“I will never ever be a gangster again! ”I said angrily. “ Nor will I borrow money from those terrible money-sucking loan sharks again!” grumbled my friend, Jeff. “Those stupid, horrible loan sharks landed us in jail, I will never ever turn to them again even if I am at my wits’ end.” I added regretfully. Thanks to the Yellow Ribbon project, I was able to find a job and pay off my debts quickly after I got out of jail. As I heard the roar of motorcycles whizzing past the road near the ‘Kopitiam’ cafeteria next to my house, I was transported back to the day when I made a terrible mistake and caused myself to get a criminal record..
"Boss!“ I pleaded pitifully, “I will do anything but I just cannot commit crimes... It’s ... against the law!” “I also never ask you to kill anyone! You want your life or not? When you step into my gang that means you will not be afraid of any stupid law! Understand?” shouted my ferocious boss. “You forget already meh? Or is it you deaf?” teased another member. The gangsters spoke to each other using either Hokkien or Broken English as they received very little education. My friend, Jeff and I were both highly educated and even went to University. We were then addicted to gambling and landed ourselves heavily in debt. We, the newest members of the triad, were supposed to steal a suitcase full of thousand-dollar bills, to prove ourselves worthy. That would pay all our debts and we could leave the triad once the money was sent back safely to our boss. The suitcase belongs to a filthy rich businessman, named Lee Mon Kee. Our boss gave us each a picture of him and he was actually quite small built. Agony and misery were written all over my face. I knew that I was not supposed to break the law, my parents told me that since I was I little child. But if I did not do that, it would cost my life. I was already mentally prepared to be arrested y the police. Even though Jeff appeared to be very brave, I could still sense him worrying about it is he could not sleep every night after we were told to steal the money.
The day ‘finally’ arrived. According to my boss, Mr Lee would walk along Palm Street every morning to a nearby café to have breakfast. Every Thursday, he would be passing a suitcase to his finance manager to bank in the week’s earnings. We decided to snatch it from him before his manager arrives, as his manager was very muscular. I would hop onto the motorcycle, which Jeff will be riding.
The operation began as soon as we calmed ourselves down. I ran across the road towards the café and snatched the suitcase from Mr Lee. I hopped on the getaway motorcycle and urged Jeff to step on it. At that moment, a shrill siren filled the air and we had to cover our ears to stop them from bursting. The siren stopped as abruptly as it had started. I turned my head to the direction of the siren. I craned my neck and strained my eyes, and finally found out that a police car was chasing us. We tore along the road at lightning speed and veered dangerously around a corner.
Passers-by cast quizzical glances at us and were terrified after knowing what was going on. Some of them almost jumped out of their skins in fright and the others screamed in fear and trepidation.
Jeff skidded to a halt on the uneven road and the impact flung us out of the motorcycle. I was bleeding a little and was sent to the hospital immediately. We told the police what had happened and returned the money back to its rightful owner. We confessed that we were actually assigned by our triad chief and were forced under circumstances. We were sent to jail for a few years and promised to turn over a new leaf. My parents forgave me for my actions and I promised them I would work hard to earn more money and let them retire. Although this had already happened a long time ago, I will always recall this incident whenever I past Palm Street.
Well, I learnt my lesson. Never join a gang or be a gangster when you grow up. Don’t think that being one is very cool; just thinking about your future, your families and friends who care for you. Remember my advice and you might have a bright future ahead of you.