There are multitude of dangers in the city.Do you know you can die in numerous ways in the city, from being robbed and killed in your own home to being run over by a car to being mugged and killed on the streets. You read horror stories of rape, robbery, kidnapping and murder almost every day in the newspapers. You can also die from man made and natural calamities, road rage, pollution, poisoning, fire, earthquake and hosts of other hazard that probably never crossed your mind.
Recently, the whole nation was in a state of shock and anger by the rape and murder of an innocent young girl, eight-year old Nurin.She went missing for almost a month and was later found dead, her body stuffed in a bag.She was kept by her perpetrator for almost a month, probably tortured, repeatedly rape and finally killed. Few years ago was the case of Canny Ong, abducted,raped and killed. Than, there was the high profile murder case of Noritta Shamsudin, a girl who reputedly lived in the fast lane, killed in her own apartment.Her case still remains unsolved.
The criminals are getting bolder and more ruthless. Bank robberies in Peninsula Malaysia are common occurrences, even the homes of ex IGPs were not spared, they have no fear at all that the occupants have firearms.These hardcore criminals had no fear of the law.They are prepared to kill or be killed
The highest possible way you can die in the city is in road accidents.Malaysia has one of the highest road fatalities in the world.In 2003, we have the highest road fatalities amongst the OECD countries. In that year, Malaysia had 6,286 fatalities and per capita death rate of 26.75 out of a population of 24 million, Japan, on the other hand, had 8,877 fatalities and per capita death of 6.97 out of 127 millions people.Last year, we had 6,287 deaths with per capita death of 23.5. Not much of an improvement, taking into consideration more and better roads had been built.
Malaysians are one of the worst drivers in the world, discourteous, impulsive and reckless. Your chance of you getting knock down while crossing a street in the city is pretty high.The third world mentality are still very much entrenched in the minds of many Malaysians.The so-called friendly and caring Malaysian become a wild beast once he is behind the wheel. Queue-jumping and jumping the red light are common occurrences.Overtaking using the road shoulder or layby are very common when roads are congested. Equally annoying are misplaced courtesy of many motorists in this country had by giving way to these road offenders.My experience on British and American highways were completely different, if you jumped the queue, no one will give way to you till the cows come home, you probably learnt a lesson too late and believe me, you wouldn’t want to do it again for the rest of your life.Malaysians should take a leaf from the this type of driving culture.
Living in the city can be an urban nightmare.You must develop an attitude to urban life that will help you cope with all kinds of situations.The daily stress of driving on choked highways and looking for a place to park your car can be exasperating.Family and financial problems can have a disastrous outcome for those incapable of coping with stress.There are many stress-inducing factors in the city.Attack or robbery, fear if illness, fear of losing employment, financial constraint and many more can all prey on the mind. Money, unfortunately, is most vital for urban survival, without money, staying in the city is next to impossible.In a big city like Kuala Lumpur earning less than RM3,000. per month would probably mean your are living below the urban poverty line.
Kuala Lumpur, together with its satellite towns and suburbs, has about 3 millions people, not a huge metropolis, but have many inherent problems. The gleaming skyscrapers that adorned the skyline, the beautiful looking highways and flyovers are all false facade.The city has one of the worst traffic management system for any modern city.The public transport system is equally horrendous.Flagging down a taxi during peak hours is a game of chance.If it stops to pick you up, the driver decides where he would like to go.If you are lucky, he agrees to take you, you would soon realize, you are not so lucky after all, the fare he demands would be so exorbitantly high, you would very much like to land a punch on him.At this time of the day, the meter is obsolete, the cab driver is king.
During peak hours, at certain locations, policemen are deployed to direct traffic, taking over the job of the antiquated traffic lights.In heavy downpour, flash flood in low laying areas can happened within the hour and immobilize traffic to a standstill.Infrastructure development has not kept pace with the proliferation of motorized vehicle. Tempers can run high on choked highways and are recipes for road rages.
Malaysia can learn a lesson or two from Singapore how to make a city functional.In Singapore all traffic lights have intelligence sensors, it can automatically adjusts, to regulate the traffic flow according to demand.It can adjusts to give more time to the direction with the greatest demand. In Kuala Lumpur, traffic light once installed are left to its own devices.
