out of gas

It happened just slightly after the toll. I felt the car slowly lose power…I had a sinking feeling that something has gone horribly wrong. I managed to cruise from the fast lane (on the right) across 3 lanes to the emergency lane. It felt like driving a car that was just running on momentum alone!

I realized that I had run completely out of gas. The car would not start at all. It just coughs. We had just passed the toll, maybe 500 meters or so and we’re stuck on the Penang Bridge!

stuck penang bridge

We had driven down from KL early in the morning and didn’t take any breaks except for toilet stops. I had stupidly thought that a tank of gas would be enough to get to Penang and I didn’t really look at the gauge so the massive traffic jam before the bridge was the final nail in the coffin.

I called the PLUS Highway emergency number and managed to get them to send a guy to meet us.

refill petrol

It took less than 5 minutes before a fellow on a motorcycle came up to me. He had a bottle of gasoline so he poured the minute amount (less than 500 ml is my guess) into my petrol tank and asked me to start.

I tried the ignition but the car won’t go – it seemed that there’s too little fuel for it to start.

low fuel

My better half intelligently told me to shut off the radio and air conditioning. I managed to start the car – just barely – after that. I know it wouldn’t last long and I’ll need to get to a gas station soon.

The PLUS representative charged me RM 40 for the petrol and after I willingly handed it over, asked for RM 10kang chi” (Hokkien for labor costs) making the total RM 50. What an opportunist!

8684

I didn’t really mind though coz it would have been worse to be stuck for hours on the Penang Bridge. We managed to use the GPS to find a nearby gas station and fill her up.

ron95

The PLUS dude said he’ll trail us. He never did. We were lucky to make it to the station on that little amount of gas. It was a bit of an adventure though, running out of gas. It’s something that we’ll be talking about down the years – “Hey remember the time we drove to Penang and we ran out of gas on the Penang Bridge?”.

It wasn’t the best start to our Penang trip but it sure was funny in hindsight and it’s a memorable start to our weekend holiday! :)

fireworks accident

I had a rather gnarly experience during Chinese New Year earlier this year – one of the locally produced 3 feet Roman Candle style mortars with 5 x 2” shells exploded barely a meter in front of me!

Yup, this is the precursor to the *badly delayed* annual Chap Goh Meh fireworks and firecrackers round-up of 2013 (post up tomorrow!). I had procrastinated due to the sheer amount of videos I had to upload so I decided to put it up during Hari Raya Aidilfitri – another occasion for fireworks, though not as large scale. /excuses

roman candle mortar

I bought two of the 3” long Roman Candle mortars that shoots out 2” shells and let off the more powerful version – a dual salute (report) with stars. To give you a perspective of how large the aerial shells are, here’s a 2” shell from a reloadable mortar:

2 inch shell

Anything re-loadable above 1.75” is classified 1.3G – requires a licence in the US and is a possession is a felony – they’re not meant for consumers but professionals. However, in Sibu, anything goes – even 3” and 5” display grade shells.

This particular disposable cardboard mortar is not the more intense 3” aerial shells that we launch from a metal mortar tube made by local blacksmiths.

3 inch fireworks shells
3″ fireworks aerial shells (requires mortar – these are display/professional fireworks but can be bought)

The 3” fireworks shells pictured above from my stash are definitely not consumer fireworks. I played with them last time but lost my mortar, one of this exploding 1 meter away would do me serious bodily harm.

nylon

I had stupidly tied the 5-shot Roman Candle disposable aerial shells to my automatic gate with shabby nylon. It’s supposed to be half buried (1 ½ feet) into the ground for safe display.

fireworks disaster

What I *didn’t* see was that the mortar was really close to being blocked by a solid metal piece welded to the gate.

How aerial shells work:

  1. Lift charge launches shell into the air
  2. Shell bursts open safely hundreds of feet in the air
  3. Watch and enjoy

shells exploding

What happened:

  1. First shell of the five inside the mortar tube launched
  2. It had such a powerful lift charge the mortar tube shifted
  3. Second shell still left the tube safely and burst in the air
  4. Third shell hit the metal slab and bounced back down and burst one meter away
  5. Videographer (me) shouted “Shit!” in surprise at the force of the blast
  6. Forth shell exploded right in front of me, showering me with flaming debris
  7. I shouted “Fuck!” in a bit of a panic as I saw the mortar canted at an angle towards the house
  8. Fifth and last shell went into the porch and exploded beside a car


Full video of the fireworks accident

The problem with the digicam is that it cuts off the last 3-4 seconds so you can’t really see #8 but the pressure wave was so strong that my dad, who was standing at the door, felt it.

