I once had a classmate, Gurdip Singh, alias Ignatius Dev Anand. We were then schooling at my alma mater, the Anglo Chinese School, Klang.
Gurdip, was unfortunately born, crippled. He had one good leg, while, his right leg was slightly smaller than his left. Inspite of his condition, Gurdip could walk on his own. Surprisingly, he could even cycle.
Gurdip even joined our classmates on our cycling trip to Morib, way back in the 1960’s. Morib for readers’ information, is approximately some 28 or so miles, from Klang.
Due to his physical condition, Gurdip Singh struggled to walk around and climbed steps at our school. I believe, his condition affected his health eventually. It took a toll on him. Unfortunately, he was not to live long. He passed away at a rather young age.
I believe my classmate might have lived longer, if only electric bicycles were introduced way back in the 1960’s. Gurdip Singh, who was from a rather poor family, could not have afforded to test for a B2 (250c.c.) motorcycle license then.
Furthermore, as a crippled person, an OKU (orang kurang berupaya) or a handicapped person, it is doubted very much if the authorities, that is the Road Transport Department, would have permitted him to get a motorcycle riding license.
But, believe it or not, electric bicycles, which has currently been introduced for use in our country today, has indeed been a blessing in disguise to many people who are handicapped in some way or other.
You see, some may have been born crippled, like my classmate, Gurdip Singh. But one must not forget, there are others in Malaysia, who were not born so. They have become handicapped by virtue of the fact that they have sustained physical injuries in accidents and also industrial mishaps.
I know of a friend, about 50 years old or so, a Chinese man. I do not know his name. What important is the fact that the above person, possesses only one leg.
I used to observe this man, cycling around the town where I live. On his bicycle, he carries two rattan crutches on the handle bars. I’m sure you must be aware that doing the above antics while cycling furiously away with one leg, is indeed no mean task.
Besides, it is indeed a pitiful sight, wouldn’t you agree? May be, the above mentioned person, whose name I don’t know, could not afford to purchase a three wheeled motor, usually used by most handicapped people.
Or may be, the person above, was ignorant of the ways and means a handicapped person could obtain a motorcycle riding license. But fortunately, for my handicapped friend, the introduction of the electric bicycle recently into Malaysia, had infact benefitted him very tremendously.
Why should this be so, you might well ask?
Well, the Malaysian government has yet to make a decision with regards to the use of the electric bicycles here in Malaysia.
Do users have to undergo a test? Must users need to use helmets like other motorcycle riders? Are insurance coverage required? These are some of the questions still left unanswered.
Finally, will the electric motor bicycle even be banned eventually in this country? Nobody knows!
Whatever the decision maybe, regarding the use of electric bicycles, one thing is for certain, many people, I observe, are currently secretly using the electric bicycles in kampungs and housing estates.
Electric bicycles, as a matter of fact, are quite affordable, compared to motorcycles. In my opinion, should not cost more than RM1500.
Electric bicycles are easy to handle. They can travel up to approximately 25 to 30 km/h. and the best thing of all, presently, you do not require a license to use it. As a matter of fact, it’s a boon for pensioners and older folks. It’s also cheap to maintain too.
I feel the authorities should take a positive approach towards it. They should not ban its use in Malaysia. I think the electric bicycles brings more good than bad to the people of our country, especially the maimed and the handicapped.
Allow me to quote you an interesting episode regarding the use of the electric bicycle which befelled me recently.
While negotiating a corner recently, a user of an electric bicycle nearby collided into me. It’s was not my fault actually. As an instructor, of many years of experience, I make it a point not to cross into people’s lane, especially when taking corners. It’s infact dangerous driving, don’t you think so?
But before I could hurl a string of curses at the electric bicycle rider was infact my one legged, handicapped friend whom I described to you earlier on!
Having for years been riding an ordinary bicycle and without a doubt, struggling along with it, my one legged friend must have found using his new electric bicycle a breeze. And so, without a doubt, he was travelling around these days in I t at great speed.
When the friend in question saw me, he recognized me immediately. He smiled and even waved tome frantically. He must have hollered: How are you? My one legged friend seemed extremely happy.
My initial anger turned to joy. Never have I seen him happier! The electric bicycle, had finally brought my handicapped friend, great happiness good for him.
