Saturday, January 30, 2016

Forget the expensive fares, enjoy the rides...

In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Compassionate; blessings and peace be upon Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

"Do not spy one another,
nor let any of you backbite others..." (Hujurat 49: 12)

SINCE I retired from office about four years ago, I rarely went out to town whats more to our capital city Kuala Lumpur. I spent most of my time at home, at my parents' home, in my 'kebun' (garden) and several 'masjids' near my house.

A few days ago I went to Kuala Lumpur as I longed to meet my old office colleagues. Subhanallah, what a shock awaited a 'katak bawah tempurung' (frog under a coconut shell) person like me when I was in the city for example the fares of the LRT had soared more than 100 percent!

I took several train rides - previously the LRT journey that cost me RM1.20 had increased to RM3 and the RM1.70 ones had been raised to RM3.80! 

During my working years, I took the return train almost every day, my monthly allocation for the LRT rides amounted to about with more than 100 percent raise in the fares, I dared not to think the consequences I had to face if I were still working in KL.

Well, to be mad or 'to run amok' about the expensive fares, it would be of no benefit but commuters had to think hard and fast how to solve their monies woes. A federal minister had already given his idea - why not 'the people of this country' have two jobs to beat the high cost of living!

Forget about the minister's 'brilliant idea', let's us relax our mind' by sharing some beautiful experiences I had while holidaying in Turkey recently. Summing up the nine days journey travelling by bus from Istanbul, Bursa, Pamukkale, Konya, Cappadocia, Ankara, Bolu and back to Istanbul, I must admit that it fitted the tagline of our travel agent's in Turkey - Life is a journey...enjoy it!

Alhamdulillah, I enjoyed everything that 'was thrown upon me'; perhaps the best experience for me was flying in a hot air balloon in Cappadocia. Heritage Travel noted that Cappadocia is known around the world as one of the best places to fly with hot air balloons. 

The spectacular surrealistic landscapes combined with excellent flying conditions allow the balloons to gently drift over and between fairy chimneys, pigeon houses hewn into the unique rock formations, orchards and vineyards – through impressive valleys, each with distinctive rock formations, colors and features – and then float up over rippled ravines for breathtaking views over the region.

To feel, perhaps the once in a life-time experience we try Royal with it's tagline 'Fly Royal - Feel Royal'. Yes, I felt royal...but with what cost, dear readers? The ride or flight of one hour burnt US$190 (nearly RM1,000) from each of our pockets. Yes, forget about the expensive fare...enjoy the ride, fly like a millionaire or better still pretend to be a king or queen!

During the flight I stood next to the person 'operating' (driver?) the hot air balloon, Seniz Tuzcu Timur, thus I had great opportunities to see her in action and course asked her questions. Her business card which she presented to me after the flight stated that her job was a 'pilot' it was not 'an ordinary job'...she told me it needed five years for a person to learn the technical and art of flying at a special academy!

How did the balloon flew? I saw Seniz controlling the combustion of the burner which used propane gas to heat up the air in the envelope to move the balloon off the ground and into the air. She kept on firing the burner at regular intervals throughout the flight to ensure that the balloon continued to be stable.

When she was in action, she covered up her face; when she was in a relaxed situation, she briefed her 'passenger' about the journey; asked them about 'their welfare' and when the 'time was right', I asked about her work and how much was her pay.

She said she only flew only once in a day; that also depended on the weather. It was an hour flight...and her pay was 5,000 lira (around RM10,000) a month. Ooh, what a great job and a good pay!

Perhaps looking at the money...some of us would like to take the challenge to be a pilot of a hot air balloon as our second job in line with the suggestion that Malaysian took up a second job to fight the ever raising cost of living. Well, I was only joking...the truth was this job demanded 100 percent concentration!

Now we come back to our expensive public transport fares issue which many of us have no choice - but whether you are angry at it or not you have to face it. Instead of putting negative reactions such as putting on a sour face or keeping on grumbling why not change our thinking ways - accept things as they are and try to enjoy whatever that are thrown to us.

Thus try to enjoy the train rides...forget about the expensive fares. When we are on the train, sit back, relax and reflect on this soothing words of Allah SWT: "Verily, along with every hardship is relief, verily, along with hardship is relief. So when you have finished (your occupation), devote yourself for Allah’s worship. And to your Lord (Alone) turn (all your) intentions and hopes.” [Qur'an 94:5-8]

Insya-Allah (God Willing) if we bank our hope to Him and pleaded for His help, He would make things easy for us. We must also believe His words that if we help others such as giving charity He wound rewarded us bountiful in this world and in the Hereafter. Also let's perform the recommended 'dhuha' (mid morning) prayers for 'insya-Allah' our lives would be blessed for example abundance in necessities.

About high fares for public transport such as the LRT , the 'rakyat' have to be united - do not give support to parties and leaders who had made our lives miserable. Please make full use of the 'people's power' - be united and work hard from now to make changes in the next election! 

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