Monday, November 7, 2011


Days prior to yesterday, my officemates and I planned to go out on one Sunday night to have a special dinner. Since my father is here for a vacation, as well as my officemate’s mom, we all agreed to went out.

To my surprise, the supposedly fun night turned out into a disaster.

Wanna know the story behind? Read on.

While I was on my way to reach a popular restaurant in capital city of Brunei Darussalam,  the heavy rain  poured and the strong wind blew.

As a very cautious driver, I drove slow. I stopped on intersections. I gave way to other cars. I was seriously moving like a turtle on the road.

Soon, coming from Bandar, I slowly turned right to go inside restaurant’s parking lot. I checked if there's a car that's coming. 

Then there, the accident happened.

When I drove inside the parking lot, because of the strong wind, the gate smashed my car. It cut the right side mirror and it left some of the car’s door with dent and scratches. What more horrible was to find out that the front right side of the car was hit hard. With the impact, I had a hard time opening the right door in the driver’s seat.


The side mirror


As I realized what happened, I immediately parked in the drop off area of the restaurant, which parking lot is government owned. I panicked. I immediately asked the guy who was standing in the lobby.

Soon, the security guard in the gate came to me. He checked on the damages. He got my name, number and some details.

I had some thoughts running in my mind as I calmed down.

Thinking of what to do!

First, the car that I was driving was not mine. It’s the company’s car. Although the company allows me to drive the car, still, I am liable.

And second, I felt afraid with the smashing of the big metal gate on the car. The sound of the metal scraping the door were even running in my mind when I stopped the engine and walk to the lobby.

My friends came one by one. The head of  police came. I had a talk with the security guards, who are in charged of the gate. I also had a conversation with the head of police.

On the side, I called my boss. I said that I will talk to the security.

I even walked to the gate area. In there, the security guards showed me how the depth of the hole for the metal stick that should hold the gate wasn't that deep. With strong winds, the gate could be moved easily. 

The problem was, the gate was too long and big that the metal stick didn't work properly. The metal stick is supposed to hold the gate in the ground.

So logically,with what happened, it’s not my fault. I didn’t drove and hit the gate. I was even driving so slow. Take note, the wind pushed the gate and the gate hit my car.

Now, the questioning occurred.

The head of the police had a talk with my boss. Then the police told me, I should get a police report. I said, no problem. One of the police went with me in my car and we went to the police  station.

Talking what to do.

Now, here’s what’s more jaw-dropping. As I laid what happened, the police said, based on their process, foreigners should pay BND500 (as a deposit) or 15,000-17,000 pesos to get a police clearance. The police clearance shall be needed for investigation and claim in the insurance.

My eyes popped and I felt my blood went up to my head. Five hundred dollars is no joke. Question is, where would I get that money?

As the police continued, they said that it’s their SOP or Standard operating procedure. We understood.

In between, we had a hard time conversing with the policemen because they’re not used to conversing in English. We even had to call my friend’s friend to translate for us.

We called our boss but he didn’t pick up his phone. I texted him, still no reply.

We just informed our boss that maybe he can just deal with the head of the police whose handling the security of the restaurant and fix the charges.

There was no reply from my boss.

The police report preparation had a deadline. According to the police station, the report should be made within 24 hours. Then again, obviously, for foreigners, BND500 is supposed to be paid as a deposit.

On one hand, the police report shall be used for the insurance.

With the deadline set and I couldn’t decide, the police just got my number so they can call me for an update on whether I want to proceed or not with the police report.

I also got their number for updates.

After the conversation with police men, we all went to Kiulap to eat (as we’re not yet eating) and headed home.

Around 1:30 in the morning, I received a call from the police station. The guy was asking me if they will write the report or not. I said, no need to write. I had to make a decision. 

At the back of my mind, the decision was wise. So be it if I have to pay or pay in half with the damages. But the sad truth, it's not my fault and I have to burden all these.

Now, my point, although I understand the process and the charges in Brunei, it’s just very obvious that the accident that had happened at the parking lot of the restaurant was not my fault. I was a customer who was going inside the premises and so I have the right to safety and security. That wasn't provided.

I hope this could be settled.

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