Mannkal Economic Education Foundation

Mannkal Student Internship Blog

Julian Coleman – Week 11

Julian Coleman

15 February 2016

When I first arrived in Kuala Lumpur, I read an article by a contributor to the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) about conversations he had been having with Uber drivers. He pointed out that unlike cabbies whose occupation is mostly driving, most Uber drivers drive part-time. He had been driven by engineers, civil servants, doctorate students and advertising agents. He described how that occupational diversity makes conversation during an Uber ride much more interesting than that of a typical taxi journey.

In the early days of my time here I attempted to use public transport. However a nine minute Uber drive turned out to be a two hour monorail-train-bus and finally Uber ride anyway which cost about as much as the regular Uber ride did. The story of my journey was of course was met with laughter from my unsurprised Malaysian colleagues. I have since taken Ubers everyday and shared a similar experience as the IDEAS contributor. Across the board regardless of education and background, my Uber drivers have, without prompting, expressed anger and frustration with a culture of corruption and cronyism in Malaysia. How this anger and frustration will play out in the lead up to the next election will be very interesting.

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