Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Nearly conned...

One night, many, many years ago, I was with my brother-in-law Philip, two of my uncles, Bobby and Anthony. We were playing mahjong in my house at Thomson Road, when all of a sudden, there was this young man, aged maybe 16 or 17 years old, dressed rather untidily, I remembered with his short sleeves shirt not tucked in and also barefooted. He approached us, looking rather disorientated and in a sweat.
He needed to use the telephone very urgently to call his sister and we allowed him to do so. We also stopped playing at the same time and was listening intently to his conversation. He sounded panicky, agitated and looks like crying and shivering also, spoke shakily, "Hello sis, mother met with an accident, injured badly and is now in General Hospital emergency unit! Huh? you cannot rush to hospital now? I am in a very dificult situation and right now I don't even have a single cent on me, how to take taxi and rush there? Mother is alone and the hospital needs us to go and sign papers before they can do any surgery immediately otherwise she may die. I was told she is suffering and is in a critical shape. I was working and rush quite far to borrow this phone to call you because the company's phone is out of order. I told you I have no money with me right now!"
He started crying, "What to do now? How?". He hung up the phone and sat down on the floor as if in agony. We felt very anxious and sad after listening to his plight and was going to give him some money to help out, when another uncle of mine who was sitting quietly at a corner reading a magazine, stood up, caught the youngster by his shirt collar, and spoke very sternly to him. "Don't think I don't know what you're trying to do! I have been dealing with you guys for such a long time, trying to get sympathy with sad stories, and con people of their money. Tell me the truth now and I will give you a chance and let you go or I will bring you straight to the police station".
The boy suddenly shakened, immediately cowered, knelt down and pleaded for leniency and kept saying "Sorry, sorry, sorry". My uncle said, "Don't you ever let me catch you doing this again or you will be properly punished, understand?" He nodded his head repeatedly, "Sorry, sorry, dare not already" and quickly sprinted out of sight.
All of us were shocked especially with the acting and realism that this young man displayed, and to this day, this episode of real life con-in-action will never be forgotton. Incidentally, this uncle, my mother's younger brother, happened to be Inspector Hong of the Singapore Police Force. Cons and scams are still very active in Singapore, even with the local media at present still highlighting many cases and giving advice and cautions, we sometimes forget and continue to be conned! Nowadays, we have more and more foreigners getting into the act, preying and testing our gullibilities.......

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