Vigilance is a Virtue

LaptopHoboI see it all the time, a laptop hobo saunters into a Starbucks or Coffee Bean, picks a table, places his or her laptop – and sometimes his or her handbag or backpack as well – on it, then strolls slowly to the counter to buy his or her coffee and food.

Do this in some countries and everything will be gone in 60 seconds or less, either stolen or confiscated by security. (Who knows if there’s a bomb in there somewhere, right?)

Singapore’s safety has caused many people to be complacent.

True, no one is likely to steal your stuff but it is wise to be cautious. Most people here – be they “natives” or foreigners – are pretty honest.

Talking about honesty, I accidentally left my cell phone (a rather new Samsung Galaxy Note 4) in one of the toilets at Centrepoint on April 11th and when I rushed to the reception – I had wanted to report my loss and to ask if anyone (janitor, perhaps) has found a lost phone – a gentleman was also walking to the reception to hand over my phone, which he has found.

Only in Singapore!

With such honest people around it can make us lower our guard. We assume that everything is hunky dory.

Call me paranoid but I used to work for an organization that insisted that all laptops be chained to a stationary furniture or fixture. Security would patrol the premises and confiscate all unchained laptops and HR would issue you a violation notice that goes into your personal file. Plus your manager will be notified as well.

Losing a laptop – or a cellular phone for that matter – is not only inconvenient but the loss of data and information inside is a costly affair and cannot be adequately measured in monetary terms.

But how many people really bother?

Signs like this one at Starbucks JEM Mall are largely ignored:


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