Are Your Children Safe?
See also A Letter From My Son! here….
The sad and tragic thing is this – we are all fatalistic, we think if ‘your time has come, it will have come’ – and there is nothing you can do about it!
In May 2004 – 8 years ago – just imagine! – And this is what I wrote in this same column on my article titled – Accidents In The Waiting! – Believe me, I am all for Omanisation. But if we have people that are not responsible then we should act immediately without any delay, recourse or favouritism!
Keeping your distance? Remember the 2 Minute Rule? Who cares? Unless you are ‘chicken’ driving that car! These things are ‘only in the books now’ or ‘when you go first time for your Driving Test’! After that why not throw away that Traffic Rules book – just do not be left behind, join the fun and the melee too! …… Have you ever wondered what has happened to the car indicators? Even on the newer cars? How come no one is using them anymore?
And ah yes! That bus full of kids? Did you see how they pack those school kids in? Worse than a tin of sardines? What would happen if that bus applied full brakes and toppled over? Too frightening to think about it! Are we waiting till it happens, before something is done NOW? This is an accident waiting to happen. There should be more hiring of the school buses. And errant and reckless drivers forcefully removed; let them join the ‘unemployed queue’, maybe that will teach them a lesson too of life! There should at least be a teacher and or conductor on board to supervise things, especially with those unruly ruffians on board!
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Last week my highly charged and emotionalised son sent me this note – and I produce it almost verbatim – Quote – Dear Father – I have a great subject for your next weekly “Between Us Only” articles. It’s called “ Are Your Children Safe?” The reason of the question mark is because you are asking them the question, as you recall Oman has Omaniazed bus drives in every category of this business, school bus, product delivery and hard labour staff collection.
You feel that the drivers have responsibilities to collect and drop these young passengers safely to their destination. However it became more like an “Indianapolis speed racing” where apparently the driver wins 3 million dollars or something like that. They drive so fast, swerves around traffic, beat traffics lights and better yet over speeds then breaks so hard before the cameras capture them.
Who do we blame them, the authorities, the owners or the passengers for taking the risk? Why should I go to a death ride while I can walk for 1 hour to my destination, well at least I reach there safely and I know I accomplish something because I walked to my destination? Why do they drive this fast – why they take a risk and worse of all take the risk of others just because they CAN.?
I hate the stickers behind the bus “If you see this bus speeding please contact this number”, so in other words I have to first catch the bus so I can read that very small print, then take a risk calling the number while I am driving, hoping the number will be answered, then try to convince the person that it did happen. Even the Oil Tankers drivers have joined this league now – with catrosophic consequences if there is going to be an accident!
How many poor labours that have to fight for a 16 hours shift, one hour break 60 Rials per month and send 50 Rials to families to die so someone can take this seriously. If they wanted to drive fast then drive a speed car, if they have a suicidal mission then grab a gun or jump off a tall building, but leave the other people alone – Unquote.
My son goes to describe how last year he witnessed an Expatriate going to buy The Holy Quran in a bookshop was killed on the spot in the shop itself – by two errant local boys over speeding and losing control of their car! Because of the limited number of words in the column – I end it here. But it goes on for quite a while. You can see it in full in my website above – titled A Letter From My Son! And reproduced verbatim too!
Just like the chip of the old block (like father – like son!) I was talking to this ex peer also retired at this wedding function. I asked him where he was? He replied to him he has gone back to claim his house, farm and property in the islands in East Africa – as these were now being returned to the original owners after them realizing the follies of their ways of taking over other peoples’ properties – thanks to the changes! So I teased him about the security elements if it was still worth him to live there now?
His abrupt to the point and mark response shook me to my very foundations (almost the same things my son says in the other part not covered here!). He told me – ‘At least I am safer than you with the kinds of roads and driving in Oman nowadays – at least I can see that thug coming to my property – not you – just to find yourself either in hospital – in a coma or paralysed – or worse still in your grave – before even your days! There was no contest after that – and leaving him The Winner for sure!
This Omani GM was scolding me – who lost his Secretary and her family in a tragic road accident – see Why I am So Sad Today! in my website – Write More on Driving and Accidents. Frankly even before this column in 1982 in the oil company magazine (and reproduced other newspaper then!) I have been writing on the same topics! You can take the horse to the river – but you can never force it to drink the water!
