Driving along…

I was driving back from my girl’s school when a car flashed its headlights at me. Oh? Somebody that I know, I thought. I am hopeless at cars and numbers so if you pass by me on the road, I would not know it is you…so my apologies for not acknowledging your presence. Then, another car did the same thing – blink…blink! Oh? So many people that I know on the road today, I wondered? But when the third car started flashing, that was it! I stopped by the side of the road and got out to check. No, there was nothing wrong with my car, everything was perfectly all right. Hmmm…I was bewildered!

I continued on my way and round the corner, I saw that there was a police road block. I stopped and a nice young policeman approached my car. I asked him if something had happened and hence, the road block in the middle of nowhere but he said no, it was for the Ops Selamat (selamat meaning safety and ops is short for operation) – I guess that was a precautionary measure to ensure road safety since the Gawai Dayak Festival was just around the corner. “Panas hari! (hot day)” I said…and he just smiled and asked for my driving license. When he was done with it, he returned it to me and I said thank you, bye bye…and went on my way.

Now, that brings me to my question. If I were doing something wrong, why would those car drivers see the need to give me a warning? No, I was not going very fast, just around 80-90 kmph, the limit along our pan-Sarawak trunk road. No, my license plate numbers are all of the standard size…and no, my glass was not tinted black (unlike many that I see on the road). Now, if I had violated any traffic rule in any way, why should I be warned so as to evade arrest? I would think that I would deserve to be caught and fined heavily…especially if what I was doing would endanger not only my own life and the lives of those in my car but also the lives of others on the road.

When I got home, I had a look at my driving license and oh me oh my!!! It was due to expire in around a fortnight on the 5th of June. I did not realise that but anyway, I had the reminder keyed in onto my old handphone so I would know about it sooner or later – that is why I still keep my old handphone active (My new one is good for 25 reminders only and that is hardly enough to go round). The next day, I told my sister about it and goodness gracious me, hers had expired over a month ago and she did not realise it and she told me later than when she shared this with her contacts on whatsapp, she was not the only one – some for half a year, some even for one year or more!!!

Well, I usually renewed my license at the post office for a nominal fee of RM2.00 but she told me that I would have to go to the Land Transport Department office…

JPJ office

…where they would take my photograph and do everything necessary and I would get a new driving license just like my MyKad (identity card), not like the old one – just a slip of paper with all the details and my photograph stuck on it, laminated.

What? A photograph??? I quickly went home and got my hair nicely done and put on a decent-looking t-shirt and made my way there. Normally, I would not bother to comb my hair so if you meet me in town, I would look like I had just got out of bed and I never bother to dress up so you may see that my clothes have seen better days and are not quite presentable or at least, not something I would want to be seen wearing in a photograph that I would be carrying around with me for the next five years. Unfortunately, the moment I stepped into the office, the security guard said that their equipment was not functioning and the lady at the customer service counter said I could go to the post office to get to it done instead.

Ah well, I thought! I guessed I could just use my old license and have another of those laminated slips of paper with the updates stuck onto it using cellophane tape like the way it had been for the past 10 years…and I quietly made my way to the post office at Rejang Park here. I used to drop by here at least once a month but not anymore now that I am paying all my bills via auto-debit to my credit cards or through online banking. The air-conditioners, all three of them, have not been functioning for a long time now…

Air conditioner at Rejang Park post office

– according to the guy at the counter, it has been way over a year and they all have their own little fans (varying from 3 or 4 inches to 6 inches in diameter)…

Mini-fan
*Sorry for the blurry pic*

…that probably would help a little in their case but not for anyone going there for whatever business they may have at hand.

