18 September, 2008

Taxi drivers, what have you done?

Tsk tsk tsk... taxi drivers, you guys are not even on par with our politicians whose names appear every now and then in the papers, but you made yourselves name and at the same time tarnished Malaysia's image. You are more famous than our politicians now.

Aren't you proud of yourselves?

Shame on you!! (excluding those courteous drivers)

Jansz has a story to tell, while Mr. Beagle has "good" recommendations on what we can learn from the taxi drivers.

Today's news (18 September):

Malaysia's 'worst in the world' taxis tarnish national image

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - - The ads promoting "Malaysia: Truly Asia" aim to welcome visitors with a warm smile to a prosperous and modern nation, so the taxi fleet branded "the worst in the world" can come as a bit of a shock.

Even the locals are not spared the shabby service of unkempt and hostile drivers behind the wheels of decrepit vehicles who refuse to use the meter, overcharge and pick-and-choose which destinations they will travel to.

At the popular KLCC mall under Kuala Lumpur's iconic Petronas Twin Towers is a typical scene, as a gang of cabbies negotiate with a young Norwegian couple just metres from a signboard warning against "taxi touts".

"Flat rate, flat rate, no metre," one driver insists as the tourists try to find a cab to take them to their hotel, less than two kilometres (1.2 miles) away.

Anxious to escape the baking heat, they agree to pay 25 ringgit (7.22 dollars) for a trip that would have cost less than three ringgit on the meter.

"Is it expensive? We don't know, we thought it is normal here," said the woman as they piled in with their shopping bags.

More frequent visitors, however, are vocal in their criticism and say that aggressive and unprofessional drivers are tarnishing the nation's image as a squeaky clean and hospitable destination.

"I first visited Malaysia in 2006 and I was impressed by everything I saw except for the worst taxi service I have endured," said Kabir Dali, an Indian tourist waiting in vain for a metered taxi at another mall.

"I paid a whopping 260 ringgit (74 dollars) from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport to town and was later told that was twice the proper amount."

Complaints about taxis are common in many countries, but in Malaysia it has escalated to an outpouring of frustration, on blog sites and in letters to newspapers.

In a survey by the local magazine The Expat, some 200 foreigners from 30 countries rated Malaysia the worst among 23 countries in terms of taxi quality, courtesy, availability and expertise.

The respondents lashed the fleet as "a source of national shame" and "a serious threat to tourists -- rude bullies and extortionists".

Salvation is in sight though, as a number of smaller, up-scale operators enter the market to provide a more expensive but quality taxi service for frustrated visitors and locals.

The uniformed drivers, behind the wheels of smart new multi-purpose vehicles and sedans, switch on the meter as a matter of course and do not refuse destinations -- surprising and delighting commuters in the capital.

Abdul Razak, operations manager for Dubai-based Citicab which launched here in January, said that even in poorer nations such as Thailand and Indonesia, taxis are smarter and the drivers far more courteous.

"I would say it is the worst in this region, undoubtedly. I have travelled to all countries in this region and our company operates taxis in many parts of the world. The situation here is the worst I have seen," he told AFP.

"The vehicles are in shabby condition, the driver will take you if he likes your face -- that is, if he agrees with where you want to go for the price he insists on."

The government has called on taxi firms to lift their standards, but various campaigns have achieved little, and many blame the lack of enforcement on rampant corruption in the police and bureaucracy.

"It is difficult for the roads and traffic department to take stern action," said a security officer at one city mall as he watched the touts swoop.

"Taxi operators and the company which hold the licences are all linked to some politician or another," he said. "Drivers here are ruthless because they are unchecked by authorities who are almost non-existent."

John Koldowski, from the Pacific Asia Travel Association, said that "less than desirable" taxi drivers have an outsize impact on a nation's image.

"The first contact a tourist gets with locals is often during airport transits to hotels and it creates a very, very strong first impression, either be good or bad," he said.

"Authorities certainly need to do their jobs and act upon any complaints strongly, quickly and visibly." (News Source)

Which Malaysian Blogger Are You?

Dammit! As much as I H-A-T-E this dude who's got very thick skin, I'm actually... another replica of... of... hiiim?!?!?!?!

*puking hard*

Congratulations Fish, you are...

Kenny Sia of kennysia.com

You have it all, or so you think. Big balls, big bird, big everything. Also a big heart and ever-ready big hug to give out to everybody who needs one. But you didn't know this. You're the one who need a hug the most. So hugs to you!

Which Malaysian Blogger Are You?

14 September, 2008

Mr. Brown Show: NSF = National Sex Force?

Warning: You must be 18 and above to understand this podcast.

Malaysia is expecting a population increase to 70 million by year 2100 (source). As of September 2008, our population amounted 27.73 million (source: JPN). And so is Singapore after they realised that their population needs some boosts.

However, Singapore came up with an exciting... I mean, sexciting programme called National Sex Force (NSF) to give training and encouragement to men and women on how to "produce" and increase their "productivity".

Well, of course that's not true if it's from Mr. Brown Show!

To think about about it, if Malaysia has something like NSF, surely almost everyone would love to be registered! Don't you? Hahahah.

Click here to listen to the podcast.
Another quality production by Mr. Brown.
Quality guaranteed by Ms. Fish. *wink*

06 September, 2008


How very true it is!

I met my good pal today, who's also a consultant in another environmental consulting company. She told me her encounter of the reviewing process for EIA and EMP. Amazingly, I have the same experience and like her, I'm sick, sore and tired with all these. Enough is enough. I believe that the other consultants in Sarawak may have felt the same way too... being ridiculed.

What do we get after all the hard work, and we are sincere in what we do? Being ridiculed.

Now, this message is for all the agencies who are involved in the review of EIA, EMP and similar kind of assessment reports:

Look, we are humans too and we admit that we make mistakes. No matter how much experience we have, we still err, because we are merely humans. We always try our best to produce the best flawless report for the project proponent, but still, we are bound to making mistakes. If you produce a list of comment on our reports, can we kindly ask you not to just keep it to yourselves? If you do not circulate all your comments to us, how do you expect us to improve? And what's the point of you keep complaining about our reports when we are not even told of the mistakes we've repeatedly made? How on earth can your comments be "private and confidential"? It just doesn't make any sense at all! Tell us, what is there to be private and confidential about??

Now listen, y'all. You've got only 2 choices:
  1. Keep complaining about the same thing and keep your complaints secret; likewise, all of us consultants shall keep making mistakes and give you more trouble. Anyways, it's not our fault to make mistakes, it's YOUR FAULT for not helping us improve! Or...

  2. Talk to us sincerely and discuss issues with us properly and kindly instead of screaming and raising your voices at us. Tell us what mistakes you've detected, and kindly send us all the comments from all the agencies involved. If you have done that and we choose to ignore it. Then yes, the blame is definitely on us.
We have made ourselves clear, I hope?

At the same time, I would like to convey our gratitude on my friend's behalf, to the few sincerely kind NREB officers whom we have met. Thank you so much for your help and your kind assistance, and for being so patient with us when we missed out an issue or two in our reports. Keep it up, and two thumbs up for you!

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