These 2” aerial shells are supposed to explode harmlessly hundreds of feet in the air.

Instead they exploded *right in front of me*.

It wasn’t fun, people and property could very well have been seriously injured/damaged but it’s a good thing nothing bad happened.

hammer

I had to use a hammer to knock the 1” stainless steel gate that bent (!!!) at the force of the explosion impact though. -_-

accident middle damage

I was driving out last night from my place when I had to swerve to avoid a head-on collision with a car coming up at full speed from the exit ramp.

Let me illustrate:

my statement

* It should be noted that the 90 degree corner separating me from the other car at that ramp is a blind spot – I cannot see him and there’s a difference in elevation so I can’t even see his headlights splash for advance warning.

The person inside kinda smiled apologetically at me and then drove off. I couldn’t stop him since my car was still stuck and after extracting myself I went to lodge a police report.

The police told me that they can’t accept a report unless I have the other person’s car licence plate. I didn’t.

right flank

Thus, I went back and went to the security monitors to review the incident. A large problem is that all of the DVRs were all out of sync chronologically and I had to make calculations to see what happened when.

cctv recordings

The security was of minimal help. I had to do all of this myself, replaying the CCTVs (used to work in the securities line) for over 4 hours!

There were two cars entering the car park when I was getting into my car so those two are the obvious suspects. One of them did actually take that dangerous short cut that nearly resulted in me colliding head-on.

However, both of the cars were black and not white. I encountered a white car, and it seems like the person driving it looked rather familiar but there is no tenant with a white car coming in at the time.

dvr times

There was also the issue of headlights visible at the far end of the ramp before that, which could possibly be the result of an existing car (e.g. one inside the car park) at the area before Level 2 waiting and then coming up the wrong way.

The incident happened at 8:06 pm last night and I spent 4 hours scouring the CCTV footage and the car park for the car to no avail.

engine depressed

I had to swerve hard to avoid colliding with that car and in that process, hit the wall on the other side of the ramp. I have a feeling the front compressed into the radiator. I only got back after 12 am and talked in the porridge forum for a while before sleeping.

front decal depression

I can’t report this as it is but I’ve spoken to a lawyer and has been advised to keep all my video recordings and evidence for a possible future litigation which has nothing to do with traffic incidents (24 hours).

I can’t really talk about the circumstances (you know how it is, in law, it’s always about the other side making a mistake first) but anyway I’ll head out to get a quote from the workshop I used to work with to see how much the car is going to cost me.

left flank

Damn, and I’ve been real careful since fixing my car too. :x

Well, it depends…

accident kl

I was on my way back home when I saw this large group of people confronting each other amidst a mass of motorbikes and cars. It was a T junction and I gather they’ve gotten into some kind of fender bender, but a mild one by the looks of it.

It was quite late and there was no traffic except more bikes arriving noisily to fortify the already significant representation while I was at that junction, a veritable congregation of two-wheeled owners.

accident rempit

I went on my way to do some grocery shopping before the supermarket closed – you know, the usual staples of bachelorhood – ramen, more ramen, ramen in a cup, bread, milk, eggs, sausages (erm) and crab sticks.

It took me about 30 minutes (even picked up some toothpaste on sale while I was at it) and my wallet was RM 80 lighter when I was done.

man groceries

I took the same route back home and surprisingly they were still there. I couldn’t hear what was being said, it looks like Cars vs Bikes – with the latter dominating – there were a lot of gesturing and pointing going on, so I regarded them with mild interest, and drove back home.

Yup, I know, it’s anti-climatic but the answer to the question is…

bike accident kl

I don’t know. smirk

…and it’s not my fault! smirk

This guy rear ended me while I was driving along LDP just now. Anyway, if you use that highway you’ll know that it’s almost always perpetually congested. I was moving at a leisurely 20-30 km/h with the start and stop traffic when I suddenly felt an impact from behind.

his car

I got out of the car and noticed he was still inside, looking a bit lost and shocked. I just said “Dude, what’s wrong with you?” and he got out and apologized.