I noticed that they have had two wall fans put up, one on each side of the waiting area – there used to be one ceiling fan and the office was completely open on one side but since they had air-conditioning, they had put up a glass wall and glass doors which made the place really hot and stuffy (and smelly) especially when there were a lot of people. I would not think those would help very much but that day, the doors were wide open and the chairs had been arranged in such a way to get everyone to queue while waiting of their turn…

Queue at Rejang Park post office

The machine that printed out the numbers to indicate your turn had called it a day too, it seemed…

Out of order

It did not take very long to get my license renewed for five years, RM150.00 plus RM2.00 extra for doing it at the post office and 10 sen for the 6% GST. Thankfully, the equipment was functioning all right and no, I did not need to have my photograph taken (after going through all that trouble to get my hair done and dress up nicely) – they just used my MyKad and got the photograph from there…

New driving license

– very fast, very efficient and kudos to those wonderful people working day in and day out there, seeing to our needs, whilst enduring the not-very-conducive conditions in that miserable place. We only drop by a short while and already, we are complaining – you all obviously have to put up with so much just to serve us, the general public, thank you so very much.

Back to the driving license, it seems that now, when you renew yours, it will expire on your birthday and if your original date and your birthdate is more than six months, they will charge you 50% of the annual fee. Mine is around 5 months away so I did not have to pay that extra RM15.00. Now, mine will expire on 2nd December, 2020…and looking at the way things are going, it certainly appears like that so-called “vision” will not become a reality by then.

I googled to check and I read somewhere that the rationale behind having your driving license expiring on your birthday is to make sure that you will not forget. I suppose that may be quite logical if you renew your license for a year every year but for people like me who will always renew it for five years at one go, I am sure it would just go by unnoticed – now, let me go and key in the new date onto my old handphone…lest I forget.

Incidentally, since I was in the vicinity, I dropped by my favourite kompia shop to buy these chu-nu-miang

Chu nu miang

…for my afternoon tea. Thankfully, the price had remained unchanged – 4 for RM1.00 and a little more for the kompia – 3 for RM1.00 but I would say that I like theirs more than the rest around here and in fact, whenΒ my cousin from Kuching, while she was in Sibu that day, bought some of the above from that celebrated shop at Market Road in the town centre, I was shocked at the sight of how small and how out of shape theirs were. Their kompia was sold out and though there wasn’t really a queue, there was quite a crowd there, all wanting to buy the same things. I do think that when people sing their praises of a place, it is best to take it with a pinch of salt – at times, they may be grossly overrated and what they say may not necessarily be true…or what somebody else likes, you may wish to differ. Like I always say, to each his own!

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Author: suituapui

Ancient relic but very young at heart. Enjoys food and cooking...and travelling and being with friends.

22 thoughts on “Driving along…”

  1. I’ve been renewing my driver’s license for 20 years now BUT I don’t drive. Seriously I don’t. Yes, my license will expire on my birthday and yes, the question is, which year? I can’t remember…

    Aiyor!!! I thought city ladies are all hebat-hebat one, all F1 style and not like me…kampung driver, slow slow one.

  2. The chu-nu-miang looks soft and tasty. Are they soft?

    Luckily the road block is not 3 weeks away or else if you did not remember to renew your driving licence by then you might get a saman.

    No worries, it’s in my old handphone. The alarm would go off on the 3rd and I would be reminded to get it renewed within the following 3 days. An occupational hazard, as a teacher – I’m very organised and regimented. Yes, the chu-nu-miang is soft and very lightly sweet, like bread.

  3. ooo, i’ve repeatedly forgotten to renew my driving licence, and there’ve been times i drove around for months with an expired licence … actually i’m always late for everything, from renewing passports to paying bills πŸ˜€ anyways, i liked your story about the police road block and the other drivers πŸ™‚

    Gosh!!! Thank goodness you’re not a woman – you’d be long overdue! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ Yes, I do feel that those who flaunt the law deserve to be caught and punished so they will not do it again – must be another occupational hazard (see reply to zmun2 above), I was a teacher. πŸ˜›

  4. Here we will be written a letter two weeks before it expires to remind us. I renewed mine end of last year n ten more years before the next renewal.

    So nice.

  5. It is signal from other drivers telling you something ahead. Beware. πŸ™‚ I learnt it from my hubby few years back when drive from Sibu to Kuching on one of my 1st road trip. And true true, there was a very tragic accident ahead of us due to slippery road after rain!

