From our hostel, we walked to the main bus terminal, which was next to the main train station where we arrived yesterday. The counter staff told us that the bus service would be limited as it was still holiday. He wasn’t sure if there would be any bus going to BTC City from the main terminal today. He suggested for us to walk to a bus stop several blocks away and waited for a bus there, as there would surely be a bus to BTC City on that line.
Since we had nothing else but time and nowhere else to go, we took his suggestion and walked to the bus stop. True enough, very few buses passed by, and we had to wait for a while till the right bus came. Then off we went to BTC.
While we were onboard, the bus stopped many times to pick up passengers. At one of the stops, a group of passengers stepped in, all wearing a badge with something written in Slovenian. They were led by a lady. Slowly yet systematically, they scanned their bus pass, made their way inside and sat down. As looked closer, I realized that they were a group of people with specials needs (i.e. down syndrome). It melted my heart to see how well they assimilated into the community. The leader (a normal person, perhaps she was their caregiver) didn’t do anything much. All she did was to monitor them, made sure they got on the right bus and got off at the right stop. They did everything else themselves.
To me, it was a really amazing sight to see. I wondered if we were to do it in Malaysia, how would it be? For one, I could imagine the caregiver being one makcik garang screaming at her disciples “Masuk cepat! Touch n Go tu sentuh kat sana! Cepat lah bas nak jalan ni! Dah.. duduk.. duduk!” Then I could imagine the disciples getting confused and stressed out. Some might even threw tantrum (totally possible because people with special needs had an IQ of a child). Then I could imagine the bus driver complaining “Dah tau macam tu, nak naik bas jugak.” Then I could imagine other passengers grumbling as their journey being delayed by the entire ordeal.
So why can it work in Slovenia but not in Malaysia? First reason: Attitude. Malaysians do not have much empathy towards people with special needs, pregnant women, the elderly etc. I once took my mum on an LRT. There was a young lady sitting down with an empty space near her. When my mum was about to sit there, the young lady immediately put her handbag on the space and said “That’s my place.” And you expect people with such attitude to empathize towards those with special needs?
Second reason: Environment. The environment in which our public transportation operates simply doesn’t give much reason for passengers to feel happy. Bus stops are in poor condition – too few benches for people to sit on while waiting for their ride, no electronic board displaying which bus will come next in how many minutes (ok perhaps some major bus stops in KL do have it, but most don’t) and very little roof or shaded area for passengers to hide from scorching heat or heavy rain (even if there is a roof, the design usually doesn’t provide much shade, and it functions even worse during thunderstorm).
As for LRT, their stations have great facilities, so kudos to that. But one thing that always annoys me – the electronic board is far from accurate. It says “4-coach train to Kelana Jaya will be arriving in 2 minutes” so you quickly stand by the yellow box ready to hop on, 2 minutes passed, 3 minutes passed, 4 minutes passed, still no train in sight. Sometimes it says “2-coach train to Gombak will be arriving in 9 minutes” and you wonder why is the train so late, then you look around for an empty bench, yet as soon as you turn your head the train comes!
Okay enough of my ramblings on KL’s public transportation system. Leave it to our Acting Transport Minister to sort it out. Acting minister, huh? Apparently we need those because the people who supposed to take up the job have gentlemanly declined, saying that their party have lost too badly in the election thus they don’t deserve any ministerial post.
Okay. Enough. Really. Now let’s get back to Ljubljana. After the short yet eye-opening ride, we reached our destination.
|Welcome to BTC City!|
|Mini Cooper on a pillar. Very few cars on the road.|
|Very few people in the mall too.|
All the while it was raining outside, so we stayed in the mall, hopping from one shop to another. Didn’t buy anything much though because the quality of the products were just so-so as compared to the price. But there was huge a Sports Direct store and their prices were just as cheap as in London, for some goods they were even cheaper. I could make immediate comparison as I saw the tags carrying 2 prices – the initial price in GBP being overwritten with new (cheaper) prices in EUR. Perhaps they were leftovers from UK being brought to EU to be cleared.
|The rain subsided. Time to board the bus again and return to city center.|
As we reached the city center, the rain became quite heavy. We stopped at a kebab shop for lunch and returned to the hostel to rest. The original plan was to go out again at night, but it didn’t stop pouring until it was dark. So we scrapped the idea and stayed indoors, watched TV, surfed the net, eat Maggi mee for dinner and went zzz…