He said a car cut into his lane so he was forced to cut into mine and couldn’t stop in time before he hit me.

There was a looooooong line of cars behind us but surprisingly no one honked so we moved to the side. I wanted to lodge a police report to claim insurance but he wasn’t very keen on the idea and wanted to settle it privately.

my car

I was also in a rush and the damage to my car wasn’t that bad – he hit the inside of the bumper and probably damaged the rear proximity sensors. His car was much worse off. I asked him how he wanted to do it coz he mentioned he didn’t have a lot of cash on him and he offered RM 200.

He seems like a nice enough guy, and I’m due to fix my bumper and all that anyway, so I agreed and we left it at that. These things happen anyway and it’s basically a minor fender bender. :)

truck

We were driving up north to Penang this morning when we came across a rather epic accident involving a trailer (complete with its load), truck and a rather unfortunate and outmatched car. It jammed up the PLUS highway and upon closer inspection, the car’s driver side compartment was completely decimated.

trailer

You can’t see it clearly coz I didn’t have time to pull out my digicam so all photos are taken using the iPad. There was a policeman taking photos of the wreck in the car too – I don’t believe for a second that anyone could have survived that.

car

The driver side of the car was nearly sheered off and when it came to its final resting place in a ditch, it was facing against the traffic.

ambulance

Anyway, this just goes to show that you can never be too careful on the road. Drive safe and watch out for swerving trailers. We almost got acquainted with one carrying a cargo of timber logs just now. -_-

dui

I have a confession to make. I am not the safest driver out there. In fact, calling my driving reckless would be something of an understatement. I hereby list the sins of the road that I am guilty of:

- Speeding
- Tailgating people who are “slow” e.g. driving in accordance with the speed limit
- DUI (Driving Under the Influence)
- DWI (Driving While Intoxicated)
- Cutting people off
- Using the emergency lane
- Running red lights
- Using the horn and middle finger liberally

damage

Hell, I once nearly got into a fight for the last one. I would have definitely had the crap kicked out of me considering there are three guys in the car but after a heated exchange we parted somewhat amicably. I don’t want to go all Hong Kong bus uncle and it wouldn’t have been pretty (for me) if they were obliged to violence since in the frame of mind I was in, I was all too willing to indulge them.

I’m sure a lot of us here in KL are under a lot of stress from work and often we take it out on the road. I am not proud of it but once I chased this MPV that cut me off on the LDP and swerved right in front of him to make him stop to get out of his car.

back damage

I don’t know what I was thinking coz I was in serious road rage mode but when I got out of the car, I realized it wasn’t just a man – it was an ENTIRE family, grandmother and kids et al. The man apologized and said he didn’t see me and that made me feel really bad. I was in his blind spot and I overreacted and I took my stress out on him.

I have tendency of drinking and driving as well, which is Really Bad (TM). I used to have a statement tee that goes “If I don’t drink and drive, how the fuck am I going to get home?” but there have been a lot of incidents that has given me pause.

My car has gone through so many accidents I couldn’t keep count. In fact, I totally wrecked my previous car in Kuching. I also ran down a pedestrian while running a red light on a zebra crossing which took me ages to settle while I was in Kuching. I’m so embarrassed of that incident I always tell people it’s a person (being vague) while in actual fact..

tires busted

…it was an old woman crossing a low cost flat while buying groceries. I did not see her and the pedestrian crossing usually is empty so I didn’t stop. The bones in her right arm were all broken so they had to install steel rods. I still feel guilty about that incident.

Well, I guess that’s the trick isn’t it? What if it was your grandmother I ran down? Won’t you hate me and want me to burn in hell for all eternity?

towing needed

My sister recently gave birth to my niece and I went down to New Zealand to visit them. It was eye-opening, the way she took care of her baby. She’s super safe, it takes her 15 minutes to setup the car for the baby to go in.

my neice

I don’t have to wonder how I’LL feel if my niece got hurt just coz a speeding drunk driver rammed into my sister’s car. I’ll take it REAL PERSONAL.

We flaunt road rules when we drive – whether it’s due to bad attitudes or plain carelessness but take a moment and think about others. I drink and drive and sometimes forget how I even got home and it scares me sometimes…what if I ran someone over? Someone’s wife? Someone’s child? Someone’s niece?

