Words, Buses, and People

This blog was established at the start of 2017 with the ambitious goal of becoming one of the most popular blogs in Kuching. And with that kind of dream, it’s rather foolish not to explain the common terms used over and over again in all of the blog entries. With just a few posts left before I hit my 50th ride milestone, I figured that some kind of glossary needs to be included here. By the end of December I’d probably stay at 33 hits just like today, but I’m pretty sure even as I remain the only reader of my own blog, a comprehensive guide to APassengersJournal would be a helpful tool in understanding whattheheck did I write throughout the year. This page will be updated as more weird words and names are used. —thep4ssenger, 19th March 2017.

The Words

Mak Cik: A Malay word meaning ‘Aunty.’ Generally the word I use to describe or call any women above the 40. Sometimes when I forget how old I am, I also call women in their 30s as mak cik.

Elite Passenger Club: A term I use to describe regular passengers who generally talk to bus drivers like bros. Basically a ‘club’ I want to belong in but I know I won’t qualify.

Jalan Masjid: The main station in town.

STC Bus: The old buses without aircond. Cream and green.

CPL Bus: The new buses with aircond. Green.

The Buses

Spaceship: An STC bus I started boarding in July 2016 and had seen me through my happiest and saddest days. One of my favourite buses, if not my number 1 favourite. Spaceship squeaks a lot. My regular seat on Spaceship is right row, 5th seat from the front. I am the happiest human being alive when I get to board Spaceship back home. Spaceship’s driver is Ironedshirtman.

Squeeks: An STC bus I had been boarding regularly since 2015 or so. One of my favourite buses as well. Squeeks does not actually Squeak at all. The name was given a bit too impulsively without thorough thought. I associate Squeeks with my Tuesday 9am rides that I used to have in mid to late 2016. Pak Cik David drives Squeeks.

Creeks: Also known as Capman’s Bus. Creeks was named after the word ‘creak’ although the bus isn’t really creaky. It was yet another impulsive naming process. Creeks had been my regular bus since the beginning of time (technically, since I started riding buses regularly in late 2014). One of my favourite buses as well. I associate Creeks with my early morning rides, the rides when it’s all dark and cold outside but at the same time it’s where I witness the break of dawn. It is an STC bus driven by Capman.

Ratts: Another STC bus that I had been on long before Spaceship and Squeeks. This bus is always clean although it has no rubbish bins on it. The windows are very nice to open because they open pretty smoothly without being stuck. I will forever associate Ratts with my ride above the flyover at 3rd  Mile and the ride to the other town at the end of the route back in November. Evergrinningman drives Ratts.

MoustachedMan’s Bus: An STC bus obviously driven by MoustachedMan. I have yet  to decide a name for it since it isn’t one of the buses that I have any attachments with so far. I get this bus when schedules turn out unpredictable and plans somehow don’t work out. Update: I’ve decided to name this bus Clanks.

Frank’s Bus: Another STC bus. This bus has weird seats, the kind of seats with high backrests instead of the ordinary STC bus seats. I seldom get to board this bus but it’s one of the buses that I had boarded since the earliest days I started boarding buses regularly. I named its driver Frank.

OldMan’s Bus: A CPL bus which is shorter than the ordinary CPL buses. It has side seats which are pretty uncomfortable to sit on if you’re as socially awkward as me and feel weird of staring in front only to have your field of vision occupied with the side view of another passenger. OldMan’s bus is basically the bus I get if Creeks/Capman is not around (to town) and Spaceship/Ironedshirtman is not around (to home). Technically that means OldMan’s bus can be equated with a day when plan A fails. OldMan’s bus is one of the rides I find hard to enjoy.

The People

The Drivers

Ironedshirtman: Spaceship’s driver. A tall man of early to mid 40s who became the first driver to have responded to my “thank you” with a “welcome,” automatically making him one of my favourite drivers. Ironedshirtman’s uniform looks like it’s ironed all the time, hence the name. He generally looks a bit out of place for many reasons. Other notable things about him include: he pretty much follows a routine, he remembers my stop, he would explain routes to passengers who ask, he loves speeding, he can be friendly to his passengers, and he somehow loves to smile. If I were born male, I’d like to have a bit of his personality.

Pak Cik David: Previous name given was DetachedDriver because he used to look so detached. I decided to stop calling him that after he smiled at me. He generally does not look like a person who enjoys smiling and being friendly with passengers. David is obviously a made-up name. Another driver who remembers my stop (starting this year). He’s a man of late 50s with grey and thinning hair. Every time I see him it makes me think of two persons: my own dad (and how dads work hard for their family) and my favourite tutor in college (because of the hair). I started writing about him as Pak Cik since the day I accidentally called him that. Pak Cik drives Squeeks, and is a very careful driver.

Capman: A driver who wears a cap and is never seen without it (gosh now that makes me wonder how does he actually look like without his cap on). He’s probably in his early 60s. He has a face that says I’ve seen it all but when he speaks, he can sound like a very happy and friendly old man. He used to always have his earphones on back when I boarded his bus in late 2014-2015. Capman once laughed at me for chasing his bus near the station when he was actually heading to the station, and not leaving the station as I thought. He also loves to tell me not to wear black. His personality reminds me of my grandpa. He drives Creeks, and is very excellent at braking when he stops to drop off and pick up passengers.

