Thursday 12 November 2009

Beautiful Baby Driving a Car

Marwa Sherbini 31, a pharmacist and a pregnant mother of a little boy was stabbed 16 times in a courtroom in Dresden in July this year by Alexander Weins, a Russian-born German when she was giving evidence against him. As usual,his religious affiliation is not mentioned, a privilege denied to a Muslim. "He had called her a 'terrorist' and 'Islamist' in a children's playground because she covered her hair."
Today her family had to be satisfied with Wiens life sentence, with no chance of an early release.
This news leads me on to something that happened to us today.
Driving from our house to Tung Shin Hospital, twice a week, via Ampang and Pudu Road is always fraught with stress. But today was especially traumatic. A MYVI, a taxi, a Mercedes, a small lorry and another taxi (in chronological order) blithely cut in front of our car to change to another lane without giving any signal. One of them had the gall to cross two lanes! There's more to come.
Since 1964, I have driven in Singapore, Malaysia, especially Penang,Brunei, England, Scotland and Wales. And now in KL for the past 2 years,

From my limited experience, I reckon KL takes the prize for having the worst drivers and the most lamentable standard of driving. It's not like there are too few good roads for too many cars as in many developing countries. Also the standard of education and the standard of living in this capital does not lag far behind any western city. It simply boils down to a contemptible attitude to others - defined by selfishness, arrogance and a me-first-and-to--hell-with-the-rest-of-you mentality. In my recent experience of driving in KL, I find it hard to believe that about 40% (or maybe more, not less) of these egotistic drivers are females and about 80% of them are Muslim women in their hijabs driving their bread-and-butter or rather 'nasi lemak'cars, their male-macho saloons, SUVs, 4WDs and huge People Carriers. And when you see them step out of their metal bijou, these scarfed SYTs (sweet young things) look quite beatific, like butter-won't-melt-in-their-mouths. I find this Jekyll and Hyde characteristic very difficult to come to terms with.
Years ago we met a UM academic, a member of the aristocracy - who- when we commented about the size of his vehicle, said, " I drive this Pajero so no one can overtake me." You may not be able to stomach his words but at least he was honest about his arrogance. That's a man speaking! Do not however give me the excuse that our demure female Muslim drivers are forced to drive like egotistic males so as to survive KL roads !! It just doesn't tally with their Muslim women virtues that are symbolized by their hijab.

Today, about 500 metres from Tung Shin Hospital a hijabed taxi driver shoved her vehicle in between our car and the road divider so she could get ahead of us. It was a miracle that despite her savage jostling we avoided what could have been a nasty accident on a very busy road.
I was shattered - and so would any one half my age.

Indeed a Muslim woman like Marwa Sherbini was murdered for wearing a scarf, for making a statement about her religious affiliation.
However, after today's trauma I feel that the religious statement made by our hijabed Malaysian women leaves me with a nasty taste in the mouth.
And by the way, we drive a 'sambal blacan' car, a Proton Saga. We may have to think about selling our house to buy a GMC Terrain or a Toyota Sequoia, a Lexus LX, or Land Rover LR2 or the Nissan Rogue to keep body and soul together on KL's roads.


sicKo^ said...

if u think kl drivers are bad, try to come down to penang.. they're the devils especially those with motorbikes..

imsunnysideup said...

I had had some really nasty experience with bloody Malay female(yes, I want to be specific because ...) drivers driving their Merc and 4-wheel drives like their grandfather owns the road. These experiences include just coming out of a minor road without stopping, cutting into your way rudely speeding like a possessed bitch. Sorry for the strong words because I think they deserve it.

So to these menace, I hope you someone your size or even bigger could teach you a very very expensive lesson !!!!

sicKo^ said...

not only big cars gives problem, but some of the bikers also really have no menace..

Drama Queen said...

Why don't you get a fog horn, so the next time you come across the same problem, just blast the horn at them. That will scare the ssshhh....sweet of the them.

