Your Parking Space is belong to us

One of the joys of driving a car is that you can go almost anywhere in Malaysia (as long there are roads, no landslides and enough money for Tolls). But once in a while, you need to stop the car, to give the engine a rest (Ok, its actually an excuse for you to go wee-wee) .

So, you need to find a parking spot. You can literally park anywhere, as long as it is legal and not piss other drivers off.
1) Parking bays are defined with a bright yellow rectangle which is big enough for a car.
2) Big yellow rectangles with diagonal lines are not meant for group parking but its called a "Yellow Box" for some other reason, especially where there are traffic lights at each corners.
3) Double parking is not recommended as your perception of "few minutes" are very different to other people.
4) If you see some parking meters obscenely placed next to the bay, insert some coins and think of it as vending machine or a countdown timer for your parking. (OK, think of it as City Hall donation machine).

Outdoor parking spots are fine except for some very minor issues:

1) Birds training for their dive bombing missions.
2) Other birds taking the concept of outdoor toilets literally.
3) Dogs mistaking your car for a Hydrant/Food/Blank canvas.
4) Other people who forgot that their car doors are much much longer than yours.
5) Imaginative people with antenna fetish.
6) Mr. Sun is trying change the colour of your car (and the shape of your Cadbury chocolate bars).

But for indoor parking, its a different matter entirely. You really have to consider a lot of other things, namely:

1) Parking after 12:00 at places such as Sungei Wang, Ikano, 1-Utama, Mid-Valley, etc. are really asking for trouble.
2) Weekends and School Holidays do not mix.
3) Dogs mistaking your car for a Hydrant/Food/Blank canvas.
4) Other people who forgot that their car doors are much much longer than yours.
5) Imaginative people with antenna fetish.
6) Wheel clamps are not essential car parking accessories.

But what really irks me are those drivers who have yet to park their car. And they can be classified as:

1) The Tourist
The tourist are a strange breed who actually enjoy driving their car all over the parking area just to find a spot. The tourist does not mind how far or how terrible the spot is, as long as they can park their car. They can spend more than half an hour for this and pity the passengers who are with the Tourist. The smarter ones actually know the whole floor plan of the place.

2) The passive Stalker
This one really takes the cake. The will wait in the bay, "taking" the whole row as theirs. So, this type of stalker will wait at their "territory" until they see you at your car. Then they will conveniently put on their signal/indicators to "chope" their spot. You see, like other forms of booking/claims (in Malaysia, is "chope" as in "chope first") there is an unwritten rule* that once the item/seat/place is taken, you cannot take it. Other Stalkers who sees the signal would have to move off. These people are quite calculative because, they do not need much effort to get your space and also with minimum amount of fuel spend. On the other hand, time is ticking because parking charges are by the hour.

3) The aggressive Stalker
The passive Stalker would slowly cruise the whole are and once they spot you going for your car (never mind if you have tons of stuff to carry), they will quicky follow you. This has a twofold effect:
A) Psychological Terror
While you're walking, you will be consciously thinking if the stalker is either admiring your bum or your shopping. So, in the end, you can see some people either walking with their stuff in front of them or using stuff to cover their bum

B) Indirect Pressure
With the car behind you, you would actually feel bad/pressured to walk faster so that they will not horn you. Maybe Marathon walkers train this way.

The more impatient ones would actually drive up to you and asks you where your car is, indirectly saying "C'mon, you moron! Walk faster, I want your space!".

4) The Snatcher
Well, this one is really aggressive. This happens when they think they spotted their prey first, ignoring the "chope" rule and even the one-way traffic direction. They would move in before the other car has a chance, which usually results in car bodywork re-design, loud horning and colourful languages. All in al, in the end, you have two cars head to head, as if they're about to play "chicken", all right in front of you for your viewing pleasure. Some drivers who are kind enough, would move their out car in the direction of the aggressor, thereby blocking thier way and let the "rightful" car in. Some would refuse to partake and therefore lock their cars and go back into the shopping complex.

But the worse is yet to come. You see, once you have reached your car, you need time to put your stuff (or unwilling passengers) into the car. This can take from a few seconds to minutes. However, with the other car waiting for you to vacate the space, (and with Murphy's Law) chances are, they would place their car strategically in such a way to block other cars whus creating a traffic jam and you have no choice but to stuff your stuff, get everyone into the car, put on your belts, find the darn parcking ticket and move off, all within the space of 100 seconds or less.

For the past week, I had two encounters, both of them Stalkers.
1. I was carrying the newly bought baby's mattress to the car when this guy (in the car with his parents and all) drove up to me and asks me where I parked my car. Once I showed him the spot, he was all eager to go there until I said that I still need to fetch my wife two floors above. I can't lie to him because it is not easy to outrun an angry driver while holding the mattress

2. Coming out from Sungei Wang's 6th floor (famous for Hobby Toys and Gundam Models) and onto the parking lot, I had the misfortune of being spotted by a stalker on the other side. He saw me and judging from the sounds of his engine, he was really gunning for it. So, I quickly went into my car and ducked. The guy was so excited that he forgot the exact spot where my car was and after a few minutes of searching, moved off.

Countering Tourists and Stalkers
Yes, it is possible to put salt into their ice-cream and here's how:
1) When you go for your car, never walk in a straight direction but in a zig-zag way, going between other cars as much as possbile.
(You'd do this if there was a snake chasing after you too)
2) If you are too near to your car, look confused and go in another direction, as if you have forgotten where you parked your car. You can practise this act at Mid-Valley or KLCC. Then again, you might not have to as a lot of people tend to get lost there anyway.........
3) Wave your hand to them, signalling you're not going off. This is the smae type of wave when eager salespeople approach you while you're eating and when asked for donations.
4) Carry a bottle/wrench and open the your car's bonnet while looking distraught (or confused).
5) If all fails, just faint on the spot or wave your arms frantically as if your armpits have fleas

All in all, I wonder if its actually better to leave the car at home and take the LRT/Taxi/Bus.

* - If I find out who wrote this, I'll murder them