This last week had some excitement. On Tuesday evening we ordered take away from a local Nonya restaurant. Zoe fell asleep in her carseat as soon as we pulled out of our driveway, and I parked directly in front of the store front while Jean went inside to pickup the food. As I’ve mentioned before, most restaurants in Malaysia are alfresco, where the front of the building opens up completely and seating spills out onto the walkway and street in front. The restaurant wasn’t busy, so Jean was right in the front talking with the lady who works there when our car got rammed by a car driving along the road behind our car.
I instantly looked in the rear view mirror and saw a car in the parking space on the other side of the road directly behind me was pulling forward, so the car going past swerved to miss him and hit us. I checked Zoe and she was still asleep, then I looked over my right shoulder and saw the car that hit me slow down and then take off out of the parking lot. I honked the horn several times to get Carolyn’s attention, then I threw the car in reverse, backed into the road, and took off after the guy that hit me.
I chased him out of the parking lot and onto the main road. I was honking and flashing my lights, and he finally pulled over. I was so pissed off that he had hit me and tried to take off, so when he finally pulled over I jumped out of the car and started yelling at him immediately. The guy was a young kid, like 21 or 22, and he was VERY nervous. He was sweating profusely and he begged me repeatedly not to go to the police station. Two of my co-workers, both expats from the US, have been hit by locals in the past 3 weeks, so I knew that I had to get a police report within 24 hours. I told Firdaus, the young guy that hit me and ran off, that I couldn’t promise anything but I would see if he could fix the car by paying a body shop directly as he suggested, without going through insurance.
I was so mad at this kid though because while I was asking for his information he had the nerve to ask “why you hit me?”, to which I yelled “You are an idiot! My wife is still in the restaurant where we are picking up our food. I was parked! You hit me!” I started apologizing even more, but to think that he hit me and ran, then tried to blame me, it was ridiculous. He kept saying that he just started a new job and lived at home with his parents, and could I please help him. It was infuriating. If I’d hit him, why wouldn’t he want his car fixed by me? Why would he run? Why did he never ask for my driver’s license or write down my car’s tag number? He knew he messed up and he was scared of the consequences.
The next morning a Malaysian co-worker went with me to the Polis Station in Bandar Seri Alam so I could fill out a police report about the accident. I had him call Firdaus before we left the office to let him know I would be filling out a police report, and my friend told me Firdaus was really nervous and begged him to tell me not to go to the police. The police officers I dealt with were fantastic – completely professional and helpful. They were impressed by how long my Florida driver’s license was valid for, and I explained the circumstances of the wreck from my point of view. They printed out a copy of the report, I paid RM8 ($3) for a copy, and then I asked to take a photo with one of the officers who helped me fill out the report, Steve. Steve was cool and had no problem posing with me for a photo.
I went back to work and the car rental place came by to see the damage, then I exchanged cars on Thursday so they could have it repaired. On Wednesday while I was with my friend Ridwan at the police station, Firdaus’ mother and father called me a total of 8 times, begging us not to fill out a police report. They wanted a copy of my police report and Ridwan told me he told the mother I wouldn’t give it to them because once before he provided his report to someone who hit him and the police got angry because they said that allows the other party to formulate their story to refute your story instead of telling their side as they beleive it happened. Basically the mother was trying to get my story so they could say something different to make it my fault when they told the police their side of the story. In Malaysia once one side of the accident reports it to the police the other side is required to enter a report.
On the final call from Fridaus’ mother, Ridwan told me she was much more calm and he thought it was because Firdaus had originally planned on keeping his accident secret from his parents but after we told him in the morning that we were going to file a report he had to tell them and they freaked out, but now they were calm and apologetic.
Hopefully I’ll get our regular car back on Tuesday or Wednesday this next week. I really hope I’m not involved in another accident while I’m in Malaysia, but the majority of the people driving here are terrible drivers and it is stressful and hard just to avoid all their unpredictable (and illegal) moves.
On Thursday night I started getting calls, emails and text messages from work around 7:15pm, so by 8:30pm I’d had enough and just went back in to work. I didn’t get back home until around midnight. I reviewed notes and didn’t get into bed until 2am, and I planned on getting up to write an email about what I found at 6am. At 6am I got up, exhausted, and wrote the email. I thought I’d go back to sleep and get up for work around 10am and work a half day, but at 7am I started getting a tons of calls, text messages and emails, so I continued to be exhausted until everyone left me alone around noon. I decided I’d had enough for a 36 hour period so I didn’t go in to work on Friday, and went back to sleep instead.
On Friday night I went out with a guy that worked for the company I’m working for when we were here over the summer, but he quit right around the time I left in early September. He’s very talented and we became friends over the summer, so he was able to get in touch with me recently through another person that still works with me. The guy’s name is Iskandar, called “Iz” for short. Iz picked me up and gave me the grand tour of JB. I had a lot of fun visiting the Pandan City market, which has a huge wet market for fresh seafood, meat, veggies and fruit, and also a sprawling market with everything from knockoff clothes and handbags to remote control cars and pirated DVDs. After Pandan City we drove downtown and visited Dataran (the big clock tower Jean and I marveled at last summer), and we went to a little night market for coffee and cokes for a while. I didn’t get home until around 2am, then I watched the new Red Dawn with Jean until about 4am.
On Saturday we went grocery shopping for most of the day, then last night I met two guys I’m working with at a local German Bierhaus for some drinks. Hanspeter is Swiss and Pawel is Polish. I had fun talking with those guys from about 9pm to midnight, then I came home and went to bed. Jean and Zoe were watching Elmo when I got back home.
Today we have to run more errands. This next week to 10 days will be crazy. Jean has her amniocentesis, my dad arrives in Singapore in the wee hours on Saturday morning, and Zoe turns 2!
Here are some photos from the past week: