The last time my radiator overheated, it was after-work rush hour, and I found myself stuck along the very busy Old Subang Airport Road. I stood outside for a bit, just to make the necessary SOS calls to friends, and then after awhile, I decided to stay put, lock up and wait in the car.

The first offer to help came from a tow truck and I said no, because it was only an overheated radiator. ‘Do you have any water?’ I asked.

The driver shook his head, cussed angrily and left. Was he being helpful? I don’t think so. After he left, I decided to wind up the windows, leaving only a small gap for air. It was extremely hot inside, but I felt safer cooked up inside than leaving the windows wide open and risking harassment.

A while later two men on a motorbike came by and offered me a lift to a nearby workshop.

‘It’s okay. I’m waiting for a friend.’

I believe these were genuinely kind folks, because they stopped and helped to push my car aside so that I would not block the other cars.

A few minutes later, another dodgy-looking biker came with the same offer to take me to the nearest workshop. ‘No, my friend is coming. Thanks!’

This one didn’t even say a thing and left abruptly. Could you really blame me for being so paranoid about receiving help?

You see, throughout my wait for help, not a single decent-looking vehicle stopped to offer the water I so badly needed for my radiator. The driver of a lorry even slowed down just to hurl an insult and show me his fist.

When my friends finally arrived I was elated and completely relieved. In a few minutes, my car was up and running again. Sure, it had been an extremely long day, but, thank God, I returned home in one piece, safe and sound.

The thing is this. Have you noticed how dangerous KL has gotten recently? This was ONLY a case of an overheated radiator. What if my tyre was punctured? Should I have allowed a stranger to help? How would you differentiate between a stranger who could be trusted and one who could potentially be a criminal? Why is it that no one seemingly decent would stop to help? And finally, how could I have recognized that the offer to help was genuine?

Call me paranoid, but really, you never know what could have happened.

Maybe I shouldn’t be asking so many questions. Maybe I should slap my head silly for being so typically bimbotic, forgetting to check my radiator and making sure that everything in my car was in working order. I had a sounding from my family when I got home that day, all because I forgot to check my radiator.

I don’t know. If KL were safer, it wouldn’t be that bad a sin to forget to fill up my car’s radiator, would it?