Essay on Smart traffic lights
Traffic lights are important components of the road systems of a town or city. Their importance becomes obvious when they stop working. When this happens, the junction at which they operate is then reduced to chaos as drivers curse and swear to try to get across.
Despite their importance, some traffic lights, especially older ones, are not ‘smart’, meaning they turn n or off at fixed predetermined intervals regardless of whether it is midday or midnight. It is fine at midday when the roads are packed and waiting for one minute at a red light is normal. However waiting for one minute at a red light at midnight when here are no vehicles around seems like forever. One is tempted to beat the lights.
Fortunately in my town, the planners have installed ‘smart’ traffic lights that change their lights according to the absence or presence of cars near the junction. This works very well, especially in the night. One does not have to wait forever for the lights to change.
The ‘smart’ traffic lights have detectors buried just under the road just behind the line where vehicles stop at the lights. The detectors are hardly visible but if one is observant, one can see a rectangular box on the road about the same width and length of a car behind every line. Each detector can detect any vehicle that stops on top of or passes over it. When this happens, it indicates to the control box to change the lights to green as soon as possible. So the lights stay red or green according to the traffic volume registered by the detectors. It is pleasing to arrive at an empty junction to see the lights quickly change to green when one stops behind the line. One does not have to wait long.
The only setback to this system is that many drivers are not aware of the detectors. Some stop beyond the stop line or before it and wonder why the lights do not change to green for them. The detector did not register their presence so the lights do not change quickly.
Democracy is that form of government in which the ruling power of a state is legally vested not in any particular class or classes, but in the members of the community as a whole. it is a government in which the will of he majority of citizens rules without overriding the rights o the minority. The ideal of democracy is that of equality, freedom and welfare for all. it involves the abolition of very form of restriction and privilege. Ancient democracy was based on the direct participation of the masses in public affairs. Modern democracy is representative in character and it demands not only universal adult suffrage, but also the active participation of the people in government. Thus, in a democratic state, the acts of the government are in accordance with the will of the people, since they have the right to elect and remove their leaders and the right to determine the main lines of policy. Nevertheless, democracy is a matter of degree, and no complete expression has yet been given tot eh ideal of democracy.
“Our constitution is named a democracy, because it is the hands not of the few, but of many. But our laws secure equal justice for all private disputes, and our public opinion welcomes and honors talent in very branch of achievement, not for any sectional reason, but on grounds of excellence alone.” These words of Pericles uttered in the 5th century B.C., still hold good and may be considered by far the best definition of democracy. democracy is in truth, “government of the people, by the people and for the people.” Thus, if the people of Malaysia rule the people of Malaysia for the benefit of the Malaysians there is democratic form of government in Malaysia. every citizen has a share in the government of a democratic state. democracy rests on the will of the people and not on force.
Democracy implies political liberty. Political liberty consists of the right to vote, the right to sand as a candidate for election, the right to hold public offices, freedom of speech, of association, of worship and of opinion. All these secure the individual, the most fundamental right of political participation. By giving everyone a share in the government, democracy prompts patriotism.
Democracy is based on the doctrine of equality. Inequality has been the cause of all the revolutions which have changed the face of the world. Popular government resting on the will of the people and on the principle of equality are immune from all revolutionary disturbances. moreover, this form of government also implies the possibility of an alternative government in place of an inefficient one. These characteristics ensure the stability of the democratic form of government.
The greatest merit of democracy is that it elevates the character of the citizens. It demands a high standard of morality and honesty on their part. It provides for the fullest possible development of all its citizens and gives each citizen, a sense of responsibility. In a democratic society, reason governs the conduct of men and each man feels responsible for his actions. Here every person contributes some thought or feeling to the common life. Thus, democracy is not only a form of government, but also a way of life. In a democratic state, each citizen is an integral and irreplaceable part of the whole. it gives each citizen, a sense of responsibility. “When political institutions call upon him to bear a part in their working, he is taken out of the narrow circle of his domestic and occupational activities, admitted to the larger life, which opens wider horizons, associated in new ways with his fellows forced to think of matters which are both his and theirs” says Bryce.
