01 Apr 2005

Handcuffed in Chow Kit

The plight of illegal Indonesian traders in the Chow Kit are of Kuala Lumpur was recently highlighted in the press. City Hall officers were sent to clear the area of such traders as their business was affecting local legal traders too much. Those officers were only performing their duty. It was only a piece of new to me … till I passed by Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman in a mini-bus.

A small crowd had gathered by a section of the pavement. I turned my head to look for the object of curiosity. There, standing with eyes lowered and left wrist handcuffed to a City Hall officer, was a frightened looking Indonesian man. He and others were probably waiting for the City Hall van to take them away. His goods were neatly packed by his side. Suddenly, instead of viewing him as a criminal who had flouted the laws of this country (by entering illegally or trading without a license), I felt a deep compassion for him. Here was a man who, at least, was hardworking enough to do what he did in order to earn a living. I wondered what could have been in his mind then: a hungry and eventually disappointed family waiting for his money? No money to pay the fines? What would jail be like? What else could I do except to push this scene to the back of my mind and carry on with my journey…Who would be his middle-man before the judge? Who would plead his case or help him pay the fine?

“For the Lord’s sake, accept the authority of every human institution, whether of the emperor as supreme, or of governors, as sent by Him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right … Fear God. Honour the emperor.”             

1 Peter 2:13-17

“You shall not oppress a resident alien; you know the heart of an alien, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”

Exodus 23:9

For Meditation and Prayer

Proverbs 19:17

Romans 13:1-7