Tuesday, August 29, 2006

So You Think You Know Malaysian Traffic?

Every morning, God looks down from his heavenly throne upon the streets of Kuala Muddy. Little black dots zip along their designated paths; sometimes going exceedingly fast in a zig-zag manner, sometimes so stupefyingly slow that other dots zig-zag around them.
When enough of these dots come together at the same time, they begin to move slowly, and eventually stop. Then all try to move at the same time, but strangely none manage to. Some extraordinary dots go to paths they shouldn't go, and encounter white dots that stop them.
However, the most exciting part of this adorable dance is when two (or more) dots make contact with each other. Both dots freeze in place and produce a chemical reaction that slows down surrounding dots. Apparently, the scent is also highly attractive to white dots.
So, you think you know Malaysian traffic? Maybe you do. But knowing it and playing it are as different as a Malaysian signboard that leads to Pusat Bandaraya and another Malaysian signboard that leads to Pusat Bandaraya. Er...that is, they're both different. You get what I mean.
Forget those Undang classes you took - if you haven't forgotten them already - and sit back for the REAL hows and whys of Malaysian traffic!

WEAPO...UH, TRANSPORT OF CHOICE:

Motorcycle: The noblest, most selfless warriors you'll ever see on the roads. Modern day equivalents of Japanese kamikaze pilots, every motorcyclist kisses his family goodbye before a journey and doesn't expect to return.
Also apparently immune to traffic lights and most other laws of the road.

Car: Most common vehicle. Can be found roaming plentifully along the highways and byways; too plentifully some would say. Unlike most other vehicles, however, cars can be modified beyond recognition. Cars are divided to 4 main categories:

Small - Kancils, Kelisas, Myvis, Savvys etc. Able to park in gaps between bad teeth and beneath door cracks. Seating capacity: 7

Medium - Wiras, Wajas, Sagas etc. Along with small cars, they constitute 90% of Malaysian traffic. Or at least that's what it feels like lah. Seating capacity: 6

Large - Hondas, Toyotas, BMWs etc. Including vans. Always gets the right of way over small and medium cars, unless of course if it's a Polis Diraja Malaysia Waja. Seating capacity: 5

Super - Rambominis (I might've gotten the spelling wrong) and other sport race-y cars with unpronounceable names. Big on noise, big on accessories, big on speed. Low on opportunities, unfortunately. You can sense the desperation when they go at turbo blast just to beat you to...the next traffic light. Seating capacity: 1

Taxi: Mercenaries for hire. Though they come under the medium car category, their privilege to right of way is equal to Large cars. Nobody knows why.
Another quirk of the taxi, if you've been in one before, is the strange *BzztbzztPuchongJayakeTamanConnaughtPuchongJayakeTamanConnaught
bzztbzztBukitJalilkeSunwayCondoBukitJalilkeSunwayCondobzztbzzt* female voice you hear. Legend has it that though all taxi drivers know this lady and abide by her, none have ever seen her face.

Polis Diraja Malaysia Waja: The distinctive navy blue and white never fail to right all the wrongs of the chaotic Malaysian traffic. As though by magic, when a Polis Waja passes other vehicles start going ridiculously slow. Signal lights flash uncontrollably, horns (of both kinds) turn into smiles and queue-cutters sucked to the back of the line. Bersih cekap amanah.

Ambulance: If any vehicle can claim to have a following, it's this guy. Another testament to the caring nature of Malaysians; where else in the world would you get dozens of well-wishers trailing a sick stranger all the way to the hospital? And you thought Moses parting the Red Sea was a miracle.

Lorry: A dreaded sight. Why? Because when you get stuck behind a lorry, that's the only sight you'll see. And it doesn't help that most lorries are either dangerous (carrying logs, crates) or morbid as heck (hanging dead pigs, live chickens stuffed into clothes drawers).

Trailer: A lorry on steroids. No dead pigs, at least.

Bus: Utterly agonising to follow behind. 10 times more agonising to wait for. They emit black clouds of toxic gas. They always cause traffic jams and accidents. And when you go on their lanes, you get fined heavily. Could there be any more evil vehicle in history?!

SPECIAL SKILLS - SOME LEGAL, SOME NOT QUITE, AND SOME JUST PLAIN RUDE.

The Horn: Oooold school. Your clearest means of audio communication with the outside world. Used properly, the horn can convey a variety of messages:

One short horn:
"Eh stupid, watch where you're going lah."
"Eh stupid, green light already ah."


One medium-length horn:
"OI STUPID! Driving with your backside izzit?!"
"OI STUPID! Green light already ah, and I'm in a hurry."


One long horn:
"OOI!! STUPID!!! WANT TO DIE IZZIT??! NAHHH!!!" (switch to visual communication)
"OOI!! STUPID!!! Eventhough your engine died at a green light and it's none of your fault, I still feel like driving over your incompetent feet."

Two short horns:
"Hey, I'm here at your house...come out now."

Two medium-length horns:
"I'm too cheap to call you. Come out NOW!"

Two long horns:
"I'm an idiot."

Quick succession of short horns:
"I'm speeding, and I don't have the required skill to switch lanes. So get out of my way!"

Quick succession of medium-length horns:
"My idiot kid is playing with the horn."

Quick succession of long horns:
"I'm getting married. Just so you would know."

The Flash: Pretty much similar to the horn, but it's way cooler. Unlike the loud and provocative horn which you can brush away as the work of an idiot, the flash inflicts subtle trauma onto the mind of the flashee. It slowly eats away at your conscience for days, as you wonder in anguish what made you deserve The Flash. Eventually, you decay into a hollow shell of disexistence and everlasting misery.
Also great for making hesitant drivers take turnings.

The Rev: Vroom, vroom. Amazing how a couple of unnecessary accelerator presses can speak into the hearts of two men of honour. With nothing to lose and everything to gain, their burning eyes make an eternal vow to fight till the other is vanquished. Unless the poor guy really was revving because water got into his engine.

The Signal: Obsolete since 1996. Pretty useful for scoring in your driving exam, though.

The Double Signal: The second most powerful force in Malaysian traffic. With these two blinking lights alone, you can:

a) Indicate a left turn
b) Indicate a right turn
c) Indicate a still-undecided turn
d) Move at half speed
e) Stop in the middle of the road
f) Avoid summonses ("bang, kereta rosak lah")
g) Double your headlight power
h) Make it easier for your friends' cars to trail you
i) In extreme cases, park your car (refer to e)
j) Indicate emergencies (the proper usage lah)

And, finally...

THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE IN MALAYSIAN TRAFFIC (YES, EVEN MORE POWERFUL THAN THE DOUBLE SIGNAL)

The Passenger: As soon as he gets in a waiting car, the Double Signal is...destroyed. And the car is free to go. Unbelievable.

1 comment:

lostkidhao said...

Its being a while since I come visiting here. To my delight, you've post another of your best work here...wish I can find more time to blog....(sigh)

oh btw, those unpronounable cars include maserati, ferrari, lamboghini, lexus, jaguar, BMW....well you get the gist...