Just when I was still feeling all snuggy and happy for World Peace & Harmony from New York Philharmonic’s visit to North Korea, Singapore’s most wanted criminal has just escaped from the Detention Centre at Whitley Road in what’s turned out to be our very own local version of Prison Break.
For readers outside Singapore, the escaped convict is one Mas Selamat Kastari who as a member of terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiyah once plotted to fly an airplane into Changi airport. I got wind of the news from Ling last evening when she told me about it. As it is, Ling has a choir concert at the Anglo-Chinese School’s auditorium, and as luck would have it, is situated near this detention centre.
What’s the more comical about this escape attempt are the finer details. Fact #1: the fellow has a limp. Yep. A limped convict somehow escaped. Fact #2, and get ready for this: he escaped after getting permission from his guards to go to the loo during a family visitation. No kidding! Check out the excerpt from The Straits Times news article:
JI leader escapes while on way to toilet
By Chong Chee Kin
THE Jemaah Islamiah leader who escaped from the Whitley Detention Centre on Wednesday afternoon was on his way to meet his family who was visiting him when he gave his escorting officers the slip.
Home Affairs Minister Wong Kan Seng disclosed the circumstances behind Mat Selamat Kastari’s escape from the centre when he was questioned in Parliament on Thursday afternoon.
His family was visiting him at the time, and he was being led to a room to meet them when he asked to go to the toilet.
He then fled.
W O W. That must had been the oldest excuse in the book. I mean, maybe school teachers should had been employed as guards, because all of us are super-well trained when it comes to these things.
What do I mean? When exam candidates during an examination want to use the loo, we’ll escort them to the toilet, and escort them back. Heck, for some of us who’re more zealous in this sort of thing, we’ll sometimes even get ask the candidate to leave behind his wallet, and empty his pockets. We’ll even inspect the toilet cubicle, make sure that no one else is inside, and then park ourselves right outside the toilet door while the student does his business. Trust me when I say in my 12 years of teaching, I’ve even seen cases of candidates hiding little bits of notes in the toilet roll. One school I taught in even had roaming invigilators along the corridor during examinations, and their sole responsibility was to escort exam candidates to toilets. No kidding. We take Toilet Duty very seriously.
So, all this has come as a big surprise to Singaporeans, and the discussion forums are aflame with shock and dismay at how badly local Home Affairs has dropped the ball. Here’s to wishing that Mr. Mas Selamat gets caught and returned to his cell soon, thereafter which maybe Jack Neo can then turn this comedy-of-errors into a movie with a title “Security No Enough”.