Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dubious Bravery

A couple of years ago, a 14-year-old schoolboy was murdered in broad daylight near the central market in KK. According to eyewitnesses, two men had approached the boy and demanded him to surrender his money and threatened him with a knife. The boy had only RM1 on him at the time, but he decided not to give in to the robbers. He was a very brave boy, you see, so the robbers stabbed him to death. So much for the bravery!

When you come to think of it, it's hard to rationalise the value of defending against the loss of a meager RM1 at the risk of losing the life of a 14-year-old boy. Losing one's life for the sake of RM1 hardly seems like a very clever thing to do.

But imagine if the boy was somehow able to fight off both the robbers, knife and all, and eventually get to put them behind bars. That would be great, wouldn't it?

This boy defended against the loss of his motorcycle against an armed robber by successfully evading a gunshot, and lived to tell the tale. The robber, probably having a bad day, missed a close-range target and ended up getting caught. The kind of story which can put a smile on one's face.

But actually, that still doesn't change the fact that it was stupid to go against a firearm for the sake of a motorcycle! The motorcycle means hardly anything if the boy had died from the incident. I'm not impressed with the boy in the least.

Many years ago, I learned the Malay arts of self-defence, silat. I became quite good in it until one day when I accidentally injured a fellow student during a practice session. I was so afraid, I thought he was gonna die. Luckily it was just a case of a fractured rib. But after that I quit silat for good.

I can still remember when the master asked us the question one day: What would we do when confronted by several armed people? I forgot how the rest answered that question, but when it was my turn, I said I would flee as quickly as I can! My answer was accorded with a roar of laughter from the other students, especially since I was considered one of the good ones in silat amongst my peers and was supposed to have been a model of bravery! Yet they were all silenced by the master when he said that's the best thing to do in such circumstances!

Bravery is a good thing, and perhaps in many cases it can save lives. However, bravery can cause unnecessary loss of life too! When instilling courage in young people, we need to also develop a bit of common sense in them about safety. There is really not much point to be so brave if one ends up dead because of it!


teo said...

Hi Corny,

Yes, I would have run for my life too if I am in that situation. If they can catch me, they have to make sure they can catch me in the first km, or else they might have to run the full 42.2km!!

If the robbers are armed with knifes or guns (dont be fooled, some are using only a toy gun), I guess it is better to surrender to them politely, maybe I can even request to get back my IC & cards. Why fight and risk your life?

But how if the victim is a female and the robber(s) want more than $$? I can still recalled that one of the leader from a political organisation once told the victim to stop fighting and "Enjoy" the moment to avoid being killed or hurt!! He was sack or suspended I guess for his statement.

Robbers & crooks are very smart nowadays, they might even be a professional, someone working below your office in the same building!! Even incidents such as teachers molesting students, grandfather raping their grand kids are so common nowadays in our local daily......the world is going up side down, lets see if 2012 will really be the END of Days!!!

Cornelius said...


That is a slightly different scenario you've given. My point is that when faced with the choices of bravery vs defending properties, sometimes common sense would dictate that it's better to lose the bravery.

If the bad guy had intended to rape a woman, it's not really a matter of choice on the part of the victim. It's not a matter of bravery; you just try your best to escape from the rapist, that's all.

If it's money that the criminal wants, then let the money go for the sake of saving the life. If a group of people armed with knives or guns attack, then the common sense is to run away and not try to be brave by fighting. Likewise, when a rapist approaches, and if there is still time to escape, the best thing to do is to run away as quickly as one can.

Not too sure about 2012 being the end of the world, at least not like how it happened in the movie 2012. I just don't believe we have enough water in planet earth to flood the entire world.