Drive for Charity

Look at this beauty.

Let me tell you a story behind this beauty.

The boss took my keys last night citing his determination to come to work very early in the morning. I trusted him and handed over the keys. To my dismay, the service road to my workshop was dead silent upon my arrival. I was 5 minutes early for work and was greeted by a few crisped leaves being swept pass by the icy winter morning breeze instead of a energy charged boss in the office. I prepared for the worst. It finally dawned on me I was locked out and totally regretted handing my keys over.

I jogged over to the vintage lorry not far away to heat up my body a bit. On closer examination, the condition of the lorry was amazing. I had no idea what model and the exact make but I was pretty certain that thing was older than me. If only my condition will be as fine as this lorry at that age.

A dude came over and called out, "You like this?"

"Yeah, it looks great," I admitted.

He went on telling me the lorry belonged to one of his clients and they agreed to do a full restoration paintwork on the entire hull for A$5,500. I was straightforward and remarked that the lorry hardly needed any restoration at all. Goldilocks probably needed one more than this Grandpa Joe. The chap who introduced himself as Mark and the boss of the spray paint shop agreed and told me the owner wanted it to look absolutely smashing in his next charity drive.

That got me curious and when I was curious, I tend to ask questions and Mark was happy to tell me more. The charity event is designed to be family-oriented (what isn't in Australia?) and participants are invited to drive to this certain area where there will be mock policemen planted around the area to fine drivers for mock offenses. If that doesn't sound fun to you, I guess you may be one of those who enjoy watching TV at the comfort of your comfortable couch whereby artistes turns into acrobats a few times per year to plead you with a well rehearsed grimacing look and that hand gesture signaling you to 'call in'. Heh hey, getting fined by mock police sounds like a better way to do charity. It's a rare chance to give the police my middle finger and not getting into trouble for it. It's for charity after all. All in good fun, mate. After being fined by policemen, there will be other events for parents and their kids to participate in at another ground. The events should be interesting too.

I took the opportunity to ask Mark about his services and charges. I cited my housemate Penny on having a car that looked like it bulldozed through the Hall of 18 Bronze Men. Mark was happy to furnish me with how they did business and gave me an insight of the charges as well. I needed to know as much information about this country as I could. Nothing is considered irrelevant.

After bidding goodbye to Mark, I stopped to ponder about the relationship between strangers here. Though some commented the culture is lost in this generation of the Australian young, it is still well alive in subtle ways. I have people nodding at me upon eye contact and generally strangers have a minute to spare for a small conversation. When I had the car accident, the boss actually took me to the scrap yard nearby to make inquiries with me. Instead of asking the staff a direct question of how much would they give me to bring Barry White to them he started off telling them what happened to me and where the car was at that moment. I will like to elaborate more about this in the next posts, as this is something which I feel is important for any Singaporean considering migration, especially those who are very new to Australia like myself.

On the side note, petrol prices dropped again this week from A$1.201 to A$1.178 per litre after discount. Stephen told me they allow us to fill jerrycans of petrol in the kiosks here. I'm not sure about that, maybe I should get one and try one of these days. I will love to store some fuel while the price is low because everyone knows that will not last forever. Yes I'm kiasu but being the sole breadwinner of small family in an unstable situation I have every reason to be. I read that electrical tariff in Singapore dropped by 2.5% on the same week too. That is good news for everyone.


  1. I made enquiry with my colleague on the jerrycan refill. I was told that each driver can fill 2 tanks (car and jerrycan) Cause some ppl do road trips to remote location.

    Mr E

  2. I guess the issue with topping up extra jerry cans, is safe storage. Petrol is extremely flammable, and gives out fumes, which can also be ignited by a spark. So, as long as you can ensure safe storage in a well ventilated area and away from heat sources, I guess it should be ok to fill up extra jerry cans.

    BUT.. just consider whether the actual savings is worth the effort: 1 standard jerry can has a capacity of 20ltr. The fuel price is about 20cents lower than it was a month ago - so the savings per can is about $4.

    So, unless we store barrels of fuel, risk analysis says that it may not be worth the risk of fire to save less than $10.

  3. noting the drop of petrol price in Perth, what about typical day to day living cost for you and your family? assuming you don't eat & drink in pubs there often.

    "Tourists told to avoid Perth's 'astronomic costs'"-

    1. Eating out in Perth is expensive, yes. But, for families, the best thing to do is to cook at home.

      By shopping around and comparing prices, and capitalizing on the various periodic sales and discounts, one can find relatively low cost ingredients for cooking. There are wholesale markets, daily & weekly specials, etc.

  4. Leyland? That is hell old school. That company got broken up way back in 1987. Some of their buses still exist in Singapore, though. However, they are due for retirement soon. Sad.