Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Little Brother Watches Back

"Regimes may fall and fail, but I do not."

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Disclaimer: This story is like totally fictional, and I totally did not break a bunch of laws.

The first time I was ever pulled over by the fuzz was when I just passed my driving test. I went out for supper at 2:00 AM in the morning and the copper thought I looked too young to be driving - but I was let off after he had seen my papers. The second time that happened was when I was the designated driver of a car-ful of drunks (your truly included). However, I tended to sound strangely coherent when I'm under the influence so I got off free-of-scot once more. The third time happened just last week, and there's a story in that.

Once, when I was a kid, I remember being in my mother's car when she was pulled over by a traffic cop. She was not wearing her seat belt, methinks and I can still recall that dreadful feeling of powerlessness that pervaded the interior of our vehicle as the paunchy, mustachioed officer took his time to dismount from his tricked out police bike and strut to the driver-side window. I remembered how he slyly impressed on my mother the amount that she would have to pay if he issues her a summons, indirectly angling for a bribe - one which my mother paid. The price was a fraction of the hefty official fine plus a fraction of dignity. I remember that sharp, metallic tang of hatred I tasted at how casually that despicable cop abused his authority to extort a quick buck off the citizenry he had sworn to protect. That early experience completely tainted my respect for the law and of authority - they are just the club and the brass knuckles bullies wield to to get what they want.

Last week, I was coming back from my second viewing of Pixar's Brave and just as I was entering the roundabout right outside my house, two traffic cops materialised into view from behind some shrubbery. One of them had spotted the lack of a safety belt across my chest, and gestured for me to stop. What he did not spot was my phone on my lap from which I was browsing the web, and my 20-ounce Starbuck tumbler on the passenger seat, recently denudated of its homemade spirited content (specifically a Mudslide; a delicious blend of vodka, coffee liqueur, Bailey's Irish Cream and vanilla ice-cream). You see, movies are twice as good when I'm well-liquoured.

As he swaggered towards my passenger side car window, I furtively rolled my tumbler down my seat in case he catches the scent of booze from it and positioned my phone innocently on the passenger seat. Then, I braced myself for the incoming confrontation.

"Do you know what you have done wrong?" he asked rhetorically in Malay, leaning in on the passenger side window and requesting to see my identification card and driving license. He looked like he was in his late twenties and stank of too many cigarettes.

'Being caught by you' was an answer that I contemplated but wisely discarded as I hunted through my wallet for the ID's he wanted - I needed to be in control of how the show goes. It was then I realised that my driver's license had expired months ago. Yeah. It was at this point that I realised I must have been subconsciously trying to win the Traffic Misdemeanour Olympics all along. To sum it up, I was driving without a valid license, intoxicated and surfing the web on my phone without wearing a seat belt. The only way I could have made it any worse is if I was also hiding a couple of dead bodies in the trunk.

"That's two offences. Driving without wearing your safety belt and not having a valid license," the cop said smugly. "That would cost you RM 600 if I write you both the summons."


"Okay," I said.

Then, there was a pause.

"Do you understand that you would have to pay RM 600?" he said emphatically, breaking the mini-silence. Then, giving me a look as if I'm the densest retard in the world, he added: "Don't you want to ask me to help you out?"

"Help how?" I asked stupidly. He looked as if he was using every ounce of his self control to stop himself from rolling his eyeballs into the back of his head.

"If you pay me RM 150, I can help you pay the fine, and you won't need to drive all the way to the police station to settle it," he told me.

I nearly laughed out loud; the long thieving arm of the law finally showed its filthy, filthy hand. At this point, I picked up my phone and stopped the video recording of the entire conversation. Looking at him squarely in the eyes, I played a little of what I've surreptiously filmed. Shah mat, motherfucker. The features of his face changed subtly; his lips tightened and his eyes widened in realisation as he saw himself talking on my phone. For the briefest of moment, I feared that he might just dive into my car and snatch it right out of my hand.

"Let's not make a big deal out of this, alright?" I spoke before he did. "I'll renew my driving license and wear my seat belt from now on. So what do you say? Can you give me another chance?"

"Please don't upload that to YouTube or show anyone," he asked limply like a used condom trying to hold in a monster-load of ejaculate. "Delete it, please." I told him that it was also a video recording of my own transgressions, and assured him that I honestly didn't want to make this any more inconvenient for myself than it already had. He was clearly staking out the roundabout to squeeze a few motorists for some easy cash, and I bet he's not terribly excited about being inconvenienced either.

He thought about it for a few seconds, eyeing my phone the whole time. Finally, he wordlessly signaled for me to go - and went I did, feeling like a real magnificent bastard.

