Bangladesh isn't the worst, yet | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 25, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 05:44 PM, June 05, 2015

Four-wheeling Humour

Bangladesh isn't the worst, yet

Good news: Bangladesh isn't the worst at least not in terms of how we drive. There are other countries where the way people drive hasn't evolve much since the time monkeys jumped off the tree branch and into a car.  

Take for example China. For years they were told they could not think for risk of being executed. Thought was sacrilegious. But that's communism. You are not supposed to think but just do what the state wants you to which is not to think. And then suddenly, they figured out they could take over the world by sheer number of their own population being more than a billion. Sudden wealth, capitalism and influx of cash meant everyone who was previously walking in shared sandals could now have a car. The Chinese even have the dubious record of the longest traffic jam ever; about 100 kilometres long and stuck for eleven days in August 2010.  Russia? Same thing: communism gave way to vodka fueledrealisation that money could perhaps buy happiness. So they bought cars and video cameras. Thousands of crash videos are uploaded on Youtube regularly from Russia with China coming in at a close second. 

There's good old US of A where roads are ridiculously wide and yet people still can't avoid bumping into each other. It takes certain skill to crash a car while going straight in a wide empty road. Saudi Arabia isn't any better. Long wide open desert roads lead to curious and furious cases of 'hagwalah'. It's a strange kind of driving where they get in regular cars, get on regular streets and get up to irregular speeds like 180kmph. And then they drift while school buses and other vulnerable soft-tissued humans come the other way. Crashes happen spectacularly. The most recent video online shows a car flipping more than twenty times with the occupants being thrown out. And there's people cheering from the sidelines. Can't figure out whether the cheers are for number of flips or number of limbs dismembered. Sometimes, these drivers shoot guns while drifting or even change tyres while up on two wheels. Perhaps this is the Saudi way of population control. 

India has mostly small cars, but they are fast and operated by drivers with NO FEAR (not the lame sticker). It's closest to our scenario. They cut lines, drive on the wrong side of the road, use the horn for everything including speaking to each other. To top it off, they have random cows making life difficult for the racer-to-be. You can't hit a cow unlike in Bangladesh, where, if you hit it, you eat it. Hit a cow in India and you are doomed to be reincarnated as a urinal in public restroom. Twice.  

We Bangladeshis are still terrible but like they say, if you are overweight and want to appear slim, hang out with people more overweight than yourself. By comparison, we are not the worst drivers in the world. Yet. 

This article is a Digitally Re-mastered, no-holds barred, director's cut of a piece previously printed in Star Lifestyle.



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