Thursday, July 20, 2006
Third World Impression
I found this picture on The Star's Citizen's Blog posted by a blogger called aleslpy. He thinks that the motorcyclist is being irresponsible. That may be so, but the thing that comes to my mind is that this picture is a reminder that Malaysia is a third world country, despite the claim to being a developing country.
I lived in Vietnam for 2 years in the mid 90s, and several people on a motorcyle was a common sight. In fact, it was one of the more amusing sights when I first arrived in the country. The motorcycle is used to transport all kinds of things, and the Vietnamese are ingenious enough to rig their motorcycles in such a way that they can be used to transport the most unlikely things .. a slaughtered pig, stacks of baskets, a refrigerator etc.
In the last several years the sight of more than 2 persons on a motorcycle is becoming common in Malaysia. My conclusion is that either more people can afford motorcycles and therefore choose to take their family on the motorcycle rather than take the bus, or there are more poor people living in the major towns who can only afford to own a motorcycle.
It bothers me a lot when I see young children riding pillon on motorcycles, and especially the sight of a mother with a baby riding pillon. I know to them the motorcycle is most convenient but it is not necessarily the safest mode of transportation especially on busy roads.
In America, motorcycles with small engines are not even allowed on the highways. As it is, there is an increase in road fatalities involving motorcycles. Riding big bikes is getting to be a popular sport among people, both young and old.
I think Malaysia needs to do more to improve public transportation so that people do not need to resort to transporting their whole family on a motorcycle. And also, the prices of cars need to be lowered a lot more from their present inflated prices so that more people can afford cars. Cars are no longer a luxury, they are a necessity. The prices of used cars in Malaysia are simply ridiculous! The prices should at least be within reach of the lower income group, and I am not even talking about junky cars.