Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Philosophy and Uncommon Sense V3.1

A friend of mine in Singapore (Mr BT) wrote the following based on a reported news article in the Singapore Straits Times. For those not familiar, he was making a comment on stupidity following a recent incident where a terrorist suspect name Mas Salamat made an escape whilst in the custody of the Singapore authorities in the island republic.

Read 10 Apr 2008 Straits Times in Singapore, Home Section Page H1.

Two men hijacked a car. The car’s occupants were a 60+ woman, a 3-year old girl and a Filipino maid.

They went to a town centre where one of the men forced the 60+ woman to go with him to a bank to withdraw money.

The other man drove the car to a multi-storey car park, locked the car doors with the childproof locks on and went off. But the “smart” fellow left the window open 8cm for air.

“Trapped” in the car, the Filipino maid and the little girl shouted to passer-bys for help.

The first person who came, and who could understand English, was a Singaporean lady.

This is where the litany of stupidity starts.

Stupidity #1 : In many cars, the child locks are only in the rear doors. There should be nothing to stop the maid and girl from climbing into the front seat and letting themselves out. You would not expect the maid or the girl to know that but surely the Singaporean lady, herself a driver, should have attempted this simple manoeuvre.

But she did not. Instead she called her neighbour, a Singaporean man, who had just driven into the car park. And then, she left to pick up her son from school. (Duh??? A possibly life threatening emergency right in front of you and it is more important that you fetch your son from school???)

Stupidity#2: Even if you can’t unlock the car because the child locks are on all the doors, you can get something heavy and break the windows. Car windows are made of safety glass and the shards from shattering are not normally dangerous. Just ask the occupants to close their eyes and turn away!

But she did not. OK, she is a lady, not given to sudden acts of violence.

Stupidity#3 : But neither did the man! (oh, he did not try the “climb into front seat and open door” method either!) The man called the police (yup, right thing to do). And then just twiddled his thumbs waiting for the police to arrive! (aaargghh!)

Stupidity#4: 20 minutes later, the lady came back. (ah, she has a kind soul after all). And slipped packets of milk, bread and biscuits through the car window to the maid and little girl! Duh???? Is this an earthquake, landslide or building collapse? They’re not in some natural disaster where it would take days to dig them out. They don’t need nourishment!!! They just need you to open the door!!!!!!!

And of course, everyone stood around waiting for the police to arrive and get things sorted out. (does anyone remember the old joke about two men trapped on a deserted island with a beauty queen?) Which they did. Eventually. Hurray for the Singapore Police Force.

If these people are indicative of the average Singaporean’s level of common sense and initiative, I am not surprised that Mas Salamat got away…….