A friend asked me: What is typical of Malaysians?
Well, being Malaysian all my life, and that is more than half a century long, I think I may be qualified to say something. Despite the differences in colour, faiths, there are many similarities among the difference groups of Malaysians.
For one thing, they like to use the word ‘lah’. So What’s wrong lah? This is the beauty of Malaysian language lah..
To know the psyche of a person, maybe the best way is to see how they drive. Psychologists will tell us that a person can be very polite when meeting people, and can be the perfect gentleman, but once inside the protective cocoon of his car, he will show his true self and true colour..
So you can see whether a person is impatient, ‘kiahsu’, ‘stressed’, mischievous’ or aggressive by noting the way the person drives. Similarly, by observing the action of majority of drivers, we can judge the collective psyche of a people.
Malaysian drivers do not stop at zebra crossing. Unlike their counterparts in the West, or even Singapore, or even Phuket of Thailand, people speed when they see you walking towards a zebra crossing. Even when you are standing at the start of the crossing, they will not stop for you. When the odd driver stops and allows you to cross, the cars behind him will be blasting their honks… this is typical of many Malaysian drivers.
these people will probably be run over in Malaysia ( pic from eta.co.uk )
More and more commonly, at traffic lights, when the green changes to amber, cars will not slow down as they are supposed to, but instead, you can see drivers revving up their engines and speed through, even when the car is a 20 year old junk, and even when such driving will burn a big hole in their pockets as the car will consume more petrol in sudden acceleration.
Not to be outdone, there are this group of kiahsu drivers who look at others’ traffic light instead of their own set of lights. When the other set turns red,(or even amber) and before their own set turns green, they will be shooting through like a F1 car.
Just imagine, with one set of drivers shooting through the traffic light when light changes to red, and the opposing set of drivers on the go before their light changes green, what will happen? …You do not need Nostradamus to tell you… a collision of course.
Then there are the Malaysian habits of holding steering wheel with one hand while the other more ‘important’ hand will be holding the ‘more important’ handphone to their ears and chatting…Even police summons will not dampen their habits of holding ‘important’ conversation over the phones while driving.. I have a phobia for this type of driver, and whenever I see in the rearview mirror someone holding a handphone and driving behind me, I will immediately change lane to let him pass..
Queuing cutting is the norm for most Malaysian drivers.. Nevermind by cutting queue, you are going to slow a whole lane of vehicles behind you down… Your time is apparently more precious than the sum of all the time wasted by all the other drivers behind you because of your queue cutting.
Then there is this habit of double or triple parking right in front of the place you want to go to, even though further down the road , there are plenty of empty parking spaces. You may save your few minutes walking, but you will be wasting the time of many drivers who have to slow down and squeeze through the narrow space due to your double parking. Actually, by walking a few yards more a day, you may delay your ‘heart attack’ by a few years..But if you choose to have a heart attack early by double or triple parkings and walking less, then perhaps this is what we called Karma?
What about launching ‘missiles’ out of the car window when driving? It can be plastic, paper bags, tissues, etc etc . The worst kind of missiles will be that of spitting out of their windows, or throwing cigarette butts out without putting the flame out first…. There is no qualms about littering at all. But then these drivers may argue that even cars with Singapore plates have been noted to do so in Malaysia, even though they will never do it down in their own country.
I have mentioned before about some drivers going against the traffic into one way roads before (getting common nowadays) , so I am not going to repeat here.
ANd what about this? Some time in the middle of the night, you stop at a red light , but the cars behind you will sound their honks because they think your are an idiot to stop when there is no on coming traffic, nevermind that you are just trying to be good citizen and obey the law?
Most Malaysian drivers have done this..
The driving behaviour of Malayians tell us something of us as a people.This collective psyche tells that most Malaysians would not mind breaking the laws if the ‘law’ is not looking; we are also self centred and self caring…… Any wonders why we have so much corruptions and rotten values here?
We have in fact a lot of similarities as Malaysians, and these similarities should have given us enough ground to be one people , since we are so similar in our driving behaviours , which tell us more about a people than anything else.
Why are we still harping on race, colours, and religions?
Why are we still harping on our differences despite the fact that we are so similar in our psyche as a people?