Yao Cheng drives at night. He drives during the day too.
His salary as a lorry driver is abysmal, so he supplements with evenings as a Grab driver. For he has a hire purchase in Kajang Perdana, and his father lives with him. All of them, are from Sri Sabah flats, which is at 2.5 mile Cheras Road.
He rather live closer to his old hood, but the prices of homes in the city bar him from that preference.
Both my parents have links to the city hall working quarters a km from Sri Sabah, where he grew up in, and I feel for him. The old quarters have been demolished since but the memories linger.
He will return to vote candidate Tan Kok Wai to his Cheras constituency. To those not aware, even before the delineation process to bunch the Chinese into overcrowded seats, in Cheras, DAP wins with ease. They can name a hat as candidate, and still stroll to victory.
It is the class dimension which is not mentioned in this election.
People of modest means have an affinity for those who are from their own background. This sense of identity has not been maximised by the parties in the election.
While there is a race and gender quota, in degrees inside all coalitions, there is no class quota. In among the candidates, and those likely to win, there is a dearth of those who are from poorer homes.
Past prime ministers have had the gumption to pretend to be from hardship in order to be identified with the masses, but the truth has been this is a country led by the well to do.
And none of the prime ministers were working class.
They are far removed from Yao Cheng, and they end up delivering some race related quotes or policies to connect with the driver. Somehow people can be reduced to a race abstraction.
The impending debate in this country, or in fact already is the dominant debate, is class.
The political parties appear to be devoid of ideas when it comes to the working class.
There is an universal approach of handing down goodies at events with meals to draw support from those with less money. They forget that the best attribute of the working class is to do without material things.
They are more inspired by example than any other class, and they believe, because for them it is always about improving. Possibilities are always real to them, because stepping up is about believing in possibilities rather than belittling them. They respect courage, because it is about courage not ability which keeps their family afloat.
I love how political leaders in this country are more likelier to ask you who your parents are than ask if you have an idea. As if the former defines a person far more than the ability to conjure up an original thought.
The condescending language of referring to the least earners as B40 is derogatory as much as counter productive. No one is bottom because they earn less.
A government must seek to widen the percentage of middle class, while managing the upper class and when necessary disciplining them.
There will be a working class in a standard capitalist society. Government cannot guarantee wealth, but it can provide protection. It can work towards dignity for all classes, even if it cannot guarantee standardised income.
This is the debate missing nationally. It won’t be present in this election, but perhaps it can be the seed to grow political support for the next election.