Free service...


Written on 12/02/2005 01:37:00 am by sikapitan

Yeeehaaaa… I’ve never thought that the act of sleeping without worries can give so much joy. I’ve suddenly learned to appreciate why simple people, people who live as they please, last longer than corporate-powerbrokers, lawyers and even doctors. It was simply amazing, more liberating than going out with friends, more peaceful than hanging out with your girlfriends, more satisfying than playing football because simply put – those things do make you worry. You’re worried what to wear, where to bring her, how to handle that tough centre-forward.

Sleeping without worries is often said, but seldom practiced. Trust me. I’ve spent countless nights wondering what time I have to wake up the next morning, when to finish my assignment, or simply what to have for lunch. But last weekend, the weekend in which I finally finished my exams, I slept without thinking about anything…seriously, nothing! Heck, it was so relaxing that I don’t even bother wearing clothes. Too much detail perhaps.

But the joy didn’t last for long. By Monday I realized that my car was way overdue for some serious servicing. In two years, I’ve managed to clock up 42 000 kms, not bad considering that Shah Alam and Subang (which my mom believed the only route I ever took) is a mere 15 minutes away. I don’t actually calculate how far I drove every week, but basically I covered more than what my mom does going to the office. This is why she’s pretty pissed.

Regardless of that innocuous background drama, I drove to the nearest (and admittedly very impressive - from the facilities to their customer service) Honda service centre on Tuesday without any apprehension as previously; I spent an average of RM 8 per service. Yes, as part of Honda’s great after-service promotion for new vehicles, users get free service for 2 years or 40 000 km, whichever comes first. This pretty much successful carrot for car buyers have been duplicated by other makes – Volvo, Alfa…they all now come with free service. But do believe that FREE is relative.

The guys processing the paperwork remarked that I’ve finished my free-service benefit, and since the car has reached 40 000, there’s plenty of work to be done. Changing of this filter and that, brake pads and what-nots. He said it’s going to be a bit expensive. And I figured since I’ve always paid less than RM 10, a bit expensive should probably be around RM 400-500 – expensive yet not unexpected.

“Hmmm…semua RM 1, 126…kita kena tukar ini, ini…” and as he pointed out the very expensive OEM-parts my brain stopped functioning. A GRAND! F*Ck! That’s like paying for the car’s monthly installment!!! I’m definitely not saying Honda is trying to cheat me of “my parents’ hard-earned money”, and I was kind of expecting this…but it still caused my heart to skip a beat. “Ermmm…okay okay…petang nanti saya ambik…”

And as I stood in line at the ATM (after a frantic call for an emergency Maybank2U third-party transfer), I wondered how the hell I’m supposed to afford paying for this sort of service plus paying the monthly installment if I’m a junior lawyer earning at most RM 2 000+ per month. I just can’t. My lifestyle, at this current moment, without trying to sound pretentious, is more than I could handle if I were to get a job as a graduate – even the most capable of graduates earn not more than RM 3, 500 working for someone other than their parents and cronies. It makes you wonder, it made ME wonder, if I would finally have to bite my tongue, and turn over to the dark side ie. work for my dad!

This is where dreams, and aspirations, have to be tempered with reality. On the one hand, I would love nothing more than to live life as a rock star, lauded at AIMs and Juara Lagu. I would love to direct a film, win some awards. I would simply love writing shit, and dirt, that people love to read. But alas, even the most successful of directors cannot compete with the financial might of a corporate giant. Even the most celebrated of rock stars must ask sponsorship for their concerts from big corporations. Let’s not talk about column writers, who are probably doing it part-time anyway. And let’s face it; if there were one thing I have learned to enjoy, it would be having money. Lots of it.

It might sound stupid; it might sound immoral and it most definitely sound like I’ve been spoiled. But at the end of the day, it makes perfect sense to me. Riches require sacrifices. Even if it's your dream.


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