April 26, 2007

Observations on the Road, Part One

Malaysia is a land rich in cultures and traditions, especially when it comes to traffic customs and navigationary norms. All these, when done right, will most definitely kill you.

Part One*: If you’re not on wheels, you don’t use the roads
Might is right, people like to say. These same people also like to complain that Malaysian drivers don’t respect pedestrian crossings and cast baleful glances at big bad off-road vehicles like Ford “Built Tough™” Storms for terrorising the poor two-legged squishies who face mortal danger every time they decide to cross a road.

This is patently not true, that is to say, the meek pedestrians don’t really need your sympathy. You see, the constant bullying by wheeled vehicles has caused the Malaysian pedestrian form a common bond of brothers, to unite and develop a swarm mentality.

No longer do pedestrians wait for the lights to change before venturing onto the asphalt, nor do they huddle in oppressed groups looking for black and white paint to signify that yes, two legged squishies may walk here. Heck, they don’t even wait for a break in traffic before waltzing across without even a glance at the Fords and buses that are forced to screech to a halt to avoid crashing into exoskeleton-clad meatbags.

In fact, if you go to the Bukit Bintang area, you can actually witness poetry in motion, cos that area breeds a strain of especially hardy pedestrians that no one dares trifle with. Bukit Bintang pedestrians are like the X-Men of pedestrians, they don’t even bother to wait for a crowd to form before launching their attack.

A Bukit Bintang pedestrian (especially in front of Sungai Wang Plaza) will simply breeze onto the road regardless of traffic condition, and if a taxi so much as dares to lean on the horn the pedestrian will immediately unleash a series of Secret Super-Duper Karate Moves and completely decimate the offending vehicle.

Ok I totally made that up. I’ve been watching too much Heroes.

What the pedestrian would actually do is bang on the bonnet of the taxi, point at the driver and make threatening “Mau lawan ka?” motions with her arms while saying “KNNBCCB!” She would then stand immobile in front of the taxi while the line of cars behind the cab stretches back to Jalan Loke Yew, glaring as she waits for the taxi driver to take her up on her offer.

Finally, as her finishing combo move, the pedestrian will cast Level 5 Evil Eye at the driver for his utter ball-lessness, sniff disdainfully, brush imaginary dust off her sleeves and proceed to repeat the performance on the road in front of Lot 10.

I think this is what they mean when they mention “evolution” in Heroes. And they say the meek shall inherit the earth. Pah! In Malaysia, it’s pedestrians who are Built Tough™.

* Of many, or at least until my inspiration dries up.