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Sunday, July 29, 2007

Park Properly, Please!

I went to Suria KLCC with my wife and kids today, just to spend some quality time with them before another tough week at work begins. I bought a pair of new shoes (50% off), and my wife got some stuff as well, namely Adidas, Converse, Seed and Cultivate from Isetan. (Sigh..) Surprisingly, my daughters didn't demand anything. My eldest daughter just bought some Barbie stickers and my youngest daughter was happy enough exhausting all my coins for the Barney, Bananas In Pajamas and Thomas & Friends rides.

Anyway, after spending close to 4 hours there, I was just relieved to go home and spend my remaining Sunday hours lazing around (zzz zzz to be more precise). But when we reached our car at Level P2 of KLCC's basement car park, we were suprised to see a metallic silver BMW 3 series parked next to my Honda Civic in a very, very uncivilised manner / position. The Beemer took up a quarter of my parking bay and it was about an inch apart from the port-side (left side) of my car. It was almost impossible for my wife and kids to get in from that side. In the end, we had to put the kids in the car first from the starboard-side (right side) of my car before my wife entered, and that too after I moved my Honda out of our bay (even that took an effort and extra careful maneouvering to ensure my car didn't brushed with the Beemer). Anyway, once my wife was safely in the car and the kids buckled up safe and sound in the rear seats, I disembarked to put in my youngest daughter's Graco stroller in the boot. The stroller was still in my parking bay. I folded the stroller neatly and expertly, something which I've done for the past 6 years. And at the last possible moment, before I put it away in the boot, I swung the rather bulky stroller towards the Beemer's left side mirror, shattering it to pieces. The Beemer's alarm immediately came to life and the whole of Level P2 car park was given a free car alarm recital, compliments of me. Even my wife was suprised. "Was that necessary?!," she exclaimed. I said "Yes. Dah parking macam celaka, itu aje ubatnya." ("Yes. Since it's parked like shit, that's the only remedy.") I drove off without even a pinch of guilt. I see it as leverage. You see, for far too long, me and my wife have become victims of such ignorant and irresponsible drivers. Twice my wife's car was dented as a result of a hit and run - once at our very own housing area and the other at Mid Valley Megamall. My Honda Civic's right side mirror was nearly damaged because a speeding motorbike (kapcai) which was in the midst of zig-zagging (ciloking) its way through KL's afternoon traffic. Enough was enough. No more Mr. Nice Guy.

You see, this is exactly the problem with Malaysian drivers. I'm not saying that I'm a saint or a vicar when it comes to driving, but at least I try to be a good, considerate and responsible driver. Let's take parking for example where Malaysian drivers are famous for being notorious. I'll give you a classic example of how kiasu they can be. Ever noticed the forever jam-packed Jalan Ampang near Menara Citibank because of errant drivers double-parking (sometimes even triple-parked) their cars while they run off to pay their Citibank credit card? I don't know whether to laugh or cry. I simply don't understand why they must contribute more congestion to the already traffic-choked Jalan Ampang by illegally parking at the bank's kerb when they is AMPLE, I REPEAT AMPLE parking space at the basement of the building???? And it would only cost them RM1, again I repeat, RM1. And these people are actually driving Mercedes Benz, Beemers, Toyota Camry and even Porsche!!! Cheapskate and kiasu - hook, line and sinker. And they are actually suckers for not parking at the basement because if you park less than 5 minutes, it's free of charge. I know because each time I go to Menara Citibank to pay my credit card, I don't have to pay because I spend less than 5 minutes at the banking hall - Citibank makes available so many cash deposit machines, you hardly have to queue. By parking your car illegally at the kerb outside, you risk your car being towed away by City Hall's towing contractors. Now that will cost you RM300 to reclaim your car and you have to go all the way to City Hall's Car Pound in Jinjang. My friend who drives a Beemer painfully learned his lesson. Padan muka!

Another kiasu car parking scene is at Giant Supermarket Bukit Antarabangsa which is attached to a PETRONAS service station. To me, PETRONAS has built a well-planned and well-designed service station complete with basement parking to serve its customers, mainly because of Giant. But suprise, suprise, everyone wants to park at the roadside and even triple park in the service station area (most of the time near the petrol pump islands) just because they want faster and easier access to the main entrance of Giant! Now, how stupid can that be when all you have to do is cruise down to the huge basement parking, park nicely and just take the bloody elevator one floor up to Giant? Kenapa lah dia orang ni semua bangang sangat, hah??

Sometime I just wish my Honda Civic came factory-fitted with a GAU-17 Gatling machine gun and Side-Winder missiles so that I can blow these "inconsiderate parkers" to kingdom come. Such idiots. If they had their way, they might even want to park their cars inside the supermarket. My fingers are itching to pull the trigger already....

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Price War Always Good For Consumers

The Much Anticipated, Much Awaited 7th and Final Instalment of the Harry Porter Saga

I simply don’t understand why the four major bookstore chains in Malaysia – MPH, Times, Popular and Harris are crying foul over Tesco’s and Carrefour’s move to sell the much-awaited “Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows” novel at RM69.90, a discount of RM40 from the recommended retail price of RM109.90.

This is actually a major triumph for Malaysian consumers whom were forced to content with over-priced imported books by such bookstore chains for far too long. This is a lesson to the bookstore chains. A tight slap to their face. Even the Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Datuk Mohd Shafie Apdal lauded the move by the British and French hypermarkets respectively. Enough said.

And to those who say they were disappointed and upset at the hypermarkets’ move to sell at RM69.90 which they claimed devalued the book – get a brain scan. Something is really wrong with your heads. Who in their right frame of mind would want to pay more when they know they could get the same stuff at RM40 cheaper?

To the bookstore chains, welcome to the free market. Let us hope this trend of price war would continue for the benefit of all consumers. May the best retailer win. Bravo Tesco and Carrefour!