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Monday, August 18, 2008

Honk if you are a Malaysian!!

Lydia Teh's book titled above received good response from fellow Malaysians upon launch despite that it was a locally authored book.
Of course the catchy title played its part but it was also due to the fact that Malaysians found something which triggered part of themselves in relation to the title itself.

Honk if you are Malaysian....how does it relate to us? Do we Malaysians honk whenever we are on the road at every slight incident (i.e.: overtaking, not giving way, beating the traffic, etc?)
I don't know about the statistics but I have had experiences which constantly reminded me that Malaysians are not exactly the best-mannered drivers on earth.

But the worst experience has got to be the most recent; which was yesterday and it was in Penang; one of the world's most livable city.

Driving around Penang is not an easy feat; especially after office hours. The road along the ferry terminal or popularly known as the Weld Quay stretch is definitely more challenging; what more with the recent relocation of the ferry services to Langkawi to the same area as well.

Now, coming back to my experience; we were driving along this stretch in the early hours of the evening and of course, traffic was pretty slow at this time with the workforce population queueing for the ferry; and some waiting to get over to the other side of the island to head home or dinner.
Traffic crawl is never pleasant for anyone in any part of the world and definitely not anticipated at any time of the day.
Slow crawl can really be testing one's patience; and maneuvering your vehicle out of the way if there is a breakdown.

If you know this stretch well, you will know that there are junctions on your right (if you are heading to the coastal highway direction; bridge-bound).
Now, we were in the line and there was this car which came out of the junction on the right; and trying to squeeze into our line since he halted his car on a yellow box.
Naturally, you would need to wait for the cue from the drivers on our side to give way (you can't expect red carpet welcome from tired drivers who have been queueing for so long).
But this car; did expect red carpet welcome simply because he drove a BMW!

When the cars on our side didn't give way, okay, in particular one little Kelisa which maneuvered and drove past him without giving way when he was heading in the line, he did what we would expect.

And not just any honk; mind you....not the mid-term, short pitched honk.
He HONKED and HONKED even after the car went past him all the way ahead.
He HONKED at long beats and made it loud and clear.
All for the reason to tell the Kelisa, he was pissed.

As if that was not enough, when he got into the line, he made it a point to manuever his car to the left lane and overtake the Kelisa which was still in the line and he slowed down his car when he was in parallel with the Kelisa and he gave the driver or the people in the car a glare and used his finger; either the middle finger or the index finger in a very threatening manner!

Now what do you say to that?

I find this really outrageous; as he has no right in anyway to threaten anyone who doesn't give way. There was no such clause in the Malaysian law that allowed such behavior. In fact, it is always the right of the driver on the straight road to drive straight.
The Kelisa didn't even force his way through; he was just driving slowly; following the traffic. If you think that he should have given way, tell it to me now that you have seen this scenario.

This BMW guy was seriously adamant that the Kelisa was pissing him off and he had to tell the whole world that.
Mind you, there were so many eye-witnesses at that time and I am sure most of them took a good look not at the Kelisa, but rather at the arrogant BMW owner who was ironically an Indian man.

Look at that, he HONKED at a Chinese man in a Chinese territory. And not just in any Chinese territory in Penang; but one of the most notorious ones!
I am not indicating any territorial or racial issue here but the incident could have initiated a serious FIGHT had the Kelisa responded (if the driver was also a notorious man).

Racial aside, the BMW guy also drove a W-plated car; which clearly indicated that he was not a local Penangite but rather, hailed from the capital; KL where I myself came from.
I am ashamed to see this happening and rather sad that we Malaysians behave this way; especially when I was so proud of our caring and mannered society.

I had to really pray that we can improve our image; this is definitely disgraceful to be witnessed by foreigners and tourists.
It could be due to this that KL was ranked the 3rd rudest city in the world....I am no longer shocked but really disappointed that we have such people.

To those of you out there, not a threat nor warning but rather a message that I would like to share. Do not really challenge other drivers on the road, you may not always be so lucky; we are running short of patient drivers around and the road bullies issue was never resolved as well.

The driver was rather fortunate despite him thinking that he was right and had the right to threaten another Penangite just because:
1. He drives a bigger and better car (BMW)
2. He thinks he is richer
3. He is right to be given way when he comes in from a junction
4. He hails from the capital and knows how to drive best
5. Or any other reasons he thinks is right

But I find it rather despicable and lowdown for an educated person to conduct himself in such a way.
And he is really lucky in the sense that the Kelisa driver was not a violent nor brutal driver who may have given him a good lesson for behaving in such a rude manner in their hometown.
Furthermore, I dare not think of the fate which may befell his BMW not to mention his passengers in the car if that Kelisa driver had responded in his way.
By the way, did I forget to mention that the BMW driver had his family including his children in the car?

What a great example to set....and I am glad he cheated mishap or fatality which may have befell themselves. Scary thought but thank God that nothing major happened.

Well, do we count ourselves better when India, the Philippines and Bangkok are "champions" on the road?
I don't think so.....

let me know what you all think about this