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Jun 10, 2008

PKR rally — like the elections haven't ended

malaysianinsider - On the way to the Parti Keadilan Rakyat ceramah in Hulu Kelang yesterday, my taxi driver shares his thoughts on the state of the nation, as they are wont to do. His worldview is shaped by an emphasis on Islam, that a capable leader who centres his principles on the Quran will be the just and caring leader for all.

As a frontliner in the oil price hike issue, this fiftysomething Malay father of six is directly affected, but he sighs, "Nak buat macam mana (what can one do)?" His hope is for his ideal Islamic leader to emerge that could care enough to solve his predicament.

Another taxi driver, a Chinese man in his 60s who drives a 32-year-old Mercedes between Kuala Lumpur and Malacca echoes this helplessness in the face of the crunch of the oil price hike. He doesn't believe protests will do anything, because "the government is not afraid". He can only cope by raising his inter-state fare by RM3 per passenger, which in his calculation merely detracts RM24 from the RM40 daily rise in petrol that he has to absorb.

Taxi drivers are the markers for the lower-middle class income group, alongside hawkers and fishermen, that is often invoked by politicians, as Azmin Ali and Anwar Ibrahim did so in this ceramah, for being victims at the neglect of government.

They also interact with a wide cross section of society, and offer, if not the most accurately representative, at the very least perspectives that are more varied than usual. The information they accumulate are similarly as random in content and source.... selanjutnya.


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