No ticket, no bribe | Inquirer Opinion
Young Blood

No ticket, no bribe

/ 03:53 AM June 02, 2011

A GOOD friend recently came home after spending 10 long years in the United States. Three days later, she was pulled over by traffic cops for swerving. After failing to logically explain that she had violated no traffic rules, she ended up giving “snack money” to the police.

Fortunately I have not had to do the same thing in the last three years, thanks to the some methods I have developed and which I am now sharing with fellow motorists:


1. Angry argumentation (success rate: a little over 20 percent). This means resorting to bluff and intimidation, such as dropping the names of some police generals (showing their business cards help), or showing indignation (“Where does it say one way?!?”). The problem is that my voice has such a high pitch that I often hear people address me as “ma’am” when I answer the phone. And I don’t have those calling cards, and neither have I ever won a game of poker. Realizing that this doesn’t work very well, I shifted to:

2. Drama (success rate: over 60 percent). What works consistently is evoking empathy. One time, I was being cited for “reckless driving” by a traffic enforcer when all I did was pass an intersection with a dysfunctional stoplight at 3 a.m. Fortunately, my female passenger, a creative writing major, was quick to spin a tale about how I had just picked her (she introduced herself as my wife) up from work, that I was out of a job (which was technically true as I was in graduate school then), and that we couldn’t even afford to have my car (a beat-up sedan) fixed, much less pay the P2,500 fine. With a look of commiseration and a pat on my back, the enforcer let us off.


3. Feigned indifference (success rate: 67 percent): It is a common belief that traffic policemen and enforcers are quick to apprehend motorists because they get a commission from the fine. Two out of three times, I made a very convincing case that I didn’t care if they confiscated my license since I would be leaving the country soon in a few days and won’t be back until three years later. In both cases, I got my license back without so much as a word of reprimand from the arresting officers.

Act like you were a foreigner (success rate: 100 percent): I tried this once when I was pulled over for swerving, after having avoided a U-turn slot at an unexpected place. With the best English accent I could muster (thanks, Simon Cowell), I asked the enforcer what “swehving” was since was “bloody unfamiliar with the word.” He must have thought it would be take to much effort to argue in English because he gave me back my license with the admonition to “jas drive carepooly, ok?”

Admit your mistake and say sorry (success rate: 50 percent): Recently I was caught violating the number-coding scheme. I wasn’t in the mood to be a British lord or a drama king, so I just apologized and calmly asked for a reprieve, explaining that it was already 6:45 p.m. when I left the house. The enforcer let me off because I was the first person that day who didn’t pick a fight with him. I thought I was just lucky to have someone who appreciated politeness, but this has happened more than once to me, so there’s probably more of their kind than we think.

Like my poor driving skills, squirming my way out of a citation for violating traffic rules is definitely not something I’m proud of. At best, it is a way to work around a broken system. I have had encounters with traffic cops who jumped out of nowhere to apprehend me, making me wonder why they didn’t make themselves visible if the intention is to guide motorists. Giving traffic enforcers money, no matter how small the amount, just reinforces their wrong notion that they are just trying to augment their income, and that doesn’t do any good. So if the above tactics don’t work and the enforcer pops the magic question, “So what are we going to do about this?” (wink, wink), I just surrender my license and endure the long lines at city hall.

My conclusion: It’s best to drive safely and take no chances, even at 3 a.m.

Kurt Fang, 27, works for a multinational corporation.

Comfort zone


By Maricor Tan Nuestro

PEOPLE SAY that you need to go out of your comfort zone to truly enjoy life. And I used to think the same way, too. I used to think of myself as a loser because I was just a girl from the province who didn’t know a thing about being adventurous. I thought I couldn’t post pictures on Facebook and say, “Hey, look at me. I’m here, while you’re not.” And then I asked myself, do I really need to go out and learn from others? Is life measured in terms of the miles you have traveled?

I don’t think so.

I worked in Manila when I was a fresh graduate. I wanted to live a glittery life so I went to the city. I lived with my Ate and many would probably envy me for that. My Ate spoiled me. Despite the meager salary I had, I could still get my coffee from Starbucks and watch movies on weekends.

But I felt terrible. I was homesick and so uncomfortable with my supposedly comfortable life. I wanted to be with my mom. I wanted to sleep in my bed.

So without any savings or a new job, I went home. And everything fell into their proper places. I took a month off and when I was ready, I applied for a job in a bank, but one that’s in Bataan. I knew then that I made the right the decision. My dream of becoming a city girl crashed down but whatever, I was happy.

It feel insulted when people call me a prissy princess. I am living with my parents and they pampered me a lot. I mean, my mom loves taking care of me. She treats me like her baby and I don’t have any complaint.

People think I’m stupid and don’t know anything about life because of that. They look down on me because my mom prepares my lunch and she gives me everything I need. But whatever—yeah I feel insulted, but it doesn’t mean that I care about what others say. I’m smart, maybe even smarter than them. I know my priorities: to make my mom proud of me and never leave her. I don’t have to leave and live in those measly apartments just so people can call me a woman of the world. I don’t have to wear flashy clothes and be labeled a city girl just to show them that I got what it takes to move forward. Everything I need is here: my family, a nice house, a good job and the feeling of comfort that I can never find elsewhere.

Maricor Tan Nuestro, 24, is a customer relationship associate at LBC Development Bank-Balanga in Bataan.

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TAGS: bribery, employment, graduation, Road transport, traffic cops, youth
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