Thursday, September 1, 2011
After the festive days.
lighting up fire crackers at night
The first thing i hear as a follow up of the festive days is traffic jams. Even in the usually deserted town of Kuala Pilah, the main road must be manned by some traffic policemen. The traffic crawl along the Bahau-KP-Seremban road is nauseating. I am sure it's the same all along the North-South and East-West Highways. People are just rushing back to the towns and cities to resume work.
That by itself is indicative of tbe nations's prosperity. There are possibily more than twelve million cars on the road today seeing that a family wth 3-4 cars or more is a common sight, with maybe eight million motorbikes and more than a million other transport vehicles. I have not seen actual statistics printed anywhere, which suggests that no estimate of how many motor vehicles we can possibly have on each kilometer of main road in the country, has ever been made. Such and estimate of possible road densiity could help the authorities to plan road extension and constructing alternative routes to new residential areas to avoid congestion. Merely widening some parts of the existing roads will not solve the congestion problem as more new bottlenecks would be created.
The second item of interest is the 'Op Sikap'. Thank Allah for making the Police decide to do away road blocks and police check points along the major trunk roads. That has taken away the distressing artificial congestions stretching for miles, with the most disgusting discovery that it is caused by the police themselves, leisurely checking each vehicle as it passes by. Wait a bit. There's no road block but thousands of summons have bern issued in the few days of 'Op Sikap' for traffic offences. This could even be a greater aggravation than the road-blocks. You don't even have a chance to know what offence you have committed or have the satisfaction of arguing that the other drivers forced you to do what you did. You may not win the argument but letting off steam does give some satisfaction even if you have to pay for it.
Aside from that the number of deatjhs on the road continues to rise with the motorcyclist heading the list. Do we blame the motorists for their demise? I'm all sympathy for those on two wheels but when you see the way they snub and spurn the drivers of some cars, the way they overtake you on the left, cut in front if you in mid traffic etc. you wonder whether it's the car driver who couldn' t care less for their lives or they themselves. We seldom hear of the big bikers getting into problem because they zoom off before any trouble can take place. It's always the low powered bikes with high-powered emotional drive riders that get into trouble. Their machine could not move as fast as they thought it could to get out of trouble. Or otherwise, the machine controls them rather than they the machine.
The next item of interest is the lighting up of firecrackers. The sale of firecrackers has been prohibited since several years ago but this year's 'hariraya ' wtnesses the return of the bang and boom fun-stick both in the urban areas and the villges. I don't know where the firecrackers are sold but they seem to be readily available and can be lighted up without any fear of being booked and dragged to the police station. Some of .the noise makers take the form of flying rockets whike others look harmless in the form of little balls or tiny pellets. But they explode all the same though the big ones can really shake the eardrum. Many could get through the prohibition law as 'bunga api'. But what the heck! For the Chinese New Year huge ones seem to be available besides the stringed fire crackers available in round tincans like cookie containers.
Firecracker wars as seen during the CNY can now be also heard in the villages this Harirays. What prohibition are we talking about? The fun is shared by young and old, by all races, rich and poor. Why don't we just lift the prohibition and pass a law that would enable anybody found to have caused a fire or hurt other people through a careless or a dangerous use of firecrackers to be prosecuted. That would be a more positive approach than banning firecrackers without strict enforcement of its use. Such strict enforcement on the other hand would allow us to see rich and famous 'tawkeys'as well as ltlle kids being hauled up to prison for lighting up the noise-making fun thing. Why stop people from having some fun. Just make them pay for any damage caused. That will breed more responsible citizens, not turn innocent fun makers into criminals.
Finally, the festive season in Malaysia has always spawned a lot of house-breaking crime,robberies or thefts and snatch-thieving. Even my house was broken into while we were away in the kampung celebrating Hariraya and a sister-in-law fell prey to a pair of snatch thieves riding a motorcycle while she was crossing a road in the city. The loss of money and property suffered is understandable since those are what the thieves want, but the injury caused to the victim and damage to properties seemed most unnecessary. There are so many of these break-ins and thefts that the police are hardly able to deal with them, what more stop them. The advice given to the public on ways to avoid such crimes seem to put the blame on the public for being negligent rather than blaming themselves for allowing the crimes to happen.
No, no one benefits from the blaming game. When the police is spending millions of ringgit to catch road traffic offenders with a substantial increase in the number of the force employed, why can't they step up vigilance for house-breaking and thefts? The approach to prevent such crimes had always been to scare the potential thieves through the presence of the policemen and the flashing patrol cars patrolling the streets and residential areas. Of course the criminals would keep away when the police presence is seen and felt. But they strike when the policemen have gone away. As such we need more undercover policemen, ordinary looking men and women driving around in unmarked cars, to scout around and alert their uniformed colleagues when something suspicious meet their eyes. We need more 'invisible' law enforcement officers posing as streetcleaners, salesmen and saleswomen, cabdrivers and even gardeners to catch the unsespecting criminals. Only then could we catch the housebreakers and night prawlers before they get their job done.
Well, there are many more things that can show up clearly after the Hariraya festivities are over . Let's just keep our eyes and ers open to detact them, especially since we are now moving towards the Merdeka Anniversary celebration. One thing already obvious about the fortcoming aniversary celebration is that the exhortation of the Minister of information, Communication and Culture to fly the 'Jalur Gemilang' so oft repeated over the TV and radio, does not seem to get much response. Why so? Let's discuss that as we approach the anniversary date.