BEFORE I got my licence and car years ago, I was always walking everywhere. Sure, I did take the bus, taxi and train every now and then, but I had always preferred walking as it got me to my destination without the need to
worry about being confined in
a small room and inhaling random (usually unpleasant) body odours.
However, there was always one thing that was always at the top of my head whenever I decided to start my journey on foot somewhere: which reckless driver would I need to face that day?
If there is one thing that most people can agree on is that Malaysia, as much as I love my wonderful country, is not the safest for pedestrians in general. I can’t even begin to count how many times I have almost been knocked down by motorists, who were either too preoccupied with their gadgets or too impatient to give way where necessary.
I promised myself that when I started driving, I would always remember to be sensitive to pedestrians and try my best to give way to them whenever I could. You see, we motorists have metal and glass to shield us from danger and the weather; pedestrians, on the other hand, have none of these and risk losing their limbs or lives if they aren’t careful enough.
A few weeks ago, I had parked my car at the staff parking lot and walked over to campus to start my day at work. I waited patiently to cross the road, which had only one lane on each side as it was on campus grounds. Finally, when a kind driver stopped to give way to me at the zebra crossing, I raised my hand to wave at him and mouthed a silent “thank you” as I walked across.
Imagine my horror when just two seconds later, I was inches away from being knocked down by another car, which had appeared out of nowhere! The driver of this car, which looked like a sports car to me, had evidently overtaken the kind driver because the former had been too impatient to wait until I crossed the road. He decided to overtake on a road, which had only one lane and no room for overtaking.
I froze on the road and yelled at him. He stared blankly at me and waited until I moved before he zoomed off. I cursed at myself in anger, upset how some motorists could be so selfish and insensitive on the road.
I suppose I had been lucky.
Many pedestrians have lost their legs and/or ability to walk, and some have even been killed after getting knocked down by reckless motorists.
I simply cannot fathom this.
Are road rules difficult to obey? Is etiquette difficult to adhere to? Has common courtesy been thrown out of the window?
How many more limbs do we need to lose in order for people to understand the importance of abiding by road rules? How many more lives do we need to lose in order for people to learn their lesson?
We speak so greatly about teaching our children to listen to and follow rules and regulations.
We speak so greatly about teaching our children to be compassionate, respectful people.
We speak so greatly about teaching our children to become responsible, dependable adults.
Yet, our actions prove to be the complete opposite. How then can you expect to bring up these children and mould them into becoming sensible citizens?
It all begins with every one of us wanting to create an environment where anyone can feel safe no matter where they are, no matter what vehicle they may or may not drive.
It’s not rocket science, yet it is something many people have trouble comprehending. Perhaps, it is egocentrism that stops us from caring about anyone other than ourselves, or perhaps it is apathy. I can’t seem to figure out which one.
Be a little more considerate, show a little more kindness. Act a little more maturely, prove a little more sagacious.
Trust me, the world will be a better place to live in.
The writer, a lecturer at Sunway College, is a Malaysian-born Eurasian with Scottish/Japanese/Indian lineage. She believes in a tomorrow where there is no existence of racism and hatred.