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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Because it’s our grandfather’s road

The Malaysian driver's obsession with honking goes under the microscope.
COMMENT
honkingMalaysian drivers are a special breed of people with special superpowers. We have horns – not the kind perched on our heads – the kind nestled cosily under the protective hoods of our cars.
We honk at every darn thing.
We honk when we are late and expect everyone on the road to hurriedly make way for us.
We honk at the law-abiding pakcik who drives under 90km/h on the left lane because good drivers who abide by the speed limit are losers.
We honk in front of schools to announce to our child that we have arrived – as if our child is the only student at the school.
We honk at the sight of a pretty lady waiting at the bus stop – “Adik mana mau pigi? Boleh abang hantar?”
We honk at law-abiding cars slowing down as the traffic lights turn amber right in front of us, cursing them for stopping a quarter of a second before the lights turn red.
We honk at pedestrians walking along zebra crossings so they’ll make way for us. After all, zebra crossings are for zebras, not people – right?
We honk at cows, cats, dogs and goats crossing the road, reminding them to wait for the authorities to invent a cow, cat, dog and goat crossing – just like they did for zebras.
We honk to say hello to a friend we see eating cendol by the roadside.
We honk at the motorcyclists flooding the emergency lane as we speed past them – “Get out of the way, you idiots.”
We honk before suddenly switching lanes to forewarn others of our divine right to lurch forward because let’s face it – reaching our destination on time is way more important than whatever plans others on the road may have.
We honk warning others not to collide into us as we slide into the next lane as we dip a piece of guava into the packet of asam boi placed on our lap while texting our friend and skipping Justin Bieber on our playlist – because multitasking is a great gift and anyone who can’t appreciate it deserves to be knocked off the road.
We honk to announce our arrival at the house gate, oblivious that we are waking up the entire neighbourhood. It doesn’t matter if it’s in broad daylight or in the wee hours of the morning – after all, our neighbours surely will enjoy listening to the wonderful sound of our horns.
In short, we honk when we are pissed. We honk when we are happy. We honk when we are clueless. We honk when we send messages. We honk when we feel like honking. And we honk even when we need not honk.
Why?
Because it is our grandfather’s road and we make the rules.
But the only time we Malaysians are not supposed to honk is when inconsiderate motorists double-park or worse, triple-park along a busy, narrow street, ignorant of how inconvenient their parking is for others – oh no we don’t!
Because let’s face it, in Malaysia, when you honk for the right reasons, you will end up with a broken windscreen and a swollen face to boot.
Fa Abdul is an FMT columnist.

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