In the English language, I remember being taught a saying, “you are what you are”. By the way, in Bahasa Malaysia, I think we have a proverb which implies, “seekor gagak walaupun di mandi air mawarpun tetap akan menjadi hitam juga”. Literally translated, the above statement means, “a crow, inspite of being bathed in scented flowers will still remain black”.

When I first read the article entitled “New driving curriculum”, which appeared in the Star newspaper of the 30 June 2010, I was slightly apprehensive. In the above article, it is reported that the government will move towards steering learner drivers towards better driving habits.

The Road Transport Department, it is said, will introduce a new curriculum for learner drivers soon. It is meant to produce more law abiding, courteous and competent drivers, so said Malaysian Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Very ambitious and noble aspirations, I would like to say. But before anyone gets carried away, let’s not forget one important thing. My language teachers used to advise us, “we cannot make mountains out of molehills”, he told us.

To readers who may be reading this article, there might be some who feel I maybe wrong, slightly sarcastic and unkind towards the authorities’ good intentions. But as I said earlier on, we have to be realistic.

Regarding the new curriculum, the Prime Minister said a study has been completed and the department was in the process of fine tuning it. However, no deadline has been given for the implementation of the new curriculum as yet.

Why has the Government felt it is necessary for such a new curriculum to be introduced? Datuk Najib said, there was a need for a more comprehensive and holistic approach to reduce the number of road accidents and deaths which happen in Malaysia every year.

Earlier in his speech, the P.M. said some 6000 – 6500 people die in road accidents annually. As such, there was a need to implement a new curriculum for learner drivers based upon comprehensive and holistic approach.

With the new curriculum, the Road Transport Department hopes that it would put the country’s training programmes for drivers on par with international standards.

Speaking of losses incurred when accidents occur, the P.M. reiterated, accidents not only cause monetary losses to victims, but also emotional and distress to the next of kin and family.

Before we continue any further, let us first of all tackle the problem of the word holistic. Although educated in an English medium school right from Primary One days, I am shy to say, unfortunately, I do not fully understand its meaning.

So I took out the only dictionary I currently posses, which is a Kamus Dwibahasa by Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka, to try to find out its real meaning.

The word holistic wasn’t to be found. But studying the word “holy” carefully, I assume, to be holistic means to be fearful of something. To drivers, I assume, rightly or wrongly, that Malaysian drivers from henceforth are expected to be wary of rules and regulations. In short, to be more law abiding motorist.

As Datuk Najib said, the country hopes to have drivers who adhere to rules and regulations and are competent and most important of all, to be polite.

In my next article, I will compile 9 reasons why I think Malaysians are considered to be the worst drivers in the world. Stay tuned…

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