Scariest Thing in 2011

Year 2011 is proving to be a very interesting year. Earlier this year, we did the craziest thing and last week, it proves to be the scariest.

(Faulty brake master pump early in 2011. Image source:

But before I narrate what had happened, let me highlight what I had read in a magazine before Chinese New Year – an article about the Chinese horoscope for 2011. My zodiac was reported to be doing so-so in the Year of the Rabbit. Another article in a local daily shows that my star is going to be very lucky in this year. I guess different feng-shui master have their own interpretations for the Year of Rabbit. I guess the “being lucky” part played a big role on what happened last week.

Last week, I suppose to go over for a Chinese New Year open house. The function starts at 7.30 pm, so at 7.00 pm, I decided to pack up my things and drive to the place. Exiting the basement parking I contemplated on the route to take – there was one faster route but I don’t know what happened, I took the longer, heavy traffic route (I guess the hands was not listening to what the mind was thinking). As I got stuck in the traffic jam, I regretted taking this route – I wished I could u-turn back and go back to the faster route. The traffic hardly moved. Ahead I saw my opportunity to exit out from the current lane and head back to the faster route. I was anxious to get out from this heavy traffic jammed lane and head to the faster lane – I don’t want to be late for the function.

As I drive up further, I sense something not right. The brake felt somehow soft and unresponsive. The car stops but only after I had floored the brake pedal all the way to the end. The usual brake pressure was somehow missing. At first I thought it was due to the shoe that I was wearing that day but it was not it. As I was thinking about this problem, I realized that I had missed the exit to the faster lane and remained in the traffic jammed lane. But now, the problem was getting even more obvious – not only the brake was not working but there was a weird sound whenever I press on the pedals. But since the warning lights on the brakes did not lit up, I wondered what is causing the problem. A month ago, I had serviced my rear brakes and I wondered if the guys who worked on the brakes had done something wrong.

As I look back now, it must have been one of my luckiest day for if I had taken the faster route where I would been driving at 80 km/h and more, it would have been a disaster if I had to brake and there were  no brakes on my car. But now, with me stuck in the traffic jam and practically inching along the way, I was able to stop my car using whatever brake pressure I had and the handbrake. And by then, I was glad that I had serviced the brakes as well – with a tighter braking, gaps the car stops faster by means of friction. I knew that there was a car workshop nearby and I prayed that I could control the car just enough to reach this workshop safely and without knocking into anyone else. I kept driving slower although the traffic was now moving faster. I managed to do that but considering the time, I wondered if the workshop was still opened.

As I drove over to the workshop, I felt a sense of relieve – the workshop was still opened although the mechanics was packing up things inside the workshop. They came over and checked on my car – no leakage of brake fluids and the brakes was in good conditions. They, in the end, sourced the problem as coming from a faulty brake master pump. Then another problem cropped up – since I had modified my braking system to accommodate for a rear disc brake, they did not have the right parts and the spare part shop was already closed at that time. There was no other choice but leave car for the night since it was too dangerous to drive without brakes. Thankfully the next day was the weekend. I called my wife to come over and pick me up and rather reluctantly left the car at the workshop.

The next day I woke up late for I knew the workshop opens late and after breakfast, headed to the workshop. I noticed that the mechanics has dismantled the faulty brake master pump and was waiting for the replacement. Having nothing much to do at the workshop; I decided to go back and come later. Couple of hours later and after a good lunch; we headed back to the workshop. From far, I caught a glimpse of my car on the road, being tested and I knew that the problem has been solved. I went to the workshop and the mechanics told me that they have replaced the faulty brake master pump. I took it for a test run and found the brakes was very responsive and felt safe.

The total cost was RM180 including labor. Something rather cheap compared to the cost that I might have to pay if I had driven on the faster lane and slammed on several cars.

It is still too early to say if the Year of the Rabbit is the luckiest year for me but it has proven to be one of the scariest.


Almost Haircut

(Image source:

We were back in Taiping for the holidays and true to my philosophy “Taiping is a rest area”, I did not venture out from the house for the last 3 days we were there.

It was perfect staying in my in-law’s house – there were good programs on Astro, a comfortable bedroom to take short naps (with no one to question), laptop for games & movies and of course, delicious home cooked food. Further it rained “cats and dogs” in the afternoon onwards. My son found plenty of things to do at home, so he was happy “locked up” in the house as well.

As for my wife, since she has been staying there for many years, somehow she got bored staying in the house. She had laid out a long list of things to do outside the house – shopping, visits to family and friends and go out for lunch / dinner.

One of the “important” things for her to do is to have haircut at her Chinese friend’s hair saloon. The thing is we reached Taiping on Saturday but until Sunday evening; my wife was still undecided whether to go for the haircut. “Later” she said but not contemplating the fact that the shop may close early or there may be many customers. We passed by the shop several times but each time, my wife decided to put off her visit to the hair saloon until the last minute.

Rain came and only then she decided to go for the haircut but when she arrived at the shop, she came back immediately – there was 5 customers waiting for their turn and the shop is indeed closing early (by the time it opens, we will be back to KL).

Lesson learned: Don’t put off pressing engagements for too long, especially on the eve of Chinese New Year

Gong Xi Fa Chai!


(Sometimes when we are looking forward for the festive season, there are some who faces a bleak future. Story and picture source: The Star)
I wish all my friends, colleagues and readers a very Chinese New Year. It does not matter these days whether the festive is for a particular race or not. We all celebrate the holidays one way or another. For me, CNY is a good day to recover from the bad flu that I am having, get more sleep, watching good Chinese movies on TV and playing plenty of computer games

So, what holds for me in the Year of the Dog? Well, it does not look good. I am an Oxen (ok, Water Ox to be precise) and anyone born in the Year of the Ox may not be having a good year in 2006 (I have checked in 3 different sources and the result is all the same). I got this from somewhere and let’s see that again:-

Ox’s luck in 2006

No mincing of words, take cover! You may be facing some of the most intensive enemies’ fires for the next two years.

So for those working, learn to be a bit more flexible and compromising (damn, now they tell me – but it seems like I have no choice but to force myself to stay cool. There goes my road rage attitude towards queue jumpers & road hoggers)

Some oxen have good lottery luck despite suffering at work. Can punt a bit but not excessive (Ok, at least I don’t need to cut down much on my “investment” activities)

Relative to your business and career indices, romance luck is definitely much better. You will get many suitors and you look extra wonderful at night (Sigh, don’t they know I am married already? Not sure about this “looking good at night” thing but heck, who cares)

If you are hurt at work or business, get healing and comfort from your loves ones at home (Good thing is that my wife makes this great cup of tea to calm down. Oh sorry, I mean she is a great person to be for comfort – if she doesn’t have the time, well there is always a mug of beer to wash away the sorrows & stress)

Anyway, it seems like my life will tough for the next 2 years (I may do a post-mortem of this in the CNY 2007 if things are not so bad). Until then, enjoy your very long holidays and don’t drink & drive (if you must, drive and then drink).

(Filed under Tag: Event)