Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Wheels Of Fury Part 1:

Or Guide to Driving in Malaysia and be just as bad as everyone else.

I wanted this to be published in some expat magazine, giving our visitors bit of guide in driving the Malaysian way. But trouble is, I might be put under ISA for inciting dangerous driving that may result in them driving into pedestrians, dogs, frogs, cattles or Mallika Sherawat (love to). So, the blogsphere is a safer place (or so I think). Oh, the title looked like an abandoned Bruce Lee/car race movie project, so I hope you don’t mind the sub-heading. It's part one, because I may add more to it later. Or just let it be a sequel-less thingy, like Mel Brooks History of the World Part 1.

Yes, we are going to talk about driving in Malaysia here, particularly in Kuala Lumpur. So, this might be useful especially for expatriates, and those who have moved in to Malaysia’s city-of-too-many-energy-consuming-but-beautiful-lights.

As with many important articles, let me start with an important quote. Karl Marx, in summarizing the need for humanity to survive, to outlive the shortcomings, and to address the neverending quest for perfection said, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Or was it Groucho Marx?

Whoever said it, the maxim applies neatly to driving in Malaysia. As you may have noticed, while Malaysians are generally friendly, hospitable and eat too many Nasi Lemak and Roti Chanai, they are aggressive, terribly selfish, emotional and, at times, self destructive when it comes to driving.

Being a Malaysian who was born, bred and forced to drive with fellow Malaysians, I would like to offer my insight on…HOW TO DRIVE LIKE MALAYSIANS (cue superhero music).

Use of lanes:

In Malaysia right lane is for overtaking, and, for a three lane road, you are supposed to use the middle unless you are overtaking. Don’t buy that. Right lane is for speeding. Shoot your way to your desired speed level and honk the guy in front of you out!

And the left lane, as you know it, is for either slow driving, mainly to lead to the next exit. Haha! Whose leg are they pulling. Left lane can be used for overtaking too. Hell, give us five lane and we will use them all for overtaking.

Its all about speed. Often, in a 80 kilometer per hour (kph) roads or highway, you can always find cars zooming at easily 130-140 kph. Never mind the fact that inflation, prices of fuel and food are going up, these people are willing to fork out their hard earned money to pay the summons. How they do it is their own business of course.

The thing is this: if they can do it, so can you!

Use of lanes: to exit

Let’s talk about the left lane. As mentioned, generally, you use it when you are slowing down, to make an exit, or when you just want to drive slowly. Essentially it is the lane to switch to so that you can make a comfortable exit.

Or so it would seem those days! Left lane are for wimps, for those lame beaten up cars and heavy vehicle that looked like they were assembled from recycle-steel factories. When you reach your exit, cut through from the middle lane straight to the exit, never mind that the slow-laners would honk at you, show fists, etc. That’s all they can do from their pathetic vehicles.

Just cut in and pretend that nothing happens. What the heck, everyone does that. In Malaysia, one our favourite moto is “If others can do, so can I-mah!”.


Parking space is becoming rare, like those animals the animal rights people are endlessly lobbying for. Unfortunately, parking space is not as hot and sexy like, say, Bengal Tiger. So, its you, your car and that valuable space.

In order to address this issue, most Malaysians resort to the dirty tactic of double parking. The poor driver in the proper parking space has to wait for the double parker to move his or her vehicle before he can move. What does it say? Double parkers are the kings.

But guess what? It’s n o longer so. No, I don’t mean to say that enforcement has gotten tighter. Not that. It is just that double parking is so yesterday, passé.

People triple park! Hah! You never thought Malaysia would go that advanced, did you? Now, triple parkers are the kings, as now you have two drivers at their mercy. All hail new kings!

Let’s face it. Malaysian’s are very optimistic and positive minded people when situation arises for them not to have to walk to their destination. The motto is: “If there is a will, there is a parking space”.

There are more, and I'd love comments and suggestions and help poor clueless foreigners to DRIVE LIKE MALAYSIANS!!! (Cue superhero music).


NOV said...

Ha Ha!

I dont know which is worse; speeding on the outer lane, or the idiot who sticks to the speed limit AND the outer lane at the same time. He is the self-appointed guardian of speed limits for the lesser kinds.

And then there is the smart alec who will overtake him on the left and then brake in front of the offensive guy, teaching him his own lesson.

Oh what fun it is to drive on the malaysian highway! :D

balan said...

Anyways, there's lots more

1. Zebra Crossing - In Malaysia, they are meant for literally, Zebras. Nobody bothers to stop at these crossings unless there's a traffic light or if it is located at a T-Junction. I guess, they will only stop if real Zebras cross, as they never see one, they just go though without stoppng for humans.

2. Yellow Lines and Boxes - Yellow boxes in the middle of the road are mean to allow cars in the same and opposite direction to turn into a junction, while you are not supposed to park along yellow lines. Malaysians can't recognise Yellow colour on the road, they are just invisible to them.

3. Bus & Taxi Stop - Are meant for privileged parking for any cars and also taxis. You can take a rest/lepak in these stops while reading newspaper and checking out people waiting for busses and taxis. A leisure activity if you have nothing to do.

4. Out Of KL Driving - Rules are quite different in multi lanes roads outside KL. Overtaking are to be done via right lane and slow driver are to keep driving on the right lane. KLites must beware of this and it's not that they (Non-KL Drivers) are road hogging.

5. KM/H - 90km/h signs on highway tells you that it's the minimum speed allowed , the same applies to 110 km/h.

6. Cross Wind Signs - You can see this along the Melaka Air Keroh highways where the speed limit is 90km/h. What it actually means to Malaysians is that, 'you should attempt to break the cross wind by flying you car beyond 90 km/h. Or simply, challenge your car to break the cross wind and see if your car can withstand it. It's ok if some time it literally flies as seen in many cases reported before especially Kancils.