24 June 2007

It Feels Good To Be Given A Second Chance

It always freaks me out when I receive a letter with the words "ON GOVERNMENT SERVICE" on the envelope:

From my past experience, receiving such letters always meant that I would soon lose something, be it money or time. You see, some typical examples of senders of such letters are as follows:

1. Inland Revenue Authority Of Singapore, demanding that I pay my income tax;

2. Ministry Of Defence, calling me up for National Service;

3. Other ministries/government departments, telling me that I have violated some rules and how I would be punished.

My heart skipped a beat when I turned over the envelope and saw who the sender was:

Now who wouldn't be afraid of receiving a love letter from the Investigation & Violation Reports Branch of the Traffic Police? In the past, all my replies to such love letters consisted of a signed cheque which would "compound" the offence. Don't ask me why but "compound" in this case does not mean "to make a difficult situation even worse by adding more problems". Instead, the meaning here is quite the opposite.

I tore open the envelope with trembling hands. What a surprise! Within the envelope was not exactly a love letter but a letter that I loved to read:

The Traffic Police must have realised how easy it is for someone to exceed the normal speed limit of 60 kmh by 1-20 kmh. I am not giving excuses but some modern cars would not even reach their top gears at 60 kmh. With the driver concentrating on driving, looking out for road hazards and so on, it is so easy to exceed the speed limit. In addition, cars are nowadays mostly air-conditioned and quite stable at high speeds, hence drivers sometimes breach the speed limit without even realising it.

I must say that it feels so good to be given a warning instead of an "offer to compound the offence" (which is really an euphemism for a fine). The Traffic Police is certainly moving in the right direction, emphasising more on education rather than punishment and using more of the carrot approach rather than the stick.

In fact, the current Road Courtesy Campaign even rewards courteous road users with a FREE $20 Cashcard and a box of New Moon Chicken Essence.

I am hoping that the next letter I receive from the Traffic Police will be one asking me to collect a cashcard and a box of chicken essence. Okay, okay, with the $130 I saved this time, I could buy myself a $20 cashcard and a box of chicken essence with enough money left over to buy a couple of beers to celebrate the occasion. Of course, I will not be driving immediately after I downed the beers. Cheers!


Anonymous said...

I think Singapore has more rude drivers on the road compared to last time. Everyone seems "pressed" for time on the road- rushing, jumping queue (overtaking like a bully, no signals) etc etc. Chinese saying "as if can't wait to be reincarnated".

I hope the $20 cashcard and chicken essence will improve the road etiquette.

Anonymous said...

Agreed with Tigerfish. And yet these rude and irresponsible drivers will blame those drivers that don't give way to them; and said they are ungracious and not courteous!

Obey the traffic rules and that will be fine.

Unknown said...

i see the poster is very big! haha...

Victor said...

Tigerfish and Laokokok - There are a lot more cars on Singapore's roads now than there were say 5 years ago. You can feel as well as see that the jams are getting worse as you drive along our major roads during peak hours daily. Even our car parks are getting more crowded, with noticeably more off-peak cars (those with red number plates). All these developments are exacting a toll on drivers' behaviours. It doesn't take very much for a normally patient and courteous driver to turn into a monster in such circumstances.

Keropok Man - Yes, that poster was put up following that invaluable tip you gave me in my last post. However, I used a modest s800 setting instead of s1600 which made the poster disappear from the page, haha.

Anonymous said...

Victor, any idea where you got "caught" exceeding the speed limit?

I have to say, this IS a nice change in stance by our dear traffic police. :)

Victor said...

Buggy - Yes, it was stated in the notice that the place of offence was UPPER THOMSON ROAD -> LORNIE ROAD. (Very near to the Land Transport Authority, haha.) It claimed that the offence was reported by a patrol officer - don't know how true that is.

Shilpa said...

LOL re tigerfish's comment! :)

But wow, I can't believe it, the gahmen is becoming HUMAN!!! Haha! Not a love letter but a lovable letter this time! I am damn sure the patrol officer was squatting on some overhead bridge and taking your picture, that's why you didn't see him, haha!!

bee said...

Are you going to set up shop to get rid of all the "New Moon Chicken Essence" that you have collected :-)

thanks for stopping by our blog. your pix were great. --jai

Victor said...

Shilpa - The TP nowadays is actually quite open and transparent with their work. Must really give them some credit. (I say this NOT because they gave me a 2nd chance.) It's true that years ago, some of them used to hide behind trees and bushes and secretly take down your vehicle registration number when you commit an offence. Nowadays, they just set up a camera/stand on the pavement or on the overhead bridge in open view of the public. Of course, sometimes drivers still fail to notice them or see them too late.

Occasionally, there are also radio announcements telling drivers to slow down at certain locations where there are obviously ongoing TP operations.

Victor said...

Bee - Thanks for dropping by. I'll probably consume the essence of chicken myself, so that I can be more alert at spotting where the TP is, haha.

stay-at-home mum said...

Lucky you!! The oc must have been in good mood la. I find it a bit hard to believe that they have a heart, but am rejoicing for you (as I have a heavy foot too!). Hoe I am as lucky as you when my next "on Govt service" letter comes.

Shilpa said...

If they're open about it, then that's good. Reminds me of the time I got fined for crossing the road when the light was red. The TP were in full view, but I didn't realise it was an offence, so crossed the road into their waiting arms, haha! Basket! They made me miss my bus!

Hey, I so pai seh 'cos everyone thought I took the pictures on jugalbandi's blog, so had to write a long comment earlier to explain how you helped. Ai, you are really too kind man. :)

Victor said...

Stay-at-home Mum - I am indeed very lucky this time. I still have 4 demerit points which was "awarded" by the TP last October because my car crossed double-white lines while filtering out to Braddell Road. As you are probably aware, the points stay in record for 2 years before the slate is wiped clean. If I accumulate 24 points within 2 years, my driving license is gantung-ed (Malay for suspended). Maybe I am spared because the TP would rather clamp down hard on drink driving instead. The recent charging of two celebrities for drink driving (Christopher Lee and Benedict Goh) certainly sends a very strong message to errant motorists.

Victor said...

Shilpa, you’re heaping too much undue credit on me. Let you in on a little secret - most of the photos were taken even before we knew each other. Actually, it is your very well-written article that makes the photos seem better than they really are.

(This comment is also replicated at jugalbandi.info where Shilpa's article is.)