Following the latest reports that unscrupulous moneylenders here have chained and imprisoned three men in Bukit Serdang for failing to settle their incurred debts ( reminiscent of Abu Ghraib ), the entire moneylending community - otherwise fondly known here as ah longs - have been targeted by the vengeful media and the far more outraged public.
Poor fellows are getting some mighty bad press these days. Doubt even clever Portia and her cheating ilk could heap any more abuse on the hapless moneylenders.
If you prick us, do we not bleed?
If you tickle us, do we not laugh?
If you poison us, do we not die?
And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?
Not only do they get villified by the public, I even know a couple of moneylenders who have been beaten by their clients as well. A sad role reversal, I know! So as much as I should raise a pitchfork to join the bloodthirsty mob, I beg to differ. Can we actually blame them?
Victim : That's all I have! Take it!
Paul : Not really. Hand me your clothes too.
So far we've gotten so used to the far gentler image of the ah longs with their bleeding pig heads and vandalizing spraypaints proclaiming vengeance ( the infamous O$P$ - Owe money, pay money ) on their loan defaulters - suddenly gone MIA - that we've actually forgotten that these shady strongfellows can actually back up their bark with some bite. Make a quick escape with the money that you borrowed from them - after making a ceremonious blood oath no doubt - and expect to get away scot-free?
Seriously. Imagine the chagrin of the ah longs. What would happen to their sorely earned reputations! Surely you can't expect these macho, tattooed brutes ( with ties to the underground ) to hang around twiddling their thumbs patiently waiting for the return.
And let's not forget that some of the borrowers aren't exactly upstanding pillars of the community.
If someone owed me a huge bundle of cash and disappeared suddenly without repayment, I'd be pissed as well. Probably furious enough to punch a few things. And that's putting it mildly.
So what would you expect the more physical ah longs to do? Is it any wonder that these modern-day Shylocks want their pound of flesh as well? Not saying the ah longs are right to mistreat their loan defaulters but hey, sometimes you gotta look at things from their point of view.
Of course if I were an ah long, I wouldn't mistreat my defaulters in the infamous Abu Ghraib method. Mindless physical and mental torture would certainly be going against my principles ( and my vaunted Hippocratic Oath! ). Anyway how would I ever gain back my deposit in that way? Depending on how good the cheating miscreants look, I'd probably demand repayment in the form of sexual slavery on their part! And if they're not as well endowed physically, surely they have reasonably attractive brothers and sons willing to work off the loan :)
Monstrous, aren't I?