Maybe the hijab will go flying out of the window too :)

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you sicKo^ and sunnysideup.
I especially agree about the motorbikes in Penang and everywhere else. We lived in Penang for 2 years and each day was a battle for space with the bikes.
There is however a difference between them and the big cars. The bikes are, as you say a menace pushing and darting here and there to find space. But the big cars are bullies telling others to get out of the way simply because they are big and powerful and they think their 'status' gives them the licence to push others around. It is just like when we have to move aside for an entourage accompanied by a police escort. Well these people behave in the same way without having the right to do so.
I really hate driving in KL because a lot of people use their car as a weapon to compensate for their tiny sick brains - both males and females.

Razif NS said...

I wonder whether to blame our JPJ driving school syllabus which is very shallow that make ours' the easiest driving test to pass on this planet or to blame our "entah apa-apa" primary school education system which had failed to teach and groom our kids on manners, disciplines, character building and whatnot. I pick the latter.
Buying big giant cars won't help, because you will end up 90-degree down the flyover (then we can blame Puspakom or JKR for poor road design).
Meanwhile, do what we weak heart people do - selawat 3x, pray to God for your safety whenever you step into your car. InsyaAllah we will be safe.... for the day.

anak si-hamid said...

Thank you RazifNS,
In the end a prayer helps to keep us confident. I hope the egotistical drivers will say the same doa to keep us safe from them.

Pootz in Boots said...

I am a public transport person myself Ma'Ngah, despite holding a valid driving licence since 1993. It's not the best alternative but will have to make do.

anak si-hamid said...

Pootz in Boots,
Good to hear from you and good for you for taking up public transport!
We did it for a few months for getting to Tung Shin Hospital twice a week but Puduraya was just too much for us.
For anything else we take the LRT and train including getting to KLIA - which we will do again in 2 week's time.
Hope your family and little princess are in good nick.

Anonymous said...

i think almost 90% of malaysian drivers ,do not know the rules of the fact,people can honk you when they are driving on the "lorong kecemasan"especially when you about to turn towards another road with the signal on.if you are only grumbling about malay females drvers,then you should drive around cheras and old klang road,you will find that chinese are the same infact worst.malaysian driving style must be the only thing which unites malaysian regardless of race and religion.when the engine starts,the spirit of me !me!me! takes over!

anak si-hamid said...

Anonymous November 25,
Thank you for your comment. I totally agree with everything you say. Most Malaysian drivers of all races, male and female are selfish drivers. Indeed that's the one thing that unites them.
It's just that nearly all of my bad experiences have been connected to Malay female drivers perhaps because of where I live and the places I drive to.
Maybe I'm naive enough to think that the Malay 'tata-tertib' which is touted about so much, would rub off on our drivers and ariving.

Sammy said...

Dear author,

It's not just the selfishness or the devil-may-care attitudes, lack of enforcement by our boys in blue are actually to fault. Gone are the days where we fear a uniformed presence standing at the traffic lights, a one-way road or just plain observing the actics of the road users. Nowadays, everyone goes up a one way street, wrong way up or make a u-turn at the traffic lights without a care!
The lack of education during the learner period and easy passing of the road exams also contribute to this. Can you imagine getting a British drving license just by dropping a few quid on the tester's palm, like what is happening here?
I have been rear ended countless times by mothers who are too busy with their children in the car than keeping an eye on the road or idiots who multi-task by speaking on the phone with one hand up their nose and the other describing an imaginary story to the other party as if that party can see them, so guess which hand steers the car?
Confrontations are kept to minimal as my size and outlook usually overwhelms any desires for argument but I fear others may not be so lucky. Growing up in Penang has taught me to avoid the usual bikes, trishaws, pedestrians and what not, so driving in KL is less of a hassle but the new generation drivers these days are more rude, lacking in highway codes and generally possessing less IQ when they take the wheel.

Anonymous said...

My brother in law, a slight man, about 48kg and about 5ft tall. Mild mannered, religious and respectful. Talks with a soft voice and smile readily. But he becomes monster once he is behind the steering wheel. He will curse unnecessarily, speed abruptly cut in dangerously to show his "displeasure" of any car that overtakes him, or cuts into his lane.

I think its just not the discipline or knowledge of the driver, nor the poluce. Its also the new culture.