Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Harsh Cold Reality

We read about it in newspapers and dispassionately listen to similar stories in the news. But I guess when it happens to you, it takes on a different mood, a different color and it comes down like a big dose of harsh cold reality.

I've always felt safe here in Singapore. I've been here more than 7 years and have never experienced anything like it before. So when it did happen to me, I felt like a stranger watching an event unfold to someone else. I felt like a 3rd-party observer who still can't believe it happened.

I was staying at home alone as both my housemates are in Manila on work and/or vacation. As I arrived back in Singapore last Sunday, my sister Mary was on her way back to Manila.

On my last birthday, I celebrated it like any other year. Dinner with family and friends. Nothing exceptional, except for the company. After my birthday dinner/drinks, I took a cab as it was really late and I arrived at our block at barely before midnight. I went up to the 5th floor, took out my keys but before I even tried to open the doors, I noticed our wooden door was broken and splintered. The doors were opened so I went inside and stood at the entrance of the house and found the lights blazing in the living room. I felt cold all over and knew I've been robbed. What's funny was I looked at my desk at the living room and still found my laptop intact so I was a bit confused if there was a robbery.

With panic in my voice, I called my boyfriend, my twin sister and the police in that order. Unable to get my boyfriend, I sent him a 911 message hoping he'll call me as soon as he sees the message. My sister kept me company on the phone as I stood alone, panicked and distraught at the lobby of my building. I managed to call the police and report the incident and kept my sister on the phone again while I wait for the police to arrive.

It was one of the longest night I remember. With the police, I entered the house and realized all my jewelries and watches are gone. Including their boxes. I also noticed my passport missing after a while.

Most of the things that were taken are replaceable. Except for one or two heirlooms that were gifts from my mother and was a gift to her from my grandmother.

I kept on thinking that if I had decided to go home early, either the robbery would have not taken place or they could have still done the deed with me inside or I could have arrived at the time when the robbers were still inside. And I just don't know what would have happened if the latter two happened instead. I also thought about the week before when I was in Manila and my sister Mary was alone in the house on her own.

So in a way, I am thankful because it happened when my sister was not home. Or when no one was there to be harmed. Material things can be replaced but the lives of my loved ones are more important.

Right now it seems like a distant memory but it only happened 3 days ago. I still think about it every now and then but I knew it's futile to feel helpless or feel distraught by it as I don't think I'll get any of the items back.

But it now makes me feel unsafe in a country where I thought a person can live on their own without any worries. I guess that proves once again the usual statement you see outside that says "Low crime does not mean no crime". How true.

What infuriates me is the fact that someone was inside my house rifling though my stuff, violating my personal space. That was more frustrating than losing the material things I lost.

The people who did this to me might have a celebration for getting a lot of things from me but life works in mysterious ways. I still believe in Karma and these people who did this will not have a good life ahead of them in the long run.

Right now, this event just makes me more paranoid and suspicious. I don't want to be affected much by this event but subconsciously, a part of you will always be on the look out, always suspecting things that are not suspect. I won't be paralyzed by this event and make me stop living my life. But I guess I will never take for granted the relative safety that I feel here in Singapore and assume that nothing bad can happen to me. Because it just did when I never thought it would. So again, one needs to remember, "Low crime does not mean no crime."

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