As published in Malay Mail today
By Graig Nunis
I HATE driving.
My sense of direction is akin to Ed Miliband’s political career and I usually end up far from where I want to be.
Using Waze, Google Maps and other Global Positioning System (GPS) devices are of no help.
So much so, friends have taken to calling me GPS …Guna Pun Sesat or Graig Pasti Sesat.
As such, I usually leave an hour earlier than most would, to factor in the time wasted by going round in circles.
Colleagues have wondered how I made my way to and from assignments during my reporting days — answer: public transport or tumpang photographers and reporters from other media outlets.
Unlike the now infamous Zahra, I am not too proud to take the bus or train, or a combination of both.
Why drive when you can get someone to bring you where you want to be without the hassle of traffic jams and finding a decent (read: cheap) parking spot in Kuala Lumpur?
If given the choice, I would not drive at all.
It doesn’t help that many road signs in the Klang Valley are partially or fully blocked by tree branches or located too close to exits at forks in the road, making last minute turns dangerous.
Then, we also have the usual idiots on the road — those who think they are clones of Lewis Hamilton because they use the same petrol as the world champion.
They zigzag in and out of traffic without a care in the world, oblivious to the danger they pose not just to themselves but to other drivers.
The fatal accident involving several Myvi cars and a Pajero on Duke Highway two months ago is a perfect example of how motorists can easily lose their lives.
And, what’s the deal with Zon Operasi Had Laju signposts along highways? Why are the authorities giving these speedsters warning?
They should be throwing the book at them or even better, taking away their licences instead of telling them where the speed traps are.
It is like telling motorists it’s alright to drive like a maniac from point A to point B, but … please slow down when you are going from point B to C as “we are watching you”.
Can you imagine a bank putting up a sign stating “We have extra CCTV and the cops are on call … you may want to consider the jewellery store down the road”.
Many don’t take road safety seriously — as evident by Malay Mail’s ongoing “Stop Killing Your Kids” campaign.
Last year, The Star reported a study by the University of Michigan which put Malaysia among the top 25 most dangerous countries for road users, with 30 fatalities per 100,000 individuals
The report stated the only other Southeast Asian nation in the top 25 was Thailand with 44 fatalities per 100,000 people.
Namibia topped the list with 45 deaths and the safest place was Maldives with two deaths. The world average is 18 fatalities per 100,000 people.
With Hari Raya just days away, millions of people will be rushing to balik kampung.
Here’s wishing they stay alert, keep calm, don’t drive like a maniac and more importantly keep out of my way.
1Malaysia road trip
Speaking of driving, I had a rare weekend off and spent it by, of all things, driving to Ipoh for a friend’s engagement.
It was also a perfect opportunity to whack Ipoh’s famous nasi ganja — after more than a decade of not having this mouth-watering dish.
So 13 of us — five Indians, three Chinese, two Malays and three dan lain lain — a perfect example of 1Malaysia (perhaps because there was no politician in sight) — set forth for the former tin mining capital of the world.
Traffic was light but sadly, with it being the fasting month, there was no rendang tok at the Tapah rest area during the day.
Still the nasi ganja was worth it, although as often with memories, everything seemed to taste better back in the day.
But, true to its nickname, the food was addictive and we went again the next day for lunch complete with several packets of takeaway, including two for our Muslim friends to break fast with.
It was a wonderful trip made special by the eclectic bunch that didn’t care about politics and religion and treated each other equally.
While posing for pictures with the happy couple the night before, one of the guys joked: “This is the true 1MDB — 1 Malaysia Datang Bertandang.”
If only our politicians can see what a good thing we have and not try to ruin it with race-based politics, Malaysia can truly be Asia.
Oh by the way, if you’re travelling to Ipoh with the help of a sat-nav, be very sure when typing the name of the road you are looking for.
There may be just one extra letter between Jalan Lang and Jalan Lange but they are worlds apart.
Guess how we found that out?
Graig is sports editor at Malay Mail and hopes he can afford a driver one day. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @gnunis1892