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After a lengthy vacation, it was always a pain in the ass to drag yourself up for work on the first day. Jetlagged, drowsy and disheartened, I just had to force myself to go to work. The usual 45 minutes drive seemed like hours. On a cloudy Monday morning, it would appear that it was going to be a bad and grumpy day.

Upon arriving, I just realized that I don’t have enough coins to pay for my parking at the “coins only” parking payment machine. In my coin box, there were only 70 cents. See, I told you that it was going to be a bad day.

Well, fuck it.  If I only have 70 cents, then 70 cents was what I was going to pay. I’m not in the mood to change for coins at the nearby shops. 70 cents will buy me about an hour and a half of parking time and I really hope that DBKL was lazy enough to do their job that day, or at least acknowledge my effort to even bother to (under) pay for my parking (unlike other “inconsiderate” people in TTDI).

I parked my car and went to the nearest parking payment machine. I keyed in my car number and slotted in a 20 cents coin. Nothing happened. Then I realized, at the receipt dispenser slot, crumpled receipt paper were half way hanging from its mouth. Darn! The machine was probably broken. If it swallowed my 20 cents, I only have exactly one hour of valid parking. I tried pulling the hanging piece of paper from the machine. It was stuck. Confirmed broken piece of junk machine!

I pressed the “cancel” button. And hey, like hitting jackpot at a slot machine in a Las Vegas casino, coins began raining through the balance dispenser. I had to put my hands below the dispenser to accommodate the overflowing flow of coins.

A lady was driving slowly, passing by the machine. She witnessed me struggling to keep the coins from falling to the ground. I looked at her and assumed that she was jealous of me. Maybe in reality she was thinking that I looked like a silly, pathetic man.

I ended up with RM8.40 worth of coins, on top of my previous 70 cents. I went to the next working parking payment machine and paid my parking fee, valid until the end of the day.

It was a good start to my day after all.

It was approximately a week ago when I was walking from the South Kensington tube station towards my sister’s flat in the nearby Glendower Place. It was around 10:30 pm and I just got back from Paris via the Eurostar. It was a short and stingy trip due to my voluntarily tight budget. Still, in my pocket were a piece of €50 note and a piece of £50 note. I guess it’s enough for me to spend in the next two or three days before I go back home.

Although it was a short walk to Glendower Place, it was cold and dark. There was a light drizzle that made the coldness even more chilling. I can’t wait to get to my warm room in the basement of Jerome House and make myself a cup of hot coffee. Suddenly, from the darkness in front of me, came a huge man, hauling a huge suit luggage behind him.

“Excuse me. Could you please spare me a few pounds? I just got robbed, I’ve lost everything”, the man dejectedly showed his torn side pocket of his trousers. Seemed like it was slit by a thin razor, which was a normal method used by many European pick-pockets. He spoke sorrowfully in a North American accent, a tourist maybe. The pale streetlight shone on his eyes, red and watered, like he had just finished crying shortly before he met me.

Treasuring the cash that I have, even though I felt sorry for that person, I shun away. I’d given him some cash if I had small change. But it was not his day. I felt bad. Uttering, “I’m sorry” repeatedly to him as I walked away made it even more depressing.

After a few steps, I could still hear him begging, “Please”. I continued walking.


It was approximately a week later and I had just finished work at a client’s office somewhere in KL Sentral. It was 10:30 pm and I was walking towards the entrance of Plaza Sentral’s basement car park. Then a woman approached me. “Sir, can you help us? My husband and I had just arrived from JB this evening and we were robbed. My husband was badly beaten. Could you spare us a few Ringgit?” Her husband then appeared, hauling a huge suit luggage behind him. I looked at the man’s face under the pale streetlight and I could see a fresh gash on his lower lip, slightly bloodied. “Yes sir, please help us. Just a few Ringgit so that we could find a way to return home”, the husband spoke with a lisp, probably because of the gash on his mouth.

Ah, the same scenario within a week! I stood there analyzing the two characters in front of me. My mind reminded me to the event in London a week before. If it wasn’t because of the previous event, I would’ve walked away without hesitation. But I stood there considering the whole thing. In my pocket was a single piece of RM50 note (Yes, I don’t carry much cash with me. I’m stingy, even towards myself).

“Tuhan saja boleh balas jasa baik encik kalau encik tolong kami”

I stopped analyzing and said, “I’m going down the basement to pay for my parking. If I decided by then to help you guys, I’ll come back”. I walked away, still indecisive. In my mind I pictured the couple’s sorry faces, and also the pitiful North American guy.

I paid RM4.00 for my parking. The parking attendant returned to me two RM20 notes, an RM5 note and an RM1 note. Now, if I were to help the couple, which note should I give away? I walked past my car. I slowly dragged my legs up the stairs and soon after, I was in front of the couple once again.

“Here’s RM20. Please take care”

There were words of commendation and gratefulness uttered by the couple. Also, a subsequent discussion about giving my bank account number to them for a return payment but it was swiftly dropped.

“Tuhan saja boleh balas jasa baik encik sebab tolong kami”

Well, if it was a scam, then it’s a scam. As simple as that. If not, hopefully they’re alright. I also hope that the North American guy is doing alright too.