This morning I dragged my sister Christy out to have breakfast (by the time she was done, it was lunch time), and we had ‘lunch’ at a Chinese hawkers center. Before we’re done, one of my sisters, Polly, was already scheming what to do after we’re done. Her plan? To go ‘long kai’ (Chinese for ‘loafing around’), but, as usual, the plan was shot down by Christy almost immediately.
So instead we went to the supermarket to buy some grocery items. When we were there looking for a car park, there was this police vehicle parked right outside the entrance. Cops car? Who cares? We thought. Must be harassing some poor cashier to get his ‘rightful’ FOC cigarettes or so, I thought.
Seconds later, Polly “Oh-My-God”-ed us and we turned around, two cops were escorting a handcuffed male into the car. The shoplifter had a blank look on his face, motioned slowly into the car and they drove off. I spotted a disdained look on my sisters’ faces. But before they left, we managed to catch a glimpse what he’d almost bagged—milk powder for baby.
Poor thing, Polly said. I had this sting in my heart for a while. And then Polly murmured, “It was for his child…” Indeed it was. Then sea of thoughts started to pour in. Poverty in the country…Is it that bad? Is there no end to the regime’s corruption that poor people didn’t benefit from the affirmative action that has been implemented since decades back? Wasn’t the policy supposed to help poor people? (For more on this policy, please refer to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysian_New_Economic_Policy)
Society WILL condemn someone like the chap who stole something from a store, because the society MIGHT NOT have seen what he stole. We’re taught to condemn people like these, attuned to the customs and norms of the society and yet we always forget there’re 2 sides to every story. Had we had witnessed what and why he stole, we’d be more inclined to forgive and forget. Lack of education, unemployment and the rising costs of living (and inflation that comes along with it…) have made poverty seems like something harder to eradicate now than a decade ago during Asian Economic Crisis. Lacking in democracy, fair trade, free market practices and transparency make a nation lag behind its competitors, discourage foreign investment and thus perpetuate poverty. High levels of corruption undermine efforts to make a sustainable impact on poverty (capital not evenly distributed).
I do not know how will the properly-uniformed law enforcers work this out with the shoplifting chap. I’m guessing that the outlet management wanted to press charges, I just do not know how his fate will turn out, but I hope it won’t be his worst. No matter what, I’ll keep him in my prayers tonight.