Malaysian roads, killing fields!

By Sim Kwang Yang

The double-barrelled festive celebrations are now finally over. And so is the seasonal killing spree on Malaysian roads and highways.

That is why my feeling of joyous participation in our nation’s festive holidays has always been dampened. One knows very well beforehand that tens of thousands of road accidents will occur each time, including hundreds of fatalities, some of which would be excruciatingly gruesome and unnecessary.

We are told that every year, something like 6000 Malaysians die on the road. Road accidents must rank as one of the foremost causes of death in our country. Is there anyone among us who has not had a relative or friend who perished in a road accident?

As I get older, I think about how I am going to die. As they say, death and taxes are the two only certainties in life. You cannot get out of this life alive. But one does not fear death as much as the manner of death, over which one has very little choice.

I would hate to die in a road accident. To die by the so-called natural causes is grim enough, but acceptable, as the will of God, or the dictate of nature. But it does seem such a waste to die in a burst of flame, crushed into an unrecognisable pulp, extricated from the hideously twisted wreck of a motor vehicle by firemen using chainsaws. .

That is why during these festive holidays, I do not balik kampong, but sit at home and read my philosophy books.

But the rest of the nation would probably join in the exodus from the cities. We are told that more than 10 million vehicles would choke our highways and our roads. And this staggering figure does not even include heavy vehicles, which are usually banned at the height of the annual national festive jam. Thousands of policemen and enforcement officers from the Land Transport Department will be mobilised to watch the major traffic arteries like hawks. Operations with fancy names – with sequels in subsequent years – will be launched with much fanfare. There is the annual deluge of stern warnings to motorists issuing from a phalanx of severe looking public officials, promising retributions of brimstone and hell-fire for those who flout the traffic laws.