Instant Karma in Covid-19: When Bad People Get their Just Desserts
June 18, 2020
Professor Rappa shares on some of his bad experiences during this Covid-19 period.
Never buy a new car from an old friend working for a big luxury car brand. When it comes to business, friendships mean squat. I recently sold my car about three months ago, just before the Covid-19 regulations kicked in. I thought I got a bad deal from the used car dealer. The used car dealer must have profited a lot of moolah from my old car. The next day I discovered that he was advertising my used car for over S$30,000 more on his company webpage.
Living in an HDB flat has its quirky situations as well. My flat blacked out twice last week. The first electrician said the minimum cost would be S$50. I ended up paying S$350 because he said he had to replace two gadgets. Then this clumsy oaf broke my super valuable framed wall map of Southeast Asia in the 1700s. He offered to give me S$30 but I looked at his face and he seemed so sad; so, I said nevermind.
The damn electricity blacked out again two days later. A new electrician said the minimum charge was S$50 plus another S$30 because it was after 6 pm, and that included inspection and transport. After he made his checks and inspection, he said that I had to open the electrical riser door outside. But I didn’t have the key to the door. The childless Singaporean Chinese couple that sold me the place didn’t give me the key. Neither did I know I was supposed to get it. So, I had to pay a locksmith S$70 to open the door just outside my gate, which he pried open in two seconds flat. In the next 10 seconds, the lights came on. I handed the electrician S$80 but he said it was now S$300. I demanded to know why. He said it was standard procedure. I asked him if it was standard procedure to cheat people living in HDB flats. He said if I was not happy, I could call his boss. The entire incident took up four hours including waiting for both workmen, so I though never mind and just paid up.
The next day, I felt unhappy about having to pay S$220 more than the agreed amount and hence threatened to call his boss. He returned S$50 to me. Where’s the karma? My Malay and Chinese neighbours who were with me during both blackouts said that they saw the first electrician, a Chinese foreigner, get into an accident with a car. The second electrician, a former SAF Guardsman, was caught speeding on the TPE and called me to complain about the traffic police. I guess he had no one else to complain to at that late hour. The childless Singapore Chinese couple that sold me the flat at a high price still have no kids. Finally, Honest John, the unethical car dealer is still stuck with my old car.
Antonio L Rappa is Associate Professor and Head, Management and Security Studies, Singapore University of Social Sciences. He also teaches at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at the Nanyang Technological University.
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