Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Uniform that represents 2 sides of the law, black and white


Malaysia recently celebrated its 198th Police Day celebrations. The majority person that I talked to has their own tales of “private and confidential encounter” with the police. At the end of their stories it paints a picture that depicts the police as just part of the system that drains our country resources. They are the one who are dressed in a smart uniform and sparkling shoes that are suppose to guard the law and order of the country but they are sometimes the offender.

I used to stay in a flat. A lot of the occupants are consists of meat, vegetables and noodles sellers in the market. I have heard some of them say this before, “Police is just robbers in uniform, and they are the legal one”. Their understanding of the police work is that they work in shift but the shift is according to festive season. They only work a month before festive season such as Hari Raya and Chinese New Year. They will then hibernate in some concrete building enjoy whatever they have reap from them. I think in most organization there bound to be some bad apples.

My first encounter with a tainted police is when I was just 18 years old. As I am a guy, my mother has always urged me to get a driving license and become a man with wheels. My mom with her slightly serious tone, “Low Chai, you know lah you are not that clever as your sister in studies. You should get a license, so that when you leave school you will have advantages over others”. Just before you scratch out all your hairs, “low chai” is my nick name that my parents and my relatives call me.

I went for my driving test immediately after my form five. I manage to pass it in my second attempt. As usual the grapevine said that if you do not “gives” anything you will not pass on the first attempt. After I passed my mom still insists in tutoring me on the finest skill of driving before actually allowing me to drives during peak traffic hours. She is not training me to become a F1 driver but to ensure that I do not accidentally knock into an 80 years old grandpa of somebody or some stray dogs.

In my first “trial drive” after passing my driving license, I was woken up by my mom as early as 6:30 am to “Trial Cross” the roundabout of hell. In those days the junctions that are now full with traffic lights near the dewan bahasa used to be a roundabout. There are no traffic lights but just 8 roads leading to it. Those who are faint hearted or “Green horn” drivers will shiver with fear when they are near it.

My family has 2 cars at that time; one is a mazda and the other my favorite Austin mini, which I called “Flintstone Car”. I choose to drive the Flintstone on that day. I proudly insert my car key into it and slowly and steadily I left the parking lot. When I reached near the roundabout of hell, there are not a lot of cars. It could be still early, I sighed, Or all of them have got notices that I am out on the road, hahaha. I stopped and hesitate for a while before engaging into first gear as I thought a lorry was about to cross at the same time. I was almost 3 quarter length of the roundabout when I notice a flashing red and blue light in the rear mirror. My mom looked at me and said “What happen, you did not do anything wrong”.

The police car was right beside and the officer with a strange and familiar moustache (it reminds me of Charlie chaplin) asked me to stop the car. As an obedient citizen I stop, the officer walks over and said “Gives me your license”. I hand over it and asked “What is the problem officer”. He looked at me and looked at my license; he said “Just passed? Your license ah? How come do not have signature at the back?”. “Oh!” I said. Then the usual prelude, “Its early in the morning, I have yet to eat my breakfast, I guess today I need to eat some roti canai and a nice coffee, you understand?” and he pass over the file that he was holding into the my face. My street smart mom quickly took out a red color notes and put it in there. From that day, when a police office stops me, the same prelude, the same file and the same color notes (nowadays more piece), repeat itself like a fever that does not goes away.

There are some improvement since then but if a white color clothes is tainted with dirt, lipsticks and curries, it will take some time before people perception view on it changes from black to white. I have a very high hope that in the end Malaysian police force will be one that most Malaysian will be proud of. For those police officer who is on the right side, I salute you and Happy Police Day, may the force be with you and do continue to stay there.

3 comments:

letti said...

I have never been stopped by a policeman nor have I bribed anyone..i had to take my driver's license 3 times..idiot JPJ people..LOL. But I will try to remember the "procedure" your mom taught in case i'm back in malaysia and ( God Forbid ) am stopped!

richwhiteboy said...

Very funny! Are the police where you live crooks? Sometimes that is the case. Let me know.

When I first took my driving test here in Texas I was so nervous.

When the light turned green I stopped. And then when it turned red I went.

Which was, of course, completely wrong.

Mr. Soohk, what is your native language? Your English vocabulary is very good, but somtimes the verbs are hard to understand.

Gary

SooHK said...

The police over here is quite ok now. The government are promoting a "Clean" image. So if you wants to follow the "procedure" you gotta be careful a bit. As it could backfire. But they are always some exception.

The language we used in our house when we were small is Cantonese, a dialect. I am married to a thai, hence now the majority language used is English plus a bit of thai.

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