I do not drive. I find it too nerve-wracking. This surprises my friends, who seem to think that because I play computer games, I have the reflexes to cope with Manila's no-holds-barred, go-as-you-please traffic. They do not understand two things: first, while it is true that driving here often resembles a surreal video game, what I play on the computer usually requires me to hunt down all other craft and destroy them with missiles or lasers. The outlook this develops is not particularly helpful for surviving Manila's streets - although I am pretty sure many drivers wish they could use lasers and missiles. Second, many years ago I did try to learn to drive, but found I had no aptitude. I got the hint when my driving instructor - a friend who promised me it would be easy - jumped out of the car in terror as I was trying to slowly navigate a bend as we drove down a hill. I have not been behind the wheel since then. However, I now know that if I should ever decide to become a road menace, I have one overwhelming advantage - my press card. Everyone here knows that when driving in Manila, it helps to have steely nerves, fast reflexes and a thick skin - but it is even better to have some sort of status to ward off traffic enforcers. For example, the official licence plates and windscreen identification stickers sported by government officials' cars allow them to disregard traffic rules. It is the brave policeman who will stop a senator's vehicle - even if it is being driven by a chimpanzee. Another common trick is the ambulance dashing through traffic lights with siren blaring. Typically, the curtains are drawn, but I have often managed to peep inside and seen, not orderlies or medical attendants, but grubby-looking civilians - probably provincial officials on the way to an appointment. For lesser mortals, there is the media ID, dangling nonchalantly from the inside rear-view mirror, but artfully placed so that the word 'press' is clearly visible. Policemen, leery of tangling with journalists, tend to look the other way. Now, it appears that more and more drivers are claiming to be journalists. A family going shopping would ride in a car with a 'press' ID. Even trucks delivering newsprint to a national daily sport the protective badge. Others have got in on the act. I have seen cars with stickers saying 'doctor on call'. Some errant drivers who are pulled over show calling cards signed by generals saying: 'Please extend courtesy to the bearer.' With everyone claiming exemption from traffic rules, I think it is time for the government to step in and make some money in the process. I think everyone should have some sort of ID, sold by government agencies. Among those I have in mind: impatient driver - at least it's honest; armed and dangerous - to show the driver means business; self-important politician - somewhat redundant, perhaps; and, bank robbers en route - to warn police to give them priority, avoiding the need for any messy shoot-outs. Yes, all these IDs would allow vehicles to disregard traffic rules, causing chaos. But how different would that be from now?