From ‘Bentley driver in road rage incident is RBS exec’, 24 Sept 2011, article by Amanda Yong, TNP
She was filtering out of the Central Expressway (CTE) into Braddell Road when a car overtook her. The blue Bentley accelerated and abruptly cut into her lane, she claimed. It then screeched to a sudden halt, forcing her to step on her brakes.
What happened next so frightened Madam Wang, 36, a manager, that it left her shaking. The driver of the British sports car, a Caucasian man, got out of his vehicle, stormed over to her white Mercedes-Benz and started shouting at her.
Then, he slammed his bare fist into her car windscreen as she remained in the driver’s seat. He did this at least twice, cracking the glass, Madam Wang said. She immediately got out of the car as she did not want to be hit by falling glass shards.
She said: “I was terrified. I feared for my personal safety, I feared for my life.”
Stunned by the man’s outburst, Madam Wang’s female cousin and four-year-old son also stepped out of the car. “I was shocked by his behaviour and shocked that he could actually damage the windscreen using his bare hand. And I was afraid that he would hit me too,” said Madam Wang, a Taiwanese married to a Singaporean.
…The New Paper understands that the man claimed that Madam Wang had cut into his lane and he decided to do the same to her. But she denied having cut into his lane.
…She said that before the man left, he took out his business card, shoved it into her cousin’s hands and said: “I’ll pay for everything.” Then, he drove off. The police arrived shortly after. Madam Wang said the man’s card stated that he is a managing director (Stephan Masuhr) in a unit of a major foreign bank here.
She said: “Did he think I wasn’t a human being and that just because he’s rich and drives an expensive car that he can just bully me and pay me off?
“He was very arrogant. His attitude was too much.”
I’m beginning to think road bullies are not just prone to bursts of violence, but are sociopaths who exhibit bizarre behaviour as well. Not only does this brute have a fist of iron, but he willingly offered his identity and number as a form of apology and compensation after smashing someone’s windscreen, which just makes the job of the police easier. Interestingly enough, according to Mr Masuhr’s Linkin homepage, aside from the impressive CV , he also affiliates himself with a group called ‘IRONMAN FINISHERS’, which only a select group of triathletes can claim to be a part of. It’ll be intriguing to see how this high-profile case plays out, because clearly Masuhr isn’t just an ‘exec’ of Royal Bank Scotland, he’s HEAD of EM (emerging markets, or is it ENRAGED MOTORISTS) and Credit Structuring & Repacking Asia Pacific. He also happens to be German, and to think that they’re the ones who made fun of CRAZY Singaporeans (He in fact became a Singaporean 4 years ago).
The trigger of road rage can be boiled down to an exaggerated intolerance of two basic road behaviours 1) when one is deemed to be driving dangerously (cutting into one’s lane) or 2) One is the deemed to be the cause of delay (road hogging, obstruction). In light of how road rage is becoming seen as a mental disorder in some scientific circles, Masuhr’s strange namecard-giving gesture could be a ruse to plead insanity if he’s eventually nabbed. But if you thought road rage was a fairly recent phenomenon symptomatic of a stressful environment, overpopulation and bad traffic infrastructure, or may be attributed to loudmouthed Caucasian expats in luxury cars, think again.
Here’s a history of obscene gestures, swearing, improvised weaponry, punching, kicking and other near-fatalities that is road rage violence in Singapore:
195o’s: ‘Ill-mannered’ drivers were blamed for the increase in road accidents according to Singapore AA, in particular drivers of buses and taxis. In 1959, two hooligans on a TRICYCLE beat up a motorist for sounding his horn.
1973: Before the term was even coined, ‘road ragers’ were simply ‘road bullies’, with an ‘appalling sense of road courtesy’, according to the chairman of the National Safety First Council.
1989: A motocyclist broke a lorry driver’s nose and slashed another passenger with a broken bottle from a nearby crate He was jailed for 6 months.
199os: A road bully was fined $4000 for thumping a motorcyclist with a hammer. In 1998, a service technician hit a trailer driver in the face with a screwdriver. Another weapon of choice was an iron pipe, which was brandished in a threatening manner in a 1993 incident and earning the aggressor a 4 weeks stint in jail. But these attacks pale in comparison to a triple-penknife- stabbing of a cabby in 1992.
2000’s: Cabbie Low Eng Whye, 54, floored a lorry driver ten years his senior during a confrontation which involved Low giving a middle finger to Han Cheow Pong for driving too slowly. In 2004, a cabbie slashed a motorist’s face with a pair of scissors. Four years later, private bus driver Yeo Teck Kiang pursued an SMRT bus after having his lane cut, punched the victim in the face and drove off. He was jailed for 5 weeks. The most extreme tantrum would be the bully ramming his own vehicle into the back of the victim’s car repeatedly, as what Chan Swee Leng did in 2008, a trait that would have made him the perfect kamikaze pilot. He also served 5 weeks in jail. Just last year, someone was stalked with a baseball bat, according to Stomp website (See below)
In S'pore, baseball bats are used for anything except baseball
Most recently, another Caucasian ‘body slammed’ female dance instructor Rachel Lim on a bus for ‘talking too loudly’ over the phone. Except that he was a PASSENGER and not a driver, something which should give the police food for thought when it comes to defining what makes a ‘road bully’.
So, there’s no discernible pattern of the kind of people or occupations succumbing to road rage and physical violence other than the fact they are predominantly male and have a really short fuse. Locking all doors and hiding under your dashboard won’t help if you’re unlucky enough to encounter a plumber, mechanic or anyone with a toolkit in his boot. Courtesy campaigns are pretty much useless; you can’t educate someone who constantly loses his temper at the wheel, you either institutionalise him, medicate him with antipsychotics, or impose a deterrent like lifetime driving bans. Hell, you may even get accosted by bullies on public transport if you’re too terrified to drive yourself because of all these motorists with vehicles more equipped for war than a SAF military truck.
But what bugs me is that pranksters, in particular Swiss Oliver Fricker, get caned for spray painting public property but not bullies who smash other drivers’ windscreens, whether it’s with their fists, metal pipes, chains or spare tires. Imagine the trauma and injuries the glass shards could have inflicted. Such hooligans should be banned from driving altogether and thoroughly spanked before someone gets murdered. We already have people dying from drunk and reckless driving, so if we can’t ban alcohol, or put speed demons to death, we should, at the very least, chuck these nuisances off the damn roads already. Not only will our roads be more pleasant to drive on, we’ll have less vehicles to deal with too. Alas, judging from the dismal statement ‘investigations are ongoing’, it looks like Masuhr is getting off with nothing more than a slap on the wrist, a fine at most. All those ex bullies who suffered weeks in jail for nothing more than waving a fist, cursing other drivers’ mothers or denting car doors must be kicking themselves as we speak.
Filed under: 1950s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010, 2011, Justice system/Lawsuits, Motorists, Police officers, Taxi drivers, Violence | Tagged: Caucasian men, Foreign workers, justice system, Motorists, traffic police, Ugly Singaporeans, Violence | 2 Comments »