By Majid Al Suleimany
All About Writing!
v Writing is a struggle against silence! – Carlos Fuentes
v I have made this letter longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter – Blaise Pascal
v To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart – Phyllis Theroux
v The scariest moment is always just before you start. — Stephen King
v I am a drinker with writing problems – Brendan Bahon
v The best style is the style you don’t notice. — Somerset Maugham
v The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it – Benjamin Disraeli
My Dear Father,
I’ve a great subject for your next weekly “Between Us” articles. It’s called “Your children are Safe?” the reason of the question mark is because you’re asking them the question , as you recall Oman has Omaniazed bus drives in every category of this business, school bus, product delivery and hard labour staff collection. You feel that the drivers has responsibility to collect and drop these passengers safely to their destination, however it became more like an “Indianapolis speed racing” where apparently the driver wins 3 million or something like that. They drive so fast, swerves around traffic, beat traffics lights and better yet OVERSPEEDS then BREAK so hard before the cameras capture them.
Who do we blame them, the authorities, the owners or the passengers for taking the risk? Why should I go to a death ride while I can walk for 1 hour to my destination, well at least I reach there safely and I know I accomplish something because I walked to my destination? Why do they drive this fast, why they take a risk and worse of all take the risk of others just because they CAN.? I hate the stickers behind the bus “If you see this bus speeding please contact this number”, so in other words I have to first catch the bus so I can read that very small print, then take a risk calling the number while I’m driving, hoping the number will be answered, then TRY to convince the person that it DID happen.
For years and years Oman has never had war or conflict with any other country and for that I thank Allah, but the true war that we Omanis are facing is stupidity, ignorance and worst of all carelessness, what better way to mourn our love ones and ones we had called friends then meeting them in their grave yards, how we love talking about people we lost through sickness and health rather the ones we lost in the streets.
We’ve lost all our loved ones in the street rather than in their beds, we’ve lost many people because of speeding rather than in the air, we’ve lost more people by reckless, stupidity and selfless of any other human beings then AIDS, HIVS and Cancers, do you think this will end?, do you think that someone, somewhere is thinking about this, how many more and more people we need to die so the authorities say it’s time to stop.
How many poor labours that have to fight for a 16 hours shift, one hour break 60 rials per month and send 50 rials to families to die so someone can take this seriously. If they wanted to drive fast then drive a speed car, if they have a suicidal mission then grab a gun or jump off a tall building, but leave the other people alone!
Last Ramadhan I witness an accident that killed a Pakistani in the road, he was going to a Quran store to buy a Quran tape so he can listen to or maybe send to his family, he Qamis and Silwal was dirty, he was minimum 50 years old, maybe didn’t see his family for a long time, maybe had a dream that one day he will have everything a pure person will have in life, maybe it was peace he wanted, to be crushed by two young Omanis driving their car so fast to lost grip and crushed him only… From a crowded street. Him only and what’s the punishment of this crime. One day in jail so the other family will not have the Jewish way of revenge….. What’s is called.. A tooth for a tooth and Eye for an Eye? Sad but true, the Pakistani family right now must not only grieves that the care taker of the house is gone, no more food, no more school and worse of all No more the loved one there to see his family, kids and grandkids grow up.
But the fact that they didn’t see them before it happen, to had an iftar with him that unfortunately night with him, worse of all to have his children pray with in the mosque. Maybe it was his time, we’ll never know, but as we speak those two Omanis might have change their attitude, might have went to the Mosque and prayed, might have giving death money to that family….. Only because they killed one.
So let me get this straight. So for us to understand life and its glory and understand Islam and din is to drive FAST and KILL someone, instead of you and my mother who I adore, respect and cherish both tell me go to pray and I say no but after I KILL, DESTROTY and PUNSIH a family then I would understand life, Islam and Deen (Religion)… then sign me up for death Now, sign me up for pain and suffering all my life, sign me up for loneliness and ignorness because I rather go to hell because of my ignorenss rather to KILL, DESTROY and PUNISH a family.
All my years of driving I’ve learned one thing from you and Mama may Allah bless you both and our entire family, “That EVERYONE IS THE ROAD IS AN IDIOT BUT YOU”, which sentence sticks to my mind every time…. But now I’m going to change it, it’s now
“YOU’RE THE IDIOT TO TAKE YOUR FAMILY AND LOVE ONE TO WAR, KILL YOURSELF THAN ANYONE ELSE”
May we all die with dignity and honour in our lives, maybe than we all can be forgiven
Wishing you all the best – Love You
Your Son Fahad.
v I loved words. I love to sing them and speak them and even now, I must admit, I have fallen into the joy of writing them. — Anne Rice