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Do we leave our manners at home when we hit the road?

From: Author: Date:2008-08-10 Click:

Driving, then and now

Do we leave our manners at home when we hit the road?

We always say rules are made to be broken. Broken they must be, but they must be made first. We see lists of rules at swimming pools, gyms, schools, parking lots; there are also the unwritten rules in the office.

There are the big rules that govern the country to keep peace and security. And, of

course, there are the traffic rules; here I wish to vent my feelings.

Remember the good old days - if you are of the same vintage as me - when we went

behind the wheels of a Morris Minor to take our driving lessons?

You don't see these old faithfuls on the city roads anymore because they have long been

put to pasture. But in my day, they were crawling all over Koala Lumpur and other cities in the country.

One of the important things we learnt from our stem instructors was to use the hand signals - every time you wanted to turn to the left, you had to stretch your right hand out of the window and make several circular movements to indicate your intention.

And when you wanted to turn to the right, you just stretched out your hand. Of course,

you also needed to wave your hand up and down to indicate thatyou were slowing down

to a stop.

The cars had no air-conditioning and the windows had to be wound down to keep the

cars ventilated. It also made it possible for us to do the hand signals when required.

Besides, cars in those days were not equipped with signal lights, so all drivers had to obey the traffic rules on hand signals.

Now let's consider modern-day driving on the highways of Kuala Lumpur or Petaling

Jaya, where traffic congestion is the norm and road courtesy is virtually non-existent.

How do you survive today's horrendous traffic conditions when thousands of cars pack the roads fighting for space to get ahead?

Rule No.1: just forget about turn signal lights, period. Why? Because nobody would

bother to acknowledge those signals. Even with the indicator light on, cars zoom past as

if to deliberately block us from turning.

Seldom do we see people slowing down to allow you to turn, whether to the left or right. It is all about being kiasu: why should we slow down, why should we let you get ahead?

Rule No,2: Forget about overtaking only from the right, Nowadays, cars - and motor-cycles - overtake from all sides as long as there is space to squeeze through.

So while you are on the road, you need two big side mirmrs to see clearly where the

lorries, cars or bikes are coming from, And they don't give warnings, either.

A horn is only useful when the space is too narrow to squeeze through.~]n that case, they will honk their horn to startle you, Rude? Politeness does not exist and was never

taught by the instructor, I supposed,

It's frightening to drive in Kuala Lumpur, especially if you come from another city or

town - or have just returned from a country where driving is certainly more orderly,

But you soon learn to be one of them to survive, A Malaysian diplomat who returned

from New Zealand once confessed to me that she did all the wrong things that Malaysian drivers did on the road in New Zealand.

"it's a matter of, if you can't fight them, join them," she said as a matter of fact,

After I returned from Beijing, it took me a while to catch up, But I am doing well, squeezing in and out of queues,

Activating the turn signals is optional, Giving way is dependent on how big and formidable your car looks.

I don't even bother about the Mat Rempit, They can do whatever they want with their

machines and their lives.

I'm mean and self-centred, To al] the road users who happen to share the same road and

have been inconvenienced by my driving, my apologies,

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