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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Cultural Phenomenon of Mat Rempits

Malaysia will never fail to amaze you. This year is Visit Malaysia Year and the country is inviting tourists to experience the colours of Malaysia and its many facets of food & culture.

There are many things that have become a culture here - Roti Chanai, Mamak stalls & Teh Tarik (pulling tea), which has since become a superhuman competition.

A long time ago we had the Mini Buses which could take in more passengers than it seems possible. But they have been discontinued.

The BMW (Bas Mini Wilayah)

or The Pink Lady, as it was known at that time.

It's also a country with the culture of not keeping appointment time. When you're late for something, you say you're on the way or that you're almost there, even when you're still not in your car yet.

It's also a place where having long names & titles show great importance & credibility. In Kuching, some road & roundabout names have reached incredible lengths beyond practicality.

Road sign photos ripped off from Kenny Sia.

And when the sun sets in KL, the roads are transformed into a Hell Riders' F1 circuit. And you will experience a true spectacle.

Mat Rempits, hell-riders from the kampung.

The Mat Rempits travel in large groups & their job is to raise hell. Their amazing race & death-defying stunts on the roads have caused a lot of nuisance & endangerment to the general public. This is called the Superman.

Besides racing, they are also active in other equally exciting leisurely activities such as:
Snatching purses & handbags from innocent passerbys.
Resisting police arrests.
Ramming into police road blocks.
Attacking police stations with stones & petrol-bombs.

But Malaysia is a country of love & tolerance. It seems to have overflowing love & tolerance for petrol-bombs. Yesterday morning I picked up the papers and I got the shock of my life.

It wasn't so much the headline. It was what the member of parliament said:

Basically, Mat Rempit is now a 'culture' and the government has accepted that. So our immediate goal is to get them off the streets and onto a circuit.

So now Mat Rempit & illegal racing is also a culture. Should we then promote it as part of Malaysia Truly Asia? Something doesn't sound very right here.

The member of parliament further added:

We also see in these kids potential for them to work within the racing industry. Just look at the way these motorcycles here today have been modified, this means that they have skills, skills that can be sharpened to launch a career.

This is like catching our children gambling in the streets. So we build a community casino for them to play there, to sharpen their skills to launch a professional gambling career.

Here's the ever popular Mat Rempit song from Mix FM.

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