I think, therefore I write. (我思,所以我写。)

Cogito ergo scribo

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An accident

Left office at around 9:30pm yesterday. I guess it's gonna be another week of late nights. I'm kinda tired of always being the one locking the door. Sigh.

Anyway, let's get down to the post i mentioned yesterday. Well, i guess i'll have to make this post shorter. It would have been in more details if i had written it on Sunday. Thoughts are lost bit-by-bit each day and hence i would have less to say about an incident if i do not blog about it on the same day.

Before getting into the story, let me mention first that i have received my SG driving license by post on Friday. It has not even been a month since i went to renew it at the SG traffic police. That was rather efficient, and it really came just in time for something that happened on the following day. It's simply amazing how God works.

On Sunday morning, as usual, mom and i left home at around 9:45am for the church. And as usual, i was the one driving her car.

We reached the shop lots where our church is located and there was no parking space nearby. I decided that i gotta park the car at a parking lot that is at a rather far opposite of the shop lots and then walk to the church.

Just as i was about to drive out into the main road, mom told me that i just passed by a vacant parking space. I hesitated for a moment if i should still drive out to the main road (which is a huge roundabout) and turn back later for this parking space, or reverse the car to get to it. I looked into the rear mirror and saw there was no car behind, and hence i decided that i would just reverse the car since the parking space might be taken if i were to drive one big round and come back.

As i just shifted into the reverse gear, looked into the rear mirror and started reversing the car for not even 10 inches, i heard a loud honk followed by a very loud bang accompanied with a slight jerk.

Yes, that was it. I just hit another car.

Just for you to visualise what happened, here is a very quick draft i drew about what happened:

The box arrows are the flow of traffic; the "X" mark is where the parking space that i wanted to get to; the blue car was mom's car with the blue arrow showing that it was reversing; the red car is the other car that came in from the main road. So as you can see, the back bumper of our car banged into the front of the other car near the driver's seat.

The damage was not very serious on that car, but there was a dent and the driver's seat door could not open fully because of it. As for my mom's car, the bumper was scratched and loosened a bit.

Naturally, when such accident happened, the driver whose car was hit would definitely be super pissed. So this young guy, who looked rather "Ah Beng" (with golden hair and ear rings), got down from his car and looked really mad. He did a hand gesture at me, signalling "what the hell are you doing?", but before he could say anything, i immediately said, "sorry sorry."

He then, still pissed, said to me, "what is the use of saying sorry now?!" ("sorry 有什么用?!") I guess he thought that i wanna say sorry and then wriggle my way out of it.

I then said to him calmly (in Mandarin), "ok, it was my fault and i will pay for the cost of repairing your car." He was then quite surprised and asked me, "you do not want to claim from insurance?" I told him no and i would pay cash for the damages. I then asked him if he knew any workshop for repairing the car; if not, i know someone (my cousin) and could bring him there. He told me that he had his own contact and then proceeded to make a phone call. After the call, i told him that we should move the cars to the side so that we would not obstruct the traffic.

After we moved the cars, i waited for his friends to show up. There was a girl in the car with him and did not say anything much. This guy, who had apparently simmered down after seeing my humble and apologetic attitude, said jokingly to me, "(little) sister, why are you so careless?" ("小妹,为什么那么不小心?")

I did not know how to react to his remarks and just looked at him without answering. At that time, i was just amused and was thinking to myself, "little boy, when you were still in Pampers, i was in school already, ok?!"

He then asked for my IC, to which i told him that i do not have one because i just lost my wallet recently. At first he did not believe me and thought i did not want to show him my IC. I then gave him my name card, wrote my Malaysia IC number, personal mobile phone number, my mom's mobile phone number and my JB home phone number on it. I then took out the SG driving license that i just received on Friday and told him that this was the only identification i have with me. It was then he believed that i was telling the truth. The girl in the car then said that it seemed like i was down in my luck recently and i should go and pray at temple. I did not reply and just smiled.

(I wonder how the boy felt when he saw my date of birth and realised that i am not little sister 小妹 but big sister 大姐)

While we were waiting for his friends, my mom drove the car away to look for a space to park the car properly. He then realised that he did not take down my car number and then looked for my mom's car, which had been driven away already. I then told him that we were rushing to attend church and reassured him that i would pay for the repair cost, but also said that i put my trust in him for a reasonable repair cost and not taking advantage of me by quoting a high price.

His friend finally arrived about 10 minutes later (two older guys and one older lady, probably around 30 of age). One of the guys looked at the damage and passed a remark that the damage seemed serious and it might cost a lot because they would probably need to change the entire piece of car body panel. I felt that he was only saying this just so that he could ask for more from me, because the dent wasn't really very bad and could have been knocked back. Yet, i kept quiet and did not say anything.