In Kuala Lumpur, driving alone at night on a lonely stretch of road has its risks.If you are somehow unlucky , you may encounter the Malaysian version of the ‘Hell Angels” called the ‘Mat Rempits’, mostly Malay boys with nocturnal habits and obnoxious personality, riding those noisy little Japanese bikes, invariably looked down upon by their richer cousins on the Harleys.These are the road maniacs of Kuala Lumpur, the kamikaze riders who are prepared to risk their lives for the price of a pittance and a sexual trophy. The later probably gave them the adrenalin to risk their lives.
For many people the greatest threat in the urban jungle is that of violence. Mugging, snatch thieve and other violent crimes have increased considerably in recent years.People are less prepared to go to help others in trouble.There were cases where good Samaritans had been killed while helping those under attack. There is no point risking your life if you can’t really help.
In April 2003, at Kota Kinabalu, a 12-year old boy was stabbed to death in a crowded place in broad daylight and nobody came to his rescue in spite of his cries for help.On Wednesday 19th Sept 200, a woman in Wangsa Maju was abducted from her house by unidentified men armed with knives.Her fate is not known yet.On 20th Sept at Kajang, a Datuk and his family were robbed by ten men armed with parang after overpowering two security guards.They escaped with RM1 million in cash and valuables. On 24th Sept, at Kepong, two women were raped and murdered in their own apartment. Few years back a man was waylaid in the carpark of his upmarket apartment, bundled into his car, driven to a remote area and dumped, the criminals went back to his apartment, gained entrance with his house keys, robbed and gang rape the wife.Crime statistic shows average of 6 rapes a day in Malaysia.
Fear is an element that can cause high mental stresses.It is not something to be ashamed of, as long as we do not lose control of reality.Fear can even be an asset.It can make you wary and more alert at home or on the streets.It can give you a presence of mind in an emergency situation.Fear can also built up the adrenalin rush in your body, giving you that superman’s feats, doing things that seems impossible when you are at ease.It is important that you are able to differentiate fear from panic.Never let your fear turned to panic.Panic will make you act irrationally and in all likely hood endanger yourself and your family.
In a life-threatening situation don’t make yourself vulnerable.Use your common sense.Don’t try to be a hero if you don’t have the upper hand.Those who makes crime their profession are less dangerous than the amateur and the opportunist.The amateurs are more likely to do grievous hurt or kill you if they panic.Any criminal that show sign of nervousness and panic should definitely be handled with care.
There are many ways we can insulate ourselves and reduce the chances of being victim of violence. Below are a few tips I would like to share with my readers.
The first place to make safe and secure are our homes.
1.Make sure all windows and doors are secured against intruder.If you can afford it, installed burglar alarm. They are getting cheaper, more sophisticated and more reliable.If you are staying in a house, keeping dogs would be an added protection.Dogs are the first line of defence, their barking will alert you that an intruder may be nearby.Dogs need to be schooled for obedience training, otherwise you may upset your neighbours, if your dogs bark incessantly.If you have a big compound, it is advisable to keep more than one dog.Most Malays don’t keep dogs, it’s more culture than religion.Islam do not forbids Muslims from keeping dogs.Only the dog’s saliva is considered unhygienic.
2.Iron-grilled windows do not guarantee to keep intruders out but they can be a hazard to the occupants and a fire-trap in the event of a fire. They are also not exactly burglar-proof.The materials used are mostly mild steel bar and plates and can easily snap under pressure.Some buglers used a small hydraulic jack to break the welded joint.It’s fast and noiseless.
3.Burglars biggest enemy are noise and bright light.Most people tend to switch-off their porch and garden lights at night to save electricity.This could be penny wise and pound foolish.A bright situation could deter would be buglers.Used energy-saving bulbs to bring down your power bills.Darkness is burglar’s best friend, if you can afford it,don’t tempt them.
