24 August 2008

Am I Superstitious Or What?

I am usually not superstitious. The lunar seventh month doesn't end till 30 August. As you probably know, this month is also known as Hungry Ghost Festival. The traditional Chinese believe that it is a period when spirits from the netherworld roam the earth. Whether you believe it or not, I think it is better not to mess around with such things. It is not advisable to do anything that might antagonise the spirits.

Recently one of my bicycles parked below my block had a flat tyre because of a leak. I am not blaming the spirits for it but this kind of thing seems to happen mysteriously every now and then. Whenever it happens, I always go to an old bicycle shop in Joo Chiat Road to change an inner tube. I have patronised this shop since a few decades ago. The shop itself must have been existence for more than half a century, i.e. older than me.

This man was a young boy when I first patronised the shop. Now we are both old men, although I think he's got more white hair than me, hehe.

As the shop location is about 5 km away from my block, I mounted the bicycle on a rack which was hooked on to the back of my car, like this:

My wife came along. On reaching an URA open-air car park near the shop, my wife alighted first. When I was reversing the car into one of the empty lots, my wife gestured to me not to park in the lot. The reason? There were some burnt-out joss sticks and candles at the back end of the lot:

Not wanting to take any chances, and respecting my wife's good spirit (pun intended) I moved to another lot. Just as I was almost done reversing slowly into the lot, I heard a loud bang. I was stunned for a moment as I didn't know what had happened. Then reality hit me - I realised that my rear windscreen was shattered!

Alamak! I had reversed into a pillar which suddenly jumped out into my path! :p The pillar pressed against the bicycle rack which was resting on my car's rear windscreen. The windscreen simply imploded.

Some glass splinters even flew to the front seating areas. My wife and I had a hard time cleaning up the glass splinters:

There were so many of them. At one point, I thought they looked like diamonds:

If they were, I would have been very rich indeed!

And who says that shattered tempered glass won't cut?

So I have instantly changed my car into some kind of convertible which is perhaps the only kind that I can afford:

I quickly checked my car's insurance policy. Phew, luckily all the windscreens are covered under the policy. I only have to pay an extra S$53.50 to have the privilege re-instated when I next renew my policy.

But one question - I avoided the joss sticks and candles - so why did this accident still happen? Hmm... it must have been due to my own carelessness and bad luck, not my wife's good spirit.

Last Monday, I made an appointment to have the windscreen replaced at the agent. It would cost the insurance company about S$1,400 - $900 for the windscreen and $500 for the labour to replace it. I took leave for that day. I had a foldable bicycle in the boot of my car which I used to roam around town while the workshop was replacing the windscreen. I went to the River Valley area and took this photo of Gianurn Building which used to be C K Tang, according to a recent post on Laokokok's blog, Times Of My Life.


Lam Chun See said...

You mean the glass flew all the way to the front and injured you? Wow you must be reversing really fast. Anyway, thank God nothing serious. I think readers with young kids should really take note and learn from Victor's story. Always reverse slowly.

Lam Chun See said...

Wah lau Victor. After accident still got the heart to take pictures for your blog! This is what we call a die-hard blogger.

I came across one mother who even took pictures of her injured son to put on her blog!

peter said...

How come you got no "Excess" on your motor insurance?

Thank goodness you did not hurt yourself. Last week I cut my finger at Cold Storage whilst pulling out the plastic plastic. I thot it was a pen knife cutter because it felt very sharp. later I was told it was a loose pin that held the cutter which came loose. My blood failed to clot. I made a complain and the very next day, the customer service gave me a fruit basket. Now my left thumb is very sore. Cold Stroage decided to inspect all its outlets to check whether similar problems. True to expectations, they found more faculty devices. So next time be very careful when you pull the roll of plastic bag.

Victor said...

Chun See - I was reversing very slowly. However, when enough force is applied on glass, it will shatter eventually. Glass, being brittle, cannot bend very much.

Yes, a few splinters flew to the front even though the force of impact was not that great. But the crashing sound was certainly very loud - a staff from a nearby restaurant even came out to investigate.

The minor cuts on my fingers were sustained when I was clearing the splinters with my bare hands, and not from flying splinters.

Victor said...

Peter - My car is insured with Overseas Assurance Company, a subsidiary of Great Eastern. The policy is called Drive And Save. The premium paid with 50% NCB was about $600 (about $100 cheaper than what NTUC quoted).

In fact, most insurance companies offer separate windscreen cover at an extra cost. A windscreen claim does not affect your NCB provided you don't do it too often.

Victor said...

Chun See - It is now compulsory to take pictures of a car after an accident. The photos are required for the purpose of insurance claim and not just for blogging. :)

fr said...

This thing happened to you before? I mean your windscreen breaking, not about you offending spirits.

Victor said...

Fr - No, this is the first time that I have shattered a windscreen in my 26 years of driving.

EteL said...

ah! GD! I'm glad u r alright!!

Victor said...

Thanks GNE. I am alright and nobody else is hurt, except maybe the insurance company. Haha.

Anonymous said...

Now I know why you take a photo of the Gianurn Bldg. I believed the most tedious part is cleaning up those glass splinters in the car. I've such experience before once - not a good one though.

Icemoon said...

Sorry to hear what happened to your car.

By the way, could it be the bicycle blocking your rear view? The pillar might be camouflaged by the bicycle frame.

Maybe you can mount the rack on the rooftop next time?

Icemoon said...

Hope Peter's thumb is feeling better too.

Victor said...

Icemoon - The two metal tubes of the bicycle rack were extended about 2 feet behind the car and were about 6-inch above the roof. Hence they were out of my view. I guess I was not careful enough because I didn't realise the partially-blocked pillar was actually so close.

I saw a roof-mounted bicycle hit a height barrier near my working place before so it is also not a very safe alternative, in my opinion.

Victor said...

LKK - You broke your windscreen the same way too?

yg said...

superstition baggage is something that is difficult to shake off because it plays on the mind. you should have just parked into that lot, taking care not to knock over the joss sticks and candles. you would not have offended anybody.

but then you would not have the chance to show off your manicured finger nails.

Cool Insider said...

Aiyoo... sounds like a painful experience both financially and physically. I admire how you took it in such good spirits and could even blog about it in blow by blow detail! Didn't know about the Gianurn Building being CK Tang - that's near my parent's place.

Victor said...

YG - What you said is so true. Actually, I don't think I am as supersitious as my wife. I am more afraid of something else which I think I better not elaborate.

Victor said...

Walter - When I have nothing to write about nostalgia, anything else is worth blogging about. Haha.

Not much financial damage incurred. Thanks goodness that the insurance company is paying for the repair.

kuzzud said...

Dear sir,
can i know where to find car's accessory parts to pickup bycycle like yours ?

Victor said...

Hi Kuzzud, the bicycle rack is available from most neighbourhood bicycle shops. It is made in Taiwan (or China?) and costs only about S$40+.

But be careful if you are driving an MPV like mine or you may end up with a broken rear windscreen like mine too. :-)