IN this exciting episode of Ampersand, I would like to share some of my experiences as a councillor. There are no morals behind these stories save the ones readers chose to draw for themselves.
It was almost 11pm when I finally wrapped up a meeting with a group of residents one night. Having not had dinner yet, I proceeded to my favourite chicken rice stall while still wearing the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) uniform that councillors are given.
I am fond of this stall because the food is good and the uncle that serves the chicken rice is always jovial and friendly. The greeting I received this time, however, was different. I was still a good distance away when the uncle started shouting “sau lui” (Cantonese for collecting money).
(Pic by Terence / Wiki commons) The uncle looked at me with a mix of hate and disgust while continuing to shout “sau lui” to warn the other stall owners in the area that an MBPJ officer had arrived.
When I spoke in Cantonese for an order of chicken rice and a plate of bean sprouts, the uncle just stood there for a few seconds with a blank look on his face. The uncle then asked me if I worked with the MBPJ, to which I said, “Yes”. He then said something about how he could count the number of Chinese Malaysians working with the MBPJ with the fingers on one hand.
Of course, the stall owner was exaggerating. You can count the number of Chinese Malaysians working with the MBPJ with the fingers on two hands.
For some reason, the chicken rice didn’t taste that good that night.
Once, an old man complained to me that he was wrongly fined by MBPJ officers for illegal parking and wanted me to help him cancel the fine. Naturally, I asked where it was that he received the fine.
“I got the ticket parking outside the EPF building on Jalan Gasing,” said the old man. He then proceeded to tell me how he should not have been fined because there were no yellow lines to denote that parking was prohibited in that area.
Despite explaining that parking in the area would result in traffic obstruction, the old man simply would not accept the explanation, and insisted that the fine be cancelled because there were no yellow lines on the road.
Finally, I gave the old man an analogy that I thought was acceptable. “Sir, just because there is no sign that says no littering in the area doesn’t mean that it is legal to litter wherever such signs are not present.”
The old man walked off cursing the DAP, adding that he would vote for the MCA in the next elections.
(NB: The yellow lines along Jalan Gasing have since been painted.)
DAP-appointed MBPJ councillor KW Mak once got a phone call at 2am from a resident who did not understand the simple request to call back in the morning. “You mean you don’t answer your phone anytime the public calls you?” was the resident’s response.
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