Tuk-tuk Quotes: A Thing of the Past?.

The Government has apparently decided to ban all tuk tuk prints and quotes. What does this mean for us?


Tuk tuk quotes are the main source of literary edutainment for commuters when on the road, what with their deep, confusing, and more often than not completely bizarre and paradoxical statements. They range from declarations of love (spurned love, maternal love, patriotic love, and love in all its subjugations), philosophy and poetry, sometimes with a dash of bizarre vitriol or racially-motivated hatred.

From the decal verses to the pimped up interiors, each tuk is eccentric and unique despite basically being an oversized motor-tricycle with a plastic shell — a tricycle whose individuality and humour is now compromised as the government decided to clamp down on street literature among other more sensible regulations imposed on tuks now.

So, This Is The Scene…

  • A gazette notification was issued last week. There's a set of regulations under the Motor Traffic Act, most of which are pretty sensible actually.
  • Most of them are safety regulations, including setting speed limits and more technical details about the vehicle.
  • All motor taxis should have a functioning meter attached to it, which is great.

So the problem is…?

No, not that Love is Trash and Girls Need Cash. Banning harmless (actually harmless) tuk decorations. The atrocious spellings in the gazette is also a problem, but that's a story for another day.

12. (1) An owner of a motor tricycle shal ensure that no letters, figures or degits except descriptive information marked thereon by the manufacturer of the motor tricycle is marked on the front and rear of the motor tricycle.

– Motor Traffic Act (Chapter 203)

"Life is Like a Chinese Mobile," and Other Quotes

Imaad went around and spoke to a few tuktuk drivers a little while ago to learn a bit about what inspires them to pimp up their rides. Back during YAMU's early days, Shru and Indi compiled photos of a bunch of quotes which caught their eyes as they hopped around Colombo — as did many others including Megara Tegal, who let us comb through her collection of tuk-quote photos to feature here.

Know what we'll be missing out on if this freedom of expression impinging regulation is imposed? Tuk tuk wisdom (and freedom of expression).

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