(Image source: BBC News)
These days, we dread police roadblocks – not because we are afraid of being held up by the police at these roadblocks but rather afraid of being caught in the massive traffic jams that these roadblock creates.
The police roadblocks, since I learned about them, have taken the path of evolution. Let’s look on things have changed since the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.
Roadblocks in 1980s
The earliest roadblock that I can recall is in the late 1970s and into early 1980s is when my parents took me to visit my uncle & his family was living in a Felda settlement in a far away place somewhere in Tanjung Malim.
The journey from Kuala Lumpur is smooth but once we reached the outskirt of the settlement, we are greeted by a police roadblock. The roadblock is manned on a 24 hours basis for there were “reports” of communist activities in the area (as what was told by my uncle – not sure how true is this). We were happy for the road block though – it gave a sense of security to the travellers.
(Similar looking police Land Rover Series III back then. Image source: http://www.lrfaq.org)
One thing I remember about this road block is the beaten up Land Rover (sometimes they come in slick Alfa Romeo police car) on the side of the road and 3 policemen – one holding a semi automatic machine gun. There is a small guard house for the policemen to take shelters in case of heavy rains.
There is a large pole across the road. The police manning the road blocks are very friendly but was very strict indeed. One will always have a friendly chat with my dad whilst the rest do a thorough check on the car and its occupants. Interestingly all the years we have been visiting the uncle, we never had any incidents with communists.
The uncle and the family did not have any problems as well – my uncle was in the RELA and he had a shotgun in the house. The only times he was asked to used it is when wild pigs roams around the plantation. Life was peaceful and we usually spend couple of days in the plantation.
When we return and heading back to Kuala Lumpur, we would pass the police roadblock and are met with the friendly policemen. They will still conduct their checking with the same strict face but it is done without much fuss or delays.
As we leave, they will waive at us and tell us to have a safe journey home.
To be continued…
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