Malaysians are known to be rude on the roads but it doesn’t have to be that way. MUFORS (Malaysians Unite For Road Safety) is a big advocate of road safety and it’s a community project aimed at changing the mindsets of people about road safety. I’ve pledged mine.

MUFORS is also running a contest for students of institutions of higher learning (which means all you college and university people out there). It’s called MUFORS Road Reels and it’s a short film competition where you can speak out and capture your opinions Malaysian drivers (either negative or positive).

accident

The MUFORS Road Reels contest aims to educate people that safety on the roads is up to the attitude of each and every driver (that means YOU too). It enables you to make the roads of Malaysia a safer place and change the mindset of drivers to reduce road accidents and deaths.

RRM_short_film_competition

There are prizes up to RM 10,000 in each of the three categories and the closing date is 30th October 2010. You can find out more about this awesome initiative and contest at the MUFORS website.

Incident report:

car damage

We were driving down to get some dinner at Hillview Restaurant at Puncak Inn (recommended by Wikitravel for their good hot soup) when we passed by the Fraser’s Hill food court. I made a sudden decision to go there instead and drove into the what I thought was the entrance.

diagram

Please refer to the diagram above. I actually drove half way in – both my front tires were down that cursed curb and I couldn’t reverse out despite a concerted attempt to do so. It was about a FOOT high. It just made a great deal of noise and smoke.

gas tank

Fuck it, you’re either in or you’re out so I drove all the way in, which resulted in a detachment of my rear left bumper. I can see a lot of indecent exposure in there – wires and something which I hope is not my gas tank (it’s on the same side).

driving

People were starting to gather around to look at the idiot who literally drove INTO the food court instead of using the entrance so I nonchalantly opened my door, walked up to them and asked – “Excuse me, how do I get out of here?”

foot long

A lady pointed me in the right direction and I’m glad to report that I didn’t need the car to be towed or anything – I just drove out of the pedestrian path, following it till it merges with the road, which luckily didn’t have a foot high curb on that side.

…and we ate at the very same food court, using the proper entrance this time. smirk

tyre burst

It beggars belief that I scratched and dented my car while parking ONE (1) DAY after getting my car out of the workshop. To add insult to injury, my tire burst (not puncture, it literally FUBAR on me) six hours later. I was running on my damn RIMS for at least 1 km before I reached the nearest gas station to replace it.

Grr…

federal 1

Belakang mari! I was screwed in a very uncomfortable place (no, not in the back of a Volkswagen) while driving home on Federal Highway a couple of nights back. I was cruising along, minding my own business, when I saw this car on my ass, tailgating me like it’s going out of style.

I wasn’t in a hurry, so I switched lanes. I saw him tailgate another car and forgot about the entire thing coz I figured that was the end of it. Huge mistake…

federal 2

This speed racer wannabe was stuck behind two slow moving cars so he swerved over to my lane. I was in the slow lane at that time so I was going at a leisurely 80km/h…too slow to accommodate for his (still accelerating) speed. I stepped on the gas to avoid being rear-ended by him. It was real pedal-to-the-metal stuff. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to believe in braking.

Nope, not him. Braking is not in his repertoire of moves. He drove straight up my ass and I felt the impact so I slowed down and pulled over to the emergency lane. I saw him slow down too so I got out of the car. This was Mistake #2.

federal 3

The black car – it looked like a Civic or a similar build sedan – slowed, saw me get out of the car…and promptly sped off. I expected him to stop and his nefarious tactic of waiting for me to physically get out of the car before speeding off caught me by surprise. I didn’t even get his plate number.

I inspected my car and it wasn’t as bad as I thought, not even under direct sunlight the next day. Thus, I didn’t bother to lodge a police report. I took it to the workshop yesterday and the true extent of the damage was finally revealed to me when the mechanic showed me the boot compartment.

The boot wouldn’t close at all after the impact but I thought that was just due to the latch being broken. It was flapping around, making disconcerting noises like some flightless bird trying to take off but I didn’t think much of it.

federal 4

I was surprised to see that the car actually drove INTO my boot, even going so far as to damage the spare tyre…in my BOOT! It’ll take me 3 days to get my car back. The bill?

RM 980

>.<

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