Friday March 1, 2013
Honest boy finds unwanted fame
By CHRISTINA TAN
BATU PAHAT: When 13-year-old Amir Azizan Hashim returned a handbag with S$15,000 (RM37,500) to the rightful owner, he did not expect to be troubled by the massive media attention that followed.
The SMK Dato Syed Esa student has been hounded for interviews by Malay dailies and Singaporean journalists since the owner, a Singaporean woman, called his school to thank him for his honesty.
“My grandfather is worried about all the media attention,” said the boy who had to be convinced by his teachers to have his picture taken by reporters here yesterday.
Amir was cycling home after buying a newspaper for his mother at a shop in Taman Soga about two months ago when he spotted the woman at a supermarket carpark.
“I saw her placing her handbag on the roof of her car. But then she got into her car and drove off and the handbag fell off the roof.
“I picked up the handbag from the ground and chased after the car on my bicycle. I managed to stop her at a T-junction about 200m away,” he said, adding that inside the bag were a passport and an envelope with the cash.
He said when he showed the woman the handbag, she immediately thanked him and offered him S$10 (RM25) as a token of appreciation but Amir refused the money.
“My mother told me that we must not take things that do not belong to us,” said Amir, who received a certificate of appreciation from the school during Deputy Education Minister Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi’s visit in January.
“I didn’t expect that returning other people’s belongings could draw so much attention,” he said, adding that he felt nervous by it.
Principal Rohanah Esmail said the school only came to know about Amir’s story after the woman called the school to thank him.
“We were so surprised and proud of him. He has set an extraordinary example,” she said.
Describing Amir as a very shy boy, the school’s student affairs division senior assistant Mohd Taat Kasran said the student was worried about his photograph and story being published in the newspapers.
“However, we told him that he would be doing it for a good cause and to spread the message about honesty,” he said.