride and the watched the antics of those around in the ride. So forgive me for some rather inappropriate comments that you may find as the ride unfolded and experience gathers as those were the actual happenings I recorded on my trusty and ever handy Evernote application..
Today, 23rd July, me and wife boarded the MRT at Sg Buluh Station. Quite a group of chinamen were also trying to board with their families. My wife cautioned not to be with their group knowing their penchant for making loud noises uncaring of the public uneasiness. And true enough, at entry around 3.35pm, their kids rush here and there inside the train to grab seats with excited shouts. And some shamelessly play around joking on the moving train as if at a play ground. The 5th tenet of Rukunegara ‘kesopanan dan kesusilaan‘ will not be able to be assimilated into the Bangsa Malaysia ideology in the near future if this take too long to be inculcated as a National trait of Malaysian.
As the coach stop at stations along the way elderly chinamen and family with kids were mostly seen. They use whatever facility provided to maximum despite the unending negative comments on the government. Looks like they are bringing their kids on a ride since it is weekend.
Even at the 1st station of Sg Buluoh, the train was already packed. I cannot imagine what it will be like when we approach the City. Based on the literature given at the station, the journey end to end would take 84mins covering 58km and stopping at 31 stations. It seem that this month’s traffic will be mainly local tourists and not actual daily commuters.
Before Muzium Negara it goes underground and the views outside are just black walls. Inside, dramas are continually evolving, kids making their own stories and creating their own space.
Ummi seemed bored and agitated by these chinese kids. The train stopped longer than usual at Stadium Merdeka, an exchange station to other lines. Next is Bkt Bintang, also an exchange station, this time with KL Monorail.
Every station seemed to be dominated by chinese users. What happen to the Malays? Not be bothered because of some inconvenience of packed crowds? The information system keep blasting useful information along the way. The info just soak-in, and after a while became background twits that seeped into the memory unconsciously, making us aware of what’s happening along the way.
I saw some good people giving way to mothers with small kids; one elderly Chinese and another a Malay. Good behaviours it seems are cross-racial boundary. It all proves that Malaysians are good people at heart. It is the political climate and scenarios that painted and segregated us into seemingly eternal enemies.
The coach raised up to ground level again at Taman Pertama. Total length of underground sections are 9.1km.
Well, for the latter part of the journey I saw Malay kids also jumping around and playing, shouting with their parent pretending not to know or just plain couldn’t care less. So it seems this is not just chinamen trait but Malaysian trait.
The MRT live up to its claim as people mover. The facilities are good though the seats are basic plastic that does not provide comfort for long journey. For short haul, it might be satisfactory to the healthy folks. I saw some rubbing their arm after hanging onto the hand-hanger for a long time. Some started shaking legs to improve blood circulation. At 5mins interval for each train, it seems not enough. Maybe it is because my perception is based on sunday ride and not normal weekdays.
The traffic thinned out after the Tamans along the way and we feel so much better, more like an MRT ride and not school bus of the yesteryears.
Well, we arrived at the end of the line, Kajang Station with hungry stomach, having missed lunch on the way. What a mistake. There’s no food outlet here. This is a transfer station with Seremban KTM. Since it was already passed 5.00pm we decided to solat here and take a backward trip to Stadium Kajang for Satay.
Seeing Hj Samuri Satay in bold from the train was to whet the appetite with expectation of a good meal to mark the Kajang Move expedition today. The signage was very clear from the train to the Satay Kajang Outlet. We had expected a row of Satay Kajang shops like before. However all the other shops have disappeared, swallowed by Hj Samuri it seems. He must have invoked the Satay Patent Right to so effectively monopolised the satay trade here.
Another dissappointment. The queue was long and the shop was packed to the hilt and definitely not for hungry stomuch to wait. We then walked to the nearby stadium shops. The chicken rice shop was closed and the booths down at ground level seemed like manned by people who seemed to view potential customers as a pain in the ass from their blank, dispirited countenance and ‘I dont want you‘ sign projected in clear view on their faces. If this is in Kelantan with passengers dropping off MRT in big numbers, they would be open for as long as the train can discharge passengers, each shop trying to outdo the other in attracting them, all smiles beaming plus cute remarks to engage them. Here…Booooo..what a loser.
So scoot off we did looking for other potential shop or warung and found on the other side of the MRT Station. One potential warung was quite full with the only empty table in the heat of the evening sun. I asked the shopkeeper to shift the table to the shade so we can eat here but he couldn’t be bothered and just pretended he did not hear me. Luckily the next shop have a spare table though near the kitchen. Empty stomach find such inconvenience too minor to consider.
Time to board the next train to Sg Buloh. Alas, the train was nearly full and it was like the old days when taking the school bus back. Soon as the door open people rushed in to grab any free seat. It’s back to the sixties. What a shame. So we had to be happy together grabbing the steel column like old Hisdustani movie stars about to break a chain of songs..
I have worry of myself though, my back and thigh is not that tough standing for long. But the shape of the column makes it easy and comfortable to hold. Soon my wife had a seat and I am happy. So I had the column for myself, tapping on the screen writing this blog post.
The train ride also shows many good sides of Malaysians. One case happened in front of me. A Malay man was cuddling and giving bottled milk to his son. The bottle fell to the floor and milk spilled out. He cautioned us of the milk flowing on the floor while trying to wipe it out. A few nearby passengers quickly brought out tissues and toilet papers and the spilled milk was cleaned off the floor in short time, and the floor become clean again. So have patience. Malaysians really are good-hearted people. We just need to bring this trait out into a habit and custom to offset the common stumbling block; the ideology of ‘jangan jaga tepi kain orang’ that shut us off from automatically helping out as was our inherent value.