Thursday, September 16, 2010

When The Cops Came A-Calling...,

You know, in all my more than 30 years of driving in Malaysia, I was only given speed tickets three times (some time in the 80s and 90s). Two other tickets on my car via saman ekor only last year, and I was not driving the vehicle on those dates.

That, I believe, is quite normal for Malaysian drivers. But I never had the police tail me for poor or bad driving.

But as they say, there's always a first time. The first time, not back home, but, here in Kitchener, Ontario (Canada) where I have been the last week or so (visiting my son).

So, I was driving this rented car (Toyota Yaris) back from Toronto to our motel --- Comfort Inn -- in Kitchener.

But first, let me tell you what a breeze it has been, driving around here. I was honked only twice, and that's because I had gone into the wrong lane. And the honk was not an angry honk. A friendly honk.
No vulgar signs, nor verbal abuse. No rabid manic drivers who cut into your lane. No ala-Malaysian driver.

They give way to you when you're making turns at traffic lights (without the left or right turn lights) and they stop for pedestrians.

So different from the way Malaysian drivers honk at pedestrians and step on the gas when they see a car turning in front of them.

A pleasant driving experience here in Kitchener.

And no rempits! Just dirt-bike riders and heavy bikers who are great company on the road.

Back to my drive back from Toronto. You see, here it is the left-hand drive. So, excuse me if I kept veering to the right side of the lane. Adel (my son) kept reminding me to keep further left and if I kept veering from right to left, motorists would think I was drunk. Or something like that. Haha, I thought. Surely not.

It didn't help that it was some two-hour drive and it was already dark by the time we got to Kitchener. Driving in an unfamiliar territory at night always makes me nervous. Perhaps that showed in the way I was driving.

I drove into our motel grounds and parked right outside our room. Not a second too soon, two police patrol cars, flashing lights and all, came by -- one from each side.

Shaira (my daughter) saw them first and almost shrieked : "Mummy...that's a police car. Maybe he's here because of your driving."

Shaira had reckoned that I was a little sleepy and was a little zig-zagging. I had begged to differ. Yes, I felt a little tired after an afternoon in Toronto, but was not dozing off at the wheel.

"No-lah....can't be!", I replied.

The officer got out and walked towards me. Perhaps, Shaira's right, I thought.

She was.

He asked me if I had just got out of the highway. I said yes and asked what the problem was. He said there was a complaint about my driving. I asked what was it about my driving. He couldn't say but asked if I had been drinking.

"Oh no, no, of course not,", I said, trying hard not to smile because I was remembering what Adel had said. Someone actually thought I was drunk.

Anyway, I did suggest (to the officer) that it could be that I was veering from right to left and I explained why.

He asked what brought me to Canada and I told him yadayadayada.

The young officer had a long look at my international driver's licence,and my Malaysian driver's licence. But, he never asked for my passport, for some reason.

"Am I in trouble, officer?", I asked.

He shook his head and smiled, and handed back my driving documents.

"Just be careful. Take care, now. Have a good holiday," he said.

I thanked him and said that I appreciated the fact that he responded swiftly to the complaint.

Here, people take pride in safe driving and safety on the road. They take it seriously by living it, so to speak.

I didn't tell the police officer, of course, that nothing of that sort could ever happen back home. Even if someone complained about someone's driving, I doubt there would be any police response. And in Malaysia, nobody calls the police about bad driving unless an accident happens.

And what is bad driving in Malaysia?

Something we are all so used to, it's frightening.


Anonymous said...


The Phoenix Foundation said...

Yup! Aside from the fact that your looks & demanour probably fazzled the cop, it is I believe the personality of the Canadian Cops!
If it was here in Malaysia, firstly, upset with you that you were not wearing a selandang at least!
Then if your bahasa had,a hint of "luar negeri".
Then looking at the vehicle......!
Ahh!, then if you show your NST ID...he/she would probably run into their waja & speed away!!!
But NAS, Hurry back.
There are some strange happenings aka known as Banting, which NST has been extremely civilized about!
C U @ Bungsar Village Carpark!!!
Vanaja is always tickled pink when I relate the incident.

ninotaziz said...

I remember Kitchener.

And the Canadian police.Ultra courteous. They even have workshops to understand the community and the changing citizens of the cities. And that was years ago.

Drive safe, Nuraina.

And selamat hari raya.

mekyam said...

hehehe! an almost pleasant cop exprience. :D

traffic cops in these parts, aren't bad at all. in fact, can be rather assuring. even here across the border. for the most part, they are really about helping traffic and people in traffic, not about issuing tickets.

response to complaints is also quite swift, esp abt erratic driving. probably because DUIs are taken very seriously over here as accidents due to them are more commonplace than back home.

imantulen said...

he didn't asked you step out & walk in a straight line?

srizals said...

Once I called the police to inform about a mad man racing violently on the road and thrice about rempits.

Now I just watch in awe...

Anonymous said...

Aha! Most developed countries place pesestrians as king of the roads and drivers are supposed to give way, to avoid accidents.

Over here, drivers rule the road with the attitude "It's My Road, You've No Reason To Be Here".

And, perhaps we should all dismantle our rear view mirrors and indicators, simply because no one uses them.

It will take at least the next hundred years to educate our drivers.


Tok Kemuning said...

Well happy holiday.

Just remember when you are driving the "lane line" is always on your LEFT hand side.

Drive safely.

pawaka1 said...

u miss the crazy balik kampung drive on the highway

Anonymous said...

Pl publish this in the mainstream newspaper. Others need to read this and compare. We need to educate our drivers. We should hold a "Driving Manners" seminar.

Kenn said...

What do you think? Between "speed" and "reckless", which one contributes higher road accidents statistic?

My share of experiences when driving in UK

and oh yes! My own experience regarding Saman Ekor

Anonymous said...

Hi Nuraina:
I'm from Ottawa, Canada and I have been your fan for a long time and I also enjoy reading other Malaysian blogs. I always enjoyed reading your posts, very interesting. If you're still in Canada, and if you happen to come to Ottawa, I would like to meet you. Let me know via your blog and I will give you my phone number/or I will call you. I'm not comfortable leaving my phone number at the moment. Happy Holidays!
Shehnaaz from Ottawa

stardust. said...

hye there!Im a graduated student and am doing a research on ethical dilemma faced by bloggers. would you (or any of the bloggers) be kind enough to share

1)one scenario where you had to deal with an ethical violation or faced with ethical dilemma in your profession?

2)how did you deal with it?

I would be very grateful if any of you would answer the questions.
thank you :)

Anonymous said...

In M'sia no one gives a damn about reckless driving...its your life and if you feel you want to go to heaven prematurely, so be it...(the thinking of all motorists I'd conclude)..of course unless an accident happens to you or your family members..


Old Fart said...

You actually completed that left hand drive!! The only time I attempted it, I gave up shortly after starting..I was veering off to the left...and being generally dangerous on the road.

Anonymous said...


Must have been the effects of all those Semporna A Hijau...:)

Cute read...