SOUTHEAST ASIAN BLOGGERS NETWORK

Monday, August 27, 2007

OUR 3-WHEELED WONDERS







They are called Xe Lam in Vietnam, Bajaj in Indonesia, Traysikel in the Philippines, Thone bein in Burma and Tuk tuk in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Naïve tourists would call them “tuktuk” altogether as long as they have 3 wheels. Some call it “motorized rickshaw”. *oh puhleze!* Bottomline is – there are proper names to call these fast, agile, noisy, law-breaking piece of machineries.

These, of course, are not original Southeast Asian. But as inventive and resourceful as we are – we get to create our own versions that reflect our cultural identity.

The original Tuk tuk was first manufactured by Daihatsu in Japan and was exported to Europe, South and Southeast Asia in the midst of the world "small vehicle" craze.

The Thai Tuktuk (left) was first manufactured around 50 years ago. The name “tuk tuk” came from the sound of the earlier single stroke models that goes “tuk tuk tuk tuk tuk tuk” *hilarious!*. And of all these 3-wheel wonders, Thai Tuk tuks are the only ones that can run in reverse!

Lao Tuk tuks (right) are relatively taller and looks slimmer! It’s bigger (but slower) than Thai or Cambodian ones but the design is similar to the tuktuks of Phnom Penh in Cambodia. It’s actually a modified common motorcycle with its rear wheel removed and fitted with a passenger area. Vietnamese "Xe Lams" are imports from Thailand and Japan. The Vietnamese government are planning to phase them out!

The Philippine version “Traysikel” (left) came from the Americans after World War II. It has become a major transportation icon for Filipinos since then. Local manufacturers have different styles of “traysikels” – but actually, it’s an imported motorcycle fitted with a sidecar and amazingly decorated (like the Jeepney).

The Bajaj *pronounced as “ba-djai”* of Indonesia originated from India. Where it is one of the most famous means of transportation. The Bajaj is very common in Jakarta but it’s never promoted as a cultural icon.

Of all these 3-wheeled wonders, I only get to drive the Thai tuktuk, the Lao tuktuk and the Philippine Traysikel. As adventurous *read as crazy* as I am, I really gotta try and drive them myselfso, I did.

The Thai tuktuk landed me an overnight in jail. The Lao tuktuk made me slam it onto a light post (which was standing on my way) and the Philippine traysikel rolled over to its' sidewhile I'm still on it.

There. Take that!





Clockwise: The Xe Lam of Saigon, Tuktuk of Phnom Penh, and Bajaj of Jakarta.




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23 Comments:

aries said...

...you crashed a three-wheeled vehicle?! do u even know how to ride a bike?...hehehe peace

markymd said...

where in the philippines were you able to drive a traysikel/tricycle?
i hate tricycles, they are so noisy and they really cause traffic jams!

Manami said...

The Thai tuktuk landed me an overnight in jail. The Lao tuktuk made me slam it onto a light post and the Philippine traysikel made me roll to my left side – while still on it.

Lol you dont seem to have any affinity with these vehicles do you? You dont see any ofthose in Singapore AT ALL. well...i havent seen one yet..

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

@ Aries...hey! I'm a drag racer and I'm good at it! ;-)

@ Markymd...thats was bakc in the 90's when I lived in Manila. I tried to drive that traysikel in Angeles City --you guys there drive on the right side of the road! I panicked and hit a big mound of gravel and the right side flew literally! It was hilarious! The traysikel went turtle! Hahaha!

@ Minami...I haven't seen any motorized rickshaw in Singapore, sweet. Only the pedalled ones around Kellang or sumthin'. :-)

Q The Conqueror said...

Gah. Remind me not to always look at the trike driver before I get into it. If it's a 6-foot Thai-Belgian, I'd wait for the next one. Hehe.

Just an FYI, Philippine Trikes actually vary per region. Haha. Some have been adapted for hilly terrains, some for more seats (and more passengers), and some just for the hell of it. Hehehe.

Sanne Dee said...

We do have motorised three wheelers in Singapore. Well, sort of. It's just like a motorcycle with a box on its side. There you go! :)

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

@ Q... yeah, I noticed. The ones in Manila or Luzon Island are different from the ones in Mindanao Island -- which looks more like a Tuktuk. Don't worry abt my driving, I'm just not good at left-hand drive.

@ Sanne...hello my baby sister. Been very busy lately huh? That's good! It means you're making money!!!!! Wooohooooo!

Sweet Manami said she never seen one in Singapore. And she's from there! Take a pic and show it to me! Blog it! Blog it! Blog it!!!!!!! LOL

Bjarne of Norway said...

Fucken hilarious post!!! Informative AND HILARIOUS! Keep it up! (No pressure). You never fail to make me chuckle.

Morgan said...

It almost give me an image of you crashing all those tuktuks to hell! I can't stop laughing!

Jeff said...

Nothing more exhilarating than a 3 am tuk tuk grand prix (the finish line being a late night club) while your driver is aced out on yaba...I do try to keep these spectacles to a minimum.

Manami said...

@ Sanne and Pisanu: maybe the reason for me not seeing a three wheeler is cuz i hang out at orchard/city hall most of the time and you dont see those around there. Well, i haven't. Yet.

conan_cat said...

lol malaysia hav that too~ just that most of them are not motorized and they are REALLY elaborate with lots and lots of flowers and big loud radios. tailored to earn tourist moneys lol. oh yeah, they exist only in Melaka XD

if you wan i can send you some of the pictures i took back then when i was there hahaha

jessekuma said...

Are you sure your not an Aussie?

Sanne Dee said...

Yeah bro, freakin' busy. The rain, the lack of sleep, the work and the frustration, all keeping me busy. My mind is so full of stupid shit from work and hardly have any worthy thoughts to blog. :/

I'll see if I have one of those motorised vehicles at my props store. HOHO!

Fa said...

It's BAJAJ dear (as the brand name of the vehicle, do you know that it comes from India.....), pronounce as "bajai"...

Your Fa

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

Thanks Fa! I corrected it already. Y'know what, so many Indonesians came here and your the only one who corrected it. Thanks! Mwah!

Reyville of Simply Manila said...

Hilarious! What a misadventure. I'm glad u didn't die. HaHa.

Anonymous said...

Hei, we have beca in Penang too~! Less gaudy, tho. Hail, from Malaysia! ^__^

~ju

*dAwN said...

Myanmar also got tuk-tuks in other cities either than Yangon, and Mandalay (I think). There are tuk-tuks in Naypyidaw too. We call them "thone bein" "thone" meaning "three", and "bein" meaning "wheel". So tricycle.

Pisanu for BISEAN said...

Hello Dawn! Thanks for the input! We really need inputs because it's impossible for us to know everything. :-)

Look at the article again. :-) We edited it and included Burma on the opening paragraph.

Thanks again. We'll visit your blog soon.

Rothima(Cambodia-កម្ពុជា) said...

Hi Team! Thanks for your Tuk Tuk picture. Tuk Tuk is come from Thai Language, but in Cambodia we also have our own words. "Ror Mork" is the words. Ror Mork in the modern time in Cambodia is different from the past time. So please call "Ror Mork" instead of Tuk Tuk in Cambodia.

supersubra said...

In India these motorised three wheelers are called Auto Rickshaw and Bajaj is one of the major manufacturer of Auto rickshaws

Term papers said...

Thanks again. We'll visit your blog soon.
keep it up,

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