A billion people died on the news tonight/But not so many cried at the terrible sight/ Well mama said/
It's just make believe/You can't believe everything you see/ So baby close your eyes to the lullabies/On the news tonight

Saturday, February 05, 2005

On Hindsight

The time now is 0342H. I just reached home. The day started innocently enough.

I was late again, bad time management again. Then we went to tiong bahru plaza to have lunch and buy the stuff for May. At about 3 plus or 4 plus we celebrated her farewell.. she loved the montage. Then at 5.30 Mandy and I went to Westmall to buy a cake for VC's family.. We arrived for the steamboat at 7.30 roughly. Linus and Erica kept the team laughing. It was a good night.

I ended up with the team for drinks after that.. LL waited and became lethagic. I asked if he wanted to go home instead and he said ya.. owe him a tung lok dinner.

We went to Tango at Holland Village. The service was good, though slightly laggy, which was no fault of theirs.. I give credit where it is deserved.

Most of them ordered non-alcoholic drinks... The girls ordered non-alcoholic margaritas, and the boys (Uncle J and Hummingbert) ordered coffee. VC ordered Whisky Coke: I don't drink beer and he wouldn't let me escape this time.. Mike shared until his sister came, where they ordered one jug of beer.. Happy, VC also ordered one more jug of whisky coke.

We played "zhong ji mi ma", and VC lost a couple of times trying to 陷害 SL. We all had fun.

As we prepared to leave, travelling arrangements were made.. Mike and his sister went for a second round, SL walked home, the boys split a cab. I suggested Vonda and I share a cab.. and VC can drive Grace home.

VC suggested that Vonda and I sit in his car as well.. He'll send Grace, then Vonda, with me staying the nearest to his place being the last to get off so someone can keep him company as we were all tired.. we had a long day.

The little alcohol in me drove this insomnic to drowsiness, and VC tried to find his most upbeat music.. it turned out to be early jazz.. I told him "this is the kind of jazz I like" and then the aircon seduced me with the gentle rocking of the vehicle. I could not bear it.. the seat was welcoming.. I placed my head on the seatbelt like it was a lover's shoulder.. then slept in its embrace.

I remember vaguely waking up nearing Grace's house.. saw her get off the car... tried my best to fight sleep for once (insomnics don't have it easy).. but my willpower was no fight. I remember I turned and saw Vonda awake, so I went to sleep with a easier mind. After all, I have to be awake from Boon Lay to Jurong East.. looking forward to have conversation with VC.. zzz...

VC's shout of "shit!" woke me up.. the next thing I knew, we hit a vehicle on our right. I remember waking up before we hit the vehicle. We spun... I cannot remember what VC was saying.. he was turning the steering wheel rapidly. I think he was saying "oh shit oh shit oh shit" or something along that line. From either the first or second lane on the right, we spun to all the way to the left.. We hit the railing.. think we most probably spun again.. then we stopped.

VC was shocked.. he kept saying "bad" or "shit" or the such. All three of us got out. Vonda was shocked, and I was just speechless.. which is a very big deal. I can't remember if VC asked us if we were okay first inside or outside the car.

The other vehicle was a taxi, I think it was yellow. The driver and the passenger stood outside the cab and the cab driver was furious. He crossed the road, and I remember VC walked over down the road shoulder to meet him halfway. He kept apologising, and asked the cab driver not to report to the police. He promised to pay the driver, and continued to apologise. The cab driver noted the air of alcohol around VC. I turned to Vonda and asked her if she was ok, exchanging our version of events. We walked down to the two men, and saw that by then the passenger had crossed over.. He sat on the railing next to us. I think. I can't remember if VC talked to him after the cab driver asked him to apologise to him, or he had already spoken to

The cab was on the second lane to the right. There was shattered glass all over the fast lane. Some cars plainly slowed down to take a look.. I was rather irritated with them. Others slowed down to steer away from the broken vehicle and some drivers just drove over the glass. I remember wondering whether their tires would get punctured.

An ambulance was amongst the cars driving past, and before it reached us, it was on the lane that the cab was on. I pointed it out to Vonda and we had no inkling it was coming over to us. I just thought it was trying to force a turn so it could go on its way. When it stopped behind VC's vehicle, I thought that they were perhaps on their way to an accident and happened to see us. A few men got off and asked if we were alright. It dawned on me someone had informed the civil defense of the accident. They hang around for a while.

To my horror, many police bikes approached, but to my relief, none stopped. Perhaps some turned their heads for a look. I was thinking, surely this can just count as a civil case, just as long as the cab driver do not call the authorities. To the ignorant eye, this was just a normal accident.. 'seriousness' not withstanding.

That relief was shortlived.

