For those of us who are blessed with a job and a steady income, and have been living comfortably all our lives, it is unimaginable that people still resort to borrowing money from the so-called “Ah Longs” or the “loan sharks”.
We must all be horrified by the pictures shown in the papers about those defaulters being tied with dog chains and sit on the floor like dogs. No human should stand this type of indignity.
Many of those who borrow from loan sharks are habitual gamblers, and this group will resort to selling themselves if needed to. SO borrowing from loan sharks are no big deals to them, and they have no qualms to borrow from one to pay off the other, in the process, building up their borrowings. You may call this group ” tai se” or ” they deserve it”. ANyway, in my opinion, even this group does not deserve the punishments that the loan sharks meted to them when they default.
But there are some genuine poor who borrow because they have no choice. I have come across those who have borrowed to send their love ones to private hospitals, even though government hospitals would not cost them much money.
There are those who have lost their jobs and then they need to pay for their family’s lodging and food as well as their children’s education.
Many of these genuine poor are poorly educated, school dropouts, and they cannot speak Bahasa or English. They are too poor to get any help from the banks, which will only lend to those whom the banks consider low risks; there is a saying that “banks will only give umbrellas to those who don’t need them, and that they will never give you umbrellas during rainy days, when umbrellas are most needed”.
So for this group, they have really no choice but to borrow from Ah Longs.
Put yourselves in their shoes.
IMagine that you have no savings and earning a subsistence living from day to day jobs, and suddenly you need a relative big sum of money (to them a thousand maybe a big sum, even though a thousand to a rich person is nothing more than pocket money), let’s say you need the money to bury one of your loved ones, and no one you know will lend to you since most of them are as poor as you, some even poorer than the proverbial church mouse. What do you do? they resort to the easy way: Borrow from laon sharks.
There is in fact a big group out there who are termed as urban poor. These are genuine poor who need help but help is not forth coming.
In fact, government should seriously consider setting up a mechanism whereby this group can be helped with certain form of vocational training or govenrment can set them up as petty traders to do smallbusiness after teaching them the basic knowhows.
IN a society, social safety net is very important. The fact that loan sharks exist say much about our social safety net system. Even more alarming is the rumours that these loan sharks may be linked to some politicians . (Politicians are supposed to find ways to tackle the ills of society and not to add ills to society. )