Friday, 2 October 2015

A Little Confession

"Please follow us", a way taller guy tapped on my shoulder with another guy standing next to him. While they were leading me to somewhere, I tried to act calm and asked them, "Who are you guys?! Why should I follow you?" But down my heart I knew I was in deep trouble. They flashed me with identity cards stating they were the security officers.

They refused to answer me why I was under detention, until I was brought to a room not far away from the shopping mall's entrance. They started checking the plastic bag I was holding and found a well built Crush Gear toy, with a receipt inside.

"Did you buy this?!", the security officers asked me. " " I answered very reluctantly, not willing to make any prolonged eye contact with them. But as soon as one of the security officers took a quick look at the receipt next to the toy I have spent merely 15 minutes to build at the small table of promoters, it printed "boxer". It was obvious.

I was eleven years old.

I did not know whether I should deny or act dumb. There was no way out. I was caught red-handed this time round. It was not my first time stealing toys from a shopping mall near my house, but this was indeed the first time I got caught.

I had to think sharp and act fast. The security officer asked me to call my parents and tell them everything about it. "Call my parents?! Are you freakin' serious?! No way I will do that! They will kill me!" I thought to myself. "We will pass you to the police station located just opposite the mall if you refused to cooperate with us!" One of the security officers exclaimed.

I quickly recalled there was indeed a police station smack right opposite of the shopping mall. Perfect location.

So I randomly pressed an 8-digit number with similar format of my house number, just so the chance of me successfully calling someone staying in the Klang Valley was higher.

"Hello?", a lady picked up the phone started speaking Mandarin Chinese. "Hi! I am your son's friend, but I am caught stealing at J**** shopping mall near your house. Can you please help me, come over and redeem me? I couldn't reach my parents. The security officers will hand me over to the police if no one comes to my rescue." Lies.

I knew nothing about this lady, and obviously no way I will have known she had got a son of almost the same age as me. She responded well, "My husband will be there in 10 minutes." I hit the jackpot! I was too lucky, at least that was what I thought.

The security officer asked me, "What school are you from?" I answered, "Chong Hwa". But the truth is, Chong Hwa was my school's rival located 2 miles away from my school in Kuala Lumpur. More lies. There was no way the security officers could have been fooled by me, because I was wearing my school's sports attire with a HUGE school logo printed on the t-shirt. Yet they fell for it, believing I was from Chong Hwa Primary School.

I was afraid to stain my school's name. I fear of my parents' wrath if they ever found out I got caught once at the shopping mall for stealing. I was even more afraid to be passed on to the police station, located just opposite the shopping mall.

10 minutes passed by quickly. A tall Chinese guy (everyone was tall to me at that time because I was just a kid) appeared at the detention room, claiming himself to be my uncle. I was like, "Finally my saviour is here!" I was too excited but scared at the same time, not knowing what exactly will happen next.

The uncle subsequently paid for my toy and as we walked out of the detention room, I was still naively asking him, "How can I repay you for the toy you have paid for me?" He told me, "No worries, I'm buying this for my son. Don't ever steal toy again next time!"

WHAT?! So he didn't pay for me, but he was buying over the toy for his son!

Nevertheless, I thanked him profusedly for saving me and I went back home quickly. I did not even dare to look back, because I was too ashamed of what I have had done. No one ever found out what happened that day, except maybe my little sister.

Growing up, I was a naughty and mischievous boy, yet I have an above average intelligence. I was a toy collector, not because my parents bought me all these toys, but most were stolen either directly (physically) or indirectly (bought with stolen money). I always managed to think of ways to get the toys I wanted without paying any penny on it.

When my parents asked me where did I get this toy from, I will give answer like "My friend gave me today", "I found it on the road", or something along the line. Until now I can't believe I said all these, because to be honest, no one gives you toy or anything at all, for FREE! I never seen any free toy on the road neither.

Until this day, my parents never found out that I had been caught red-handed in the shopping mall and yet managed to find a way out without them knowing. But it was not the first time. They knew I had stolen their money before. While they never realised the change in their wallets' positions, the amount of cash seated inside the wallet dropped slowly. Ten Ringgit today. Ten Ringgit tomorrow. Ten Ringgit the day after. 150% return in three days. Best "investment" ever.

I was that bad. Stealing and lying were my expertises, probably my part time hobbies at that moment.

Fast forward twelve years later, I am a Christian and a central banker, blessed enough to earn an above average paycheck (at least among fresh grads), more than my monthly expenses which directly translates into my savings and investments.

I am a changed person. From being a mischievous and sly boy, into a man of God, and will continue to be. Really, it was all by the grace of God that I have been called to his salvation, and to be blessed so abundantly in my career and finances. If God can transform a child thief into a successful young man, what more God can't do for you?

Signing off.

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