Wednesday, 20 July 2016


Photo: Facebook screengrab

A dashboard video of a boy getting hit by a car but was 'lucky to be alive' made its rounds on the Internet last week.

I viewed the video and scanned the comments.

Most blamed the boy for dashing recklessly out of the road. Some blamed the driver for not looking out for playful children. And others questioned why the driver did not get out of the car to help the boy.

The video took me back to an incident that happened earlier this year when I was in my sister's car, with my mother in the passenger seat beside the driver, and my sister being the driver.

My sister was moving her car back very slowly - for what, I can't remember.

Then suddenly, we could feel a jerk-bump on the back.

My mother turned and said,"妳撞到人了啦!看啦!(You hit someone already! See lah!)"

My sister spun her head around and looked shocked.

I froze on the spot. I was scared stiff. Lots of thoughts were rushing through my mind: What should we do? What should we do? Is the victim injured? What are we going to do? Is the victim dead? How seriously was the victim hurt? Should we run? 

The thought of a bloodied victim and the flaccid body that we should carry into the car to take to the hospital freaked me out.

I don't think I am a vicious person who means to leave a car-accident victim to bleed out and die but at that moment, panic took over and I became another person. At that moment, I finally understood why drivers hit and run. It was fear that gripped them. The fear that they had murdered someone. They fled because they didn't know what to do, not because they wanted the victim to die and not be found out.

When calm and rational, we know the first thing we should do is to render help to the victim. 

But yet, when an accident happens, we are stunned. Frozen. We lost the ability to think properly and humanely.

My feisty, and sometimes unreasonable, sister got out of the car and shouted,"You should have honked at me when you saw me moving back!" She had hit someone else's bumper.

At that instant, it relieved me immensely: It's not a human being we knocked into!

Although it was not a wonderful thing to run into an accident of any sort, but I was 'happy' that this 'crime' could be settled quite simply compared to if a human life was involved.

The lady was stunned at what my sister said at first. My sister also realised that she was in the wrong very quickly and apologised,"I am sorry. I am having a bad day."

The phlegmatic and gracious lady checked that the knock was a rather gentle one, which created a slight dent or a scratch though, and decided not to pursue the matter. She even told my sister that the more serious knock that her car had was an existing one so it was not my sister's doing. She said that she would get both repaired together at the workshop so she would not need my sister to compensate her.

Before they parted, the lady ended the encounter with "Next time, pay attention to what you say." 

Indeed. Other drivers would have quarrelled with my sister for blaming the accident on them at the first thought.

In defense of the driver involved in the accident at Jurong West St 81, I think we should cut him some slack. If you have knocked down someone and got out of the car to render help immediately, I commend your calmness and courage to do the right thing there and then. But if you have never been involved in such an accident, I urge you to hold your tongue, or your fingers. The driver did appear to be in a state of shock, judging from how the other pedestrians reacted. Just an imagination of the worst could freeze me on the spot, what more the occurrence of a real accident? I imagine the driver thinking similar thoughts that raced through my mind when I thought my sister had knocked somebody down: What am I going to do? Is he okay? Will I be charged? Will he die? Should I send him to the hospital? Should I call the police? The ambulance? Is he going to die? Should I run? Will the people out there kill me if I go out? How to help him?

I was worried that the boy could suffer internal injuries when the boy was unable to get up from the ground, but I just read an update of what had happened and it seems the boy was 'treated at the hospital and was resting well at home'.

School children are taught to 'look right, look left and then look right again' before they cross the road. Under no circumstances should they dash across the road. The boy was indeed lucky to be alive after such a hit-and-flung. Another boy who dashed across the road in the Sembawang area didn't make it a few years ago. Let's hope he recovers fully and learns his lessons from now on.

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