To obtain a visa for studying abroad, I had to get a certificate from the police that states I don’t have a criminal record. It was a quick, easy process and I got the certificate immediately.
I was surprised, and when I told my friends I received the certificate already, they asked, “How much did you pay the cop?”
To my delight and excitement, I exclaimed, “I didn’t have to bribe the cop!”
If you guys didn’t know, I live in Indonesia, a country notorious for corrupted politicians and policemen. You kind of know how bad things are when people says that it’s ‘common knowledge’ to pay cops the equivalent of USD $5 to get away if you get pulled over.
There’s also this Dutch journalist who was extorted by a cop. And that’s just one that was filmed, think about the tens or hundreds of extortion that don’t get caught on film.
When I was going to apply for my certificate, I brought along $25 in case the cop says that my record is unclean when it’s supposed to be fine (I’ve been a goody-two-shoes all my life, mind you). Turns out the cops were clean, and I only had to pay $1 to print the certificate.
And let me tell you, the difference between $1 and $25 is… Well, pretty huge.
But what bothers me is how shocked people are when I said I didn’t have to bribe the cop. I mean, sure, we’re pretty bad. But are we so bad that illegal acts are considered the norm?
On the other hand, if I didn’t have to bribe the cop, that means we’re cleaning up our act somewhat. Others say that it’s most likely because of our newly elected President, which is probably true. As things go, I am surprised by how fast he does things, considering his presidential term only started this late October.
That means that there is hope for this country after all, and we are finally moving forward than just being stuck in a rut.
Though that begs the question: if I murder someone, does that mean I go to jail? I can’t pay the cops? Awwww 😦