There is a growing aggressiveness on Singapore’s roads. I am not sure what is triggering the change. It could easily be a mix of more traffic, stress, and a frustration in a lack of common courtesies. Singapore does not have the British sense of order, where politeness trumps urgency. The English has figured out that this approach helps everyone. Singapore is waiting to discover this insight. Singapore is slowing getting slower. Morning and evening traffic are starting just a bit earlier these days and seemingly lasting longer. Compared to other big cities, Los Angeles, Jakarta, and Mumbai, Singapore has no rush hour but to Singaporean drivers things are getting worse. In the end, you can feel and experience a growing aggression.
In riding a motorcycle, there is little point of yelling or sharing a friendly gesture. You will always lose. The best one can do is adapt, be patient, and most importantly, always be alert! Anticipation and caution are good friends. Keeping them close is critical to one’s safety.
Recently four different courteous drivers caught me off guard. The situations were quite different. One was a mess. Another was a mistake on my part. A third was the result of a perfect storm of traffic. The forth I still have not figured out. Yet in each, a driver, sometimes a woman, other times a man, sometimes young, other times old, did the unexpected.
I was touched and thankful. I was honored that someone else was watching out for me. For a brief moment the road was more than a battlefield where one’s survival is questionable. There was a brief connection between members of the same family, reaching out, lending a hand, and leaving a touch of hope. “Look – little Benjamin’s out front and leading Princes of Judah in their royal robes, princes of Zebulon, princes of Naphtali.” (Psalm 68.27)
I was surprised. I waved, nodded and expressed my thanks out loud. I feel enriched for the encounter. I hope there are more experiences in the future. Life reminds me that anyone can take the lead.