If the government should finally decide to ban the use of electric bicycles in Malaysia, it would, I believe, cause a lot of difficulties and miseries to a whole lot of people. The authorities should infact be more caring with regards to folks who might be suffering silently.
Think about this carefully. Hopefully the authorities will not make a wrong mistake eventually. Kudos to the electric bicycle!
What information can one expect to get from the dashboard of a vehicle?
In fact, the answer is many. The ability of a motorist to be able to understand information embedded in the dashboard panel, will make him a good driver indeed. Now, let us proceed on to explain what those information are.
Information available from the dashboard amongst others are:
1. The presence of a clock.
In most conventional cars, there is usually a normal clock. In some newer models of vehicles, we do sometimes get a digital clock instead.
A good driver to plan infact needs a clock to plan his journey well. Do not forget that planning one’s journey correctly can very well avoid one from getting involved in unforeseen circumstances, such as mishaps and accidents.
I had once had a close buddy, an Encik Ahmad Yusuf, a school teacher, who sold off his new Mazda car when he discovered that the clock to his almost new car was incapable of working properly. So there you are, some drivers do insist on such things as a clock functioning well, in order to be a good driver.
2. The speedometer.
What is the speedometer actually? For those of you who are not too well versed with cars, a speedometer, in reality tells you the speed at which a vehicle is actually going or travelling.
Important item of a vehicle, don’t you agree! When driving a car or riding a motorcycle, one needs to adhere to specific speed limits. Permit me to quote you a few examples.
Schools for instance, have a speed limit of 30km/j. In town areas, one should keep to a limit of 50km/j. When travelling along expressway, to Penang or Singapore for example, do not exceed a speed limit of 110km/j.
Failure to maintain the correct speed limit can cause you to be fined a sum of RM300. Before taking leave on the subject of speedometer, it should be kept in mind that speedometers of yester-years measured speeds according to miles per hour or m.p.h.
These days, most cars use kilometers per hour or km/h. that’s the only difference. Anyway, a driver who is caught speeding, is liable to be punished with a hefty RM 300 fine as I said earlier.
3. The odometer.
This instructor, although has been driving cars for many, many years, since 1970, that is nearly 40 or more years, did in reality not know what an odometer is. I therefore is quite certain that most drivers do not know what this instrument is.
In fact, I come to know the true meaning of it when making researches in preparation for my teaching of the 6 hour theory course a few years ago. What then is an odometer? If I remember correctly, an odometer records the total amount of distance a vehicle has travelled.
Important item, don’t you think so?
When you intend to change your engine oil or lubricating oil, you’ll have to keep track of how long your engine oil has actually been used. Besides this, when you want to purchase a 2nd hand vehicle, the odometer plays a major role in determining your decision to purchase a vehicle.
Knowing how to read and understand the function of an odometer in the dashboard, will go a long way to prevent you from being swindled by unscrupulous salesmen and mechanics, don’t you agree?
4. The charge (CHG) meter.
There is yet another important item appearing on the dashboard which a driver should be reminded of. In most cars, this meter is represented by the alphabets CHG. Infact, it is short form or abbreviation for the word Charge.
Conventional cars normally have a 12 volts battery which needs to be charged for it to provide efficient service. A good driver has to know to decipher or understand how to ensure whether his car battery is being fully charged or otherwise.
Should your battery charging system develop a malfunction, the alphabets, CHG. In red, will appear on your vehicle’s dashboard. Briefly, allow me to explain how the charging system of a vehicle works.
When a car battery is not being charged satisfactorily, either the alternator or the dynamo has developed some problems. In such a situation CHG will then appear on the dashboard, indicating to the driver that there is something wrong with your car’s charging system.
5. The tachometer.
Another item most cars usually possess is the tachometer. What exactly is a tachometer?
A tachometer is a meant to assist mechanics in tuning an engine. An engine in fact has to be able to idle well. With a tachometer, a good mechanic will be able to tune a carburetor perfectly, thereby ensuring that an engine runs smoothly. For a normal vehicle, the r.m.p or ‘revolution per minute needle of a tachometer, should ideally be at 0.9 or 1.0.
6. Engine or lubrication oil warning light.
There is also in the dashboard panel, a red warning light which denotes a vehicle’s engine or lubricating oil is low. This indicates danger to the engine of a vehicle. A motorist should ideally make it a point to immediately top up his engine oil to avoid causing damage to the engine.
