Posts Tagged ‘hanoi’

#MoTorCyCle MaDneSS (04)

February 2nd, 2017

Me and my camera taking pictures of truckloads of motorbikes in SE Asia

#MoTorCyCle MaDneSS (03)

February 1st, 2017

Me and my camera taking pictures of truckloads of motorbikes in SE Asia

Everywhere you look on the streets of Vietnam and Thailand are families on motorbikes. You constantly see kids & even babies, either clinging on to the handlebars or sitting on the lap of either the driver or the passenger, restrained by no more than than a human grip. I even saw motorcyclists with one hand on one handlebar and the other clutching a toddler. It is jaw-dropping when you first see it and looks like a horrendous accident waiting to happen but everyone thinks nothing of it and acts as if its ok and so you feel like it is too.

And yet, if you saw a  child in the U.K  strewn on top of a speeding motorbike in such an unprotected way, they would be reported to social services and the parents prosecuted in a second. The health and safety brigade would blow a fuse if they saw what I saw but in these cultures it is not considered in anyway wrong. It is necessary so it happens. Who are we to judge?

One of the great things about travelling is that when you visit another culture that does certain things completely differently you realise your way is not necessarily the right way, its just one version of what’s possible or acceptable and alternatives to your set of norms not only exist but function equally as well in other societies.

In our society currently, we attempt to shield children from everything in an effort to protect them but there is enough research and evidence to suggest its possibly not the best solution. You can’t protect kids from life nor do you want to. Exposure and experience are their schools. That is how they learn. That is how they develop their skills. That is how they stop being afraid. The motorbiking parents of SE Asia do not care or love their kids less. They would be no less devastated if anything happened to them but what they know is that it’s essential to expose them to potential danger in order that they become used to how motorbikes move and weave around each other. They need to be on board so they can observe from a young age how everyone does it so that they will be capable and cope when they are grown up.

What would be considered insanely irresponsible in this country is in fact just a necessary method to future proof them and make these kids grow up into functional adults who aren’t scared of being on the road. Their methods might be different, but the aim of these parents is still the same as parents in Western society and indeed the same as parents of all cultures and even all species:  keep your offspring alive at all costs but if it’s at the expense of learning how to survive, it could be counter-productive…