The lady then asked me to write down my home address on my name card too, and all the three persons again did not believe me when i said i did not have my IC because i lost my wallet. They then told me to follow them to a nearby workshop for an assessment of the repair cost. I refused to go with them and told them that i gotta attend church. I told them to just go ahead to drive the car to the workshop, and i will pay for the repair cost. I again re-iterated that i believed they would not cheat me and would give me the real cost of repairing.

And with that, we ended the "negotiation" and left the scene. I was still in time to have a quick breakfast and attend the Sunday service. Yet, while i was having breakfast, i realised that i did not do the basic things that i should have done after a car accident - i did not note down the contact and car plate number of the other driver, and i didn't even take picture of the damage.

It was very careless of me, for i just wanted to leave quickly. I also realised that i was taking a huge risk in trusting the person to not take this as a chance to extort a huge sum from me by asking the workshop to issue a big bill (which a lot of people do so).

To say that i didn't panic at all would be a lie. Apparently, from the fact that me forgetting to do all the basic things after the accident would have shown that i was actually quite nervous. Yet, the person could not tell at all. I appeared to be very composed. I did not argue with him, talked to him in a calm manner, told him to clear the traffic, and settled the issue quickly (by agreeing to pay). The entire incident was settled within just 20 minutes or so, and half the time was actually spent waiting for his friend to arrive at the scene.

Ok, you see, if you look at my drawing of the scene again, i could have argued with him if i wanted. Since i was reversing within my own lane, i was not wrong if i did not pay attention to the right side. Supposedly what happened on my right side did not concern me since i was driving within the left lane. He actually drove into my lane when he came in from the main road, and that was how i would bang into his car.

However, i did not argue with him because i did break the traffic rule by reversing at that junction even though there was no car behind me. I was wrong in wanting to take a shortcut and not abiding by the rule, and the other car making a mistake too does not relieve me of my wrongdoing. If i am wrong, i am wrong; there is no excuse to it. And since i am wrong, then i'll have to pay for the consequence and the price; there is no other way around it. To me, this is the right and just thing to do. I have answered to my conscience and to God.

And since i've done my part, what the other person would do is beyond my control. He could choose to be truthful about the repair cost, or he could cheat me. His choice will be his own consequence to bear, and since i had already agreed to pay for it, i will pay for it no matter what, even if he asked for 4-digit figures.

(This belief and attitude not only apply to this accident but it is the way that i want to approach my life and in everything i do.)

Then the amazing thing was that during the sermon on that day, the pastor shared this with us: "Faith is... doing the right thing regardless of the consequences, knowing God will turn the ultimate effect to good - Pamela Reeve".

At first during the service, i was still feeling unrest at heart because i was still disturbed by the accident. In fact, i've been feeling rather down about some incidents at work and also the impending meeting with a lawyer on my case. My mind had actually been in a state of flux over the past weeks.

Yet, after the accident and from the sermon, i started to feel relief, for i felt that things would turn out all fine eventually. I decided that i would just have to do the right thing, pray hard and let God do His work on me. He will pave the way for me and give me strength in times of turbulence. My mind was then at ease after that.

So how did the story end? Well, after the service, i returned the missed call from the driver and was told that the repair cost would be RM550. I immediately agreed to it and they would contact me again about two or three days later after the repair.

All i could say is - Hallelujah!

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girl, you shouldn't have just given you IC number and home address like that. you could have just passed your name card, and mobile number (test dialling first) for him to reach you. even your sincerity is laudable and admired, not everyone would be like him. there's so much risk to give away your IDs to a stranger, even you are being honest and truthful to settle the bill. But then, even if he's trying to charge you with expensive bill, you can still choose to avoid paying it if is unreasonable. anyway, i'm glad things turned out to be fine and settled amicably. sigh, you must be sleeping late again on previous saturday (why, why, why)! faith is one thing, and this is the result of action that has happened. for most of the time don't let your guard down and stay rational, and be extra careful especially during driving.

don't think too much about the accident and fuss about it. if you are still worried, try to think other things, maybe about work, project to divert the matter. what has happened already happened, and since you have already budgeted the amount, so be it. about meeting the guy, i think you should have someone to accompany you, maybe your aunt or colleague instead of being alone. sigh, though i kind of hate to mention this, perhaps this would be a lesson, an expensive one, to be vigilant and more alert to the surroundings, especially driving. and, please don't sleep in the cab, sleep early and stay conscious at all times .... cheers.

Share your cogitation

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 @ 2:01 am: New angry bird
Tuesday, September 27, 2011 @ 1:54 am: Funny chat
Monday, September 26, 2011 @ 5:47 am: A new week ahead
Thursday, September 22, 2011 @ 3:57 am: Trust, or lack thereof
Monday, September 19, 2011 @ 11:48 pm: Wasted weekend
Thursday, September 15, 2011 @ 3:16 am: Exhausted
Monday, September 12, 2011 @ 1:09 pm: Delayed again
Monday, September 12, 2011 @ 3:45 am: The past weekend
Saturday, September 10, 2011 @ 3:50 am: Busy week
Tuesday, September 06, 2011 @ 12:25 am: Theories from FB