The heavily populated Klang Valley, where I live, was in chaos this evening. Flash floods closed numerous roads around Kuala Lumpur, and just to add to the misery, a substantial fuel price hike from tomorrow made every second car owner head for the nearest petrol station – which clogged up roads even more. Ah, the joys of modern transport convenience.
I come home and a letter in the newspaper catches my eye. Someone wrote in about the recent law which is aimed at enforcing the use of seatbelts in the rear seats of vehicles. She wants authorities to “provide an explanation” to her of how families of more than five are supposed to travel.
She has chosen to have more than three children, yet has never given the slightest thought to their safety while travelling in their family car? Pile them in the back seat, or sitting on Mum’s knee in the front – that’s fine! Ask them to belt up, and she gets indignant. “How is my family of six people supposed to travel?” she asks.
Well, I would say to her, you should have thought of that before you had so many kids. Now someone else is telling you that you have to think of their welfare, and you have the cheek to be upset. Sorry, I am not in the least bit sympathetic. It’s time Malaysians accepted responsibility for having large families.
My worry now is that there is still no law that says that children have to be seated with restraints appropriate to their age and weight. We might no longer see accidents where children become flying missiles sent headfirst through the windscreen, and see instead accidents where children have their heads ripped off my an adult sized seatbelt that ends up across their necks.
I have never understood how some Malaysians can spend a small fortune on a luxury car and then happily allow their child to stand, unrestrained, in the space between the front seats, or lie on the back window ledge, or stick their head out the window…
Oh, of course! I forgot. If they die, it’s not the adults’ fault. It’s God’s will. That makes it ok.