Friday, November 12, 2010

Triads in Singapore

I guess there will be more topics as the population edges ever so closer to 6.5mil. Is it a new import? No. I had my experience with some triad members during my school and army days. Are they like the people you see in some Hong Kong triad movies? Not the ones I met. They were regular Joes, a few fluent in English but mostly the Hokkien-speaking type.

One can be easily influenced to join them because they always do things in a group. They meet after school and do all the fun stuffs together. It seems like there will always be at least a hot chick hanging out with them (WHY?!). You need a pal to talk to? They are always there and they will do anything for a pal. Really. Blinded loyalty or whatever you like to call it, when the entire family is out at work and the maid is the only living organism at home, the temptation of joining such a group is something a young man desperate for some family love finding hard to reject.

Personally, I used to hang out with this guy A who was 3 years my senior when I was in primary 6. During that time my single-parent mum was working all the time, my sister in uni hostel and my brother was working in some hotel. A wasn't great in studies (think he went to primary 8 and normal stream in secondary school) but he had a great family. He kept me out of trouble, brought me out to play and even dragged me to his place for dinner because he knew I had no dinner.

If I remember correctly we were approached by a small group of gang members at East Coast Park once. More like nearly surrounded. Frankly speaking I was not sure what was happening but he just told me to cycle away fast! After cycling for 5-10 minutes we finally stopped and he told me that the gang was probably after our bikes.

A had a good family structure. Father (who just passed away recently. Bless his whole family) working, mother the house-maker. The mum will always be there to give advise and care for the children. There isn't going to be so many As around, especially with more and more double-income families. Today's kids are brought up by maids who won't and cannot discipline the children nor provide care and concern. If they are lucky they hang out with good people. If not they mix around with triad members.

Having written all that, I must add that some triad members I met in the army are some of the most loyal people around. Whereas the high-flyers will cover their arse at the first sign of trouble, the gangs will stick by you if you stick by them. There was this one time when I nearly pulled off a small uprising in our platoon against a senior full-timer. Our platoon officer asked if any of the men supported me. For half a second I was sweating because I was standing right in front and no one stepped up to support me. But before I know it, each and everyone of the men behind me raised their hand, even the one high-flying A-level kid in our platoon(so not all high-flyers are arseholes).

The point I'm trying to make is, triads have been there for a long time and they don't usually cause alot of trouble in Singapore. The police have a covert relationship with the gangs for the stability of the society (believe it or not). Sure there were skirmishes here and there but for so many years we have not heard anything so explosive as the 2 recent gang-attacks. I hope it is more of a sudden outburst from a renegade group than a general trend.

This incident may be the best wake-up call for parents to recognise their role in their wards' upbringing. It can also serve as a good example to kids on how things can go very wrong when they mix with the wrong people.

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