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Keith Tse


  • Writer's pictureKeith Tse

Driving = clutch + gas

As a result of my embarrassing driving blunder, I discovered a few things about life. I am not a particularly accomplished driver, and thinking back at my learning process, I did make some pretty disastrous mistakes which almost costed me and my instructor our lives (!). As he used to say to me, ‘the clutch drives the car.’ The footbrake and gas pedal are here to decelerate and accelerate respectively (i.e. speed-control), but the driving piece behind modern vehicles is undoubtedly the clutch, as it connects the engine to the wheels, which was especially important for me as I was learning to drive manually. When I first started driving, I understood the procedure of starting and stopping, though I was quite slow in mastering clutch-control, which often led me stalling the vehicle (to the great annoyance and anger of my instructor). This happened particularly when I engaged the clutch with little to no gas, a common learner/beginner’s error. I don’t make such silly mistakes now, which is a relief since stalling my car in the middle of the road is potentially lethal, though this little error of mine has made me think hard about the mechanics of a car. The clutch is the most important piece in the vehicle, as it drives the car, but it cannot properly do so unless it is fed with sufficient gas, which symbolises power and energy. This similarly applies to the functioning of our biological anatomy, as we too need energy (both physical and mental) to fuel our motivation to do great things, and the bigger our dreams, the more energy we need, just like we need to use our gas pedal when we try to speed up. Without energy we are like a stalled car, trying to move forward but totally incapacitated, which probably does more harm and internal damage to us than we realise, as seen in my instructor’s angered reaction at me repeatedly stalling his vehicle (!). Human will and intention are essential, but there also needs to be an appropriate amount of energy and passion to drive us forward. It is good to be motivated and have a clear purpose to our existence, but we also need some proper rest and recuperation to fuel our endeavours. Driving is a cool, especially manually. Can’t stand automatics, and for good reason.

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