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BLOG: An open letter to the bicycle thieves of Singapore

Zafar Anjum | May 26, 2011
A cautionary tale that involves bicycles and Twitter.

Bicycle Thief

Dear bicycle thieves of Singapore,

I am not sure if you have heard of this film but Vittorio De Sica's Bicycle Thieves (also known as The Bicycle Thief) is one of my all time favourite films. It is a 1948 Italian neorealist film that tells the story of a poor man searching the streets of Rome for his stolen bicycle, which he needs to be able to work.

The West rarely makes this kind of film these days. Only some Iranian filmmakers are still making films like this in our time. But I doubt if you care about cinema, Italian or Iranian.

This blog post, however, is not about films. Perhaps you know why I am mentioning this particular film to you. I thought the keywords in the film's title, 'bicycle' and 'thieves' would be of immense interest to you because of your professional commitment to stealing bikes (or should I call it a hobby? You decide).

You are getting bored already, huh? So, let me cut to the chase and plunge you straight into the plot.

Recently, my bike was stolen (yes, in Singapore and by one of your tribes), and I was really surprised for more than 15 minutes after the incident happened. Perversely, I should thank you for that. These days, my senses are so denuded that nothing surprises me anymore. But this one did. After I found out that my bike was gone, for some time, I was surprised and angry. Surprised because it happened to me (yes, you outfoxed me) and angry because of the inconvenience that it caused me. 

While I was sad at my loss, my sadness was doubled thinking about you. Yes, you, the shameless man who committed the crime. I think of you as a young man-poor, uneducated or under-educated, and unemployed; honestly, I think you are a lost soul. I wonder what circumstances would have forced you to steal an ordinary bike like mine?

Five years ago, this kind of a street crime would be unimaginable for me in Singapore. Yet, it happened, and happened to me. And you did it to me.

Before I tell you my story in more detail, first read this one from Colorado, USA:


Stolen bike found using Twitter

May 26, 2011 - 10:30AM

A US woman says her savvy social media skills are what reunited her with a stolen bike.

The Daily Camera reports 30-year-old Elaine Ellis from Boulder, Colorado returned home Saturday morning local time to find that her bike lock had been ripped out of a brick wall and her US$500 bike missing.


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