Tuesday, July 25, 2006

For whatever its worth (2)

Have you ever been flagged down or booked by a traffic cop?

I am considered a privileged kind for having a father who was once a police officer. So whenever in a fix I have a name to throw (others have to throw their RM instead).

However my dad has since retired for more than 20 years now, so except for a few senior cops including the IGP and some senior ones from the rank and file, his name would not be as precious as it once was as most of the man in blue today would not know or recognize him, some would even be at the same age as his grandchildren!

Nevertheless retired police officers (especially the clean ones) are accorded some kind of unwritten recognition by their comrades who are still in service. Therefore here and there name throwing could still safe ones skin, if one is lucky!

I was recently caught without my seat belts on. A 5 km trip turned into a nightmare. There were a few others ahead of me who were also caught red handed. Along came this baby faced traffic cop who gave me a brief lecture.

All I could think of was to say that mine is a short trip from home. For that he told me didnt the JPJ taught me (when applying for a license) that as soon as I am in the car the belts have to be strapped on first. I pleaded for leniency.

That was when he asked me whether I am prepared to pay the fine if he is to book me. Instantly my blood pressure shot up. Obviously he is trying to coax me into bribing him to be let off the hook and I noticed the driver in front of me smiling and giggling with another cop who is attending to him (perhaps the dude must have given the man whatever he has asked for)

And instantly I told him I have to pay up for my mistake, just give me the ticket. And I added after all I have never been booked before, being a son of an ex cop.

Hearing me mention the sacred word, the baby faced dude suddenly mellowed and asked who my dad was. Seeing the opportunity ahead I mentioned my dads name, and coincidently the young brat recognized the old man as his quarters in Subang Jaya was just beside my dads house at one time.

So to cut the story short, I was left off the hook on default.

To be exact I dont know the actual moral of this story (did I bribe my way out by throwing my dads name?) but what I intend to highlight is actually the failure of the government initiated campaign against corruption. I am sure many others would not be as lucky as me, they must have been coerced to cough up some cash to be let off the hook, or simply booked (which seldom is the case).

And sadly this ghastly act is not only being practiced rampantly by the cops today but also other enforcement agencies that deal directly with members of the public. Can they be stopped, can this immoral practice be eliminated, with the escalating cost of living, I doubt so.

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