I was tagged by Michelle Yoon of I Am Malaysian about a week ago to participate in this blogger initiative started by Nizam Bashir.
The idea behind this initiative is to come up with 51 ideas on how to make a better Malaysia, with one blogger posting one idea per week.
This week, it is my turn to come up with:
IDEA #4: Courtesy On The Road
I am predominantly a socio-political blogger. Most of my posts are dedicated to either criticising the political system or highlighting instances of gross power abuse within the government.
Nevertheless, I couldn't conceive a single idea that was political in nature which hasn't been hashed out in some blog or the other.
And sometime last week, I stumbled upon it. The idea I was looking for, one I could completely identify with, though it wasn't the least bit political in nature.
You see, I get stuck in the traffic jam everyday, going to work, and on occasion while driving home. My commute is approximately a 50km distance one way, so I do spend a lot of time on the road.
I could blame the government for not building or implementing an adequate road system, including traffic lights, the timing etc.
And when they do in fact build new highways, they slap on a gargantuan amount of money on the driver and call it 'toll'. It's rather interesting, we pay a lot of tax, but we also pay for toll.
And with the recent, drastic reductions in fuel subsidy, I have yet to see any improvements being made on our public transportation system, which would ease the number of cars on the roads.
We need a change of government quite badly. The government doesn't even bother to hide the fact that it is steeped in corruption.
But it wasn't my intention to wax lyrical about the government. We need to work on them later, but for now, it's what we can and need to do when we're on the road.
Firstly, we need to follow the rules of the road. Emergency lanes are for emergencies. Two-lane roads are for, well... two neat lanes of cars. But not where I live.
During heavy traffic, the two-lane road miraculously transforms itself into four lanes. I kid you not. People ignore traffic lights and push their way through with no regard for oncoming traffic.
By the time I pass that disorderly mess of traffic, I'm usually in a foul and aggressive mood. I refuse to give way to any car signalling its intention to come into my lane.
And I humbly admit that I hate what I have become.
So if firstly, we need to obey road rules, then secondly, we need to bend our norms. Instead of refusing to let drivers into my lane, I'm going to stop or slow down to let them in.
And if I'm the one allowed in, I will wave my gratitude.
Now I know I'm going beyond the limits of what the Malaysian public, especially those living in Kuala Lumpur are used to.
It is entirely possible that drivers on the road will be so shocked at seeing me wave at them, that they may crash their car into the curb.
I may be singularly responsible for the most number of traffic accidents in one day due to a severe shock reaction from unsuspecting drivers in my path.
Who knows, maybe I might even get thrown under the Internal Security Act for being a threat to public safety (and thereby, achieve international fame). :)
Jokes aside, this whole road courtesy thing has to be give-and-take.
Once in a fit of reckless kindness about a year ago, I allowed a driver who had been waiting for a while at an intersection to turn into my crawling lane, jammed with traffic. I even gestured the invitation like some waiter of an upscale restaurant.
Folks. You have no idea how pleased the dude was. He beamed a smile and waved (I nearly had an accident from the shock of seeing a wave) and after that was so unbelievably courteous on the road with other drivers.
He even let a lady enter into his lane, who promptly smiled back at him. If the situation got anymore sweeter, I'd have had to make a trip to the dentist. ;-)
But I thought it was wonderful that for that day, I had initiated the courtesy and the good feelings that followed.
*Updated: Next nominated for pulling out a great idea is Patricia of The English Cottage, a site which is as cosy as it sounds! :)