Friday, 20 March 2009

Never Say Never

Never say never. The phrase doesn't believe in itself, right?

Somebody once told me a very long time to never to lend money to ANYone and never to borrow. Was it my father? But he lends to people. My mother was quite unhappy to find out when he said so-and-so had not paid the RM300 he lent him. So could it have been my mother? I doubt it. She too lends; but when the time comes, she hassles you for it. That's my mother!

Last Thursday, AHS and I were picked up by a friend in the wee hours of the morning to head south to be in time for her court case. I enjoyed the trip tremendously as I was a passenger and I love mornings. It is not often I get the chance to see the break of day; and since our friend was driving, I savoured every moment of the changing skies, from the slightest trace of light, to the golden hues, to the shimmer of full sun blast. I also welcomed the prospect of being in a courtroom (without really having anything to do with the case).

The courthouse was abustle with activity. I saw some people with handcuffs on. Soon we reached the courtroom where we were supposed to be and waited outside. I could smell cigarette smoke everywhere. AHS met some old friends and they started guffawing to each others' jokes, while I took in the beautiful architecture of the colonial building. When AHS invited me into one of the courtrooms, I almost jumped up with excitement. AHS opened the door and bowed before taking a seat, and I followed suit. The place was bright and clean, but very, very grave. And why shouldn't it, when grave matters are involved.

There were four other 'spectators' besides us. We sat facing the small-sized judge on his raised throne, almost twelve metres away. He was clean-shaven, expressionless, but very alert. Directly below, seated in front of him behind a long table and facing us, was a court interpreter, while the other interpreter was with the accused, interpreting for him what the judge was saying. I would have kept on saying 'pardon me?' a number of times because the judge was so soft spoken. On our left and in front of us was the lawyer for the case.

AHS whispered to me that it was a drugs case and the judge was reading his judgment. If I were the judge, I would have sentenced the guy guilty, from the way he looked and dressed. But a look at his elderly mother (I am guessing it was his mother) and his wife, I would let him go free. It is not easy to decide on somebody's fate. The guy was acquitted. His wife and mother wiped away their tears.
To our left, sitting just inside a side door, was a policeman. Once the judgment was pronounced, the policeman rose and said what I thought was 'onnnn!'. AHS rose as did everybody else and I scrambled to my feet. Apparently, the policeman had said 'bangunnn!'
Next, it was our friend's case. One team of lawyers out, one team in; quite unceremoniously. There was no announcement of the title of the case, or anything. Everybody seemed to know what to do. Well, the case had been going on for 20 years! And all our friend wanted was her RM1 million ++ back. I know a little about the case, so I was able to follow what was happening, but explaining to the court what the lawyer asks of you is painful. Not because you have to really say what you mean to say (therefore you need to choose the right words so that you do not implicate yourself), but to say it so painfully slow: a few words at a time, so the judge can jot down what you had said. I would have lost my train of thoughts. You really need to focus.
The case was to be continued, as it lasted till late. We drove back to KL. And our friend said to me, 'Never lend money to anyone.' Hmm... she should know.

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