I’m not ashamed to honestly admit it. I was scared. Scared not like seeing a ghost, having a gun pointed at my head or a knife at my throat, but a chill through my spine and a knot in my stomach kind of scared.
Last evening, I was alone cruising at normal speed of 80kmh along PIE near Toa Payoh towards Steven Road exit. With pleasant thoughts of Gulin's scenic mountains from a recent holiday there, I was unfortunately not at the proper lane of the expressway. I was incorrectly at the extreme right lane meant for overtaking vehicle, for a longer than necessary period of time. Okay, I made a mistake and should have taken the middle or extreme left lane.
A sporty red Mazda RX8 at my tail flashed at me several times with his 100watt spotties and drew closer almost to the point of hitting me. I wasn’t intimidated as this was something I have experienced several times during my 40 years of driving. I peeked in my mirror and caught the male driver showing me his middle finger. I just slowed down a bit and immediately set my signal to turn left for him to overtake. I thought he would do that. Instead, he simultaneously overtook me at my left as I was also turning left. We almost collided at the side.
He was either really pissed off or just wired wrong in the head as he suddenly stopped in the middle of the busy expressway infront of me. I slammed my brake to avoid a certain rear collision. To my astonishment, he got out of his sporty and rushed towards me like a tiger going for a kill. He came to my side, exposing himself to extreme dangers of other speeding motorists and shouted at me with trembling anger like about to eat me up.
He was tall and big of at least a 100kg, in his early thirties. His T-shirt was about to burst under his muscular body and his fists were clenched, ready to crack my side windows. He was a fierce, "thuggish" looking" man on all counts, with acne scars face, burning eyes and tattooed arms. His young girlfriend remained in the sporty.
I sensed he was going to smash my window with whatever he had and threw punches at my face. And true enough, he started to punch my side window with his bare fist. That was the point I got really scared. With trembling hands, I took off my spectacles and made sure my windows and doors were tightly closed. I held on to my breath and waited for the window to crack.
Fortunately, after a few painful blows that didn't crack my window, he stood there, screaming Hokkien vulgarities at me and wetting my window with his saliva. To stay alive, I kept quiet like a church mouse hoping the cat won't eat me up and leave me alone. A few second later, satisfied with his verbal and fistful blows and kicks at my taxi, he headed back to his car, spitting as he moved along. Not wanting to be part of his crazy game and glad that I had avoided a near death threatening situation, I speed off before he got into his car. Soon, I calmed my nerves inside a petrol station at Steven Road with a puff.
It’s one thing to flash your lights at someone or tailgate them to scare them a little but to actually threaten physical harm at a person for a mere mistake of road hogging is senseless. In my situation, maybe he thought I wanted to drive him off the road with my "provocative" change of lane.
I wondered just how far this guy was prepared to go to get his revenge and satisfied his ego. I was to find out soon enough.
To my bewilderment, he followed me into the petrol station. As I stood trembling in shock, he threw a single hard blow at my tummy and left with these parting word....."Not Happy, Find Me".
"Ough" was the only reply I could give. The excruciating pain in my tummy left me breathless for a second. I've never been beaten or got into a fight with anyone in my entire life. The momentary tummy pain was an unforgettable sensation.
The burly guy was a bully and I was the aggravated party. Surely, I should lodge a police report and get the bully to serve time behind bars. I've a pump attendant as my witness and all details of his sporty. But I didn't. You may ask why. Please let me share with you my explanation from my perspective.
I'm aware that our honorable judges proclaim that transport workers must be protected against thugs on the road at all time and many road rage offenders were sentenced to various jail terms in Singapore ((Link) . Most of you out there would say that this guy is dangerous and must be taught a lesson, so that others would not get hurt in future. Be a responsible vigilante, get him behind bars and make our roads safer. Like a gladiator in a Roman Colosseum, I can hear my audience prompting me to slaughter my defeated opponent.
Now, call me whatever you like, a coward, a selfish fence-sitter or a disgrace but I know myself as someone who don't look for "trouble" when trouble don't look for me. Yes, I suffered emotional injustice and perhaps a dent on my ego. But most importantly, I didn't suffered any grievous injuries from this horrifying encounter. No dangerous weapon or instruments were used to cause serious injuries. I suffered only a blow to my tummy (not my face) and I can live with that.
If I had lodge a police report, I would have to spend many hours writing statements at police posts, attending identifying criminal parades and court proceedings. Who pay for my wasted hours and what do I get at the end of the day. Nothing, perhaps only a sense of satisfaction. I have to make a living and this Government do not help me to pay for my family meals when I'm not working.
On the other hand, if I had been seriously injured, I would lodge a police report without hesitation. Therefore, whether to lodge a police report or not, depend on the seriousness of the situation and injuries. I'm clear on this distinction.
For the interest of my readers, here is a link that clears the air on "Section 323 - Voluntarily Causing Hurt" under the Singapore Penal Code. (Link)
In the same vein, recently a HongKong taxi driver endured a six-month lawsuit after overcharging a passenger by mere 50 Hong Kong cents (6 US cents). He finally had his name cleared and walked free after his case was thrown out by the court but was left questioning the city's justice system. Given the trivial nature of the case, it was considered a wastes of Hong Kong people's money and time.
Yesterday, a video of a 29-year old intern being physically abused by his superior has gone viral. The police and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) have been notified (link). Was it the right thing to the post the video and the parent's claim of $100,000 as compensation? What would be the outcome and punishment?
Similarly, taxi drivers here have always been in the firing line for all sorts of complaints like taking "wrong" routes resulting in perceived overcharging and cheating passengers and have received fines and bans on taxi driving as punishment. Whether the punishment equates the seriousness of the offence is always debatable.