The race politics of road rage


  • One Man's Meat
  • Saturday, 17 Aug 2019

A fender bender or a serious car accident is not worth the anger as it could easily escalate to something deadly.

TWO Malaysians were involved in a fender bender on a highway in Selangor. It ended up with one of them getting killed.

Coincidentally, the drivers were a Malay and a Chinese.

When you read about the road rage murder, do you see it involving two Malaysians? Or, between a Malay and a Chinese?

I cringe whenever a public fight between strangers involved Malaysians of different races. It has the potential to escalate into an explosive racial issue.

Take, for example, the fender bender that occurred on Aug 10.

Police investigations revealed that the 29-year-old Malay man had initially knocked into a car driven by a 40-year-old Chinese just after the Sungai Besi toll plaza.

The fender bender led to a car chase and then a scuffle between the two. Witnesses broke up the fight and both drivers returned to their cars.

Selangor CID chief Senior Asst Comm Fadzil Ahmat in a statement said the younger man, however, got out of his vehicle with a baseball bat and smashed the bonnet of the older man’s car.

The Chinese man lurched his vehicle forward and hit the man with the baseball bat.

The younger man was pinned between the car and the road divider.

He was rushed to hospital but died while receiving treatment.

Sadly, the younger man left behind a 28-year-old wife and a four-month-old daughter.

Some Malaysians saw the incident as a Chinese killing a Malay.

Some tried to turn it into a racial issue.

Some even provoked their community by posting a video screenshot of the Chinese driver giving the middle finger.

My first reaction was that it was a provocative hand gesture.

However, when I watched the video clip, the man was trying to tell a passer-by that he retaliated because the other driver had allegedly shown him the middle finger.

The photograph – taken out of context – enraged those who wanted to see the fatal altercation as a racial issue.

For me, I saw it as involving two Malaysians who were coincidentally Chinese and Malay.

Even, @ZafriAmier, who claims to be the 29-year-old driver’s brother-in-law, in a tweet, has told the public not to turn it into a racial issue.

He said it was a police matter and the family would leave it to the police to investigate.

When there is a public fight between two strangers of different races, we should stop seeing it through our Kadazandusun, Bajau, Melanau, Bidayuh, Temuan, Indian, Malay, Punjabi or Chinese racial lens.

Repeat after me: We are #AnakAnakMalaysia, we are #AnakAnakMalaysia, we are #AnakAnakMalaysia.

The fatal fender bender also raises another issue, which is road rage.

From the comfort of my living room, I feel that the altercation between the two Malaysians was unnecessary.

I’ve primed my mind that if I am involved in such an incident, the best response is not to confront the other driver.

A fender bender or a serious car accident is not worth the road rage as it could easily escalate to something deadly.

It has happened to me on the eve of Hari Raya three years ago.

It was 10pm, and I was on the way from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore when a reckless driver on the fast lane, lost control of his vehicle and cut into my lane.

Bang!

My car smashed head-on into the out-of-control sedan.

When I managed to stop my car, I checked on my wife, and her forehead was bleeding profusely and trembling. I thought that she would die.

My two kids – aged three and seven then – were unscathed (as if a guardian angel had protected them).

When I saw the driver slouching on the road divider, I wanted to scold him for being reckless and causing the accident.

However, I thought otherwise as I had more important things to do like stopping my wife’s wound from bleeding and calling for an ambulance.

It was useless getting angry over something that had happened.

The one beauty of Malaysia is the public who came to help were from different races.

A Chinese called the ambulance. A Malay helped to pick our belongings scattered on the highway.

An Indian told me to apply a cloth on my wife’s forehead to stop the bleeding.

They helped without thinking that the man they were helping was a Chinese-looking Kadazandusun.

They helped because that is what decent people would do.

If I had lost my temper with the reckless driver and I had picked the wrong person, the accident could have ended worse.

We shouldn’t let our emotions take over. Road rage, sometimes, kills.

It is not worth your life.


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