Tuesday, February 9, 2010

When forgiveness actually hurts

I do break the law. Not often, but sadly I do.

I don't always necessarily admit my guilt but there comes a time when voluntary admission of culpability is crucial for me.

For those who are used to driving along Sri Hartamas/Mont Kiara highway by the Security Commission, they would know that it's a rather popular spot for speed check, especially during the weekend and festive season.

I don't know why but I have my suspicion that perhaps it's considered an affluent area rather than a possible fact that drivers tend to speed along that highway.

I've been caught for speeding on that highway twice and yes, I was guilty as hell. Both times, I got away with it.

"So, boleh samankah (can I give you a fine)?"

This seems to be the standard operating line since the police officer asked the same question at both times when I was stopped.

"Ya, samanlah (yes, go ahead)."

And this would be my standard answer.

The first time it happened, the officer "pretended" to take down my details and told me that a fine would be sent to my home address. I use the word "pretended" because the fine never came.

The second time when I was stopped, I started cursing under my breath and was upset with myself for getting another fine. This was my third traffic offence in less than 2 months. I had already contended against two previous parking tickets because I believe it wasn't my fault in both instances.

The officer this time, didn't allow me to go as easily.

"Betulkah, Amoi? Saya kasi saman, ya (Really, Miss? I give you a fine, ok?)?"

"Tuan, saya kan dah langgar undang-undang. Jadi sepatutnya saya kena samanlah. (Sir, I've violated the law. Hence, I should be given a fine)," I insisted.

"Hmm...kerja kat mana, Amoi? (Where do you work, Miss?)"

"Di Majlis Peguam (At the Bar Council)," I answered.

"Oh yakah? Saya tak pernah saman peguam, tau. (Oh really? I've never given a fine to lawyers before, you know).”

“Tak pe lah. You boleh pergi, Amoi. Saya tak saman.(Never mind. You can go, Miss. I won't give you a fine)," he added.

"Eh, kenapa tak saman, Tuan? (why aren't you giving me a fine, Sir?)"

"Tak pe lah. You dah mengaku salah. Selalunya peguam-peguam lain tak mengaku dan mereka marah-marah. Amoi ini lain. Kalau kita stop pemandu, tak semestinya bagi saman (Never mind. You've admitted your mistake. Usually, lawyers don't admit their guilt and they get angry. Miss, you're different. If we stop you, doesn't mean we'll give you a fine)," he explained.

"Selamat Hari Raya (Happy Chinese New Year)!" He wished me as I slowly drove away.

I should feel relief for getting away with this but deep down, I was upset and angry.

I drove away wondering how many people that day got away with a fine and how many didn't. I had a feeling none.

When the officers asked, "So, boleh samankah?"

Their motive was clear and it hurts.

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