Published in Malay Mail Online
I do not ride a motorbike. My father, himself a wild rider in his youth — complete with a scrambler bike — forbade his sons from ever riding, for reasons we did not bother asking.
My memories of riding pillion on an underbone bike, which we call kap chai, are about hitching a ride to Friday prayers, either with my late grandfather in Johor back in my high school days, or now with my father-in-law in Kelantan.
Living beside a main road in Putrajaya, my sleeping hours are punctuated by kap chai bikes; the shriek of their puny engines magnified tenfold by their vulgar exhaust mufflers as they go by, keeping me worried that the wee baby would be shocked into waking up (fortunately, she never did).
There are dedicated motorbike lanes in most parts of Putrajaya, especially accompanying the wide four-lane roads that go between precincts. They, of course, remain ignored by riders who choose instead the wide roadways.
Still, the bikes remain essential to the working class who needs to cross the massive administrative capital on a day-to-day basis. It is a similar situation for university campuses. Malaysia likes to build things big, but never with any consideration for the humans who would live in it.