Thursday, 19 April 2012

One way ticket

This morning, I took the boy to the airport. He's in transition, having completed his Diploma at the Tunku Abdul Rahman College but waiting to resume his Advanced Diploma or Degree studies either at the same college or the Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman. Both are supposed to begin in September and that's still some four or five months away.

While waiting, he has been looking for some jobs to do. He let go of a part-time job at an eatery at the Precinct 10 in Tanjung Tokong last February and had been moping around the house. At my suggestion, he applied to some positions advertised at but regrettably, nothing had emerged from them. Not even a call to an interview. So much for the effectiveness of the online services of my former employer that my own son was unable to get a response from the advertisers.

But finally, he did land a job from an advertisement in The Star. He went down to Kuala Lumpur for an interview last week and attended a second interview in Penang just two days ago. Today, he's already starting work but he has to go to Petaling Jaya for training and briefing, and this Saturday, be on duty at his employer's big dinner event before coming back on Sunday.

So we left the house at 6.20 in the morning. No sooner had we entered the Penang Bridge than traffic came almost to a standstill. Bloody shit, I muttered to myself, a traffic jam on the bridge? At this time of the morning? We inched along slowly. I told my son, whoever is responsible for this traffic jam only has himself to blame.

I've always taken this position about the Penang Bridge. It is the main arterial link between the mainland and the island, and it is one straight road. It's known that the slightest of incidents on the bridge will lead to a traffic jam because once on the bridge, the only way to go is forward. There is no turning back, there is no alternate route, there is no short-cut. Whether we like it or not, all bridge users are in it together. We are like one. If all of us want to get across smoothly, it is in our own best interest to be careful towards one another and be responsible enough when using the bridge.

As I said, we inched along very slowly. And soon enough, the reason for the traffic congestion became very clear. Of course, if not for a vehicle breaking down, it could only be an accident. This time, it was an accident. In the inner lane of the bridge. A Police car was there. So was an ambulance. A car, presumably involved in the accident, was parked some 10 metres away in the inner lane. On the ground, also in the inner lane, was an overturned motorcycle.

The ambulance workers were starting to lift a black body bag from the road. That's the stupid fool, I pointed out to my son, that's the irresponsible fool. He made a dumb choice. Why should he be travelling on a motorcycle in the inner lane of the bridge? It could only be that he was speeding in this lane. Unfortunately, he paid for his recklessness and irresponsibility with his life. And in the process, caused inconvenience to everybody else on the bridge.

Maybe I should be showing more compassion. Somewhere out there, a grandmother, a mother, a wife or a child may soon start to grieve for a life that's suddenly cut short violently. Yes, maybe I should show some compassion. Ordinarily, I would but right now I still find it difficult to do so for an idiot who had willingly acted so irresponsibly. 

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