Monday, October 16, 2006

Sabah Big Bike Gathering: A better model than Mat Rempits


The bikes lining up at the starting line before the flag off near the Dataran Desoka and DBKK building.

I was very intrigued with the Sabah Big Bike Association when I first heard about that as I first started studying in Sabah. The first glimpse I had was a gathering they had during the Tamu Besar Kota Belud, whereby bikers with bikes of all sizes and make gathered there and even offered people to take shots with their bikes. I next noted their presence when I visited a hair stylist where Laura went to get her hair done, adorning the saloon were picture of her (yes she is a biker) and her boyfriend with their bike all over Sabah from Tawau to Kudat. I never really had the image of bikers akin to this, a peaceful social club and gathering with activities very conducive in their own right not unlike the noisy, reckless, death defying bikers always appearing in the news, the so called Mat Rempits. I believe this is a better model for them to adpot than their current illegal activities, maybe they should take a page out from our Borneo cousins.


Rear view of the motorcade of bikes during the line up.

About a month ago, the Borneo Big Bike Assocation in conjunction with DBKK and Visit Malaysia Year campaign decided to organize a rally of bikes from all over Borneo here in Kota Kinabalu. I stumbled upon them and after walking about give it a thumbs up for positiveness. Truly the Borneo Big Bike Festival could add a colourful element to the festivities and liven up the town a bit. With bike exhibitions consisitng of large scale motors, Harley Davidsons, modified bikes and other from the familiar to the truly amazing machines. People were all seen taking pictures with the bikes some dwarfing the kids that weren't any taller than the seats.


Bikes parked at the side of the square for onlookers to see.

Another image I had shattered was that of the biker, looking at them they are not the thuggish and rough people that I would've imagined to associate with such a culture. Most were normal people with jobs ranging from the professional to store workers but all shared the love for their machines. Most are even married and their spouses were there with them, sharing the same passion, I wouldn't have thought there were many woman riders before this. They looks all geared up for the event and the camaraderie was infectious, many joking about, jealously comparing the bikes, stores were set up to sell accesories such as jackets and branded gear. The atmosphere was liven up with music playing from the DBKK building and food served to the participants.


The riders parking their bikes along the road before the flag off.

Walking through the start line the bikes were fantastic, many of differing make. There were the usual American roadster such as the Harley emblazzoned with their shiny eagle symbols and brand prominently displayed. There were the gigantic bikes that even I would have to straddle to get onto. Racing bikes were also seen among the throngs.


Several of the racing models.

Like I said the effort our local politician are trying to impose on the local Mat Rempit culture would not suceed not without the ethuistic cooperation of their participants, most of which are disrespectful of the law and holds a don't care about what others think attitude. From what I see here is genuine love and interest that is needed to make such a culture exists without the need of force or imposition. That's why my opinion that forcing Mat Rempits to clean mosque and graveyard will not inculcate them into turning into lawful citizens and respective road users since that such activities have no dealings with their interests not does it give them the thrill they are seeking. I believe if they really want to promote their cause they could do it in a better fashion or at least within the law, the image they are generating to the public is one that tarnishes and make enemies out of those that have to put up with their dangerous antics on the roads as well as sleepless nights from their brazen attitude.


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