28 July 2010

Switch off your idling engines; kick start your idling brains

On Monday, Edward Yau and a bunch of useful LegCo members toured around the Village to have a taste of the hard lives of our taxi and minibus drivers. This PR stunt was a reaction to the reactions of the professional drivers to the Motor Vehicle Idling (Fixed Penalty) Bill introduced by the government. Drivers claimed that asking them to switch off their engines while waiting for passengers or queuing up for taxi or bus stands can be fatal. A 81-year-old minibus driver possibly suffered from heat stroke and died after he voluntarily switched off the engine while waiting. Another bus driver of a non-air-conditioned bus also fell ill while driving; he was a bit luckier and managed to take his bus back to the terminus before he was taken to the hospital for treatment.

That's why Edward and the legislators were invited to have a taste of the NDE our pro drivers will experience everyday if the Bill got passed. News reports showed video clips or images of Edward sitting inside different public vehicles sweating and listening to the rants of the drivers. He wore a tasteless tie and a shirt with the car windows closed, showing the usual poker face you get from any government officials. Now some of our villagers will think, "Ah...this proposed law is really murderous!"

I don't even want to guess what happened to that poor old minibus driver, but I do remember when I was a young boy, most of the public transports in Hong Kong didn't have air-conditioner. As far as I remember, nobody dies from driving or riding on public transport except there's a car crash. I still remember there're little fans installed at the driver's seats and the passengers would bring their own little fans on-board if needed. Villagers managed to survive and so did I.

I also like to think nobody would ever stay in a car with windows rolled up and let the heat kills them. I thought the drivers were trying to murder Edward Yau and the legislators by forcing them to do that on Monday. And if you've ever tried once waiting for a bus in a terminus, you can tell that bus drivers for years have been switching off the engines at termini and let the poor passengers stand and wait, no matter if it's hot or cold, raining or thundering. Drivers get on the bus right before it's time to go, switch on the engine, passengers rush on-board, then the bus gets going. Nobody dies. Of course, Edward and those LegCo members probably know nothing about these ordinary lives of millions of villagers, or else they can easily ignore the taxi and minibus drivers and refuse to fool around with their stunt. And for fuck's sake, my Honourable legislators, nobody will ever stay in the upper deck of a bus without operable windows under sunshine even for 20 seconds. What we normal people do in this village everyday would be trying to get the fuck out of the bus as soon as possible once it reaches the terminus. You're only killing yourself doing that, idiots!

After all, it's the people working on the streets who will gain the immediate benefit if this bill gets passed. If everybody switches off their idle engines, there will be some, if not a lot, improvement of the roadside air quality. There will be far less heat released from the engines running for nothing, so everybody from the shopkeepers working close to taxi ranks to the drivers and workers in those minibus stops can work in a much cooler environment. Another bonus would be seeing those tycoons sweating in their 50-thousands dollars suits when they get on their Rolls Royces because their chauffeurs will have to switch off the engine while waiting!

Think again, white-collars like Edward Yau and basement dwellers like me should probably forget about the bill and let those on the streets fucking die a slow death if they so desired.

Maybe Edward Yau should talk to the triads that control 90% of the local minibus operations instead of fooling around with those drivers who think they will lock themselves to die under heat. I think the triads can be slightly more intelligent than that.

2 comments:

  1. Before I moved to this village more than 10 years ago from the US all the cars I used to own had an ignition position that allowed the engine to be switched off, but all the electrical to keep running so you could sit in the car and run the Air Con, audio system, etc., without issue. The technology clearly exists, and would enable engines to be switched off without detriment to the drivers. We just need some better technology in this village.

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  2. Ah! I remember the same stuff just now!

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