Walking While Indian

There are two things I study while walking in a new country. First is which side do they pass on, e.g. we both move our right, and what happens when somebody doesn’t move or move far enough. Singapore had no dominant passing rules. Some insisted on a direction, some indicated a direction and some didn’t alter their paths. Ran into that often, no pun intended, in Malaysia.

Don’t remember which side they pass on in Malaysia, only how the Indians dealt with collision courses. At least I think they were Indians, given that I it happened in three Little India neighborhoods (Penang, KL and Melaka) and the people looked Indian to this former suburban white boy.

I’ve always been way too tall for my weight. At some point I got fed up with giving way to people who didn’t give way to me. So in situations where I had no where to go like when there was a wall on one side, I used my athleticism and depth perception to shorten one step so I was coming off my back foot at the same time our shoulders would meet. I’d rotate my torso to avoid a collision if they did, otherwise I’d lean forward a bit and we’d bounce off each other. Bounced off a lot Indian men in Malaysia and Singapore and was surprised how many Indian women also failed to act as if the walkway was a shared public resource.

What does it mean? Don’t know, but I’d bet it’s related to their tendency to stop dead in the middle of a public passage with no apparent regard to leaving room for others to pass. When they did leave room for people to push through, some did.

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