Scenario: Cecil Rae Lane, Canning Garden. Commercial block of shop lots consisting of mixed traders inclusive of three kedai kopi (coffee shops) and gaming shops fronting the Canning Garden market, a near perfect 1Malaysia street.
The time is 9.30 a.m. The coffee shops are busy with the breakfast crowd and their chatter fills the road outside. The parking lots are full and motorists are double parked waiting for a slot.
Everybody is doing their own thing when a shout cries out, “Chow Pai!” from one of the coffee shops. Seconds later another “Chow Pai!” shout is heard.
All heads perk up and many rush toward their cars, open their car doors and start scratching their parking coupons before placing it prominently on the car dashboard.
Chow Pai is Cantonese, literally translated means ‘copy number’. In this case it is a parking alert that an MBI enforcement officer is outside checking for cars without a parking coupon to issue a parking summons, as is his duty.
According to a trader there, this happens throughout the working day explaining some motorists just pop in to buy their (betting) ‘numbers’ or ‘tar pau’ (take-away) a snack so they don’t scratch their coupons.
Thank goodness for the lenient MBI officer as I witnessed him approaching a car as a motorist came rushing forward with parking coupon in hand, indicating that she was ‘scratching it’ and he moved to the next car.
No, I did not see the officer printing out any summons that morning as every car had their parking coupons displayed.
Like that lah!