Sunday August 12, 2012
Fortunately, they left the nuts behind before bolting
IT may seem like a small thing but it is still a necessary statistic that must go into the petty crime list.
On Monday night, I was astonished to see my car, which was parked properly at a designated bay at the public car park in Taman Jaya in Petaling Jaya, with the two wheels on the left side missing.
A single brick in the middle was holding the car up. The four nuts for each wheel were placed below the axles.
The first thought that crossed my mind was, “How would I be able to get the car home since there is only one spare wheel in the boot?”
But I had no shortage of help.
One friend immediately went home to get another spare wheel from his brother's car, also a MyVi, like mine.
We placed two jacks to support the car and proceeded to fix the spare wheels, thankful that the nuts had been left behind, or we would not have been able to do so.
Even my friend's young daughter helped by shining her handphone torchlight to illuminate the place while we worked.
As we were making conversation, everyone had a story to share about the growing incidence of petty crime in our lives, whether at home, at work, or even when we are out shopping.
We were not angry, nor did we go on a tirade about how unsafe the country had become.
Rather, we were all thankful that losing two wheels may not be as traumatic as being accosted by a gang of parang-wielding thugs wanting to steal your car.
Whether crime is on the rise or on the decline may be a matter of perception to some but for me on that Monday night, it was harsh reality.
And so too, for my colleague who also recently had two wheels stolen off her vehicle in Kuala Lumpur.
I got my car fixed the following day, with a set of second-hand rims and two new tyres.
I then made a report at the police station near my house, not because I needed to file an insurance claim, or with the hope that my wheels would be recovered, but because I needed to do my part to help the authorities have a correct assessment of the overall crime situation.
I suppose many people do not bother to report the loss of handphones, iron grilles, postboxes, etc, simply because they are deemed as “minor losses”. But they should.
The policewoman who took my report was pleasant and understanding. She even wrote in the report that it was my hope that police would step up patrols in that area.
I have always seen the cops as our friends, and we must do our part to help them do their job.
And that includes being civic-conscious enough to report “problems” in our neighbourhoods even if they do not directly impact us.
And although we get the impression that it is not safe to be Good Samaritans, like stopping to help someone change a tyre, I believe it is this spirit of looking out for another that holds the key to making our society safer.
It breaks my heart to read in our “Letters to the Editor” page about a car-jacking incident near the Damansara Jaya Secondary School where the victim was lying on the road unconscious with so many just whizzing by until a Good Samaritan by the name of Darren Lee came to his aid (“Passers-by who just didn't care” The Star, Aug 9 2012).
If we truly want to secure our neighbourhoods and shopping malls, it cannot be just about installing more gadgets or recruiting more guards. It is about being a good citizen who looks beyond oneself.
If we want to make our home safe, it is not about installing CCTV cameras in all the rooms and up to our fencing.
It is about knowing and loving our neighbours.
Then the tipping point will come when the crooks out there know they cannot get away with anything because we are united in looking out for one another.
> Deputy executive editor Soo Ewe Jin thanks all those who helped him at the car park. A loss like this is nothing to fret about. But he is sad to lose a dear friend, who fought a valiant fight with cancer, and passed away on Wednesday.