It’s past midnight. It came out of nowhere. A siren. Lights flashing, and an announcement over very loud speakers to stop walking and put my hands up. It was said in English too. A cop car had been following me down a hill in a quiet residential area in Kuala Lumpur.
“Put your bag on the car,” they said and patted me down, looking for weapons. What was I doing alone here, they asked. I’m just walking, that’s not breaking the law is it officer?
They ask me for some identification. “It’s illegal to walk around Malaysia without I.D.,” they said. I don’t have my passport to show them. One of the coppers pulls out his torch and does a bag check. “Pull out the laptop.”
I open it up and at his request show him the Facebook window that is still open from my last session. They ask if that’s me. I said it was my friend’s account.
It’s dark in this part of town and it’s long past midnight. The cops actually are doing a good job at intimidation. There are no witnesses in sight. The Chinese temple just up the road has long closed its doors.
Then I realized. They don’t give a fuck who I am. They couldn’t care if I called myself Nancy. All they care about is how much money flies out of my wallet.
“We’ll have to take you to the police station,” they said if I didn’t show them any identification. “Is there anyone you know who can bring your passport to the station?” asked the other copper. Not really. I suggest the logical. Could you take me the hotel where I could pick up my passport?
I even show them the key which has the name and address of my hotel. No no, we can’t do that. It’s against regulations. But it’s only a five minute drive, I pleaded.
Is there something I can do to help you officers, I ask. They both look at me like I’m an idiot. I’m new to bribing Malaysian coppers. Is there something I can do to help you officers, I repeat.
I pull out a 50 Ringgit note. I’m really running out of ideas, and want some distance from Laurel and Hardy. I have more 50 Ringgit notes in my wallet but I’m not prepared to give those away. I’m just pissed off I didn’t have smaller denominations.
I’m so sorry officers, I’ll carry my passport in the future, I said, as I handed over the money. It was inspected with the torch and reached their approval.
“In the future please carry a copy of your passport,” they said. “You could get lost or robbed, or beaten or even killed.” Yeah, by the police, I thought.
“Then how can we identify your body if you don’t have a passport on you?”
I’d assume that the passport, along with my money, would have been taken off my body before they dumped me in a ditch. But I didn’t go there. I did at least get something for my bribe. The sermon was nearly over.
Thank you so much for your concern officers. They asked again if I was working here. No. I’m a tourist. They obviously weren’t concerned even if my visa was still valid. If they were , they would have dropped me off at my hotel to check my passport and save me the long walk.
I had been fucked by the cops. They asked me what my name was again. I wasn’t interested in round two. Come to the hotel, I said. I’ll even show you my passport and visa.