My sister, Audrey, worked as a beautician for a while over twenty years ago. Back then I was still in high school and even up to now I'm not sure what her job was all about. She had among her regular clients several Datins who had grown so huge in all direction horizontally, though unfortunately not vertically. They were creatures who probably had trouble sighting their own feet; breasts weighing a few kilograms each and sagging to the waistline. My sister spent her days removing hairs from their legs, and at other times did that thing which I'm afraid I don't quite know what it's calledit's some sort of beating of the breasts using the palms of the hands, thus producing loud flip-flop sounds (which by the way had nothing to do with slippers) in the hope that that might firm up the breasts a bit? The things that people do!
But that's not what this post is about. I meant to give a background of what I'm gonna talk about, you see, and I somehow could think of nothing very interesting to start with except that breast-beating ritual. And just in case you're wonderingno, it wasn't really effective in firming up the breasts.
Anyway, Audrey had an electronic machine which looked a lot like a sound system amplifier. It had a number of those tiny switches and tuners and plenty of wires attached to the unit. But it wasn't an amplifier at all. Instead, it was some sort of slimming machine. I'm not sure how it worked, but I think the wires from the machine were attached to a fat part of the body; and when it's activated, the wires would heat up. Somehow the fats from that part of the body would be melted away! Those of you who are working as beauticians, please excuse my ignorance if I'm not explaining the process accurately.
Then one day, that machine was stolen from home. Audrey did not even realise that the machine was gone. Who stole it? Well, the thief was actually a distant relative of ours who was staying in the same house. The circumstances leading to how he was caught was quite something. He wasn't even aware what that machine was, thinking that it was a sound system amplifier. But I'm not blaming him, because it did look like one. Desperate for quick cash, he sold that "amplifier" to a dumb manager of a band for RM400. He thought he got a good deal, buying an amplifier at such a cheap price. Only God knows what happened nextI reckoned the manager tested the "amplifier", using an earphone and maybe burning both his ears in the process; or smoke came out of his hair. But after he found out that that wasn't an "amplifier", he lodged a police report. So to make the long story short, the police eventually caught the thief, and Audrey got her "amplifier" back.
Years later, when I was working in Brunei, I knew a young man who was the only son of a rich man. He had 7 sisters. But he was a lazy bum and never quite measure up to his father's expectations. He always got into trouble, and each time his father had to bail him out. Then one day he suddenly went missing. News quickly spread around. Police report lodged and a frantic search was made. There were speculations that he had been kidnapped for ransom; that a syndicate comprising very sophisticated criminals had carefully planned to squeeze some money from his father. But in the end, he was found dead in a budget hotel room in Limbang. In his suicide note, he apologized to his family members. He lost heavily in football betting, and owed a big some from loan sharks. He took the fast but painful way out.
On Monday this week, a friend told me that his cousin brother had gone missing while trying to deposit money through an automated teller machine. A police report was subsequently lodged. And just in case you don't already know it, lodging police reports is a national favourite pastime here in Malaysia. Apparently, the police had to wait until at least 24 hours had elapsed before they could act. So the family employed the services of a bomoh. The bomoh, apparently having seen too many movies in the likes of The Expendables and A Good Day To Die Hard, somehow arrived at the deduction that the poor lad had been kidnapped by a bunch of drug addicts, and then brought on a joyride all the way to Kudat!
Remembering the story of the useless idiot in Brunei, and keeping an open mind, I suggested to my friend that maybe it's not a case of kidnapping. Rather, it's a case of his cousin wanting to disappear. I had to put it nicely, of course, just in case I might offend my friend with my outrageous suggestion. It's strange that whenever faced with problems of this nature, people have the tendency of dismissing the simplest explanation, and would rather venture with explanations involving very sophisticated criminals whom have spent a lot of time and effort to plan and then execute the crime!
Then today, another friend shared her recent story on a facebook page, about how she had waited for her brother in the car with the engine running, but with all the doors locked. A man had come and tried to open the door, but when that failed, he broke the window. The friend had the right mind to get out of the car, shouting for help, but unfortunately the man drove off with the car.
I find it interesting that in both the latest cases above, there were comments that it's no longer safe these days, as we have more crimes going on in our cities. There was also a mention that "They keep telling us that crime rate is down but that's crap."
I'm not sure what's the truth of the matter. Is crime rate really down? Or has it gone up? I'm convinced that the actual number of crime cases is on the rise. But the size of the population is also on the rise. So it's entirely possible that when the authority tells us that crime rate is down, that's the truth, because even if the number of cases had increased, it's possible that in relation of the population growth, the rate has declined?
But anyway, I'm convinced that most criminals in Malaysia are not as sophisticated as what our romantic mind would like to believe. Well, maybe they will become sophisticated in a decade or two from now. What do you think?