Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Road Mosquitoes

Ordinarily, if I were in a civilized society where law, order and efficient and sensible enforcement of it prevailed, I would approve of motorcycles. In fact, I would postiveily encourage them. But not in Malaysia. Not here. I love motorcycles, but I generally hate the motorcyclists here. To me they are road mosquitoes - singularly or in small groups an annoyance but a complete menace in droves.

Like mosquitoes they roam here and there without a care for those lines so carefully painted on the road nor those strange looking words and symbols posted on metal boards or poles by the side of the road. They playfully weave in and out of traffic, ride closely together sometimes one foot on the other's motorcyle, take corners like they were in a close neck and neck finish of a 500cc Superbike race, hog whole lanes if not two lanes (yes they are small but they are able to do it), in tight jams, smack one's side mirrors with their metal bar handles (sorry you goddamned asshole!!), ride indiscriminately on lanes, flutter about without having to pay for tolls despite using the main part of the road. There is plenty of room at the side, especially just after the tarmac ends.

Unlike cars they can go the wrong way on a road, slip on to a pavement and travel about at night without lights. There is nowhere they cannot park and whenever they do it is highly important that they do so in a way that would take up as much space as possible. No red light can restrain them nor a small road divider detain them. They can ride up steps and through walk over bridges as easily as they can the grass and the smallest of alleys. Just like mosquitoes, Malaysian motorcyclists roam everywhere easily.

But unlike mosquitoes, you cannot smack them. You cannot even bump them a little with the tip of your car to nudge them off their bikes and if they were really nasty, run them over. In fact, don't you even dare honk at them. Even if they were in the wrong they would give you a nasty stare the look which spoke of a threat to your car, like a scratch. A long, deep and painful scratch. It's amazing how much a two second look can speak. Volumes.

And when they get themselves killed in spectacular fashion as a result of one of their stunts or negligence, we feel sorry for them. We feel sorry for them even though they practically laid out the red carpet for death to welcome his arrival. And how can we not when we see them lying by the side of the road often in a pool of shattered glass and blood, sometimes little chunks of their brains lying on the warm tarmac right next to them.

Then the government has all these social sort of advertisements regarding road saftey and making it like it is usually the four wheeled motorists fault. I mean, does everybody in the Ministry of Transport use a motorbike or do they travel by helicopters? I just don't get that. If at all, the police should be making extra sure all these road mosquitoes are caught and dealt with according to the law. Then four wheeled motorists (like me for instance) wouldn't be so thoroughly frustrated everyday and there wouldn't be as many accidents on the road. Because the qualifications and set up cost needed to get a bike is so ridiculously low. Because financing is so readily available. But also because sometimes these fellas sure know how to tempt you to run them over.

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