I think I am a spoilt Malaysian employee. I realised this when I traveled to Bangkok recently. When I had lunch with my colleagues, I came to know that majority of them take over an hour to travel to arrive on time in office everyday. Most of them were not driving. They were taking public transport. I told them it’s possible for me to take a public transport like what my General Manager and many other colleagues were doing because the monorail station is nearby and the LRT station is also not too far away but I did not. I preferred to drive. Reason? I wanted flexibility in timing, even if on and off I would be caught in a bad jam. How come my Thailand colleagues can accept such travelling duration everyday? I think this is because they think this is the norm. Perhaps the jam there is far worse?
I told my wife long time ago that if I have to take one hour or more to work by using public transport, I would either resign or move closer to my office. I think this may be because I feel that there are still choices. I could choose to change my lifestyle or I could buy a place nearer to office. Perhaps there are still places which are within my affordability range even today. In Bangkok, it’s harder. The good areas are already way too expensive for their salary range and the not so good ones are really not so good and I think it’s always the best to stay with family which majority of my Thai colleagues are doing today.
What happens in the future? When MRT starts and your new home is at the very end of the MRT line and you needed to take one hour or more to reach your place of work? Perhaps I should also be ready to do the same. Oh yeah, for those who think MRT in Singapore is convenient, if you happen to stay at the end of the MRT line and your working place is in the CBD area, 45 minutes is the NORM if not more. Don’t try during peak hours, you have to push your way in or miss it and have to wait for the next. My friends who migrated to Australia also needed to drive 45 minutes or more every day as they are staying in ever further away suburbs. The prices nearby CBD? Haha. Stop joking. So, ladies and gentlemen, I think taking one hour or slightly more to work via public transportation may be here soon. It will stay that way too. Driving may take you even longer. Change or be changed.
written on 1 July 2015
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