The Right of Way is Left Out

Life in Kuala Lumpur is much like life in any other large multicultural city, except for one thing…

Like ants, we march every day – we march to work, through hallways and across the street. In order to do so efficiently we have developed a very simple system called “the right of way.” Since birth, we of the “western” world are trained to adhere to this silent code of transportation. We do it moderately well.

It works like this.

In the likely event you come across another sentient being during your travels, steer yourself to the right side of your plane of movement to avoid an awkward shimmy shuffle that would otherwise follow.

It gets more complicated.

If you are travelling in a channel where the relative velocity amongst vessels is constant, maintain your position to the right to allow faster moving vessels to pass.

Are you ready for a mind explosion?

There are parts of the world that do not practise this fundamental transportational law. In fact, they learn the opposite. More insulting, they argue that it’s the “right” way! How ignorant. People have been moving the right way for centuries. I don’t recall any reference, in any text to a left of way.

It’s high calorie travel without the flavour.

In an increasingly borderless world that facilitates the movement of thousands of people between nations, I fear the eventuality of a nuclear sized seizure in international commuting. Like a McChicken fed artery, the veins of traffic will be clogged with a circus of sideways waddles, shimmy shakes and clumsy bumps.

There is a simple solution.

I move that we create an international tribunal to end this debate once and for all. We must come together to preserve our ability to move from one place to another. Otherwise I am seriously going to run into somebody over here – and it’s not going to be pretty.

So, before you Take Off, practise the hallway shuffle and the stairwell jig, because you’ll probably have to dance.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “The Right of Way is Left Out

  1. Since I am living in a left of way country I have this debate with my Aussie friends all the time. They think that since British cultures drive on the left then we should be like then and be a left of way commonwealth country. Curiously the Aussies have switched their route on escalators to Stand left Walk Right but the British haven’t. What do you reckon the deal is? I am all for this international tribunal, it will bring us closer to world peace I feel.

    • Wait… so the British drive on the left, but still do everything else on the right?!

      • They drive on the left but for escalators they Stand Right, Walk left just like we do. The Australians drive on the left but Stand Left, Walk Right. So not sure if that makes us backwards or the British?

      • Here they do like Australians, which makes the most sense. If you are going to make an argument that one side or the other is better for “right of way” it needs to be consistent over all modes of transportation. So in my opinion the way North America does, stay right, it is more “natural” if that’s what the British do in everyday life outside of the vehicle. You now have an iron clad argument the next time you get into a pub argument about it!

  2. When I visited Thailand and was walking on narrow walks I would always move right and find myself running into the other foreigners since they were often from Australia… quite annoying. Lets start some sort of online petition. I think their side of the world has more people though 😦

  3. It depends on what we’re talking about. If we are trying to start a movement to unify solely pedestrian traffic, I think we will stand a greater chance of success. But you’re right, (heheh) British Imperialism has rubbed off on a lot of countries.

    Interestingly enough, after doing some minor research, it appears that in some cases driving on the right was a signal of defiance and independence against British colonization. Conversely, it appears that the majority of transportation / trading routes and games (like jousting) gave way to the right. So why are there left-hand vehicles? (more research is needed.)

  4. The scandal! Now I will sit down and plot a means of globally educating in the shortest time possible conformance to a single pedestrian flow. World Changing, nbd. Maybe time magazine will name us influential people of the year? Take that Bieber.

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