Golden Age/Alex Ross at "Superman Homepage"The Tragedy of John Doe in Superman's Cloak

    Paranoid Lucy twists the strands of her hair    
                        over the concept of Neighborhood Watch.

 

Neighborhood watch every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday of the week... and my neighbor, Uncle Tan, takes off with a bicycle that appears to be more suited for marketing purposes (with its pink basket); smiling to passer-bys; flashing his torchlight at every grimy dark place.


Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against enthusiastic do-gooders. It's people like these that we have our weekly karaoke sessions at the community centre. It's people like these that we have our yearly trip to kukop island. My grandma was coerced by her elderly friends to take up computer lessons. My mum has sent me to cooking classes in a bid to save me from my daily cup noodles...

But coming back to Neighborhood watch. Well, I agree that the police alone cannot manage the safety of my block. They need people like poodle-lover Uncle Tan to patrol the streets and act as a deterrent to anyone foolish enough to bust a criminal move near him. He's armed with a plasmatronic gun that could vaporize your very ass into thin air.

But you see, Uncle Tan does not have a plasmatronic gun. He doesn't have bulging muscles and the only imposing body feature he possesses is a beer belly.

Ok I know I'm paranoid but I've got valid reasons. I always have valid reasons.  Let us say we re-enact the sensational  murder scene of the woman being slashed by a young boy hired by her husband, just as she steps out of the lift. Now my Uncle Tan happens to be cycling by; sees the action. What does he do?

He can freeze on the spot, fumble for his walkie talkie while the horrible deed is done in a spilt second and the young boy escapes.

He can yell at the boy, run to the scene and jolly well get slashed by the panic-stricken boy, or even the husband himself who was there at the crime scene.

A million things can go wrong for Uncle Tan at the scene and why should we deny Uncle Tan's rights to return home safely to his beloved poodle?

We citizens can play a role in preventing crime but I do not think it is a very wise move for citizens to surrogate the role of a "policeman". We see a crime being committed, we dial 999. We see someone screaming for help, we approach the scene out of our own initiative and do whatever we can. Not everyone should be called on to be a hero. Not everyone can fit into the role of a hero or a uniform in blue. Not everyone especially Uncle Tan, Aunty Siti and Mrs. Ravinsingh.

That the hero is just the ordinary person in society, is sadly only a myth. Perhaps out of luck, fate, coincidence whatever you call it, the ordinary person apprehends the criminal with just a few scratches. But you can never control the circumstances that a citizen meets on his daily neighborhood watch. One day the citizen might encounter a petty offender vandalizing his neighbor's car, the next day he could unknowingly be pitted against a psycho killer of a 180 IQ and my paranoid brain thankfully freezes in its thought process.

Michael Williams(UK photographer) 2 ladies

The consequences would be quite nasty for Uncle Tan, who perhaps on one hand, desires to help out around the neighborhood and on the other hand, dreams of grander plans to start a family (Uncle Tan remains a hopeless romantic even at the age of 45).

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