On a normal day, it usually takes me a solid one hour to get from the gate of my house to my seat at the office. Shying away from the fact that previously, it took me only 15 minutes of cycling to get to uni. I consider my daily commute to work in the KL metropolitan is alright.
First 20 minutes is the drive to LRT station, then 10 minutes of looking for a parking space and waiting for the train to arrive, 20 minutes of train journey to the station at my office, and another 10 minutes to walk and take the elevator up my place.
After a few years living in the UK, I somehow trained myself to not listen to the radio. I do listen to music occasionally, but only selected ones, and that's all. Radio stations are different in comparison to music playlists - they have DJs talking, programmes, and commercials. After some while driving in Malaysia, somehow, I grew an annoyance towards anything but music on the radio. So usually if I were to switch on the radio, I would be jumping from one station to another everytime a song in that particular radio ends. To me, it's either music or just complete silence. But because jumping stations can be too much of a hassle, especially in the morning where talkshows are everywhere. Sometimes I even get annoyed by having the same songs being repeated in the radio. I don't fancy listening to music from my phone because my phone speaker is so bad and my car doesn't have an AUX port. USB stick is an option, but since I don't really listen to music, I couldn't be bothered to do the compiling.
Besides, everyday I only have to drive for about 20+20 minutes, so I usually just leave the radio off and enjoy the silence.
After the driving, as I get off my parked car at the station and continue my journey by train, I'll either occupy my time with reading the Mathurat/Quran or a book. The 20-minute journey is more than enough to finish a mathurat kubra, or the whole surah kahfi, or help me achieve my one-month-one-book resolution. In fact, I've been doing one-month-two-books now (yeay!).
But matters started to change last month when I had to go to my one-week monthly training. The training is held at an office near my mum's workplace. What's usually the case is that I would go on an hour ride with my mum to her workplace and walk for about five minutes to get to the training venue. Since I have another person in the car and I'm not the one driving, I would usually kill the commuting time through chatter and alternating it with browsing social media. What made last month's training different is that my mum was on leave the entire week. Alhamdulillah, I don't have to pay for parking since I can have her spot. But this means that I have to drive on my own and battle the rush hour traffic for one and a half hour in total everyday (somehow it takes me one hour to get to the venue, but just half an hour on my return journey).
With the horrendous traffic of KL, my road rage simply cannot be contained. I got agitated by the amount of time I spent on the road, not being able to do anything beneficial. One day I ranted about this issue to a friend of mine, to which she suggested listening to podcasts. I told her that I don't like listening to people talk, to which she responded that that maybe because the talks you usually hear on the radio are of no substance. As I reflected back, perhaps that could be the reason why. Malaysian radios are largely filled with prank calls and stupid challenges and useless (yet perhaps to some, fun) topics like "the most embarrassing that happened to me at gym" or "how affectionate should you be in public" which encourages people to call in but rarely refer/relate to anything solid. Empty entertainment, in my opinion. And I feel that kills the precious little extra time I have in a day.
My friend then suggested BFM, among others, saying that they cover some interesting topics.
I gave it a go that day and the day after. And I got hooked. Although their soundtracks are not to my appeal, but their topics for talks and discussion are so random yet of good substance. And they call in speakers who are experts in their field. This isn't just about a supply of information to increase your general knowledge, you actually get the vibe of passion and context from the people who's been doing the things they talk about their whole life. The DJs are also great moderators, coming up with critical questions that heats up the conversation so it doesn't feel dry, making the discussion to be very intellectually stimulating.
Did I mention that BFM have almost no commercials at all? I once tried an Islamic station - out of guilt because Islamically-inclined people usually listen to that station all the time - but grew utter annoyance of the immensely high amount of commercials they have. I don't want to talk about the quality of the station because the commercial part itself is a huge turn off for me. I'm sorry to say this, but if say I'm not a very practicing Muslim, that sort of media feed would definitely not catch my interest to be closer to Islam at all.
Anyways, up to this point, I've been loving the talks/discussions and whatnot on BFM and I feel that it relaxes me because unlike reading books, it doesn't involve much thinking, yet I'm not wasting my time while driving.
So that's why, this finding gave me the sense of contentment and it's also giving my brain content ;)
If anyone knows of any podcast or other radio station or anything of the similar nature, would appreciate if you can suggest it so I can explore - and also for the benefit of others who read.