Reflections About Not Driving And Cars

Reflections About Not Driving And Cars

King's Park1999 King’s Park Entrance with Our Honda Legend

It is a sobering thought about not driving around anymore. It is hurting and even feel depressing when you used to be a “young man in a hurry”, mobile and on the move with ease & convenience. Your eye-sight is perfect except for the need of reading glass due to age. One morning you woke up and you found yourself being robbed of the most precious gift from God – though fortunately not entirely. That silent, unseen & unsuspecting hostile enemy just caught you unaware without as much of a hint, sign or indication of its coming. This enemy I refer to is “Glaucoma”, a silent disease that even my regular optometrist didn’t pick it up. Fortunately for me, I can still see with 10% on my left & only 5% on my right eye. Glaucoma is so hostile that it remains with you for the rest of your natural life, however unwelcome. You can only control further damage with eye drops. As it is, there’s no cure. Please be advised to see a good ophthalmic surgeon& have your eyes checked on a regular basis.

MMinor '63 T6572 Morris Minor 1000 1963 Our Kelantan Teaching Days

I have been forbidden to drive, especially by my doctor son, lest I’ll be a danger onto myself or worse still a menace onto others. When the days are fine & clear, and the place of my sojourn is familiar & near, I sneak out & love the feeling of being on the wheel. But that’s infrequent.

You know there’s a kind of romance that man has with cars – a romance that’s emotionally strong to the point of being utterly possessive and obsessive. Admittedly, with some men this sort of love & romance with cars even supersede that which they have for their girlfriends or wives. Come to think of it now, it’s a silly notion to be in love with a material thing that possesses you more than you possess it! How ironic!

Taking the bus or the train instead of driving around yourself takes some getting used to. The convenience is not there and there’s a lot of wasted time waiting for buses. You can’t be expected to drop off at an exact location. With buses you need to walk & also to locate your right bus stand. In Perth where I live, unlike Singapore or Hong Kong, public transport is really below par. If you venture out on a weekend here, and you miss the last bus home, be prepared to spend a night of inconvenience, for the alternative taxi fare is so unaffordable for a pensioner.

Fortunately, for me, my wife still drives and for the first in my life I have a lady chauffeur, except that the usual attire does not accompany with the job. The entire experience is not the same as your driving on your own. On your part, there’s a lot of adjusting, adapting & adopting the new experience. Suffice for me to say this much & not more, for good reasons.

There are two basic large investments a man goes through in his lifetime. I exclude the marriage part which happily or unhappily is considered to be an investment by some. First thrilling investment is purchasing a car. The other of course is owning a house.

From the days of cranking in order to start the car, of which I have had a fair share with the Austin and Hillman in the 60s, names which perhaps sound unfamiliar with the present generation to the modern era of electronic start, I have driven and owned several of these transport contraptions.

In retrospect, I still love our first Morris Minor 1000 way back in the 60s. It took us everywhere. We travelled east, we travelled west and all along the East Coast of Malaysia when cars were carted across rivers on risky rafts, which were mere floating platforms or flat buoyant timber structures. There were no bridges then. The journey could mean long delays & tedious journeys. We were then teaching school in Machang & Kota Bahru, Kelantan on our return from Kirkby College.(Vehicle registration No: T 6572)

T6572 MM '63T6572 Morris Minor 1000 1963 East Coast Malaysia

Next came our Volvo 122S, a 4-Door Sedan made in Sweden. Unfortunately, it was not equipped with power steering then, but once in motion, the driving was pleasurable, steady & powerful with great ability in climbing steep gradient. I remember this Volvo caused a fair bit of envy in Anderson School, Ipoh, Malaysia where I was posted upon graduating from the University of Malaya. I was concurrently engaged as a part-time life insurance salesman with Prudential. (Vehicle Registration No: AJ 199)

Agnes&VolvoAgnes always at the wheel of Volvo 1970

The want of driving something even better never cease. That was how I ended up with a Mercedes 280S. I was told that once you have driven a Mercedes, the other vehicles pale by compare. It was certainly great, very steady & safe at high speed of over 100 mph. I had then plunged fully into the challenging field of life insurance sales & management & was making good money. We brought it over to Perth when we migrated.(Vehicle Registration No: AY 1899 changed to PC 888)

S. Jaya '80Mercedes 280S

Y Cheng'87Nephew Yew Cheng 1987

Had a Toyota 8-Seat Tarago for some years when in Perth doing the deli business, plenty of space when carting the purchased goods from the warehouse.

TaragoAA Oct83Andrew & Agnes – Toyota Tarago Oct. ’83  PC 111

Now for sheer sentiments I’ll hand on to my old faithful of over 20 years – top of the range Honda, the Legend with all the trimmings of power-steering, power windows, electronic adjustable driver’s seat, auto sun-roof etc. This was the state of the art in the 80s and now it’s worth only a song if traded in or sold. It has seen its days of glory, used but not abused.(Vehicle Registration: POTBLESS)

Lastly, it must be mentioned that unlike investments in stocks and shares or properties, buying cars is a losing proposition. The moment a car leaves the showroom, 25% value is straightaway written off.

Dickson Bay '80Mazda 323 – Port Dickson, Dickson Bay 1980

For my wife’s driving, there have been two Mazdas including for a very short time period of a Vauxhall Viva, which was quite useless. The first Mazda 1000 ( Registration No. AW 6199) I bought it brand new for my wife as a present, while the second Mazda 323 (Registration No. BBB 5881) we used more as a little family car until our migration departure for Perth in 1982. Now she drives a Toyota Corolla that I enjoy as a passenger.

Family '80Family 1980 – Mazda 323  BBB 5881

Paul Chong

Sunday 23 August 2009


4 thoughts on “Reflections About Not Driving And Cars

  1. Pingback: Reflections About Not Driving And Cars « P21chong's Blog | PassengerPlus.Com

  2. A Meerwald

    Dear Dad
    I love this piece of writing, and Kirby Collge Memorabilia – so meaningful, like an autobiography. Thank you for sharing this. Looking forward to more autobiographical pieces.
    Love Agnes

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