Sunday, April 11, 2004

Gangsterism

Our newspapers are still carrying articles about gangsterism among the youth and I was able to experience it first hand last weekend.
I was on my way back to KL when the bus I was in, stopped to pick up some passengers from Ipoh. Many passengers got down and a few got up but the bus was still half empty. As we restarted on the journey to KL, I noticed this guy (must be in his early 20s). He was asking for something from girls sitting around. This guy was with another smaller kid. I noticed that one girl sitting on the other row beside me, giving him her handphone. After a while, the guy gave her back the handphone and there was a short exchange (which I couldn't hear). Suddenly the girl got up and sat in the seat right behind me. I didn't think much about that incident and went to sleep thinking that it was none of my business.
As we were nearing KL, I saw the guy getting up and going towards the back. After a while, one of my colleagues (a lady) who was on her way back to KL too, suddenly came beside me and told me that the guy was trying "to kacao' the girl. I looked back and noticed that the girl was looking really scared and the guy was now in the seat behind her. I am not much of a hero and I was a bit apprehensive as that guy had a friend sitting up front. Anyway, I just stood up and asked "ada problem??" and on receiving no reply, repeated it in English. My friend was whispering " be careful!, be careful!" all the time. The girl started to tell me something in tears, which I couldn't really understand. Like all bullies who prey on people who are weaker then them, this guy turned out to be a coward and quickly slinked to the back after a few deadly eye-to-eye stares. I told the girl to complain to the bus driver if the guy troubled her again and he can drive straight to the police station. There were no problems after that. The two guys quickly got down from the bus and walked away after reaching Pudu station. They didn’t even look back but they were walking very slowly so I thought we might have a chance to catch them and teach them a lesson. We escorted the girl to the Police pondok, which unfortunately turned out to be unoccupied at that moment.
The girl later told me that the guy wanted to borrow her phone to make an emergency call and so she gave it to him. After making the call, the guy started to make stupid and obscene remarks for no reason (I guess to intimidate her). Later on he was pulling her bag from behind her seat.
I was really angry with the other passengers the bus. I guess those in the front were not really aware. However, there was one guy sitting on the seat right beside the girl and he was acting as if nothing happened. There was also another lady with her daughter who remained silent. I guess this is one reason why these gangsters can get away with such acts – our lack of action when it happens. We will raise and hue and cry – only after the tragedy has happened but prefer to turn a blind eye- “its none of our business”, while it is happening. However, this might have happed to family member or even to me and I am willing to bet that only one in a thousand would have come to our aid. Really scary, don’t you think?

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