The ends do not justify the means


I learnt a valuable lesson that – wrong is wrong no matter what the goals are.

Fa Abdul, Free Malaysia Today

When I was eight, I had a friend named Vivian. She didn’t seem to have any friends. She always kept to herself. I was the only one she confided in.

We used to spend recess together. We cut classes in the loo together. We waited for our parents after school together.

We established a special friendship. I took an interest in her well-being and she reciprocated.

Once during Ramadhan, I was very thirsty and hungry – she took me behind the trees in our school compound and shared her orange juice and egg sandwiches with me. When a few Muslim students who saw me eating threatened to inform my Ustazah about it, Vivian stood up for me, ready to whack them if they did so.

Then one day, I found Vivian sitting alone in her classroom during recess – she was sad. She had lost her library books and had to pay some penalty fees to the school library. Having no money and fearful of asking her strict dad for money, Vivian turned to me for help.

I only received thirty sen a day for school expenses and RM5 a month as an allowance so I was dead broke. But I knew I had to help Vivian.

I thought if I could collect all the coins scattered around my house – in the kitchen drawers, on the TV cabinet, inside the coin mug, by the washing machine – I would be able to help her out. I was very sure no one would even mind because if it belonged to someone, it wouldn’t be left around anyway.

Unfortunately, that week, there were not many coins left about. I was worried. I had to figure out a way to make money, so I asked my mom if she needed me to cabut her grey hair for 5 sen per strand (that was her usual offer). Unfortunately she was busy, so she said no. I counter offered – the first two grey hair for free and 5 sen for two strands subsequently. She smiled and booked me for the coming week.

But I needed the money fast. So I did what I had never done before…

It was a Friday and my dad was getting ready to go to the mosque. I knew that he always kept a RM5 note folded neatly in his tiny keychain pouch for the donation box at the mosque. I thought “Helping Vivian is also some sort of a charity, a donation”. So I quietly took dad’s five ringgit without his knowledge.

At school, Vivian was happy to settle her penalty fees. She said I was her bestest friend. And to celebrate us being bestest friends, I used the remaining ringgit and a few coins to treat ourselves to some carbonated drinks. That was such a treat because dad seldom got any for us.

At home that night, my dad had an urgent family meeting. As everyone sat around the dining table, dad asked about his missing RM5 note. I felt my intestines drop to the ground. My elder brother wasn’t home for the entire day, so he was off the hook. My little brother was too young to understand the concept of money – he preferred coins because they were shiny. So he was off the hook too. I was the only one left.

Having my parents look at me with disappointment was really frustrating. Feeling remorseful, I admitted to my crime.