On January 1st we all were horrified by the disappearing act of my gadgets. At least I was: Macbook, Kindle, DSLR and GoPro, plus the iPad of the girl in the bunk next to mine that she had entrusted to my locker, were gone. Gone, supposedly forever.
It was a dire morning but talking with the other roommates and the hostel manager, we quickly came to the conclusion that the Singaporean Indian that had introduced himself as Asi the previous day and was not in the room anymore this morning had taken the things. Based on speculations, of course, but it was our conclusion nonetheless. He had been asking suspicious questions that didn’t seem so suspicious at the time about where was everyone going to spend New Year’s Eve and what time we would be going out and all. No one paid much attention to him because we all had plans of our own and he had just arrived. And of course there is the little detail that he was gone and the things too.
I accepted the fact that everything was gone quite graciously except for a couple of very dark moods along the day and waited for the owner of the hostel to come back so that we could go to the Tourist Police together and register our case to be able to claim something from insurance. Her brother came and took us there quite late in the afternoon.
We were merrily (NOT!) telling our tale to the police when someone called and told the hostel manager that the Czech guy who had been in the next room with his girlfriend and left that morning to Cameron Highlands had seen the Indian guy there checking into their same hostel. The police of Cameron Highlands was called immediately to arrest him.
That gave us a little hope but what really got our hopes up happened later, in the evening. The hostel owner came to tell us that the boy’s family wanted to talk to us. Boy. Not guy anymore, boy. He is 16 years old and from KL, not Singapore.
I was a bit scared of what may happen but she reassured us saying that they were very correct gentlemen and it was alright to talk to them so we met them at the Indian food court opposite the hostel. There they told us a bit of a story: that his parents had divorced when he was 1 year old and that his stepfather really beat him very hard and he had completely lost vision of one eye and 50% of the other. A sad story indeed but they didn’t stop there. They asked us to withdraw our charges. What? In exchange of getting all our things back. Apparently some were still with the boy and some others (including but not limited to my Mac) had already been sold.
Once we agreed that we would withdraw our charges if and only if everything was returned, we only had to wait. The boy was to be brought back from Cameron Highlands soon and only then they would know where exactly he had sold my Mac. The wait was of course unbearable and I cancelled my visit to Melaka in order to be available for our next meeting but nothing happened on January 2nd.
On January 3rd, I was finally called by the boy’s brother to come to the police station and get my things back. Sophie too. Once there, everything was returned to me and a long discussion about Sophie’s make up bag and iPod ensued. During the discussion, the boy was slapped in the face at least twice. Once by the older, almost toothless guy that might have been part of the police force but I never knew and once more by his brother. Both times because he talked. He claimed many times that he hadn’t stolen anything from me and that the thief was actually Pavel who had later given him the things for selling and sharing the prize. I couldn’t care less if that was true or not.
Once again, chance meetings on the road had worked their magic. This time I didn’t get to be part of the meeting but I certainly benefitted from it.
While we were about to leave the police station, Raja, the boy’s brother said to me something very disturbing: “I will teach him, I will beat him”. That was after the boy had come to Sophie asking for the money back in order to go “back” to Singapore. In reality, he wasn’t even Singaporean, he was just a missing boy from KL.
- I should get a backup service
- Always keep my keys about me
- He will get beaten very hard (if he hasn’t already)
- I must have been collecting some pretty good karma to end up getting my things back
- My Mac was formatted but it was also upgraded to Mountain Lion.
The only thing that didn’t come back was the splendid green sleeve I was using for the Macbook.
The South-east Asian leg of my trip is coming to an end soon. I lost many things in this region but I had a lot of fun. I lost one glove, one bungee strap, the Mac sleeve, my pants, and possibly some more things I can’t remember right now. Totally worth it.
Update: I just remembered a couple more things I’ve lost. I lost my dragon thumb ring in the jungle in Thailand and I forgot my Mongolian seat rug at the hostel in KL 🙁