Remember all those times you were flagged down by a cop for something minor and you were glad that you lucked out by meeting a corrupt officer (which is odd considering that that's a statistical certainty) and got away by bribing the guy who pulled you over in the first place? Well, you're the worst. They are not doing you a favour; they are doing themselves one. You're the reason why our police force is stuffed full of dirty uniformed extortionists. These profligates proliferate and prosper because you encourage them and reward them for being on the take. Unless you're impoverished (unlikely as you own a fucking car), giving in to profiteering pricks who abuse the power our state had granted them is a betrayal of your dignity and honour. I would sooner pay my fines than pay those thugs. And I would even sooner pay nothing.

Related post: Something's Rotten in the State of Malacca

Tries to have a contingency plan for anything,
k0k s3n w4i


Luke Phang said...

Yeap. Good thinking on you part. I'm just interested to find out what kind of buzz it would have created if you shared that video online.

niekvenlo said...

You live an interesting life. I hope you derive some satisfaction from knowing that people are reading this and being very proud of you.

SowYau said...

I wish to share my brushes with the police as well. For the past 4-ish years, I have been caught for traffic offence about 10 times by the police, u name it, i have done it (not that I am proud of it, mind u) speeding, yakking on the cellphone, no seatbelt... So far I have only pay the summon once. Not even one time I treat them the kau-est kopi-o.

U see, I always make a plea to the police to let me go, if they ask "nak minta tolong macam mana?, i pretend that I am the dumbest of the dumb. In the end, they are always KIND ENOUGH to let me go.

My philosophy is: If i am stupid enough to be get caught, If the police does not let me go, it means I deserve the monetary fine. I will never ever offer them kopi-o.

Anonymous said...

In my last comment in 'prometheus', u wrote i sounded racist. Yup, i sound like that, and i am like that - your brush wif those bumi cops proved my point.
U are lucky not be 15 yrs old running/sprinting for shelter in your nearest friend's/relative's house in KL 13 may 69 cos the tidal wave of blood-lusty bumis coming your way.
U are lucky not to know (?) your bumi ex-classmate paid only 100 ringgit deposit for a intermediate terrace fxxking house cos he got the Special Privilege while i and my wife had to take out a bank loan from a Chinese bank just to pay the downpayment cos we eat pork and booze.
U are lucky u got the pro qualifications to migrate if necessary while i got to be stuck here as 1malaysia.
And MF Dr M himself said next GE will be fought on racial lines. Bring it on!

k0k s3n w4i said...

Luke Phang: *cough* it never happened. didn't you read my disclaimer?

niekvenlo: proud me hypothetically blackmailing a cop?

SowYau: this is the only time i was pulled over for an offence - the other times were all just routine blocks. question is, how the heck you kept getting pulled over?

Anonymous: i know precisely how unfairly non-bumis is being treated in malaysia. i know all about it. i have wrote at length about it.
Gadoh: A Review
What my Country Thinks of Me
Malays Demonstrating in Melaka Over Not Having Enough Privileges
the difference between you and i is that i'm not a racist, hateful asshole.
by the way, the cop i met was chinese. i suspect he has bidayuh parentage, but he has a chinese name.

Anonymous said...

Ok, u made your point. I am just an old man with too much memories of racism and bumi-styled apartheid. Here in bumiland, to get an ordinary civil service job in government dept, preference is for bumis. Bidayuh=Bumi=1962 malaya-singapore-sarawak-sabah merger, all done with official signatures.

SowYau said...

u asked how the heck I kept getting pulled over?

It's all boils down to either I am always at the wrong place at the wrong time OR I am not a law-abiding driver. Both actually.

nicoletta said...

my mum got pulled over by a cop too and I was in the car. I was still a kid back then. can't remember what the offense was, but I think she forgot her seat belt. anyway, the cop didn't hint for any bribes but he did want to issue her a fine. my mum just went on e apologising to the cop and then asked him to give her some nasihat. which he did, actually. he stood at our window talking for about twenty minutes giving her a lot of advice that I can't remember. then he let us go without the fine.

I don't remember my mother ever paying a fine, and certainly not a bribe.

pre1957 said...

If i may add my comment - I'm 5 yrs older than Anonymous, I gone through bumi kindness but I had to let go the past to keep my sanity. I think non-bumi people like Dr Kok give hope to the emergence of a real multi-racial Malaysia. And the CM of penang and his coalition partners, ok too. Need the bumi to come on board as well. I think Anwar's daughter Nurul takes after him. (Oh well, if i were a much younger man and she was available, i don't mind crossing the race bridge! jUst don't let my wife know)So cool it, Anonymous, our time is over.

niekvenlo said...

kok - Yes. In this hypothetical scenario, you were fierce.

k0k s3n w4i said...

Anonymous: the bidayuh part was just speculation on my part. he had a chinese name.

SowYau: i asked because it's a real rarity for me :/

nicoletta: we menfolks find it harder to escape with slaps on the wrist.

pre1957: racism is not the solution to racism, yes. and thanks.

niekvenlo: thanks :)