Thursday, February 11, 2010

Malaysian Traffic, Part I

(This subject was written on 18 March 2003. The Black Book, if you remember me saying so, began because of Malaysian traffic. I felt a need to document all the idiosyncrasies of it. Impossible, Malaysian traffic is!)

Sometimes the gap between one subject, or writing, is very large between another writing. I can be writing one paragraph in my house. Next paragraph may be written in Kuala Lumpur, in a posh hotel.

Well, the earlier paragraph about volleyball was written in the swimming pool in our Le Paris hotel. However, this sentence is written at a table in a Pizza Hut restaurant - in Malacca, at Mahkota Parade, which is a shopping centre.

Yet this next sentence is written in the car, during a stop sign. 40 seconds left. Goodness, in Malaysia'a major city, Malacca, there are timers for the red lights!

Ah, finally we talk about Malaysian traffic. As I was saying, the timers for the red traffic lights were showing 40 seconds. When the light goes green, there are also timers, only now the timer display is in green. For the red light it is red. The lights also, I notice are the new LEDs. Like in Singapore, LED traffic lights are significantly better and faster at lighting up. Even though the difference between incandescent traffic lights are very small ones. But the LEDs are nicer-looking. Only in Malacca, so far, have I seen such modernities. In Johore, the traffic lights are still the old type. The only similarity is that the red lights are still equally as long to wait for.

One annoying feature of Malaysian traffic is that the road signs are all over the place. We want to go to Johor Bahru, and look around for the sign. After driving around and looking around for the sign, we find it at the intersection itself! In very great doubt, we take the correct turn. They should put signs *before* the intersection, so that we can get ready for such an intersection. If we are driving, and suddenly find a sign showing our destination at the place where we are supposed to turn, naturally we'd be very surprised and not be sure (is that *really* the correct turn or not?) Sometimes the sign for the correct place is known with different names. We want to go to JB, and find a sign with "JB and KL to the left", "Seremban and Melaka to the right" and so on, in different places, when actually they all lead to the main highway, where we can choose our direction of movement. And because of this, we wasted half an hour winding through roads of oil palm plantations.

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