There Is No Fire Without Smoke

Suddenly, there is news circulating about people’s car getting sabotaged when they stop at PLUS rest areas. It is an old story. A few years ago, it was quite rampant and was reported on forums.

One of the tricks deployed by the crooks was to release air or stub the valve and your tyre will go flat when you drive.

They can also puncture your radiator from under the car and your car will soon overheat. A mechanic or tow truck will show up when you stop. He was following you.

The crooks will offer to repair your car or tow it away. Should it be towed, it will be held at ransom or at their mercy. It happened to a friend of mine. When he told the “mechanic” he has no money at the breakdown spot, the guy even drove him to an ATM.

I think many of the reported cases happened on the north bound side between Malacca and Seremban and usually at night. People stop to eat or go loo.

One trick was to pour diesel on your tyres. When they get heated up after driving, heavy smoke will come from the tyres. The panicking driver will pull over, straight into the trap. To be safe, don’t leave your car unattended. If you are alone how? Pee into a can or plastic bag.

Caught In A Spiderweb

Inside the tunnel of an underpass, I decided to have some fun with the camera. For safety reasons, try this only when you are a passenger.

Set the camera’s shutter speed to between 1 and 2 seconds. Click and rotate your camera during the length of the exposure. The rotation need not be a full or perfect circle. Your mileage may vary.

To make the light bluish at the end of the tunnel, change the white balance to one of the presets by pre-viewing to see which works best.

This may be one of the last of such colour combos as the city’s street and infra lighting are gradually converted to daylight-coloured LEDs. The spider web patterns here are the result of warmer and older sodium lights.

I wish there are more taillight reds but many local motorists fail to see the need to turn on the lights when entering a tunnel. The red streaks are cars braking into a traffic jam at the end of the underpass.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 50, f22, 1.6 sec.

The Forerunner Of Waze, Malaysian-Style

Driving on this section from Kuala Kubu Bharu to Tanjung Malim brought back some scary childhood memories. The many winding sections of Federal Route 1 saw some of the most horrific head-on crashes.

When it was the only major road to the north or south, the narrow and mostly two-lane road was also the only route for heavy vehicles. The slow, overloaded trucks and buses used to frustrate many a driver following from behind. Many impatient and weary motorists will either tailgate or overtake dangerously.

Some drivers overtook on blind corners and ended up colliding with another reckless (or innocent vehicle) coming from around a sharp bend.

There were police ‘double-line’ traps to deter such overtaking and speeding. Malaysian motorists on Federal Route 1 devised their own warning system. It started with flashing of headlights to warn vehicles on the opposite direction of a forward police operation.

The more vehicles you see flashing, the more reliable is the warning. The more intense or rapid the flicker of high beams, the nearer the cops. Some of you may say, unlike Waze, the system doesn’t identify the cause of the traffic jam in front. It could, surprisingly.

I remember traveling as a kid in my uncle’s car. There was a very long traffic jam and we had no idea of the cause and were slow crawling cluelessly.

My uncle rolled down his window when he saw a door-less timber lorry snail-crawling up the slope from the opposite direction.

Uncle: Flipped two hands and shrugged shoulders [meaning: what is going on?]

Truck driver: Knocked his two fists together twice [meaning: head-on collision]

Uncle: Curled index finger into a hook and shrugged shoulders [meaning: anyone died?].

Truck driver: Curled finger into hook followed by three fingers [meaning: 3 people died]

There you have it. A rudimentary but effective crowd-sourced social traffic information network, ahead of its time.

Olympus OM-D, ISO 1600, f7.1, 1/1600 sec.