…and amazing things will happen to you. -Conan O’ Brien
My one day trip to Malaysia became a revelation of the extent of people’s kindness. It was inspiring to see how some can go the extra mile to help others in exchange for nothing. In less than 24 hours, I have been at the receiving end of random acts of kindness and I have never been as grateful.
My good old friend Cholo (I call him “Chologs”, short for Cholo na jologs hehehe) has always been kind to me! For the second time, he let me crash at his place for a day in Malaysia which was my stop before Australia. He lives an hour away from the airport but he, together with his other Pinoy friends, fetched me there at an ungodly hour.
[That’s me with my new-found friend and airplane seatmate Mykee who was bound for Singapore-Thailand!]
Kind people are blessed! Cholo lives at a resort-type condominium in Cyberjaya, an hour away from Kuala Lumpur. Everyday, he jogs around the city or spends a few hours swimming at his backyard pool. His office is just a few minutes away and a free shuttle takes him there, whenever he decides not to work from home. Yes, he has that option.
As if fetching and letting me bother him for a few hours wasn’t enough, Cholo generously treated me to a food fest! He brought me back to my favorite Old Town White Coffee House where I ate kaya toasts and drank, well, white coffee.
Thereafter, he made me taste this weird but yummy dessert from Domino’s Pizza: Banana Kaya! Let me emphasize that descriptor once again: yum-ehhh! Imagine the newly-improved crunchy chewy crust of Domino’s slathered with kaya jam, topped with banana slices wrapped in mozarella cheese, and sprinkled with powdered sugar… de-lec-ta-ble!
Cholo had to troubleshoot something at work so I had a few hours to wander around alone. He helped me hail a cab and that’s when I met “teksi” driver Yahya whom I absolutely now owe a million thanks to!
I kindly asked Yahya to drive me to Mid-valley Mall. He suggested I go to KLCC Mall instead as it was only 10 minutes away from where I wanted to go. That way, I would be able to see the Petronas Towers again. Brilliant!
When I got to KLCC Suriya Mall, I spent almost an hour taking photos inside and at the Petronas. Because he’s afraid I’d get lost in the city, Yahya waited for me the entire time, NO extra charge. Talk about kindness!
Hard thing about travelling alone is you always look stupid taking your own photo. As I was soaking in the beauty of the Petronas Towers and wondering how I can get a picture of myself against that backdrop, a friendly lady offered to take my photo. I found out that she’s Filipino. [The best talaga ang Pinoy!] She introduced me to her family so I offered to take a photo of all of them. I ended up being part of their photo shoot! I must say with more conviction now: It’s really more fun to be a Filipino, wherever you are in the world! 🙂
I was set on heading back to Cholo’s place when Yahya, the best cab driver in the world for me now, offered to tour me around Putrajaya. I only had to pay him the meter rate going there and the rest of the tour was already for FREE! So much generosity for one day! I was really already questioning my own propensity to be kind to others.
Years ago, the Malaysian Government developed 2 industrial cities where foreign investors can build their offices for cheap with the only condition that they hire Malaysians– Cyberjaya and Putrajaya. Malaysians take pride in these developments. Yahya, originally from Sabah, is one proud Malay. He accompanied me for free around Putrajaya ( city name means “successful prince”) because he wanted me to see how beautiful his country is. The seat of Malaysian government was transferred from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya in 1999 because the earlier was already becoming overcrowded. It was nice to see what they did to this 8,000-acre property.
I would never have seen these majestic structures if not for Yahya:
THE PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE
THE PUTRA MOSQUE
THE SERI WAWASAN BRIDGE
THE STEEL MOSQUE
Yahya’s motivation for being kind to me was simple: “I drive you to see my country not for money but for my passenger to be happy. I am a driver. If my passenger happy, Yahya also happy.”
I guess that’s really the best motivation in life. To make other people feel good. To mean something to others. The Jesuits got it right. At the core of an Ateneo education are Philosophy and Theology subjects designed to teach students like me and Cholo a profound life mission: “To be a man/woman for others!”
And because Yahya has been such a blessing to me, I tried to help him back, as specifically requested, with his English. I explained to him that unlike Bahasa Melayu, their native language that doesn’t make use of tenses, English words change their forms to connote time. “Eat, ate, eating, and will eat” are all simply “makan” in Bahasa. It’s up to the other person to guess what one means by considering the situation and context clues. The long trip from Kuala Lumpur to Putrajaya and back to Cyberjaya was filled with exchange of root words and their other forms with Yahya trying to use them in proper sentences. I felt like at the end of the day, he was more grateful for what I imparted to him than I was to him for bringing me around. But in the end, I guess, we were both satisfied with how our day turned out– productive and filled with utmost kindness.
Allow me to return Yahya’s generosity once more by posting his contact details (I asked his permission) here. If you’re ever lost in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, or if you happen to need someone who will fetch you at the airport, contact him at this number: 012 8193529. He will gladly tour you around and give you a discount. Just mention my name, Denise from the Philippines, or this blog: cool detour.
Do something good today 😉