Lao Zi (China, 600 BC) was a wise man with impressive eyebrows, mustache and beard. He taught millions of Chinese that walking against the current may be a physical challenge, but is also a waste of energy. Better to find a way to let the water flow past you, he preached. It would be consuming less of your energy. his Tao (or way) was of low resistance.
Top ten dangers of Colombian traffic
In urban Colombia, Lao Zi’s book, the Tao Te Ching, does not seem to apply. The Colombian taos are filled with a lethal amount of cars, taxis, lorries and buses. This current of steel yearly kills thousands of people, especially during Easter.
Revolution, as the FARC have proven, is not an acceptable method. Lao Zi proved to be right where that is concerned.
Resistance on the other hand, walking against the current and against Lao Zi’s teachings, seems to be the only way to
make Colombian life on the road a little safer though.
The sweet little ladies
in blue who are appointed to guide traffic do make junctions look a
lot more attractive, but they are too “tao” to increase safety. They simply don’t do anything.
Sometimes their blue costumes fit them so well they even become part of the
The answer to the problem should be the authorities. The police could actually start giving fines to those who fail to use a turn signal or who speed through a red light, but Colombian police have other priorities…..or something. A more logical approach to the use of traffic lights may also improve a number of things.
The answer to the problem, the next step in the evolution of Colombian traffic, depends on the humble, but courageous pedestrians.
Scared stiff of the reckless behavior of some of the drivers, most pedestrians are willing to wait even before a green light to cross the street. Drivers, happily ignoring any stop sign, will then take the space offered by the pedestrians and continue driving until the pedestrian’s turn has passed and the cars again legally cross the junction.
Because most Colombian drivers find their way through traffic jams using bluff, pushing their noses into an opening while very carefully watching the other driving isn’t going to damage their cars, using bluff is what pedestrians can use to push their way through traffic too.
This has actually proven to work very well. Stepping in front of a car pretending you don’t see him does make the (sober) Colombian driver stop and let you pass. You’ll hear a lot of new swear words, but you know the driver probably wet his driver’s seat thinking of the insurance claims that will bankrupt him.
Chances are, emancipated pedestrian, that you will end up being a (very dead) martyr for the good cause of well regulated Colombian traffic and on the long term you will save a lot of innocent pedestrians lives.
And maybe, after the loss of some of Colombia’s most courageous pedestrians, Lao Zi’s wonderful teachings about life, may be applicable in Colombian traffic.