Friday, February 11, 2011

A CNY poorer

No other Chinese New Year that I have ever experienced lives up to this year's. Not one, and not even if there was one, they do not come close.

This year was made memorable by a mishap. Was it a mishap or should I call it an unfortunate event?

I was supposed to have lunch with my dear old friend, Jon, at The Gardens for lunch. After lighting my jossticks to pay respects to Guan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy on the self-made wooden altar at home, I locked the house and was on my jolly way to the centre.

I thought of helping Mum deposit her cheques into Maybank on my way out to Sri Petaling, where Jon has been residing since the first day I befriended him. Went round to say hi to all the staff and then headed over to the other side to say hi to Mum before going off.

Clutching onto the cheques with my handbag on my shoulder, I put on my shoes and glided out of the gate. A Kancil was parked in the corner, right outside the gate. In it was a parent of one of our students waiting patiently for session to end.

A motorcycle with two men rode up the road. I waited for them to pass before crossing the road. Focussing on my footing and for them to move away, I failed to notice that one of them was approaching me. Two of my staff members, as well as the parent, did not feel that anything was amiss. Honestly, neither did I.

It was not until the person grabbed my handbag from my shoulders that we realised what they were wanting to do. My first reaction: Er, why did he take my bag? Second reaction: Give it back!

As I stepped forward to grab it back, he lifted his arm and in it he held a parang. The image of the parang did not seem to register in my mind as something to keep away from, as I still wanted to get my handbag. One of my teachers (bless her soul) quickly ran out to deter me from moving any closer. She was in tears as she screamed, "Let go, let go! Tolong, tolong!"

They got away with my handbag. I did not manage to note the registration number of their vehicle.

It took a while for the whole thing to be digested in my mind. As I was being guided into the office, I gradually realised how dangerous a position I was in and that was when I started to quiver all over. Tears started to stream down my cheeks and I began to hyperventilate. Mum grabbed some warm water and tried to soothe me, for fear of triggering my vertigo.

When I managed to pull myself together, I quickly made calls to cancel my bank cards. EON Bank had my new replacement ready for collection on the same day. HSBC posted one to North Strathfield, along with a new PIN. Maybank required Dad to apply for a replacement.

Max (I owe you big time) came to accompany me to the police station to lodge a report. We found out that I was the fourth case that day. Goodness gracious, I want to be a snatchthief, too! That way, I would be richer in a much shorter time.

Then, it was to JPN to apply for a replacement IC. With the police report in hand, I did not need to pay the RM110 fine for a first replacement. Within 10 minutes, I had a temporary IC, which Mum, Dad or bro could bring along to collect my new card in three weeks. But if I wanted to collect it personally, I have 18 months to do so. Cool! I really appreciate the friendliness of the Malay lady who served me. She was sympathetic and helpful.

What made matters worse was my housemate informing me of the suspension of our home phone line. Without the phone connection, the internet would be disconnected. Essentially, we are left with no internet for at least 2 weeks. I do not need this to happen right now, as I have tutorials to start teaching and I am back in uni!

I could not sleep that night, as the scenario kept coming back. Would like to thank the two lovely gentlemen who accompanied me that night and who heard me cry it all out - Guek Ming and Max. Big hugs to both of you!

The next day, it was to JPJ for a new license. As my uncle adviced to bring along one passport-sized photo, that was precisely what I brought. And other than the police report, that was more or less all that they needed. Oh, of course, and some cash for renewal. RM30 for a year, I renewed it to last until 2015, as it carries on from my stolen license which expires in 2012.

I have to admit that I was pretty impressed with JPJ. They were super efficient! The whole process did not take longer than 10 minutes eventhough there was a crowd. With all nine counters manned and with things flowing steadily, the fabled long queue at government offices was no where to be seen.

Not exactly how I thought my three-week CNY break would end but oh well, c'est la vie, eh?

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