7. The brakes warning light.
One other warning light or item in the dashboard is the brakes warning in red. When a vehicle’s brakes are low or worn out, a brakes warning light will appear on the dashboard panel.
On seeing this light illuminate, it informs a driver that there is something wrong with the brakes system. Get a mechanic to check out what is wrong with your vehicle.
When the brakes warning light lights up, it could also mean that there is insufficient brake fluid in the brake reservoir. Top up the fluid there in and your predicament would most likely be solved. For readers information, brake fluid that is normally used in our country, is the DOT 3 variety.
Avoid using the DOT 4 brake fluid here, as they are infact for colder countries or maybe it is preferably used for high performance cars, such as Porche, Lamborighini and Feraris.
8. Other important indicators on the dashboard panel include seat belt, handbrake, doors and fuel warning lights to warn drivers of impending dangers and trouble.
Motorists and drivers are advised to take the trouble to study the warning lights and gadgets on the dashboard and make full of them for your own safety and benefit.
Writing this article has taken me a lot of effort and trouble. Hopefully you’ll be to use it to make yourself a safer and better driver!
For the benefit of readers, whose mother tongue is not Bahasa Malaysia, the K.P.P. is infact a 5 hour course a potential, new student aspiring to achieve a driving or riding license has to attend, prior to his sitting for the computerized Highway Code exam.
Besides being a K.P.P. lecturer for many years, I was also co-opted by the institute to which I belonged, to lecture upon the Theory course, which lasts 6 hours, is a compulsory course for students, after they have succeeded in getting through their Highway Code test.
With the completion of this 6 hour lecture, a student is provided with the JPJ L2B certificate. The JPJ L2B enables a student to arrange for his LDL or Learner Driver’s license or L license, to be taken out.
With it, a potential student aspiring to achieve a driving or riding license, can then proceed to take up driving or riding lessons under the auspicies of a qualified driving instructor.
For your information, the 6 hour Theory course is divided into 2 parts. Part I, which lasts 3 hours, is a theory class conducted by one lecturer. And part II, is conducted for another 3 hours, by another lecturer at the institute’s premises.
In part II, a driving instructor is supposed to teach you many aspects of the car such as wheels and changing tyres, about batteries, engine oil, brake oil, radiator and many other aspects pertaining to a vehicle.
As I reiterated earlier, besides being a lecturer for the 5 hour K.P.P course, I was also once co-opted into becoming a lecturer for the 6 hour theory course on car maintenance. Although I have scores of mechanic friends, such as Wah Chye, Ah Keng, to name but a few, and has as a matter of fact, learnt a lot of things regarding car maintenance techniques from them, nevertheless, yet I still felt that I lacked the confidence that I was capable of conducting a theory course for students on all things, especially the maintenance of cars and motorcycles.
My lack of confidence was largely due to my upbringing essentially. You see, my grandmother used to advise me when I was young, that one needs to do his or her outmost best when doing certain things. My school teachers, Mr Lingam, Mr. James Pandian, Mr. Rathichandran and Mr. Sonny Tan, have again and again advised me over the years, that when you do something always, do you what you do, do well!
Such being the case, I felt I had to do lots of research work prior to me going into class for the 6 hour theory course.
But my problem then was, where was I to do my researches on the subject of automobiles?
To overcome the dilemma that I faced, very fortunately, my son was then attending the Workers Institute of Technology(W.I.T) in Pandanmaran New Village, near Perlabuhan Klang.
Getting wind that my son’s institute did infact have a library in it, I asked him to borrow all the reference books available on automobiles for reference.
For weeks, prior to starting the theory course on car maintenance, at my place of lecture, I did my researches. I infact become so good at car maintenance techniques that a student’s father, who was an automobile engineer himself was surprised that I was able to tell him the fact that although a conventional car is supplied with a 12 volt battery, it needs the assistance of a coil, to step up the supply of electricity to the engine in order to start it.
I remembered telling the above student’s father that the coil supplies each high tension cable leading to the 4 plugs with 6,000 volts of electricity to ignite the car engine. All these facts as a matter of fact, amazed the student’s father. He was impressed!
That was my journey studying and researching before becoming a Kursus Pendidikan Pemandu lecturer.