Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Over 560 motorists fined for their failure to singal - Big deal?

I happen to be in Singapore these couple of days. The heading of an article in The Straits Times screamed Over 560 motorists fined for their failure to signal. The penalty was S$70 for light vehicles and S$100 for heavy vehicles. Can you imagine that some of those interviewed by paper said they were not aware that they had to signal to change lane or make a turn? And this is Singapore?

The truth is: This general lack of courtesy is excessively prevalent in our region!

Having been conditioned by the Aussie road culture, I have become most law abiding on roads wherever I go, including my Kampong country Malaysia where I reckon 90% of the people don't care two hoots about basic road courtesy. For instance, I would by habit signal even if it was an obvious turning lane. To them, I must be a strange odd ball, I suppose.

Who cares about road courtesy?

In the Klang Valley, even when there are empty car bays, I see that many would still double-park and disappear into shops or eateries – without any qualm at all. Anyone who has ever stopped for pedestrians on zebra-crossing can also claim a prize from me; it simply means nothing to most. Ditto about the need to stay clear of emergency lanes. When traffic light turns red, you still see motorists making the last ditch to cross. I can go on and on. (Malaysia must be the only country in the world where red-light count-down can go on for ages. Therefore, many would simply ignore the signal when they saw a gap. Whose fault? It can really be a good chicken-first-or-egg-first topic for debate.)

Once I was next to a Humvee with a fancy number plate at a traffic junction in Subang. There was a police car behind it. I thought there must be a VVIP in the Humvee. But when the Humvee jumped the red light, I saw that the police car did not follow suit. I said to myself, "they can't be related."  I lost no time in winding down my window and asked the police why they had allowed the Humvee to go scot-free. To my pleasant surprise, the police immediately sprang into action. The siren that followed was sweet music to me!

At the same junction another time, I saw a YTL’s cement mixer doing the same thing. It didn’t have number plate, but there was a serial number on the vehicle. I went into YTL’s website and lodged a complaint. In spite of all its CSR (corporate social responsibility) pledges, no one there bothered to respond. One day when one of its directors had to see me on a certain matter, I took the opportunity to patronise him about it. I hope he has bothered to bring the matter up to Tan Sri Sir Francis Yeoh!

Talk is cheap, really!

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