Unlucky 'saman'

on Thursday, 22 July 2004
As a law-abiding citizen, well, mostly a law-abiding citizen, I got my first official 'saman'. That's a Malay word for fine.

And no, it's not a speeding ticket, it's not for continuing through a junction during yellow or red lights, and it's not for neglecting to insert coins into the parking meter. It's for obstruction of traffic of all things. And me, someone who simply abhors people who "double-park" or park in such a way that they inconvenience other drivers. "Double-park" is a term coined for those who park their cars parallel to legal parking spaces such that they still allow the inner parked cars to exit but block traffic on the road.

Worse, I got the ticket during the day on a public holiday on a side road in Desa Sri Hartamas. The road was the one at the back, right next to the highway and near the place where you turn into the Penchala Link. The other entrance to Projet. Traffic there is usually light, what with that road being able to hold fours cars in parallel.

What I simply find so unlucky about the incident is that during normal working days, that road is simply packed with cars parked on both sides of it. And that's from early morning (about 8 am) up to late evening (about 7). No, that's not when the road starts to clear, it's when people start to double-park. And that goes on till past midnight. I know because I've been there at those times. I happen to work near there, and my working hours are pretty long.

And so it was during the afternoon of a public holiday along a deserted road, I got myself a warning notice. Ok fine, I said to myself, it's just a warning requiring that I send back the notice (which did not have an address by the way, it's really stupid that I had to go search the Internet) with a letter attached to explain why my car was parked there. I gave my reason that when I parked there, there were other cars there, and that for the whole time I've been working there, nobody ever said anything about cars in Desa Sri Hartamas getting any sort of fines. All those cars parked at illegal parking spaces and/or double-parking along the main (heavy-traffic) road that truly are obstructing traffic and causing massive jams never once got a ticket. I wonder if that's because my cars a lowly local make, most likely not owned by some rich guy with too much money in his pocket or someone who would have strings to pull to 'cancel' the fine.

This is so unfair. If I've gotten the ticket during a normal work day, when there's at least some moderate amount of traffic, and I've gotten that along with a whole road of cars, then that's fine. I accept that. But the way I got it made it seem such a farce. It's like my fine was to make up the quota of whoever wrote that fine. And I took the trouble of writing a letter to explain my situation (in Malay, which was pretty rusty already). Might as well don't bother if they're going to fine me anyway, without even a single acknowledgement of my letter. That letter stating the fine was most obviously computer-generated.

And so ends the 'saga' of my first ever, official, saman.

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