Monday, March 23, 2009
LOVE @ 1st Sight - 37
Actually I didn’t sleep that well last night. Excited with a bit of nervousness. Not sure which one is more between the 2.
I set an alarm on both phones.
I woke up at 6.30am.
It was still dark.
I took a bucket of water and a piece of soft towel, went to the parking lot and gave the Fiat a “sponge bath” for the big day. I felt like it smiled back at me once I completed the tender loving care.
Less than 5 minutes on an empty Sunday morning road of Jalan Duta, already I got a honk and a thumb up from a Subaru driver (Was it a Forrester? Not sure).
What a good start I thought.
At the Concours
The fact that my Fiat 600D was selected or qualified to participate in the competition - is already a big achievement in the community full of eccentric enthusiasts.
David reminded me more than twice- To be selected is actually a BIG deal already you know!
Twice he elaborated:
It’s like a beauty pageant. Only the pretty ones are selected.
Like the Oscars lah. You know those films that didn’t win but having Oscar nominated IS a bloody big deal!
With a little investment in terms of cash and time, and dedication, it finally paid off and more – when the MC announced (with the presence of the Mayor of KL – his speech sucked, by the way) The 3rd Runner up for the Modern Classic 2 category, the winner is Fiat 600D model 1966, owner Encik M H.
I felt numb for a split second. I couldn’t believe my ears. I rushed to the stage almost knocked down a video camera on a tripod.
And most of all,
To win the 3rd Runner Up in its category (an this is my very 1st attempt) is just
I am actually ecstatic because not only this is my first attempt, but also the 3rd, 2nd and 1st place were basically awarded to 3 distinct cars in the little community.
3rd place went to a rare Volksvagen coupe, owned by an uncle from JB. He has sevreral other classic cars and motobikes.
2nd place went to a Merc 250 (1968) owned by the famous Malaysia Rally driver, no other than Karamjit Singh.
1st place went to this exotic and rare Corvette CI (1962). Pic below:
The FIAT 600D had won the heart of the judges
But more importantly,
Fiat won the people’s hearts.
It a bigger deal to me.
I wish I could record the conversations and videotape the images in their faces when they saw my car. They all lightened up all of a sudden. It's like they have been jolted by a spark of a memories from the past.
A blast perhaps?
In comparison - when people saw the Ferraris , the Jags, the Rolls or the Benzs, they would have this expression in their face like:
Wow! It’s a Ferrari!
Wow! It’s a Jag!
But when they see my car, they didn’t say
Wow! FIAT 600D – wallawwey!
They would say:
Look, Pak Long had this car before,
Hey this was the car my teacher used to drive me to school,
Oh my! My father used to drive this car,
I learned how to drive with this car!.
I used to drive this car in the 60’s every weekend commuting between KL and Penang when I was in the service
This was my first car
And then only they mention “FIAT 600D”.
It was very visible and I saw about 90 percent of the people who smiled when they saw the car. Their faces showed the good old time just being replayed in their minds and it normally involved their close family members.
Silently I was touched.
Seconds of flashbacks of happy times carved smiles in many faces from different ages and economic demographics.
The ONLY IF story.
I had the pleasure meeting several enthusiasts. All of them are older than me (huhu!). One of them is Mr. Lim who used to drive a Fiat 600D in the 60’s.
He commuted KL – Penang every weekend, then.
In excellent comand of English “I had a the same car before. I commuted weekly between KL and Penang. Had so much fun on the trunk roads, burning rubber and screeching the wheels. My Fiat could get 60 miles per gallon. I consumed about a quarter of a tank to drive from KL to Penang then.”
THEN - is actually when a double-storey house on Jalan Limau Purut (off Jalan Maarof) Bangsar was going for Ringgit 16,000. The bungalow, believe it or not, Ringgit 32,000.
Such a senior and proper gentlemen.
He pointed to me, commenting on the position of my signal lights - in his humble opinion - not quite well placed in the restoration process.
Rather than saying (the way I would have):
“It should be on the mudguard above the wheel”,
“It should be at the apex of the wheel arch”.
British education at it’s finest, I thought.
It was quite sad when he said:
“I wish I had more money then, and could keep the car… I really regret it. And by the way, you have done the car very well.” He expressed in satisfaction - as if I have achieved his dream for him.
I can see the nostalgic eyes in his expression.
He is an old Chinese uncle. In the 60’s, he was in the "service". His last post in the government was Chief Editor of Post Production of Televisyen Malaysia.
He expressed his concern about the deterioration of the quality among government servants, the abuse of political power, the racial integration, education system etc etc.
I agreed with him and depressed at the same time, so I asked him:
“Uncle, you have survived so many year, since before Merdeka. As far as I feel (being 40 years old and a bit, compared to Uncle Lim who more than 20years advantage – or disadvantages? – of living in Malaysia), this is the lowest point of Malaysia as far as I can remember. Do you feel the same way, despite the fact that you have been living here a lot longer than I have?”
He answer was (not at all to my surprise):
Thanks to me! After that we were both depressed.
Nite Nite Fiat!
It has been a GREAT day!
p/s: If Bu was still around, he would be very proud of me! For sure!