I have met all sorts of drivers doing all sorts of things that are neither in the official driver’s guide of Malaysia nor in the right brain of a considerate and selfless man.
Malaysians are easily swayed by the surrounding. Tun Mahathir said it. “Melayu mudah lupa” (Malays forget easily). I am saying, Melayu mudah terpengaruh, lalu lupa asal usul (Malays easily swayed, thus forgetting their roots).
Have you noticed the following?
- When Malays speak in Malay language to Chinese (Malaysians), they use the word “gua” and “lu” instead of “saya” or “awak”. The whole tone of their Malay language adapt to the Chinese way of speaking Malay.
- When Malays speak to Indians (Malaysians), their Malay language becomes Indian Malay, with slightly longer pronunciation of vowels. I can swear that their heads wobble a bit. “Mamak, rootti telur satu!”
- When Malays speak to Indonesians, they speak Malaydonesian language. The language does not exist, but Malay folks go to that extreme to make their counterpart not feel awkward. I, too, when speaking to Indonesians automatically adjust my language to Malaydonesian. I can’t help it. It’s in my gene.
If you are not a Malay, then yes…fyi, that’s what we do. Accommodating others…we do it so often that it now becomes part of our self-instinct.
That’s what I call Malay hospitality. Or as the national airlines call it, MH is for Malaysian Hospitality. We give, and give and keep giving. There is no sign of abating.
From another perspective, you can say that we do not stand on our own two feet. We need other people to approve of what we are doing. Depends on how you see it.
If some other people still think that Malays are selfish, then I guess the only thing that we have left to do is to give our whole country away and live as foreigners in our own motherland. On that day, what we have given we will never get back.
No other people in the world are as accommodating as the Malays.
We Malays are easily affected by what goes on in our surrounding. Our accommodating attitudes are even affecting our other 1Malaysian brothers, Chinese and Indians. On the road, we follow the crowd, not the traffic laws.
Many don’t know what is right and what is wrong when it comes to driving. So we follow. It is so much ingrained in our culture that we instinctively believe that what the other guy does is the right one. So we follow.
We park on the roadside with yellow lines because there are many cars parked there.
We can stop anywhere on the road as long as we stay in the car. If the enforcement officer arrives on scene, we just drive away. We never think about the fact that the traffic congestion in the area is our doing. We are the cause of it. It’s always the other guy’s fault.
We park as close as possible to the entrance of a mosque or a museum or any public building, regardless whether or not the place is a designated parking bay. Typically the parking area is merely 10 meters away.
I would like to see cars parked right inside the mosque behind imam. Drive-in mosque? Drive-through museum? That’s an idea that might work very well in Malaysia.
We Malaysians are so very lazy to use our feet to walk even 20-30 meters. We would rather drive our car.
In the rain you will see many cars seemingly in trouble. That’s what the emergency lights (double blinking lights) are indicating, right? Wrong! Not on Malaysian roads. People turn on just any lights on their car at any time they please. Except when they are needed.
The emergency lights are for informing others to pay special attention to your vehicle (when it’s having problems).
We Malaysians use them to our individual advantage to make sure other drivers can see us in the rain, so that we don’t get hit from behind. It makes sense, but that’s not what it is designed for. It just creates more confusion to other drivers. We become very selfish individuals when we are behind the wheels…driving. We turn into a completely different person.
That’s not the end of it. Other drivers who know no better follow suit. Unfortunately, even when many people are doing something that is wrong, it does not make it right.
Headlights? This is the time when Malaysian drivers decide to be frugal of their battery utilization. Many do not turn on the lights even when visibility is very low. As long as they can see the road. My eyes are perfect. I don’t need the headlights.
Many do not think that maybe some other drivers cannot see them in that low-lighting condition. That’s the reason the motorcycle headlights are required to be kept on all the time. Remember why the regulation was revised? To make sure they are visible by other drivers.
Many Malaysian drivers perceive traffic rules as what seems to make sense to them, completely forgetting that rules are there so as to keep the general public safe and to optimize the whole traffic flow for all road users.
A few drivers hog the right lane as if it’s his grandfather’s private property. Driving at 110 kph might seem fast. But on a 110 kph highway, please stay on the left lane unless you are overtaking.
A few others merge into a road right in front of you as you are driving at 90kph. They just keep driving at 40 or 50kph and don’t even bother to speed up.
On a motorcycle, some parents feel the need to protect their head from injury by putting on the helmet. Very good citizen. But, they don’t make their young children riding pillion at the back put their helmet. We Malaysians are so selfish even when dealing with their own flesh and blood.
Now those are a lot of things that we are not making sense.
Don’t get me started on the left-lane culture. The right-most lane is designed for those going faster than the rest. It’s meant as a passing lane. This is true when there is hardly any car on the road.
When the number of cars starts to increase, the left lane becomes the fast lane.
When the left lane is starting to become congested, a new lane starts to appear…to the left of the left lane. Typically on the emergency lane.
In my opinion, the concept of emergency lane does not work in Malaysia because of the left-lane culture.
The emergency vehicles do not need to use the left lane when there is hardly any car on the road. They will need to use the emergency lane when the normal road lanes are congested. However, this is the time the left-lane culture congests the emergency lane, preventing the emergency lane from being used by the real user of the left lane.
The problem is that we do not think of others. We just want that guy in our shoes to get where he’s going fastest possible.