HARESH SAYS: Life lost over carpark row? Something is seriously wrong

Haresh Says, as published in Malay Mail today.



THE wails of his wife echoed throughout the street as she pleaded for mercy. His daughter shivered with fear.

The husband was handed a good beating for simply standing up to another motorist who had shouted at her following a disagreement over a parking bay.

The fight finally breaks up and they go separate ways. Nevermind that their dinner plan was disrupted, the wife was glad it was over.

Sadly, it was the beginning of a night she wished had never existed.

The husband developed pains and was rushed to hospital. He turned from victim to deceased.
That was Mary Ooi’s nightmare.

Her husband Stephen Joseph was assaulted over a carpark row on Sunday night, in front of Ooi and their 14-year-old daughter Joanne in SS2, Petaling Jaya. He succumbed to severe blows to his chest and internal bleeding, as reported by Malay Mail yesterday.

Two weeks ago, a 21-year-old man allegedly reversed into a businessman at Port Klang Gurdwara. This occurred after the man entered into the holy place to confront several men whom he claimed had “disturbed” his girlfriend.

The victim advised him to leave the temple grounds after he created a ruckus. He left in a huff, but not before reversing into businessman Avtar Singh who suffered injuries to his ankle and lip. Even Avtar’s motorcycle was damaged in the Dec 28 incident.

Klang Selatan police chief Asst Comm Kamarul Zaman Mamat said the man was last Friday charged under the Penal Code with attempting to murder Avtar.

I am sure many had also seen a video on YouTube where a man was repeatedly beaten by another motorist armed with a stick on what seemed to be at the Damasara-Puchong highway (LDP).

What has become of us?

Those who drive tend to think they are superior – they say motorcyclists are a nuisance, lorry and bus drivers are bullies, pedestrians have no place walking on the streets while cyclists should just ride in their neighbourhoods The sexist will even demand that women be banned from our roads.

We have those driving “big cars” pushing other vehicles off the road. This happens most of the time on highways.

But I have seen a Perodua Kancil honking at a Range Rover, eager to further push his already rambling 850cc engine on the fast lane.

We have people who double park, and in some cases triple park. Try driving along Lebuh Ampang or in that supposedly affluent place called Bangsar on a Sunday. 

Some are just too lazy to park slightly further than their destination.

“If possible, he would want to park inside the restaurant and eat in the car,” a friend once joked after we witnessed a man parking his car in the middle of the road near an eatery.

It is easy to point fingers, whine and claim that everyone else is wrong. But the problem is us.

Here are the hard facts – a man was knocked down by a raging lover, another died following a squabble over a parking lot. 

There are the flashing of lights, cutting of queues, and the middle-finger salute which often leads to a more tensed situation.

We have turned into monsters.

People are just too agitated, eager to show their dominance. And it does not help when their children, who often sit with them, pick up similar habits. 

I was once asked by a seven-year-old why I was driving “slow”, despite the needle on my dashboard showed 80km/h.

“Mummy drives no less than 140km/h,” she said proudly.

Education starts from home, I say.

Parking is a huge problem especially in Kuala Lumpur. Designated parking spaces are limited, especially during peak hours. Despite this, many prefer to drive to work because they lack faith in our public transportation which they say is not well-connected.

But the biggest issue with parking is being at the mercy of the jaga kereta boys who demand money. Most motorists pay up, for not wanting additional stress. Others end up in an argument, with the possibility of returning to a badly scratched vehicle.

Where is the enforcement? Why are we forced to kowtow to these thugs?

You may be a high-flying executive, a top civil servant, a business owner, a clerk, a homemaker or a college student. But we all share common responsibilities on the road – to respect fellow motorists and follow traffic regulations, to understand we do not own the road and that innocent lives are at stake.

Gender plays no role. The type of vehicle one uses is immaterial. Lives are lost over silly matters.

It boils down to ethics, discipline and respect. It is also about our attitude.

Some of us just do no understand the meaning of respecting rules and regulations, respecting each other as living beings.

And this is especially so behind the wheel.

HARESH is executive editor of Malay Mail. He can be reached at haresh@mmail.com.my or on Twitter @HareshDeol

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