Singapore

Driving in Singapore – judging a book by its cover.

In my last post, I wrote a “review” on the latest 7-seater BMW 216d Gran Tourer MPV, which we drove around for a week. It was such a great experience for us on so many levels. Firstly, I had not realized how much joy a piece of metal with nuts and bolts could bring (if you don’t understand, please read my last post on how much I liked the car). 

Secondly, as also mentioned in my post, it was an interesting discourse for me on driving in Singapore, a social experiment of sorts. Right from the get go, I felt that I was being bullied on the road; other drivers were less willing to let me into their lanes even when there was construction ahead and I readily used my indicators, or other similar situations. And it happened all day! 

To some extent the car is rather nondescript, as are many other MPVs. It isn’t a large commanding car, it was white, and I guess it wasn’t particularly outstanding and just had a friendly demeanor overall. Perhaps I am just more used to driving a more striking colour.

At any rate, it was interesting to think about how drivers perceive each other based on the car’s exterior. I will be the first to admit, I often roll my eyes when you see those Ah Beng cars. And I often steer clear of weekend cars, just because my experience seems to suggest that they passed an inferior kind of driving test that did not require them to display good driving habits. 

When I mentioned my observations to some friends, they agreed that they too felt that when they were driving larger cars, other drivers tended to give way more readily.
“Never judge a book by its cover” goes the old adage. Are we so ingrained that a bigger car means more money therefore smaller cars should be bullied and larger cars given right of way? Has the COE created a culture that puts too high a social and monetary value on cars? Or that we really feel a sense of entitlement, a sort of I pay taxes therefore I am? Are cars in other countries perhaps viewers mostly as just means of transportation? Thus putting less significance on the “type” of car you drive, and thus drivers are feel less entitlement on the road and display more graciousness for the collective good?

Is that what is wrong with Singaporean drivers and the state of driving in Singapore today, that everyone is too busy judging and feeling that we are entitled depending on how large our vehicles are, that we have forgotten how to be gracious and considerate?

All of us on the roads are just trying to get from Point A to Point B. Perhaps the next time someone asks why Singaporean drivers are not as gracious as those in other countries, I will first ask if they have been gracious and whether if they have been judging anyone recently 😉

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