    I also renew my license 5 years. No need so troublesome queuing up. I hate queues. Hehe.

    It is good to give a warning in such cases, but not if there is a police road block or speed trap. You people must be going very fast. Just like the fatal accident in front of my girl’s school. The police and ambulance took a long time to come and in the meantime, not one…but two lorries came and rammed into the wreckage. They could not stop in time. These people simply go too fast on our pan-Sarawak trunk road. So dangerous!

  6. I use the public transit so I have never gotten a driver’s license…don’t need one in my case, thankfully. πŸ™‚

    Public transport is obviously very good there, not here. Hard even to catch a bus – services limited to certain areas and in terms of frequency…as each household would have one…two…three cars or more. 😦

  7. Last year I was unable to renew at the post office too and ended up waiting in line for 2 hours in the transit office in KL! That’s a real deterrent to renewing!

    One reason why I would renew every five years – can’t imagine doing it every year but they’re very good here, fast and efficient…despite the not very pleasant conditions plus it was a good day, not so many people in the queue.

  8. When I read the cars opposite were flashing at you, I was guessing there was a police road block.. it’s their way to “inform” you that there’s a police road block ahead, then you will slow down and be alert.. I usually renew my license at the post office, 5 years too πŸ™‚

    I wasn’t speeding…and if I were, I sure would deserve to be caught and fined severely for not following the traffic rules and putting my own life and everyone else’s in danger. We MUST learn to drive responsibly to ensure safety on the road. No need for people to flash flash their lights like that! Should know ourselves what we must or mustn’t do. We have brains to think…I am sure! If not, the statistics will go on increasing – no need to point fingers here and there, blame other people…only WE can change that!

  9. Guess they’re trying to be nice telling there’s a road block in front, since they’re driving the other side of the road so they don’t know what’s the road block for, so just warn first just in case and trying to kind ya!!

    Our so-called highway is nothing like those in the peninsula. It is just a small, tiny trunk road linking the main towns, one lane going and one lane coming so if there is a road block, cars on both sides will be stopped, not one side got but not the other side, nothing of the sort.

  10. Did the cars flash to you from the opposite direction? If so, they were trying to warn you about the road block

    Yes, they were…so we would be considered brothers-in-arms…or partners-in-crime, take your pick!

  11. Flashing lights for 3 times, I
    share the same thoughts as you, something is not right with the car. I also have my driving licence renew for 5 years each time. Chu nu miang good to
    have with hot kopi.

    I would dry fry in a pan lightly so the outside would be hot and crusty, very nice…nicer than just eating it like that. Eat while it is hot…and spread butter and peanut butter! Yum yummmmm!!!!

  12. The photo of you in the left, looks fierce…

    Yakah? I thought that one looks nicer. Hehehehehe!!!

  13. Yup, I once drove around with an expired licence for months but, once I knew, driving to renew the licence was scary…I was so scared that I’d be stopped by some policeman. I guess the moral of the story is….things that you don’t know won’t scare you! Haha! πŸ˜€

    My spouse definitely welcomes the flashing (aka warning) especially when we’re going outstation coz (almost) everyone drives a bit over the speed limit (on certain stretches of the road where it’s safe to do so), so I’d use the term brothers-in-arm.

    The speed limit on the highways over at your side is 110 kmph – that should be fast enough. Ours, on our trunk road is 90 kmph. I do go over a bit, mainly when the stretches are straight and smooth, but very rarely over 100 – it is not really possible here as the road is very winding in parts.

    I do wish they would follow New Zealand…and nab those going very very slowly, 60 kmph and under. It is very hard to overtake as the road is narrow plus road courtesy is near non-existent and there are always many on-coming cars in the opposite lane. 😦

  14. I once forgot to renew my driver’s license for 1 whole year. In between I have been through probably 10 road blocks. Fortunately, here you won’t be stopped unless you did something wrong.

