Category Archives: Opinions

140. ‘ACTION LEBIH’ SINGAPORE DRIVERS…

Singapore drivers are an AMAZING lot.

They are AMAZINGLY highly educated but horrendously low on road courtesy/ safety EQ especially when plying the roads of their friendly Southeast Asian neighbours, particularly one just next-door – Malaysia; a country where I have a vehicle and am licensed to drive.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t intend to turn this blog into my personal bitching session and razing all Singapore drivers down into the ground.

My intention is to set the wheels turning towards what I believe can be a smooth, diplomatic and civilised driving experience on the roads in this region. Besides, not every Singaporean driver is a bad apple since there are bad drivers in every country, even in Malaysia, infamous for its lack of road rules and traffic enforcement, which has allowed the problem to fester.

I hope that by highlighting the problems that the message of observing road safety, having respect and consideration for local drivers in foreign countries by Singaporean drivers when travelling outside of the island, can be spread.

As a driver in Malaysia, I have noticed in the last decade, an overwhelming number of Singaporean vehicles crossing the Causeway for weekend or weeknight jaunts.

Some have settled in the country while keeping Singapore registered vehicles whilst others have bought property that they come on the weekends to enjoy.

On that, there are no issues here. Enjoy the country as much as you want, spend as much as you want and eat as much as you’d like. You’ll see most Malaysians are happy to accommodate as much as they can.

What seems to be a problem is the attitude of these Singaporeans, in particular, those who own cars and who, through reasons unexplained, transform into Dr Jekyll drivers the moment their vehicles hit Malaysian soil.

Suddenly it’s as if they traded in their ultra-conservative nun’s habit for a Sid Vicious leather jacket, full on with the F**K YOU safety pin look.

That’s right Malaysians! Watch out! The bad boys of driver’s ed are here and they’re taking a few heads back with them!

You know it folks!

From failing to observe road rules in Malaysia and putting their signals at turnings to revving their engines at Speed Demon levels on regular neighbourhood roads as well as parking willy nilly wherever they like, Singaporean drivers have entrenched themselves firmly on Malaysian roads……..

In all the wrong ways.

While we locals find ourselves putting up with this foreign vehicular encroachment, we’ve also been given a taste of Singapore’s infamous ‘action lebih’ mentality. ‘Action lebih’ being local Malaysian slang for ‘acting waaaay too egotistical for one’s own good’.

Here are some major offenders on the booking ticket:

1. Honking at Malaysian drivers travelling at safe speeds to get them to speed up or at stationary Malaysian vehicles blocking their way on a road or car park.

2. Weaving in and out of lanes without care for the safety of other Malaysian drivers on the road.

3. Waving the finger or shouting profanities at a Malaysian driver who doesn’t immediately skyrocket past the green light the second it changes.

4. Failure to turn on indicator lights where appropriate i.e when turning or changing lanes.

5. Tailgating on neighbourhood roads with the intention to get Malaysian cars to speed up. If the Malaysian car refuses to take it up a few notches on the speedometre, then expect to get a pissed Singaporean driver overtake you with a classic ‘Eff you!’ mouthed at you as they whizz past your vehicle. (Thank god for soundproof windows!)

6. Parking willy nilly or the classic: Parking right by an eating table at a roadside stall blocking oncoming traffic, because you know, you never know when your car’s going to get nicked in Malaysia, so why not park it right where we are eating, so we can keep an eye on it. Actually, better still, next time just order your food in, that is, IN the car won’t ya? Geez Louise!

If your jaw dropped to all or some of the above, you’re probably not a licensed Singapore driver or a Malaysian driver who has had the pleasure of experiencing a dose of ‘Singapore hospitality’.

Most of the above are quite common occurrences and surprise, surprise, they stem from this ‘action lebih’ attitude.

In a way, let’s face it;  it’s road bullying here on our domestic roads; something I don’t see Malaysian drivers doing when they are in Singapore, and it begs this question I’d like to pose to the guilty parties, i.e  ‘Who made you king of anything?’ that you feel the world’s entire driving community should fall flat at your brake pads and worship the wheels you ride on?

Not Michelin tyres I hope.

Well, whatever the reason is, it’s time to put a clutch in it and hit the road, Jack. That attitude’s not earning Team Singapore any brownie points or Facebook ‘Likes’.

Far from it – it’s making Singaporean drivers Public Enemy #1 on Malaysian roads.

Yes, there’s a storm brewing on these roads. A war is in the works and the lines drawn.

So let’s see  what gives on Saddam Hussein’s driving team.

My first theory – Driver’s Licenses.

Obtaining a driver’s license in Singapore is pretty tough, short of wanting admission to be an astronaut at the now defunct NASA. I’ve even heard of friends and colleagues having to take the practical test 3 or 4 times in order to succeed such that once the license is awarded, it’s like getting a ‘Get out of Jail’ pass free!

So, okay then. You worked hard to pass the tests, invested quite a bit of money to get your license and vehicle and all the other charges that come with owning a vehicle in Singapore but seriously, does that give you license to drive around like uncivilised drivers on foreign roads?!

My second theory – False sense of ego

Because of above, a false sense of ego could be another reason for this moronic behaviour. Since getting the license took a lot of effort and getting the vehicle, a lot of money, one could be misled to think that one has superior driving skills (not!) and better knowledge of road conditions (not! How many accidents take place per day on Singapore roads, especially when it rains?).

My third theory – Traffic Rule Enforcement.

I’ve heard another interesting reason for this attitude on foreign roads. It seems that when Singaporeans drive in Singapore, they are full of anxiety, always wondering whether they’re flouting any rules and regulations as they drive each day, for which they could be fined a hefty sum if found guilty but feel otherwise when driving in foreign countries because in these countries, the rules are not enforced as strictly as they are here.

True….true…I don’t doubt that there needs to be better traffic enforcement in Malaysia but again, does that give you license to just drive around without a care for other local drivers?

What’s even worse is that by driving recklessly and callously on foreign roads, Singaporeans are certainly continuing to give their neighbouring countries the impression that they are

1. superior drivers (and perhaps superior all round as the citizens of a fully industrialized nation in the region)

2. above the traffic laws that govern each of these countries and

3. utterly disrespectful of the local drivers and their methods of driving.

Ladies and gents, I could go on and on about this but if there’s a simple lesson that can encapsulate it all in a nutshell, it has to be this: When in Rome, drive as the Romans do….

I hope this post serves as a mirror to help Singaporean drivers travelling overseas in their vehicles to see just how they are being perceived and to help them see that road safety, observation of local traffic laws and consideration on the roads is just as important as enjoying the sights and sounds of a foreign place.

Time for me to head back to the garage and finish installing the last plate of armoury on my vehicle.

The way things are on these roads nowadays, I’m going to have to drive me a tank!

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