First one there is the loser! Last one is the winner!
COME AGAIN?! EXCUSE MY LIBERTY WITH THESE colloquial phrases. It just seems more apt and timely if used in a different context.
The context is the driver in Malaysia and their mindset when driving. What is so important that one would risk their precious life and the lives of passengers? Is getting to the movies or the mall first important enough to die for? Is arriving home from the office four minutes early a reason to endanger your life and the lives of many people? Is the damage done to your heart worth it in the long run? Malaysia has one the highest rates of hypertension resulting in stroke anywhere in the world.
Or maybe you like being stressed out, so when you do breathlessly arrive at your destination, you can take out your ugly mood on family and co-workers? You’ll feel like whacking everybody’s legs in the supermarket, or vile enough to pick a huge fight with some underpaid clerk. Do your driving habits make you happier?
What are you afraid of missing? Is being late the absolute worst-case scenario you can imagine? Do you think if you arrive five minutes later a machine-gun squad will shoot you senseless? Just what is the very worst thing that can ever happen to a person? Why, pardon me for stating the obvious, but isn’t dying a gruesome death just about the very worst thing imaginable? Or maybe, for some of us, missing ten minutes of the football game is a fate worse than death.
“Oh hurry up, lah, or I’ll just die!” Yup, you just might. Should we all ‘hurry up and get there’ so that we can sit for ten minutes at the traffic light? Or so we can catch one extra TV commercial?
Do you think when you speed or perform reckless manoeuvres like passing vehicles willy-nilly that nothing will happen? What about knocking back a six-pack of brewsky with a bottle of vino for dessert and then taking the wheel? Is this a good thing to do?
I do believe, when put in perspective, the only viable answer is that all actions do have consequences. However, because there are degrees of risk present with reckless driving, this factor can cause the motorist to throw caution to the wind and undertake risky behaviour.
And to answer if anything is worth dying for, I say NO! I don’t think one’s country or one’s ideology is worth dying for, or religion or family honour, either. Death, to me, is too final a solution. Once you are gone, all disclosure and participation stop.
You would think, with all the inherent risks associated with travelling on the roads, one would do all in their power to reduce any accident risk factors. It is rather incomprehensible that someone would actually add risk factors!
Drunk driving, speeding, and illegal U-turns are big risk factors, as is tailing the car in front of you at 120km/hour. And it doesn’t require a genius to know when a monsoon appears on your windshield the smart thing is to slow down, not speed up. I’ve seen a lot of people do just that, and it simply boggles the mind. Did these folks park their brains at home before taking off in a two-tonne killing machine?
And I have been speaking of the automobile drivers. Just what is it with the motorcyclists? Has all that air whizzing by their heads somehow made a hole through their ears and burrowed through their brain mass? There are countless examples we can all relate about the totally reckless driving of some motorcyclists.
I’ve lived in many countries throughout Asia and in several states of America. Please let me inform you that the roads here are the best I have ever driven on, kept in wonderful condition and replete with numerous call boxes and clear bilingual signage. Granted, there are jams and floods due to Malaysia’s growing pains. This is a young, vibrant country with an infrastructure struggling to keep up. That the roads are excellent as they are is incredible.
Therefore, there is just no excuse for the bad driver. I think the death toll from vehicle accidents in Malaysia should be among the lowest anywhere. The fault obviously lies with the driver. All those guilty, wake up and change your dangerous habits.
Please honestly assess your own driving. Admit your faults. Change them immediately. Be a loser in the driving sweepstakes and you’ll be a winner in the game of life!
Source: The Expat January 2005, article by Marybeth Ramey
This article has been edited for ExpatGoMalaysia.com
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