Written by Amy Rae Fox, M.A., M.Ed.
(in order of appearance)
Backpacker – Traveller in a foreign land
Free Shuttle Driver – Malaysian man of Indian descent
Smiling Man – Malaysian man of Malay descent
Planetarium – an inanimate structure housing Malaysia’s National Space Administration.
Cab Driver – elderly Malaysian man of Chinese descent
Hadi – young Malaysian woman working in a guesthouse
(At the base of Menara KL Tower in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The World’s 4th Largest Tower)
FREE SHUTTLE DRIVER: Free Shuttle Miss! Free Shuttle!
(BACKPACKER stares blankly)
FREE SHUTTLE DRIVER: Free Shuttle take you to tower miss! Free no charge.
(BACKPACKER climbs into minibus)
FREE SHUTTLE DRIVER: Where you from?
(FREE SHUTTLE DRIVER snickers loudly)
FREE SHUTTLE DRIVER: You from Canada?
FREE SHUTTLE DRIVER: You from Canada really? (laughs obnoxiously) You no from America?!
BACKPACKER: No, I’m from Canada. Ever been to Canada?
FREE SHUTTLE DRIVER: No. Me from Australia. (laughs loudly)
BACKPACKER: Really? That’s one hell of an accent.
(On Julan Perdana in Kuala Lumpur)
(SMILING MAN smiles widely)
BACKPACKER: Hello there.
(SMILING MAN continues to smile widely)
BACKPACKER: (smiling) Hot today (flaps arms indicating external temperature quite warm) Planetarium this way? (Points up very steep hill)
SMILING MAN: (points further down road) Lake Country this way. Very very nice. Gardens.
BACKPACKER: I see. Thank you. (continues to point up steep hill) Planetarium? (mimics person watching a show in a star theatre)
SMILING MAN: Close Today. Holiday. You go Lake Country. Orchid Garden. Butterfly Garden. Very Very nice. I show you.
BACKPACKER: Oh, thank you so much. (points up steep hill) I try Planetarium first. But thank you – I see Lake Country after. Thank you! (smiles wildly)
SMILING MAN: (smiling wildly) I show you!
BACKPACKER: (takes giant step backwards and speaks quickly) No thank you – thank you so much, I’ll go this way thank you, you have a great afternoon and thank you.
(BACKPAKER painstakingly climbs steep hill in search of planetarium)
PLANETARIUM: The smiling man said it’s a holiday you dumbass. I’m closed.
BACKPACKER: (panting) Of course you are!
(Outside the exit of the Orchid Garden in Kuala Lumpur. High above the city, a great distance from the city center. Clouds are gathering and thunder sounds)
CAB DRIVER: Where you go? I take you there.
BACKPACKER: Imbi? Near Time Square?
CAB DRIVER: Yes, yes. I take you.
CAB DRIVER: No. 15 Ringgit.
BACKPACKER: (looks at gathering clouds) Meter?
CAB DRIVER: No. 15 Ringgit miss. I take you there.
(BACKPACKER climbs into cab)
CAB DRIVER: Where you from?
CAB DRIVER: (swoons) Oh!! I love Canada!! All Canada ladies are beautiful!
BACKPACKER: Oh I’m sure you say that to all the ladies.
CAB DRIVER: Oh yes! I love the Canada, America, Norway, all the Western ladies very very beautiful.
BACKPACKER: Ah. I think the Malaysian women are beautiful.
CAB DRIVER: (scrunches face) Oh no! Just western ladies.
BACKPACKER: Where are you from? Are you from Malaysia?
CAB DRIVER: Yes. I from Malaysia. Where you want to go? I take you there.
BACKPACKER: To Imbi please, near Time Square.
CAB DRIVER: No, where else you want? Petronas tower, National Mosque, Chinatown, I take you everywhere, big discount.
BACKPACKER: Oh no thank you. Just Imbi please
CAB DRIVER: No where you want? I take you all places. I take you no charge. You very beautiful.
BACKPACKER: No thank you. I have to go back to the hotel.
CAB DRIVER: Why? Where you go? I take you there. You go to airport? I take you there.
BACKPACKER: Thank you – I have arranged for transport already.
CAB DRIVER: S’okay. I take you. I wait and take you. First go to Chinatown.
BACKPACKER: NO, i really must go back to my hotel to pack. I leave tonight.
CAB DRIVER: Oh no! Leave tonight! Where you go?
BACKPACKER: Tonight I fly to Borneo to meet a tour group.
CAB DRIVER: Borneo! I go too. I take you to airport and come too.
(BACKPACKER stares blankly)
CAB DRIVER: You very beautiful. I come with you and take you out. I take you to coffee and drink.
BACKPACKER: I’m not sure your family would like that.
CAB DRIVER: S’okay. First we go to Chinatown. You like Chinese food.
BACKPACKER: No, just Imbi please. Must pack.
CAB DRIVER: I help you pack. When you come to Malaysia you must be lone. You like to talk to local people. Learn Malay. I teach you Malay. I come with you. Show you around when you come to Malaysia. I go to America maybe you show me around.
BACKPACKER: I’m not sure my boyfriend would like that.
CAB DRIVER: How long you gone from boyfriend? Maybe you have America boyfriend and Malaysia friend.
BACKPACKER: Is it always this rainy in Kuala Lumpur?
CAB DRIVER: I take you to Chinatown?
BACKPACKER: No, just Imbi.
CAB DRIVER: You call me tonight. I take you out all around. No Charge.
BACKPACKER: Its really too bad I didn’t meet you yesterday. You could have taken me all around
CAB DRIVER: You call tomrorrow? I take you everywhere.
BACKPACKER: Nope. Tomorrow gone. too bad. must be fate. You know fate?
CAB DRIVER: Yes, yes. Fate. Like walking (makes walking feet motion with free hand)
BACKPACKER: Oh no. FATE not feet. Like destiny? You know destiny? When something that’s not supposed to happen doesn’t happen?
CAB DRIVER: You very very beautiful.
BACKPACKER: Yes, thanks, so are you. Is that at buddha statue? (points to Buddha statue on dashboard)
CAB DRIVER: Yes yes Chinese buddah. You know buddha?
BACKPACKER: I know some about buddha. Which buddha is this?
CAB DRIVER: Chinese buddha. Lady buddha. Thai buddha is man. Tibet buddha is man. Chinese buddha lady. I like the lady.
(CAB DRIVER stops near Imbi)
BACKPACKER: Thank you sir.
CAB DRIVER: I take you out now – I have number?
BACKPACKER: Oh no, I have no number (gets cash) Thank you very much.
CAB DRIVER: I take you out? Pretty pretty lady?
BACKPACKER: (laughs) Good luck with that!
(BACKPACKER enters hostel after long day)
HADI: Good Day?
BACKPACKER: Excellent Day.
HADI: You walk back?
BACKPACKER: Oh no, took a cab.
HADI: Oh no! Malay taxi are so bad! How much you pay?
BACKPACKER: 15 Ringgit
HADI: Oh no! You pay way to much!!
BACKPACKER: Its really okay. It was my entertainment budget for the day.
HADI: (scrunches face) You get screwed!
BACKPACKER: (laughs) You have no idea.