Tag: travel

GrabTaxi’s ‘Speed, Safety and Certainty’ Approach in Thailand

The state of public transportation in Bangkok is often tarnished by the unavoidable presence of drivers who either would take a passenger to where its convenient for the person steering the vehicle or when the taxi meter is not used. Welcome to the troubling state of affairs of not only Bangkok but other cities in SouthEast Asia.

What started in Malaysia, has spawned to other countries in the region, as their enterprise model cleverly supplements the urban transportation industry, a synergy of internet, gadgetry and travel.

During a “Meet and Greet Wei Zhu” event in Bangkok, GrabTaxi’s chief technology officer outlined the fundamentals of the growing company, which relies on their app to efficiently link passengers with their taxis.

Wei Zhu
Wei Zhu

Wei Zhu gives an impression of safety, of travel monitoring via the app, and that one is able to get around without the hassle of negotiating with the driver to use the meter. GrabTaxi takes pride in their selling points of “Speed, Safety and Certainty“.

Though its obvious while user-friendly technology and effective supervision makes the service attractive, there are no guarantees that you may not end up with a moody driver who may just make your trip unbearable. However the plus point on the service, since the taxi is registered with GrabTaxi, is that lodging a complaint would be easier.

There’s also the 25-baht booking fee, on top of the metered fare, that one has to pay the moment you reach your destination. I don’t mind, depending on how far I go, transportation (when using the meter) via taxi is usually affordable, unless one gets caught in Bangkok’s notorious traffic.

The GrabTaxi app on my BlackBerry Passport looks amazing, compared to a tight, poorly aligned visual when one uses the BB Q10 or of a lesser OS. Its available in BlackBerry World, a free download. I recommend this app for those travelling in Bangkok and especially in Malaysia.

If you’re planning to travel in the city, check it out, download and then use it.

 

Zashnain

An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

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BlackBerry Prepaid Packages from TrueMove, AIS, TuneTalk and Celcom

I travel often to Thailand, and depend a lot on my BlackBerry for internet and communication. In the land of smiles and armed with my BB Bold 9790, I have tried the local telcos, for prepaid BB packages from Dtac, AIS and True. While as in Malaysia, I’ve tried TuneTalk, Maxis, Digi and Celcom. Huge difference to the pricing of the packages and the service.

Let’s start (click on the images) with…

MALAYSIA

I’m inclined to stick with Celcom at this rate, solely for the internet volume and naturally the features. TuneTalk is great when it comes to customer service (though at times they get confusing via call), though most of the time with far better responses than Celcom.

THAILAND

I’m never going back to TrueMove. Quite a horrid experience, since 2011. I recommend AIS, and if you’re a foreigner in Thailand, best to speak to a customer service officer who understands English, patient and professional. I have no problems with their service whether in the AIS stores and the call centre. Problem with Thailand: BB is unpopular and dead.

AIS, along with other Thai telcos, offer expensive BB prepaid packages. There are questionable moments of whether Thailand’s 3G coverage is actually working or simply an illusion. Don’t hold your breath.

As for Malaysia telcos, the main problem is the lack of efficiency in their customer service. Many personnel do not seem to have the right training in managing the customer, or maybe its the “tidak apa” (loosely translated, “Hey Mister, I don’t give a shit”) behaviour of those answering the calls and those manning the booths/stores. Epic fail on Malaysian courtesy.

Oh well…

Zashnain

An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

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Tragedy of the Poor, Living in Societal Apathy

Sunday, hellishly humid and blisteringly hot. Bangkok. I’m in one of those random moods to explore places, away from anything that looks and feels elaborate in structure and decoration. The feet, thighs and lower back set in motion, and I’m off. Bangkok holds much for a traveller, particularly when one is away from the main roads and shopping malls. Life, as in many cities, begins in the older districts, where tourists would not venture, where the middle-class are conveniently absent.

Elderly man working

Elderly Thai man walks slowly to the roadside, in search for discarded wealth, at least to him. Bottles, recycled goods, a source of income for him, and many others like him, who wander the old streets in search for something to sell, to trade, in exchange for baht. Survival, in this city, is challenging for those without a stable income. High cost of living, in particular, the rent of a small flat or a hut in the slum. You’re expected to pay, whether to the landlord, gang or corrupted official, to stay, to live on the space we call land.

Elderly man recycle work

I see a decline of what’s left of empathy among the middle-class population of the metropolis. Aye, people seems to be quick to offer the coin, or two, to the street beggars. But that’s just about it, about the act of giving, a confinement of empathy. Passing loose change to the vagabond, the disabled homeless person in Bangkok is habitual in nature, almost an instinct to reach into the pocket to offer unused coins. Behaviours are still the same, as we walk by the bowing beggar, and within a heartbeat, we forget their faces and their existence.

 

Zashnain

An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

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Pulau Pinang, a brief time of recuperation before the journey

The storm approaching the seashore of Penang.

Its always good to be back in Penang, even though the times spent is usually on a cocktail of work and pleasure. Relaxation, no matter how brief, is something of a rarity nowadays for me. The cold weather, with the whipping sea wind and gloomy sky promised moments of rain. Nature didn’t disappoint me, as Penang was covered by the kisses of the storm. Magnificent, really.

