Over the long weekend that just passed, we have a road trip getaway Malacca, together with my cousin's family. So together, we went in Malaysia with two cars, four adults, two young children and two babies!
We enjoyed the getaway over food, movies, swimming, shopping etc, except for one bad situation. On Saturday late morning, we drove out in my cousin's car, to Melaka International Trade Centre to attend their local book fair. We spent almost two hours there and were all damn happy with our loots! Only until when we returned to the car.... we were in for a shocked!
The front passenger seat window was smashed, the vehicle was ransacked and bits of the broken windows were everywhere even in the back seats. Only another car, a very very old Malaysia car, parked in front of us, suffered the same fate!
Two of the older children were in the strollers, two of the Babies were in the carriers strapped onto the Mommies. The two Daddies were holding on to a huge carton of heavy books each. The sun was very hot. Imagine our faces! Mind you! We were parked just outside the convention hall and my cousin kept all the valuable things out of sight!
The older children kept questioning what happened to the car, who want to break the car window, what should we do etc etc etc, on Repeat Mode. -_-||| The babies were starting to whine and cry due to the wait in the heat. The daddies quickly try to clear the mess while the mommies bring the children to a nearby shaded area under a tree to wait as well as comforted the children. The children were afraid actually.
What's lost is just an original samsung charger cable, and a GPS! My cousin actually removed the GPS and kept into the glove compartment before he locked the car! What he didn't remove was the holder that was sticked to the windscreen! The greatest damage is of course the window itself!! We couldn't believe how unlucky we were and also how "cheapo" the thief was to go through the hassle just for those items! But on second thought again, we all agreed that luckily only the window was smashed and the car is not stolen (we have both had friends whose cars got stolen in Malaysia before). And of course, we were very thankful that none of us was hurt and the children are all fine. Anything worst could happen on a holiday trip and we are glad it's just a scare and monetary lost!
Of course, there were still many questions and thoughts that went through everyone's minds! Should we report to the police? How do we fix the car window? Oh man.. with a window missing, it's just more vulnerable when driving and also how are we going to park anywhere without fear of the car getting stolen this time!! If we can't get the window fixed, the ride back home to Singapore the next day is gonna be quite unbearable for his family (think the aircon loss for about 5 hours including the jams!)
Through this experience, I feel that my cousin was really level headed and resourceful. We all worked together seamlessly. I thought it will be good to share this so that if you ever faced a similar situation, you have an idea of what you can do.
1. Lucky both hubby and I have the habit of purchasing local sim cards for our mobile phones while on holidays, so we had GPS function, as well as VERY CHEAP mobile data coverage while in Malaysia. My cousin instructed me to search for the his car brand, which is Suzuki, and look for their authorised workshops located in Malacca.
2. There is only one Suzuki Authorised workshop in Malacca, and we called them immediately. Most of the staffs can't speak English. The one whom finally can speak in English, told me that they are having their break time and asked to call me back after 330pm with regards to if they have stock for the front passenger window for the car model and how much it will be. It was 2+ pm, and I am really very turned off by their service attitude. They had replied me they are closing at 6pm!
3. We drove back to our Hatten Hotel Malacca, which is also a shopping mall and my cousin ingeniously parked his car at the car grooming services. He specifically asked for vacuuming services to rid the window bits that we couldnt clear ourselves and we all then proceeded to have our very late lunch with peace of mind from worrying how we are going to leave a car with an exposed window unattended. We were very worried that it can now be very easily stolen ok...
4. At 4pm, I finally called through the workshop again. Of course the lady forgotten to call me back and she also hadn't check anything. Sigh! Hubby accompanied my cousin to proceed to the workshop first because we had no idea where it is located. The address is so difficult to find on the Google Map.
5. Sure enough. The workshop cannot be located on the Google Map. But lucky hubby asked around some other workshops they came across, of cos they do not have the stock of a suzuki car window. But one particular workshop uncle is very kind and helpful to draw a map for them to get to that authorised workshop.
6. Finally! I am amazed how quick thinking my cousin was and how we were able to very quickly search for the information we need. Within 5 hours from finding out the car was broken into, we got the car window fixed and safely parked into the hotel. It's with our luck that we had the time to do all these. If the workshop is closed or we can't find any stock for that window, I don't know how anyone can fall asleep that day! Likelihood we have to terminate the holiday immediately to head back to Singapore!
Tips for when driving to Malaysia for a holiday
# Do not leave anything valuable or important in the car at all
# Always keep vehicle locked even if there are people waiting in the car
# Try not to venture to suburbs or drive when dark
# Consider getting a device to lock your steering wheel when parked, to deter against car theft
# Consider purchasing a local SIM Card so that you can access mobile data to surf net or make local phone calls easily. It can also turn your phone into a GPS or backup GPS
# If damages were to happen to your car in Malaysia caused by Malaysian or Malaysia cars, it will be difficult to get any claims as I understand that it is not compulsory for Malaysia cars to be insured. Instead of going to any workshop at risk of being anyhow quoted or going into a "black" shop, search for your car's brand authorised workshops. Who else will has the highest chance of carrying the spare parts that can fixed your car most quickly?
# It's still cheaper to get the car fixed in Malaysia than back in Singapore
# The workshop staffs told us that regardless of where you parked, this vehicle break in always happen, cos "this is Malaysia". He shared that their boss' s car which is parked infront of the workshop itself had its windows smashed twice and ransacked. So... I think it's really luck. Just try not to venture out in your car but take a taxi instead!
We kind of feel that the break in is not random, but should have happened soon after we locked the car and walked into the convention hall. It is likely someone had been watching from afar to look for victims to target so he could have seen my cousin kept the GPS into the compartment. The thought that someone is watching without us knowing is freaky! Still counting our blessings that worse things could have happened and luckily it just some monetary losses. I am not sure about others, but this incident and close shave leaves a bad taste in our mouths. It's the first time we had such an experience while travelling in Malaysia and teaches us not to be complacent and take safety for granted! We won't be driving into Malaysia again so soon!
Just be more careful and alert if you are driving into Malaysia, especially if you are going in with your family and children ok?