Highway codes

Photo by ohad*

The other day while driving home, Naomi asked me what the universal sign for “your headlights are not on, please turn them on because it’s nighttime and you’re being a complete idiot if you don’t turn them on right away”? was.

I told Naomi that I didn’t know, but that I had previously successfully managed to get drivers to turn on their headlights when I’m alongside them and signaling with my free hand in a way that also could mean “you are very talkative, you know?”

That, combined with the clueless night stealth driver’s ability to read my lips which are saying “lights, lights, lights”, but which could also be seen as mouthing nonsense, such as “like! like! like!” or “ai! ai! ai!”, has worked on several occasions.

And when you’re not alongside the stealth driver, how else could you, for his/her safety’s sake, tell them to turn on their lights. Flash your high beam at them to alert them to something? In Australia, the UK and US, high beaming someone can mean “I’m letting you have right of way, please proceed”.

In Singapore, and especially when taxi drivers are doing it, it means the opposite: “Get the fuggouttamyway cos I’m speeding up just cos you’ve turned on your indicator lights to turn and if I ram into you it’s not my fault”.

On highways in Malaysia and Australia, high-beaming cars on the opposite direction tells you there’s a speed trap up ahead.

If high beaming or honking gets the drivers’ attention and you’ve pulled up alongside them, then you can somehow indicate to them if there’s something wrong with their car, usually by pointing at their vehicle – “your door’s not shut properly, your tyre’s blown, your skirt is hanging out of your car door and is being ripped to shreds…”

But it’s difficult to point to the driver’s headlights, unless you were in front of him and craning your head around to tell him. In which case, your ability to control your own vehicle could be a little compromised.

So what is it? Is there a section in the highway code that tells you how to do that?

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The lengths some go to get their ang pow

Photo by @Dmateur

Chinese New Year must be near if Boy falls while performing lion dance on poles“.

I laughed out loud, and kept laughing until I stopped. OK, I know it’s bad to laugh at the misfortune of others, but a headline like that is funny in so many ways. Not least, because it’s from a Malaysian news site, because I think Malaysians are as, if not more silly, than we are.

OK, maybe it’s funny only to me. But the report on the lion dancing championships also quotes the chairman of the organiser, the Chinese Martial Art Association, as saying, “In every competition, without fail, someone will fall. It’s all part of the risks of the performance”.

Now you know. Pole dancing is an extreme sport.

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Battling the news


I don’t know what a “laissez-faire attitude towards weight” means. Does it mean the government doesn’t care whether you’re fat or not? Or does it mean that you shouldn’t interfere with the weight of others?

These are the first of the difficult issues of the new year one finds in one’s nation’s premier news media outlet.

The article also writes that “The global survey by research firm Synovate revealed that when battling the bulge, Singaporeans pale in comparison to others in countries like the US, Canada, Hong Kong, Australia and Malaysia.”

What of people with more than one bulge? Battle one bulge at a time? I the think the Singaporean the news the website is the very the confusing.

But all is the well because CNA also says that from the survey results, “Very few people blame their government as the number one factor in causing obesity.”

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With a bang (and a slight dent)

I wished a total stranger Happy New Year in Mandarin, even though he had just crashed into the front passenger door of my car right after he rode his bicycle on the pavement against the flow of traffic that was on the road outside the entrance to my apartment blocks.

In response, he said, 対不起対不起対不起対不起新年快乐対不起対不起対不起対不起対不起対不起対不起 in a Northern Chinese accent.

He looked very shaken but was otherwise unhurt, thank goodness.

At the petrol station where I let the pump attendant fill the tank to 48 point something litres and exactly $100, with him looking very proud at his New Year’s achievement, the cashier very sleepily said, “Pum One? Altogether $95 after discount”, after which, she attempted to foist some Delifrance products on me, but for a few long seconds, forgot how to perform her sales pitch in English, leaving her right hand outstretched and pointing silently at the sundry pastries. Only when her hand came down did she realise she could also try in Mandarin, but I cut her off with a “No thank you” before she finished saying “要不要买吃的东西?” in a Malaysian accent.

In the weeks leading to the New Year, Naomi and I had been hearing about how 2008 would bear not so good news regarding the economy. Prices would continue to rise, and things would be tight. Then we saw that the even the pound cakes at the neighbourhood cake shop had been lightened. They’re now maybe 3/4 pound or so:

...about 3/4 pound?