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The Sassy Side of Sixty: Driving

by Aiden

Dolly Koghar gives her generation’s perspectives on topics du jour.

Back in the days of yore, we walked a lot, but on terra firma, not on the treadmill. Then, we wanted to get further away from home, and so came the bicycle. But it wasn’t fast enough, nor far enough, and peddling was too tiresome; it culminated in 1769, with Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot inventing a steam-powered vehicle capable of transporting people. The rest is history. By the time we were born, cars were as novel as computers and mobiles are to our children today, although initially, only men drove and that too, only the rich ones. But by the by came the turn of us femmes fatales to get behind the wheels; and today, we are manning everything from spaceships to fighter jets; captaining ships and submarines; driving trucks and taxis and expertly zig-zagging through the snarled traffic of good ol’ Sukhumvit in orange jackets. So, what do people in my generation think of the simple act of driving – is it the ultimate freedom, or more trouble than it’s worth?


  • This retired couple self-drive their shared car and take turns behind the wheel on their frequent sightseeing trips in and around Thailand.
  • Though frustrated with the nonexistent road ethics on our infamous roads, driving makes this 77-year-old chap feel alive and useful. He often scoots the grandkids off for an ice cream or his wife to a movie night.
  • This granny wears cool shades when driving and feels vibrant and totally liberated to go where she wants, how she wants and when she wants; unencumbered by a chauffer’s moodiness or rude taxi drivers.


  • Though this madame can drive, she’d rather be chauffeur-driven to her kitties and social dos rather than drive there and arrive hot and frustrated.
  • This lady is digging deep to pay the driver, but she cannot ger over her phobia of veering the car to merge with the oncoming, main-road traffic that waits for no man.
  • This business man prefers a driver any day, leaving him free to scroll his mobile or make calls or even take a nap. When Sukhumvit is snarled, he gets off and walks home, and is already sipping garam-garam chai, with a biskut or pakoras, by the time the driver gets the car home.


  • No one let her learn how to drive since there was always someone to take her around; and the opportunity never knocked again. But she’s happy to be spared the traffic headache and the hassle of parking; not to mention dealing with the aftermath of accidents, big or small.
  • This working lady would have loved to drive, but owning a car remained an elusive dream and she makes do with public transportation.


For the record, I didn’t buy my driving license for THB 1,000, as per my instructor’s advice, but procured it by passing the test, which in hindsight, was hardly a test. Nothing’s changed fifty-four years on; any maniac with an intent to join the milieu on Bangkok roads can easily get a license (to kill). During the test, I knocked down plenty of cones and I never, ever learnt to back into a slot between two parked cars against the wall or curb. The honest truth is, I hate driving, always did; but the house, the kids, and everything that makes life livable depended on it, so I drove with my heart in my mouth for the whole of my 32 years in Kobe, including the ten-hour stint to the airport, away from the shambles left by the fateful Kansai earthquake of ’95.

The kids will have horror stories to recount of being driven around in circles, hungry and tired just cause their mum got off or onto the wrong highway. Also, how embarrassed they were when I used my exotic Indian looks to charm the Japanese parking attendants to slide my car in between the two cars against the wall, because I couldn’t/wouldn’t have succeeded if I tried a hundred times over. Anyway, it’s all behind me now, I’ve hung up the keys for good but at a very heavy cost of my independence.

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