Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Membenarkan Yang Biasa, Membiasakan Yang Benar

Most of the time, I found riding a cab stressful.

It would normally be a matter of time when - not if - I would be cheated out of my fare.

Don't get me wrong. The last of time I rode one to Bukit Bintang from my office, nothing unusual happened. The last time a friend forgot his computer bag, it was returned by the cab driver who operates out of Bandar Tun Razak.

So it could merely be my impression. As people say, susu sebelanga rusak dik nila setitik, though again, I am under the impression that there are more than a setitik nila as far as errant cab drivers are concerned.
This is not Pak Sujono's cab. I did not hire nor can I afford this ride .
For the first time, I decided not to wait for my normal Bluebird Cab in Cengkareng. At peak hour, they did not seem to be coming at all. So instead I took Pak Sujono's Proton Persona Borobudur cab. As we were heading out of Sukarno-Hatta's Terminal 3, we passed by the flyover to downtown. That exit was manned by Pak Polisi, so traffic was under controlled even though it was peak hour.

So he said, "Well, only when the police are there!"

I laughed. I told not to be too hard on Indonesia. It is the same in Malaysia, though things are very different in developed country.

"Benar," he replied. "It will take many generations to correct the wrongs."

The he said something that caught my attention, though I have to ask him to say a few times to digest the content. Of course we were speaking in Bahasa, so it took me a bit longer to digest it. Be he said it beautifully.

"Janganlah kita membenarkan yang biasa; seharusnya kita membiasakan yang benar, " he continued.

I paused for many moments to mull over these words.I even had to ask him to repeat a few times.

"We have to go against the traditions, and do only the correct things. Traditions do not mean that they are correct. We may have done them for generations, but then, many a time we did not know any better. For example, if anyone dies, according to the tradition, the tahlil sessions will be conducted for 7 days and again at the 40th day. It causes a lot of hardship to the deceased's family. This is not right, but this is the tradition in Java. Muhammadiyah would not allow this anymore."

I nodded in agreement. Whole-heartedly.

"Have you heard of the predator fish and the small fish?" he asked me. I said no.

Normally they can't be together in an aquarium for obvious reason, but someone had done this experimentation. They put the small fish in a small glass compartment (in the aquarium), so the big, predator fish would attack the small fish to eat them. But of course, the predator fish did not realize about the glass wall, so it keeps on hitting the glass wall.

And it hurts them.

"It happens many time such that when the small fish is released to the main aquarium, it was never attacked again by the predator fish!" he concluded.

I'd take the story at face value and I believe we can be "conditioned" in similar fashion. 

If we have a good system, everybody would follow them. Look at Singapore, he continued, even Indonesians would follow the law there and would be a very disciplined driver in Singapore.

I smiled. Of course, I noted in my mind, even the supposedly discipline Singapore driver would drive as recklessly as their Malaysian counterparts when they are driving on the highways of Peninsular!

That's Pak Sujono for you. He seems like a well read and knowledgeable person. But he was only schooled up to Kelas 5. He told me so. I guess that that would be standard 5 in primary school. "Dulu bapak saya seorang preman and he had not encouraged me to do well in school."

But do not get him wrong. He did not blame his dad. Just telling the fact as it is.

I guess he learned a lot in the university of life. He even quoted me Ayat 85 in Surah al-Baqarah. I can probably quote you the first 10 verses of the same chapter!

We talked about many more stories from Sukarno and the ideological war that went into Indonesia's independence, between him and this two other buddies. This uneducated cab driver from Java is really educated about life as a whole.

Thank you Pak Sujono for a very enlightening ride.  To me, he is a Porche class cab driver and a great ambassador for Indonesia.


Actually I did not try to argue with him on the fish story. I read about fish 30 years ago, just after I returned home in 1986. Monash would send me their post graduate magazine to me, I am not sure whether it was yearly or twice yearly. I remember about one of the article was about fish and whether would feel pain (as we human would).

I am not sure about the conclusion then. But browsing through the net, I am told that fish do not feel pain as we would. They do not have the neuro-physiological capacity as we do.

Fortunately for us.
Because if they do, we might be banned from eating fish.
The hook of a fishing lure is stuck in the upper jaw of this rainbow trout. Whether the animal feels pain is not verified beyond any doubt, according to a new study.
Credit: Alexander Schwab

Read about it here.

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