Years ago when I was still in primary school, I recalled my late aunt sent us to the trishaw rider in Malacca town to be sent home to Bachang, 5 or 6 km away. The weather was nice and the journey was smooth. So we enjoyed the ride while talking and looking around. In those days, trishaw was considered cheap. Since my aunt knew the rider personally, it was safe to send us home in that manner.
Today trishaw ride is only for tourist, at least in Malacca, or perhaps Penang.
Similarly, I remember riding a tuk-tuk in Bangkok in 1995. It was both fun and scary. You could hardly open your eyes because it was dusty. It was ok for me since I wore glasses. But the way the rider maneuvered could easily make you froze, if you don’t have confidence in him. It was cheap, and most importantly it was fast, very effective in dealing with traffic congestion.
But last week, I didn’t see that many tuk-tuk anymore. In fact I was told that tuk-tuk is now more expensive than taxi, much more expensive than the skytrain or metro train that networked the city. It had also evolved into one of the thing on the to-do list of tourists. Note that now Bangkok has an excellent network of mass public transport.
Last year, I had a ride on andoh, a horse cart in Yokyakarta. Once upon a time it was perhaps the means of intercity transportation. Today, it is another fashionable transport for tourists.
What was happening is a normal cycle of life. A commonly used transport evolved into a designer thing for tourists.
Similarly as a car grew older, the price dropped. But then, after a stage, the price started to increase again. It was now a vintage, a fashionable thing for collectors. That’s why when somebody asked me about the price of my 1968 VW Beetle, I said, it has no pricetag, but since I’m not selling it, I won’t know how much I’ll be willing to sell it for.
So, the olds may not be necessarily history, they can continue to have impacts, or even be better.