It was raining cats and dogs and elephants and hippos yesterday, around lunch time. I stopped by my favorite dim sum restaurant to buy some century egg porridge and other tidbits for lunch. Unfortunately they had already ran out of the porridge, so I ended up with just one char siew pau and one egg tart. And since I had gotten drenched with my jeans wet through to my shin level, I might as well make the trip worth it by buying some organic tau foo fa (soya bean curd) from the shop next door too.
As I was approaching my car after making my purchase, I noticed the parking ticket man standing nearby, with an umbrella in his hand. So I motioned for him that I was headed for my car and asked him how much. On hindsight, I could have just walked to my car and drove off, because I was only parked for not more than 10 minutes, but my conscience would have pricked me so hard it would have bled.
Anyway, he told me “Empat puluh sen”. (40 cents was the rate charged every half hour)
I paid him and waited for my receipt.
But that fella walked away!
I called after him, and asked, “Mana resit?” (“Where is my receipt?”)
He said, “Oh, tak payah resit laaa..” (“Oh, no need to issue a receipt…”)
Immediately, I retorted, “Tak payah resit, tah payah bayar la!” (“If you don’t give me a receipt, I don’t need to pay!”), and extended my hand to him, as if asking for my precious 40 sen back.
Hey, I was all alone, cold and wet, incredibly hungry, holding my lunch in packets AND I was rushing for a meeting. I probably sounded a LEETLE bit angry, but I had every reason to feel that way. Yes, it was only 40 sen, but it’s still money, right? It would have been conveniently squandered by him, had I not put my foot down at that very instant and demanded for my receipt.
Of course he issued me one after that, but I wonder how many incidents of “40 sen tak payah bayar” he had actually escaped with. I wonder how many people would actually insist on a ticket. Times are certainly bad, and every single bit counts.
I’m sure that parking ticket man is well aware of that. But nobody should ever use dishonest means to make that quick buck. Or that quick 40 sen.