I really really really hate driving. Partly it is stem from the fear of the action itself and partly because I’ve been in a car accident twice.
Twice the car accidents are of no fault to the driver sitting beside me, rather obvious it was the other party’s fault – one being a drunken driver and the other being a mother who did not buckle up her children in car seats, distracted her from seeing the traffic lights turned red. I reasoned that we are producing so much carbon monoxide that harms the environment and with so many accidents on the road due to carelessness and arrogance, you don’t need another driver like me. I’m happy being a passenger in the back seat.
Being in both Singapore and Shanghai, I really have no need to drive a car. Singapore, being such a small island, I can comfortably take public transportation like the buses and the trains to get from Point A to Point B. In fact, when I tell my foreign friends that you actually can travel one end of Singapore to the other end within an hour (minus traffic), they always look at me with disbelief. End to end, we are about 50km.
As for Shanghai, the land of the luxury, for one, their public transportation system is almost as good as Singapore and for two, their cabs are really cheap. Yes, in Asia, one luxury that we always take for granted is we hop unto a cab without considering the cost. Try doing that in Europe!
So there has never been a real need to learn driving and, unlike in the States where a driver’s license equates to the proof of your identity, in Singapore we are issued with identity cards upon 15 years old. This isn’t the case in countries like England the rest of the U.K., so that encourages them to learn to drive earlier. Plus, driving lessons in Stockport and other towns and cities are readily available and affordable. With an ample transportation system, I can get away with not learning to drive.
However, when I’m in Kuala Lumpur, the train systems are so bad that it doesn’t really take you anywhere. The buses are just as bad with zero punctuality. I would’ve loved to walk if weather permits but the pavements are not well kept and often end suddenly with no pedestrian crossing allowance. Hence, for the past 2 years, I have been living in KL, my mode of transportation is Uber. Thank you, Uber!
But my rides with Uber needs to end soon. As they say, all good things always come to an end. I have a baby in mind. While she is cosy and safe in a baby car seat in Uber (I refuse to take any car rides without her strapped into a car seat), she is getting too big for our current 2-in-1 stroller cum car seat. And that leaves me a need to get a car seat meant for 2 to 7 years old. Those bigger car seats don’t convert into a stroller, which means either I have to lug the heavy car seat when I’m out with her or forgo the car seat. My only option now is to get myself a car so as to permanently fix in her new car seat. To get there, I need to learn how to drive.
I have been flying in and out with my little diva back and fro KL to Singapore (a miserable 45mins flight considering I’m flying alone with a screaming baby) in order to take my driving lessons in Singapore. I am determined to learn the right way (not by my KL driving instructor who hints ridiculously at a bribe to get my license) and Singapore offers international driving license which means I can use my lifetime license almost everywhere in the world.
The first few lessons are mind nerving. I get sweaty palms (had to wipe my hands on my jeans a couple of times in the aircon blasting car) and I was jerking my car (braking too hard and too fast) causing neck strain to my driving instructors (sorry!). I have a lot of respect for that four-wheel machine. While it is a tool to get to my destination, I know it is a machine that can hurt myself, my loved ones and worst, a stranger. This fact causes me to be nervous and anxious when I handled the steering wheel.
After my 10th lesson, I can now manoeuvre the vehicle around turns smoothly, change lanes without jerking and stop panicking whenever I see a jaywalker. All thanks to my patient instructors. I still have another 20 more lessons to go before I can take the final driving test to get my license.
The key is that I finally take a step towards something that I had absolutely detest and in order to conquer my fear, I remind myself the reason why I needed to complete this milestone. My daughter is the motivating factor and I want to be able to tell her one day how much she means to me and her safety is my top priority so much so I am willing to learn a skill that I never wanted to learn, conquer a fear and hatred in driving.
If I can do it, so can she and so can you. Have you conquered your fear/hatred of something? Share with us in the comments below.
For more stories about my life in Kuala Lumpur, these articles might interest you:
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