The above principles imply that every citizen in a democratic state should have the opportunity to develop his personality. he must have access to knowledge, must be able to earn an adequate wage. The state must guarantee him the right to work as well as leisure. It must protect him from being exploited by the well-placed sections of the community or the privileged class. All these raise the important questions of education of the citizens of a democratic state. Education must teach them not only to assert their rights, but also to discharge their duties. It must teach them to think and act freely and express their views boldly. But, the system of education must guard against making the citizens selfish or overcritical. The education system must be adapted to suit the needs of democracy.
Also leadership and proper organization are other important requisites of democracy. Without proper organization, the people cannot express themselves effectively. The leader of the party must be responsible, honest and courageous. He must be able to think clearly and act boldly. He must have the ability to judge public opinion correctly. Above all, he must adhere to high principles. An unscrupulous leader might easily become a dictator and endanger democracy.
Given favorable conditions, democracy is the best form of government known so far. It reconciles liberty and authority; it imbues the citizens with a sense of patriotism; it is a government by discussion; it rests on the will of the people; it treats all individuals as equals and tolerates the opposition; it aims at giving the greatest happiness to the greatest number of citizens in a state. Under the democratic form of government, human character develops and the individual realizes his best self.
Ah Keong Steak Shop had been an essential institution in the district that when it suddenly closed overnight, all the residents were caught by surprise. They all knew the friendly shopkeeper, Ah Keong, who kept all their dinner needs supplied. His wife was also a genial lady who had a way with plants and usually gave the people tips on how to manage their greenery. They had no idea that the couple was in trouble over money; they always kept up their smiling demeanors.
Rumors soon floated about, whispering of Ah Keong’s son owing the loan sharks a great sum of money, which the couple could not pay. After being threatened continually, they packed up and went into hiding to avoid the harassment. Everyone gaped at the drama that unfolded in the juicy gossip. But little did they know that soon, they would be the actors in an even more thrilling drama.
One morning, the loud screams of Sophia, a young executive whose habit was to jog around the neighborhood in the early morning, woke everyone up. Rushing to see what had happened, they were greeted by a horrifying sight. The bloody head of a pig was hanging at the entrance of the store, its rawness smelt of menace. The freshly slaughtered pig was still dripping blood all over the porch, swinging slightly as if it was still alive. The limp body of Sophia lay on the road, having fainted from shock. When she awoke, she told of how she had come upon the pig’s head and later lost consciousness. The neighborhood was now hushed in dead fear.
But there was more to come. The next day, the residents woke up to find the store covered in a chaotic coat of obscene graffiti. The threats that were sprayed all over the front of the shop were grim in their warnings: if Ah Keong failed to pay, human blood would be shed next. The residents were now truly alarmed. It seemed like no one was safe from the loan sharks. After all, no one knew where Ah Keong was and the presence of the police after the pig’s head incident was reported did not seem to deter them at all.
The next few days grew even more tense as groups of rough-looking men began to sit outside the store for hours on end. They smoked, cursed loudly and even leered at the young girls passing by. Everyone felt their presence like a disease in their lives and dreaded when the worst would come. It came sooner than expected.
One night, the sirens of police cars and ambulances driving into the neighborhood drew the residents out from their houses. The prostrate body of a little boy lay on the ground, blood still flowing from a deep gash on his back. Some of the gangsters were handcuffed; they sat on the curb in a daze. The residents soon found out that the boy was chased by the gangsters, mistaken for the grandson of Ah Keong. The boy had tripped and fallen on his back onto a protruding rock and lost consciousness.
The entire episode drew to a tragic close. It took the blood of an innocent boy to end the loan sharks’ tyranny over an unpaid loan of a mere RM10,000.