Outreach, that dreaded word that armchair activists glued to their computer screens and urban Starbuck-sipping social workers dread. Outreach is all about being mobile, providing services to marginalized communities outside of the office and into the realms where support does not exist or injustice runs wild. I’ve done outreach work, since the beginning of 1990 and grown quite accustomed to moving about; supported by random, flickering emotions.

I’ve been focusing on work, and the northern communities living in semi-isolation, whether in small forgotten towns, a track of land devoted to bananas and papayas, or in the chicken farms and fishing villages. Out-of-school young people continue to be marginalized by their urban peers and adults who demand that the “mischievous youths” bow in obedience to the so-called societal norms. With the little funding I have secured, the work takes me to the states of Kedah, Perlis, Penang, Kelantan and hopefully Terengganu.

The break, merely one day, gave me some time to wander alone on the seashore, contemplating on the approaching storm and warding from the overbearing thoughts of work. I quite enjoy the times I spent roaming in Penang, with the local tasty cuisine, the old architectures and the narrow roads leading practically nowhere.

Indeed, what a marvellous day to unwind and consume the sights.

 

 

Zashnain

An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

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Rejuvenation in Rural Pathum Thani Province

A rural road, in the depths of a province that I am unfamiliar with. Pathum Thani. Imposing highways, leading to narrow roads, and how I remember the small dusty town, somewhat a taint of resemblance of Phnom Penh, though not quite. The escape, away from Bangkok, was thankfully rejuvenating. The nap, a couple of hours in the moving vehicle, prepared me for the “rural” province. Relaxing, despite the signs of the dry season in these parts. I’ve always enjoyed the trips, and outreach, in rural Thailand, whether in the plantations of middle south, to the most southern fishing villages and the northern rice farms. I shall return.

Pillars made from petrified tree trunks held an old roof. Scattered chairs, a comfort, away from the sunshine.
Pillars made from petrified tree trunks held an old roof. Scattered chairs, a comfort, away from the sunshine.
Algae-filled pond, though the farmers find it helpful, during the drought.
Algae-filled pond, though the farmers find it helpful, during the drought.
Blistering heat, with a touch of humidity, however the obvious absence of towering buildings. I like.
Blistering heat, with a touch of humidity, however the obvious absence of towering buildings. I like.

 

Zashnain

An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

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Betake oneself, into Maha Sarakham, Thailand

My guide and friend, Nat (pronounced as “Nut”) took me to an almost sleepy town somewhere in Maha Sarakham province. The town, with a small population, was devoid of the usual tourists. A quick meal, two bowls in fact, banished the lethargic feeling when one has so little sleep. I must, truly, return to see the people and rural terrain, and experience the sensations once again.

Table against the wall that's made from cheap wood.
Table against the wall that’s made from cheap wood.

 

Days of old, simple "rural" needs of folks.
Days of old, simple “rural” needs of folks.

 

Woman prepares noodles with small local beef strips and soothing hot broth.
Woman prepares noodles with small local beef strips and hot broth.

 

At the back of the old restaurant, greenery greeted the sights, in a province surrounded by dry terrain.
At the back of the old restaurant, greenery greeted the sights, in a province surrounded by dry terrain.

See:

 

Zashnain

An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

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Trekking at Chaloem Rattankosin National Park

An evening of trekking in the tropical dry forest, and the exquisite flood of crisp fresh air into the lungs… quite intoxicating. In fact, being away from Bangkok even for a while is always a welcome change to routines. The Chaloem Rattankosin National Park is small, though the night, especially the late evening strolls with friends proved to be an exhilarating experience, with insects buzzing about, distant melody of birds and the swaying branches of tall trees – to the music of nature.

Chaloem Rattankosin National Park

Chaloem Rattankosin Corn

 

Zashnain

An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

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My Random Snapshots of Life

Mix-matched, I know, though I see life almost through random events. The longer I travel, the more I see the neglect. Society rushes to fulfill its desires, and yet we sometimes, or often forget to capture the moment.

 

 

 

Zashnain

An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

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A Quick Visit to Malacca

I had the opportunity to visit Melaka during my last visit to Malaysia. When I was there, met a good friend, tasted the local food, managed to finish my reports and unwind, despite spending only two days in the ancient city.

An alley
An alley
Back lane of Chinatown
Back lane of Chinatown
Shrine, lantern and bike
Shrine, lantern and bike
Sweet, sour and salty: Preserve fruit
Sweet, sour and salty: Preserve fruit
Lonely shrine
Lonely shrine

 

Zashnain

An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

More Posts - Website

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Labyrinth of Capitalism and Hardship

Life in the fast lane of Bangkok, a heavy burden for the urban poor and working class. Such wickedness of life, yet Thais and migrant workers struggle together towards a common goal. People work on the streets, selling products and services of all sorts to that eager odd tourist who seems lost in the labyrinth of capitalism and hardship.

 

life in the fast lane of Bangkok

Zashnain

An avid blogger, twitterer and photojournalist, Zashnain Zainal suffers from an incurable addiction to social work, helping marginalised communities since 1989. Nowadays he travels from the plantations of Malaysia to the slums of Thailand. He can be found at zashnain.com and @bedlamfury

More Posts - Website

Follow Me:
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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Thailand
This work by Moui is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Thailand.
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