I learned to drive in Malaysia.
Well technically, I learned in England. But because I didn't have my own car, I didn't drive much or often. So I wasn't all that good…
But in Malaysia, even in KL, you cannot rely on public transport. It's a simple fact. You can use it…but you can't rely on it. So for daily use, cue my first car :)
But then there was an incident.
It was night, I'd parked in a well-lit underground car park, then driven onto the equally well lit streets. And I forgot to switch on my headlights. I know, pretty major.
I'd gone about 100m before I got pulled over.
You know when that happens, the few minutes between the "please pull over" signal and the police officer reaching your window, are spent frantically searching your brain for the, "WHYYYYY, what have I done???"
In my case? Oh yah. Lights.
Now the scary thing about being pulled over in Malaysia, is that the police carry guns. Really big guns. Unholstered, cradled in the arms guns.
[it was bigger than this...but to be fair, not pointed in my face...]
I wind down my window and look guilty but hopeful.
Police: "You know why I pulled you over?"
Me: "Yes I forgot to switch my lights on. Sorry. I realised as soon as I saw you. They're on now." SMILING FACE
Police: "It's very dangerous you know."
Me: "Yeah I know." SORRY FACE
Police: "Can I see your driving license."
I get it out. He asks me many questions about what I'm doing here and if I am not afraid to be driving alone at night…which I wasn't…
Police: "I'm gonna have to write you a ticket then. [pulls out pen and notepad] Would you like me to write you a ticket?"
Me: "I don't think anybody wants to get a ticket, do they?" [...duh]
Police: "So how?"
Ahhh, the famous, "so how". In Malaysia, everyone knows what this means. If you don't want me to write you a ticket, how are we going to solve this little problem, RAISED EYEBROWS, LONG, MEANINGFUL PAUSES..?
Me: "Oh, I don't have any money on me." SAD FACE
Police: "So how?"
Me: "Umm…" THINKING FACE
Police: "How about…if you give me your number. And I take you out sometime?"
Did a policeman just ask for my number whilst his colleague paces my car holding a large weapon. Did I just get asked out at gunpoint?? Yes. Yes, that is what just happened.
Police: "I will call you and we can go out."
Me: SPEECHLESS AND CONFUSED!
Police: "What's the problem, do you have a boyfriend?"
Ahh, glory - a lifeline!!
What??? Why did you say no???
Me: "Errr, no…but my...housemate…"
Police: "Husband? You're married?"
Me: [ooh, what a brilliant misunderstanding…but no ring. Risky...] "…No?"
Police: "I didn't think so, your license said Miss"
Close call. And a concerning attention to unnecessesary details, officer.
At this point in the conversation, we ended up going in circles between housemate and husband. I think I was trying to say, "I have to go because my housemate will be waiting". But it certainly wasn't coming out that way…but my advantage here, was that rather than assume I don't know what I'm talking about, the police officer began to doubt his own English skills and walked away to save face;
Police: "Ok takpe, takpe. Don't forget your lights next time."
Valuable lesson - the way to get out of a situation like this is with confusion! Keliru!
And so I escaped with my modesty, my phone number secure and no dates with policemen.
Well done me.