Taxi tale 21 – Malaysia

Melaka, Malaysia from Sentral Bus Stand to hotel

Local lady-driver Yani


On my arrival to Melaka, I had to take a taxi to get to my hotel. Signs everywhere warned about ‘toot taxis’ and directed to a small booth. An old large Muslim man with a long beard in traditional clothes and a small hat asked about my hotel and made up a price of 20 ringgits. (I didn’t argue, but it was strange since my trip from Kluang to Melaka of 165 km and 2.5 hours in a beautiful air-conditioned bus cost me 15 ringgits).

The old man looked around the crowd of eager drivers and said: “You will go with him”. One small lady dressed in pants and a hijab came to me and grabbed my bag. I looked up not really understanding the situation. The old man confirmed “Yes, yes, him” and we left.

Ok, let me tell you I didn’t expect to see Rolls Royce as a taxi, but I wasn’t prepared to see the old bomb either. Suspiciously I looked inside, where my bag was already resting on the back seat. “The boot doesn’t work”, the tiny lady cheerfully enlightened me. Luckily, the seat belts did.

I entered the taxi. Curious, I started a conversation.

The driver’s name was Yani (she had to spell it for me), she is 53, and has 4 kids. They are 3 girls and 1 boy – the youngest. All girls are married and live with their husbands, aged from 33 to 28. The son is 23, only just finished University and works in Singapore ( at this point she was glowing with pride). The girls are also educated and two are “in business”, while the last one is in IT.

Yani has been married for 35 years and lives with her husband, who works at a factory.

I asked why she drives a taxi and how her husband likes that. Yani said that after girls got married and left home, she was bored and wanted to do something. She registered with that old man and started driving her private old car. Originally she planned to try for a month, but after she extended it to two, three, six months… It’s been 4 years now. Money is good, and her husband doesn’t mind extra income. Yani will get only 1/3 of the payment, but she doesn’t complain. She only takes ladies passengers; this is how I got her.

When we arrived at my hotel, she asked for a selfie with me. Since I am not a pro with selfies, I offered her just a photo. She gladly agreed. Yani told me that I am the only white woman, who spoke to her about something else except giving the orders. We hugged and she jumped into her old bomb, rushing back to get another passenger.

Here she is, my tiny lady-driver Yani.





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