Taxi drivers are men with colorful characters. Very chatty too. Most of them like to talk about politics, bashing the government, giving their two cents worth on how the country should be run. Others share the things that they are passionate about i.e. religion, fishing, herbal remedies.. the list goes on.
I took a taxi recently, and it turned out to be the most inspiring ride I ever had.
I hopped in and told the driver where I wanted to go. He started driving. “Nak baca paper?” he asked, handing me a Harian Metro. He told me to look at the front page, there was a story about a old man taking PMR exam. “Tengok tu, dia punya semangat. Kalau buat betul-betul boleh sampai PhD,” he commented.
I read the article and was immediately in awe. I started comparing myself and the old man. How motivated he must be vs. how unmotivated I’ve been recently. I’m supposed to finish up my MBA this year, but with the piles of work and the hours I spend in the office, it looks very unlikely. Whatever free time I have, I want to socialize, go for a trip or just rest. MBA has been simply thrown to the side. The funny thing is, I’ve finished all my subjects, I just have my thesis left. One very last thing to do before graduation. Yet I feel unmotivated.
Yes, instead of feeling excited to jump the final hurdle, I feel burnt-out. I feel that I’ve invested so much time and energy into my MBA classes, now that I’m done with them I deserve a break. A week break quickly becomes a month, a month becomes a semester.. and now I’m entering a new semester.. yet my thesis still hasn’t moved a page.
Back to the taxi driver. “Pakcik pun tengah blajaq ni,” he mentioned casually. He just registered with UM to do a certificate in usuluddin. At first he wanted to study politics, but after discussing with his wife, they decided that a religious course would be more appropriate. “Buat bekalan akhirat,” he said. His class would start this weekend, every Saturday for 6 hours. He told me he was quite nervous about going back to school, after all he never had any tertiary education. “La ni baghu nak masuk unibesti!”
Back in the days, he was a policeman. After leaving the armed forces he started driving taxi. He has five kids, four of them are university graduates. The eldest is doing PhD at UPNM. The youngest is sitting for PMR. His wife told him not to drive anymore, their kids have grown up and their elder children financially support the youngest. “Tapi kalu pakcik dok ghumah nak wat apa? Baik bawak teksi buleh gak isi masa.” Then came the idea of stuying. He discussed it with his family, they were incredibly supportive. One of his kids immediately started thinking of furthering his own studies too. “Dia kata ayah sambung blajaq, dia pun nak jugak,” he laughed.
He told me there are actually many taxi drivers doing part time studies. It’s much easier for them because they can arrange their own time. For pakcik, he’ll be attending class every Saturday, so no taxi driving for him on that day. “La ni amik sijil dulu. Lepaih ni buleh amik diploma pulak,” he said with much confidence. With that kind of spirit, I bet he can even get a PhD.
We arrived at the destination. I handed him the fare and wished him all the best for his first class this weekend. I got out of his taxi as a different person – an highly motivated MBA student ready to complete her dissertation.
I made a call to the campus and committed on a submission date. Everything’s firmed. I’m all charged up. Let’s get started.
Thank you pakcik for the sudden motivation!