    I don’t think they are flashing you because you did something wrong, those cars from the opposite lane. They are just flashing to everyone in general to warn them of the coming road block, IN CASE anyone was driving recklessly. “You help me, I help you” spirit like our PM πŸ˜€

    Not helping me – I wasn’t speeding! Old folks like me stick to the rules…obediently. Got me worried only – thought my bumper was falling off or something. Not surprised – ask around…looks there there are many driving with expired licenses…and they are unaware of it!

  15. Mine is also June but next year… I better put a reminder in my old faithful hp too!

    Yes, we oldies but goodies…memory not so good anymore. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

  16. I totally agree that law breaking speedsters shouldn’t be warned of upcoming speed traps. The flashing of headlights to warn of speed traps used to be quite common here, but I haven’t seen much of that lately.

    Maybe it’s because I don’t get out as much!

    I guess we only get to see it when going long distance – no such thing going on in the town proper and anyway, our roads are too short for any prior warning. πŸ˜‰

  17. wow, today’s a long post, with multiple topics and thoughts..

    actually on the highways it’s common to highlight the opposite direction’s cars when you see a speed trap. I think the same applies here.

    But if somebody is speeding, don’t they deserve to get caught? Rules are not made to be broken – it’s for everyone’s good, for everyone’s safety. Safe driving saves lives.

  18. good for you my friend, but i used to delegate someone to do that for me thou, lol

    There’s an agency here that does that but for a fee, of course. I renewed my car insurance there so I got them to pay my road tax for me. Otherwise, if I were to drive there to ask them to do it…and go again later to collect, I might as well go to the post office and do it myself. Both places, near my house – Sibu is a very small town. πŸ˜‰

  19. yup yup.. the beautiful driving license can be renewed at Post Office. I didn’t know change to that kind of license until after they renewed mine and requested for IC. Didn’t manage to help Mama to get hers done cos previously they didn’t need IC to renew. And then I got to know they need the photo of your IC to be copy and paste to your driving license.. hehehe..

    Much easier than going to JPJ, have to take new photo some more…and there, quite a lot of people – I saw that day. So convenient to just get it done at the post office.

  20. that seems to be a very short queue! unlike in KL city is a nightmare.

    what i know usually when the car from the other side flashes, as usual, telling u there is police in front. if from your back, probably they just want you to go faster or let them pass, just too lazy to change lane themselves lol.

    Yes, I saw on Facebook – a nightmare indeed to get anything done there…and it seems they are MOST unfriendly some more. Here, they are all very nice, very helpful and very efficient – a big change from those days when the service at government offices was the pits!!!

    From the back? Change lane? Are you in fast lane? I cannot stand people doing that – go at a snail’s pace and hog the fast lane. I do not go that fast on our single-lane trunk road so when I see any car coming up behind me, I would signal, go in a little and slow down to let them overtake (when there are no on-coming cars). That little road courtesy will not kill anybody, and it would not mean that I would be getting to where I am going so much later, not at all!

    Unfortunately, not many people would do the same – some slow lorries only, so far…and very very few, isolated cases. Others would just cruise along like they’re the only one on the road – never mind that there is a long convoy behind them! I just cannot understand that kind of mentality, really!

  21. This made me laugh since I forgot to renew my license and then I looked down and realized that I only had a few days to take care of it, before it expired! Whoops! I had to take time off of work and hustle. lol.

    Ahhhhh!!! There you are! We are all birds of the same feather, aren’t we? πŸ˜€

    1. I know, right? I should clarify, That happened about two years ago. Lol I still remember it as if it had just happened. My registration was up for renewal; however, they sent me an email and a reminder via postal mail. That’s good, since I would have forgotten. That was $125. I paid it online.

      It seems that they do that in Australia too – send you a reminder. Nope, they do not do that here so the onus is on everybody to try and remember. Thank goodness I have my old handphone that I can still use…for its reminder facility. Would be lost without it. πŸ˜€

All opinions expressed in my blog are solely my own, that is my prerogative - you may or may not agree, that is yours. To each his/her own.

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