Evergrinningman: The driver of Ratts, a man who somehow loves to grin. He’s probably in his late 50s, and is a good man who talks nicely to his passengers. He’s the only driver whom I’ve said “Happy New Year” to. His signature appearance is his constant grin and sunglasses that are always on even when it’s not sunny. His personality also reminds me of my grandpa—loud, friendly, and is always generous with a smile. A made-up name that I’ve given to him is Barnaby, but I seldom use that name these days.

MoustachedMan: A man of late 40s to mid 50s who has a moustache, obviously. I gave the made-up name Casper to him, but that name is seldom used. MoustachedMan drives a bus that I sometimes just happen to get. He always just waves at me to come forward to his bus when he’s too lazy to pull over to the side of the road when there’s a jam. Other random facts about him: he reads a tabloid newspaper and he loves staring at vehicles next to him when the traffic light is red.

Frank: A made-up name of a driver who looks like a true social introvert just like myself. He has bulging veins like a satellite view of the Amazon River at the side of his forehead. He almost never speaks or smiles, but he doesn’t have an angry appearance as well. He just looks so zen. He’s probably in his late 50s to early 60s.

OldManDriver: Other names I have given to him are basically inappropriate to write here. He’s probably one of the oldest driver around, with a voice that is a bit hard to understand at times. He looks constantly angry except for the times when he speaks to his members of the Elite Passenger Club. I was once scolded by him for foolishly pressing the bell just a few metres from where he initially stopped. I admit it was my mistake but that made me resent him a bit for a long time. He’s basically a scary driver to me because it’s so easy to see him being upset over things.

Woi-man: A CPL driver who harshly called me Woi! Woi! once, hence the name. He’s a short man of probably mid 50s. He used to play the radio a bit too loudly on his bus but thankfully now those days are over.

UpMan: A driver who looks like the man from the movie Up.

The Passengers

*All names are obviously made up.

Joe: A young man who’s always on the same ride with me in the early morning, and sometimes back home. He has a certain disability but he looks like a very hardworking young man. Sometimes I feel sorry that he needs to stand when the bus is full, but I’m always trapped between the thoughts of being kind and offering my seat to him, or just letting him stand because I don’t want him to think that I’m being condescending or belittling his capabilities.

Homer: A bald man who is a regular passenger of my morning rides if I don’t get Creeks/Capman’s Bus. The way that he looks at things and other passengers make him intriguing because I somehow see myself in him.

Kakak: A woman from my neighbourhood. Basically I’m qualified to call her Mak Cik instead of Kakak but she addressed herself as the latter, so I simply followed her words. She’s always with me in the early morning as I wait for Creeks and she waits for her transport to work. Sometimes we happen to get the same bus back home.

Mak Cik Neighbour: Another lady from my neighbourhood. She used to be a regular passenger together on my 9am rides on Squeeks back in mid 2016 to late 2016. I enjoyed talking with her but this year those days are over because we both no longer follow that old Tuesday 9am routine.

Cheery lady of __th Mile: A regular passenger on Spaceship in the late afternoon as she heads back home from work. She has a child-like cheerfulness in her voice and words as she speaks to other passengers. I would love to have a bit of her cheerfulness because she seems so genuine in her interactions with others.

Ping-guy: A man of mid 50s who constantly wears a cap but has a rotation of caps. Another regular passenger of Spaceship. A window-gazer, always looks so deep in thoughts. He is Ironedshirtman’s member of the Elite Passenger Club.  When he looks out of the window and remains silent, I see a bit of myself in him.

The woman who stares but never smiles: A woman who looks sleep-deprived. I’ve lost count on the number of times I’ve coincidentally been on the same ride with her to town and back home. She somehow stares at people but never ever smiles. Sometimes I wonder what makes her unhappy.

Milhouse: Ironedshirtman’s Elite Passenger Club member level 10. Kind of looks like Milhouse Van Houten from The Simpsons. Always sits in front, talks to Ironedshirtman before the ride begins, but stays completely silent throughout the rest of the journey.

Pete: The man from __th Mile, a regular passenger just like myself. Sometimes his wife is with him (‘Pete’s Wife’).

The elderly men of __th Mile: Grandpa A and Grandpa B. Grandpa A is the ‘nerdy’ one while Grandpa B is the ‘badass’ one.

Uncle Zack: A 62-year-old man (I found that out from his conversation with another passenger..) who loves to talk to everyone.

Smiley Lady: The young lady with a naturally smiling face who’s a regular passenger on the same bus with Homer in the morning.

Mak Cik Ju: A mak cik who always happens to be on the same ride with me from town to home on days I have to go home late. I only started to recognise her when we boarded Squeeks together in two consecutive days around March or April. A few weeks after that we had a pretty good conversation and gossip session at the station, talking about what regular bus passengers talk about.

Mak Cik Amoi: Another mak cik who’s sometimes on the same ride with me on Creeks (in the morning), Spaceship, or Squeeks. She once called me ‘amoi’ so that pretty much explains why I named her that way.

Aunty Jane: OldMan’s Elite Passenger Club Member. A true extrovert. Talks to OldMan like an old friend, and sometimes talks to other passengers about stuff you really want to hear. We were complete strangers before, but one day she sat next to me and I initiated a conversation. I think she knows me by now.

Mr. President: A middle-aged man who looks like a president of a country. He lives two stops prior to mine. Always reading his newspaper, and never likes pressing the bell, but prefers to tell the driver directly and stand by the door before the bus stops. I always see him on Spaceship and OldMan’s bus for my ride home.

That’s pretty much it for now. This list will be updated from time to time I guess.