Monday, September 24, 2007


When I finish work late into the night, I hate walking across the deserted road leading to the deserted parking lot in front of my office block. Pepper spray in one hand, car keys in the other, and I try to walk confidently to my car. But before I walk out of the building, I also make it a point to tell the guard to listen out should I scream. So far I've been safe, and the only time I screamed was because some scurrying rats scared the bleeding shit out of me. Whatever it is, I am scared.

Driving alone late at night used to be something I take pleasure in. I enjoy cruising along the streets of KL when traffic is minimum, left alone to my own thoughts while soaking in the lights that dot the city bright. These days, I try and avoid driving alone at night because of the dangers that lurk out there. I was once surrounded my about 30 mat rempits at a traffic light while driving solo, with them banging on my window and asking me to join them in their fun. When the lights turned green, I so wanted to to ram into all of them but I merely froze. That shook me up pretty badly. And all the stories you hear in the media, the things that happen to people while driving on the roads.. and now, I just hate it when I have to drive alone. Yes, I am scared.

I get scared in broad daylight too. When I walk on the streets, I hold my bag close to my chest. I would prefer to move about without a tote if possible, but when you have 2 handphones, a purse, tissue, wet wipes, make-up, tampons (on menstruating days), a bottle of perfume and car keys - it's impossible to not carry a bag innit? I get paranoid when I hear a motorcycle nearing me and always turn back to look. Then again, the last time my bag got snatched, they did it from a car. It's scary.

When I walk to and from my car in basement parking lots of malls and office complexes, my trusty pepper spray and car keys will be ready, and my pace is always quick, usually leaving me panting and perspiring once I reach my car or the building. I never park next to a stationary van or truck. I never park at the end of a row, especially when the end of that row means having to park next to a wall or a dead end. I am scared.

On the rare occassion when I'm required to take a cab, especially at nights, I try to avoid flagging a cab from the roadside, but instead call for one. I check out the driver's ID, and if the photo is not a match I get worried. But some cabbies have explained to me that they rent it from another cabbie to do night shifts. Others have merely said, "Itu gambar lama!" I also call friend/boyfriend/colleague/ whoever that is waiting for me at the destination to inform them of the taxi's vehicle registration number including an approximate time of arrival. What if there is no one expecting me at my destination? Simple, I stage a call. I call (and not SMS) because I want the cabbie to hear and to know that he'd better not try anything funny. Yeah, I'm a scaredy cat.

Sometimes, after a night out, I end up in a dodgy situation, clad in unappropriate attire. Like stopping by a burger stall in a dress with a plunging neckline, where a few blokes are hanging out, and obviously paying me unwanted attention. If possible, I make my order from the car and wind up my window quickly while I wait. Even after driving off, I perpetually check my rearview window to make sure no one is tailing me. Dressing up for a night out makes me happy. I wear what I like, I wear what I'm confident in, and I wear what makes me look good. But what I wear makes me scared sometimes.

Seems like I'm constantly living in fear.

Condolences to the Jazimin family, and to little Nurin, rest in peace.

Posted by Doreen at 3:05 pm