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The things we do and say

A story in the weekend newspapers caught my attention. It was about a young lady who stole a cellphone and was caught with it in her handbag when one of two persons who confronted her about the missing phone phoned the number of the stolen phone and heard it ring in the lady’s handbag. An embarrassment, you would think. Perhaps not, because to do what she did in such a bold faced manner, when everything was pointing to her surely does not suggest any concern with embarrassment. My interest had to do with the fact that what happened was not new and also with the realisation that cellphones, particularly blackberry phones, IPADS and laptops are prime targets for petty thieves.{{more}}
 Sometime ago a woman stole a cellphone. She happened to have been one of the few persons around and therefore became a suspect; but when confronted, she kept on denying it until someone had the presence of mind to phone the number of the stolen phone, only to hear it ring from the woman’s underwear. Imagine!

Once I had to go to the Customs to collect an IPAD and keyboard that I had ordered. I was asked to open the package in front of the Customs officer. The package was empty, except for the keyboard. I left the keyboard with Customs, while I tried to get refunded for my IPAD. The keyboard was secured and put in a special vault at Customs. I eventually had to buy a new IPAD. After receiving it I returned to Customs to collect the keyboard. The officer took his keys and went to the area where it was supposed to have been stored. He opened the package and found it completely empty. What do you say when this goes on in what is supposed to be a secure area, accessible only to persons working there!

The Art of Begging

Some persons have turned begging into an art. What I am about to explain has happened to me on at least three occasions, the last time being last week. A young man comes up to me smiling and asked if I didn’t remember him. He was a friend of someone I was supposed to have known and I had met him through that supposed friend. I listened, assured that I knew nothing he was talking about. I realised then that he simply wanted to attract my attention, having singled me out as a target. He then proceeded to give me a sad story, which was exemplified by the equally sad expression on his face. He came to town, from wherever, to collect some money, but did not get it and had no money to pay his way back. He can be a great actor! Unfortunately for him, I had heard that story before.

One that happened to Bassy Alexander was a gem. A gentleman came to his home and gave him a sad story about his girlfriend being in the hospital with a newborn and that he needed to buy some toiletries for her. Bassy, being the kind of person he is, assisted him. About two months later, Bassy was at some friends, when the same gentleman came up with the same story. Bassy asked him how come his girlfriend had another child so soon. When he realised that Bassy had recognised him, he simply disappeared. You have to give it to some of these people; they are so astonishingly creative. It is as if they were made to be somebody else. Someone writing about the East Indian merchants in the 17th century described one individual. He was such an imposing figure that the author said that the fact that he was a merchant rather than an Emperor seemed to have been an error of God.

A young lady met me in town and indicated to me that she was very desperate, since she was to travel to the US the next day and a Minister of Government had promised to pay her passage, but he was not at work as yet and she wanted to pay the money before the place was closed. She promised she would pay it back to me when she got to the States. I didn’t know this woman from Eve, but I told her that since the Minister had promised to pay for her ticket, I was sure that he was a man of honour and would keep his promise and therefore she should hold on. I hope the lady got to the States.

Really, to live in SVG you have to be very creative in everything you do, legally or not. You also have to be one step ahead of the other person. When I am driving I assume that the person ahead of me, behind me or passing by would do what is most unthinkable. Driving, as with living generally, is based on trust. You have to assume that the other person has some level of common sense and sees him/herself as part of a community of people, in fact, as part of humanity. But this is getting to be a “hard sell”. Do you see how young people look at you if you attempt to say “Good Morning” to them? It is as if

you are a strange person from another planet. On one of my morning walks I passed two young policemen and instinctively said “Good Morning.” (You see I was thoroughly colonised by my mother and by my extended family). They looked at me as if I was a creature from the black lagoon. This, from the police who are always seeking public support!
Dr Adrian Fraser is a social commentator  and historian.