A police pulled in front of VC's car, and 2 policemen, trying to be garang, put on their rudest attitude (if anyone can get more rude than that, he'll get a world record), and talked to us in a very pushy manner. "Who's the car driver? Who knock who? You drink and drive? Drive want to drive somemore!" I started to be in a state of fear, for fear that VC would be charged with drunk driving.

EMAS arrived behind the cab... started to get busy around it. What they were doing, I wasn't really sure. Perhaps some cleaning or such. A second police car also arrived. Which came first I don't remember.

The second car's men in blue were fierce, very business-like in fact, but they were considerably pleasant compared to the first car, at least they weren't rude. "Wah, you smell of alcohol! How much did you drink? Huh? A lot is it? You want to drink and drive! Disturb my sleep only!" (The last statement left the most lasting impression on me, I have no idea why.) VC apologised repeatedly, as he had done with their colleagues who had left.

I started praying, for VC to pass the breath test, for the police to be lenient with him... They told him to walk over to their police car, and Vonda and I stood there just watching them talk to him. I was thinking, what would I do if they cuffed him? I was at a loss. I held my cross and prayed that God would see him through this.. to tell the truth, I was afraid to pray that God would do His Will.. just in case.. foolish though, because His Will will be done.

We chatted with the passenger. He told us that this is the second time he's involved in an accident in a cab.. kept saying "it's me.. it's me."

Funny how almost everyone was blaming themselves.

I walked over to VC and stood by him, could see the air of... resignation? regret? No words were said about what we should have done earlier, besides apologies flying all around.

In the end, VC had to take the car with the ability to flash lights on its roof back while we sourced for drivers to pick up his car: his wife was asleep, and I was quite relieved. I would hate for her to be disturbed and still have to drive us back (They would insist).

In the end, Vonda called her brothers and they came down in a car, albeit late. Everyone stood around the road shoulder chatting. VC spoke to the seemingly more senior policeman while I observed the younger one. He seemed to be an NSF, or a rather young TP. (At the time of writing the blog, Jie's friend Leon came into mind. Any chance of this young TP being a scholar on practical training?) The policemen traded 'police' speak in front of us, the abbrevations flying here and there. The cab driver drove his car to the road shoulder (the EMAS had left a long time ago.. I forget when.) and I saw that his left front tyre was punctured. I can't remember the total injuries the car sustained, whether the windows were shattered or what.

Vonda's younger twin brothers came and she sat in her brothers' car while one of them drove VC's car with me as the map guide. I told VC to call me if anything, I was really worried for him. Exchanging conversation in the car with Vonda's brother, we noticed a weird sound coming from the right, beneath the hood. He explained that it was a mechanical damage, something (he said it specifically but I can't remember or did he?) was rubbing by the tyres.

We reached VC's house and I threw the keys into the letter box.. before realizing it was unlocked. They were about to manually lock each door while I just simply reached my hand into the letter box and took the keys. The keys returned to the letter box after the doors were locked.

The time is now 0013H, 8 Feb 05. It has taken me roughly 3 days to finish up to here. Sometimes I really didn't want to go through the facts. Sometimes I really just didn't have the strength to finish the blog.

On hindsight... If I didn't fall asleep, this whole event might not have happened. If I had been awake and keeping VC company, chatting with him, he wouldn't have dozed off at the wheel.

On hindsight... If I had followed my gut feelings of going coffee club express instead, we might not have gone to Tango. I suggested Tango because for some weird reason I thought it had quite a lot of non-alcoholic drinks (I was quite, quite wrong.).

On hindsight... If I had insisted to not drink, he might not have ordered Whisky Coke..

On hindsight... If I had gone out with LL, they might have just hung out at his place or just ordered beer together with Mike if they were out.

On hindsight... Thank God for the seatbelt...

I am very very tired now. Quite some stuff have happened prior to this end of the blog. Probably update next week. Being quite nua recently.

Part 2 of the crash - The aftermath.. next week.

Comments on "On Hindsight"


Blogger Westin complained! (Tuesday, February 08, 2005 11:36:00 pm) : 

Utterly speechless about what happened... just really glad you're all fine man... thank God...


Blogger Botak Chin complained! (Wednesday, February 09, 2005 2:24:00 am) : 

It was definitely a closed shave. Thanks to the Man above that we are all fine. This accident is a tough lesson and it also tells us that not everyone falls asleep like us...the insignificant lives of us were literally "picked up from the ground"..


Blogger cheahchuwen complained! (Thursday, January 05, 2006 7:13:00 pm) : 

cops are like that, i mean, when i was in ns i spoke like an asshole to my recruits when the need arises, but i'm as mellow as a cat outside of camp. alot of guys can't imagine the mean side of me.


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