Alternative measures needed to curb motorcycle fatalities.

Dear Madam/Sir,

I REFER to Mr Peter Heng’s letter (“Act tough to curb motorcycle fatalities”, Nov 3).

I acknowledge that speeding motorcyclists and reckless riders have contributed to the high fatality rate for motorcyclists on Singapore roads.

As with any issue, however, it takes two hands to clap.

Dangerous driving is also a major factor in the deaths of motorcyclists on the road.

I have been a rider for six years and have both seen and experienced two main instances of dangerous driving that have resulted in accidents:

  • Intimidation, where lorries and buses tailgate riders unnecessarily e.g. when riders are already in the leftmost lane, and
  • Callousness, where cars cut into lanes of riders at exceedingly fast speeds and at angles which are too close for comfort.

Unfortunately, motorcyclists have no means of redress or protection from these actions.

Mr Heng’s suggestions might also exacerbate the current situation, as motorcyclists will then be deprived of a degree of speed to escape from their tormentors.

To address the root causes of the problem, I would like to propose the following measures instead:

  • Courtesy campaigns by the Traffic Police to remind road-users to share the road in a friendly and respectful manner,
  • Motorcycle lanes, if the Land Transport Authority will consider this, to protect riders from drivers,
  • A hotline for motorcyclists to report dangerous drivers, where the Traffic Police can then take action against deviant behaviour, and
  • Driving re-education classes conducted by the Traffic Police for errant road-users, who will have to watch videos of fatal road accidents to remind them of the sanctity of life.

I will be happy to partner the agencies I have mentioned in working together for a safer and death-free road experience for all.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,
Laremy LEE (Mr)

(Published as “Don’t blame just (sic) motorcyclists” on 8 Nov 2010 in the Straits Times Forum Online.)

Elvish-marked, abortive, rooting hogs.

Black Pooters

I’m extremely annoyed with the lack of ethics that a lot of Singaporean mechanics possess.

These wrangling pirates revel in a cut-throat ethos that places their customers’ needs below their shop’s bottom line.

To explain, Pooters’s battery finally yielded the ghost at the start of the work-week.

Because I didn’t have the time to get a replacement earlier, I went down to the shops near my home in the hope that I could buy a battery, return home, fix Pooters up, and carry on with the rest of my Saturday.


I was quoted a price of $90 at one shop and $60 at the next shop. I knew a battery didn’t cost that much, but I had no way of verifying that at that point in time.

Anyway, I gave some excuse about having to make sure it was the correct model and left the shops.

But I was so furious that they tried to take advantage of me obviously because of my n00b-ly ‘jiak kentang’ demeanour/inability to speak a Chinese language well: Hokkien Chinese, Mandarin Chinese, etc.

Pseudo-sociological ramblings aside, this pillagery probably worked last time in the age of no Internet.

Now that information is more perfect than it was before, however, a phone call to Lim Ah Boy (LAB) Shop when I got home provided more clarity – a Yuasa 12N9-4B-1 battery is worth $32, if it matters to anyone else.

I learnt something though: I could have saved myself much grief if I had called up the shops to check the prices + convinced myself that the trip down to LAB was worth the trouble.

Since the worm of conscience will never begnaw the souls of most of these louts, I’ve never been more convinced that there’s probably a market for English-speaking, socially-conscious motorcycle mechanics.

Unfortunately, there’s only so much one can do with a BA in English (and a PGDE to boot). But if you’re my student, and you can tell me how many King Richard III references I’ve made, you win a prize.

Pooters the Happy Scooter.

Had to go for a Digital Storytelling Workshop organised by the National Book Development Council of Singapore over the last few days. This is the product of the workshop.

The YouTube link here in case you can’t see the embedded video.

The script we had to write:

Pooters the Happy Scooter
By Laremy Lee

The first thing I do before first-time pillion riders get on my bike is to introduce my scooter to them. “My scooter’s name is Pooters,” I will say. “Pooters?” they will ask. “But why?” My response: “Because it poots.”

Pooters is a Vespa ET8 that I’ve owned since receiving my motorcycle license back in 2004. When I bought Pooters, it was black in colour. After Pooters and I met with our first accident in 2005, however, my father nagged me into painting Pooters white. Since then, Pooters and I have been in two more accidents, so maybe it’s not really about its colour.

Pooters has a knack of endearing itself to everyone it meets. While Pooters’s fan base is innumerable, let me settle this matter once and for all: I am Pooters’s biggest fan. After me, comes my girlfriend, and after her, the cats in my neighbourhood. I just wish they’d stop leaving their paw prints on Pooters’s seat.

I like to think that the reason why Pooters is so popular is because Pooters is A Happy Scooter that smiles at everyone and everything it sees. I know it sounds like mere whimsy on my part, but rest assured that you’re not gonna get a chance to ride on Pooters if you don’t agree with us.

Though it isn’t always rainbows and unicorns with Pooters, you know. One of my biggest bugbears is Pooters’s temperament: it often breaks down at the most inconvenient of times. Compound that with Singapore’s penchant for rain, and it’s a surefire recipe for an unpleasant commute.

Does this mean I’ll be trading Pooters in for another vehicle anytime soon? Well, for all its quirks, Pooters occupies a special place in my heart. Until the day comes for us to ride under the giant ERP gantry in the sky, you’ll still find us pooting merrily down the roads of Singapore together, Pooters and I.