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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Crew with a strong survival instinct

T was a senior crew who left the airline some years ago. He didn't leave on his own accord but was kind of forced out by the airline. T was a broken man and what the airline accused him of wrong doings were disputable.
With a strong survival instinct, T vowed to do even better in life than what the airline had offered him.
T left for K, the capital of a foreign country ( I can't name the country due to political reason) . He looked around for opportunity to engage himself in whatever activities that could help him to survive and survive well.
T had a few good friends there and they promised to help him. After spending a few months in K, he became a illegal casino operator. He had many people coming to his casino to gamble. He collected commissions from the punters. They gambled among themselves and T's job was to ensure they were safe from being arrested or robbed. In short, T was there to provide protection and a comfortable place for the gamblers to bet against each other.
In a short span of 2 years, T became rich. He earned lots of money from his casino operation. He had by then owned 3 casinos.
T was into loan sharking too. For each thousand dollars he loan out he would collect $300 in interest per month. This operation made him even richer.

When I asked him how did the idea of money lending came about, he told me it was through his observation of the activities of the Bangladeshi  workers. The Bangala as they were known to the locals were contract workers from Bangladesh. They were a group of very hardworking and business minded people T told me.
They would buy things cheaply and sell them to the tourists at a much higher price. They spoke fairly good English and the local dialect and that made it easier for them to engage the tourists. But what they lacked was the capital to operate their businesses. So it was here that people like T came in. T lent them the capital and they paid C the interest and eventually the principal. If they default on payment they would be warned and given ample time to repay their debts. If they still refused to pay, hired debt collectors would deal with them in a harsh manner.

According to T, K was a place where there was much lawlessness that almost everything was possible as long as one was willing to "pay". Foreigners could enter the country without proper papers or visa. They were able to live and work illegally. I was told there was at least a million illegal immigrants in K itself.
Prostitution was rife. Pimps and many people capitalised on the trade and made plenty of money out of it. K may sound chaotic but actually it was a very well organised city with lots of "business opportunities", T told me.

We had a drink together in one of the cafes here in Singapore. It was good to see T  again as we've heard rumours that he had die several years ago in a foreign country. When pressed further on why he didn't contact us all these years, T said he had wanted to find a new identity in a foreign country and never to return to Singapore.

How did I get in touch with T and why did he return to Singapore?

I had always wanted to get in touch with T. He was a fun guy and I used to enjoy working with him as a crew. Besides, I have heard of rumors of all sorts about him.....from begging on the street to being killed by loan sharks.
One day, I met another ex crew and he gave me T's mobile numbers. He told me T was in Singapore.
I called T and we decided to meet after almost 10 years.
T came back to Singapore because he was in need of medical attention which was lacking in K. He had suffered a massive heart attack while in K. He also had other medical issues.
After the medical treatment and be fit again, he told me he would head back to K. He had left his partner back in K and she had missed him dearly.
From gut feel, I think T needed more rest or else he won't make it. Even if he has recovered he should not be running the casinos again. It was the cigarette smoke from the gamblers in the casinos that had caused him all his health problems.
I don't expect him to take my advice but I hope he will.
Really what is the use of having all the wealth and die prematurely?

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

T is a smart cookie and will survived...this I knew of him.