4.If your house is broken into while you and your family are at home, don’t panic or try to apprehend the burglar.Most burglars and robbers come to steal your money and valuables, not to kill you.Stay calm and give them whatever they wanted.Better losing you money and valuables than losing your life or member of your family.Never presume that you see only one burglar and you think he is alone, he may have some friends somewhere in the house or outside.If you have young daughters, if it is possible, ask them to cover up with a bed sheet or blanket and to avoid eyes contact with the burglars.It will not guarantee to stop rape but it would reduce the chances as compared to, if they are fully exposed.
5.If a stranger call at your house, do not open your gate to let him into your compound, go out and speak to him over the gate.If he insisted of coming in under the pretext of coming to inspect something, call the police immediately.Locked your doors and stay in the house until the police arrive.If you are in an apartment always keep the safety chain on and speak through the gap.Never let any stranger in, if you are alone in the apartment.
6.Young children should always be taught not to talk to strangers.Children should also be taught not to follow anyone, including relatives and friends, unless specifically allowed by the parents.Those going to school on a school bus must be back as usual.If your child missed coming home and you don’t know where he is, lodge an immediate report at the nearest police station.Always monitor your child movement at home and when they are out by themselves or out with you.There were cases where children had disappeared from shopping complex due to negligence of parents.Never leave your child unattended in the car, even for a few seconds.Never let your child to go out on their own.
7.Fire, can be your friend or worst enemy.Many house fire are started by carelessness and negligence.Never leave an open flame unattended in the kitchen or elsewhere in the house. The smallest candle can become a monstrous fire.It is good practice to keep some fire extinguishers in the house.To avoid electrical fire, never overload your power points, learn to keep the wattage within the allowed limit and always switch off any appliances not in use.If you are going for a long holiday it is good practice to switch off the main power supply to your TV,video,computer,etc and only keep on the essential one for your refrigerator, freezers and burglar alarm.
8.Keep away all medicine, drugs and poisonous chemical away from children, store them in a place where children can’t reach them.Discard unused medicine.
ON THE ROAD
9.Always check your car for the basic operational and safety requirement, brakes, clutch, tyre and tyre pressure, lights, lubricant, fuel and water in the radiator/windscreen washer.These are basic requirement that will decide whether your car will keep you alive or kill you on the road.
10.Always respect the highway codes.Never jump queue or the red light.Never drive under influence of alcohol.Learn defensive driving skill.Try to be courteous to other road users.Be helpful and give way to those in a tight situation even though it is your right of way.
11.Don’t be a road bully.Likewise, don’t be victim to road bully.If you are caught in an ugly situation, leave the scene as quickly as possible.If you are being pursued, drive to the nearest police station.Always try to remember or jot down the registration number of the car and give it to the police.
12.Always lock all your doors while in the car.If you think you are in imminent danger while waiting at a traffic light, drive away if the course is clear. It is better to pay a fine than being abducted and killed.Stick to the route you know best, especially at night, and do not drive alone on lonely and unfamiliar road.
13.Park your car in an area where there are likely to be more people around.Avoid basement car park in shopping complexes at night. Some can be very deserted after 7 p.m and a potential criminals hunting ground.
14.Never leave your house address, telephone number and house keys in your car.Put all items like laptop, camera , bag, etc in the booth of you car.
ON THE STREET
15.Don’t walk through narrow and lonely lane at night even if it can shorten the journey to your destination.
16.Take the route that you know best or which you think is the safest.
17.Keep an eye on your children if they are with you, don’t let them wander away.
18.Don’t be easily taken in by touts.There are all kinds, hanging around the streets and shops, peddling their wares.Ignore them and tell the persistent ones in no uncertain term, that you will report them to the police if they continue to disturb you.
19.Unless you have to, avoid very crowded place.This is where pickpockets and snatch thieves hang around.You can also lose track of your children in a melee.
20.Lastly, whatever you do, be it shopping, eating and entertainment always be street smart, don’t let greed take over your common sense.
Most of us are creature of habits and take a lot of things for granted.We only blame ourselves after something untoward happened and the damage done.You are what you think you are and you will achieve what you think you will. Your safety and that of your family is your responsibility.Take whatever precautions necessary to protect them.