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Lost and found

Thursday, May 18, 2006

In this week of Time Magazine publication, they are continuing the saga of the Top xxx...but this week is the Best of Asia. One of the rated article for "Best for the Soul" caught my attention is the cynicism cure. Here it goes...

In Tokyo, Japan, they have a highest return rate for lost property. Some example to prove this.
1) Of the 255,844 wallets reported mislaid in Tokyo in 2005 a heart warming of 194,139 were handed in to the Police Lost and Found Center in intac.t
2) About 95,000 of the 100,247 cell phones reported lost were also brought in to the police lost and found.
3) This is regarding to an editor in tokyo magazine, she losted her wallet 5 times in the last 14 years, and it has always been returned to her complete with credit cards, identification cards and cash intact.

Unbelievable? I would say this goes to the virtues to teaching their children to hand in lost items. Imagine you lost your previous item, you would be missing it and hoping that one day a kind soul will find it and return it to you some day. Stepping into their shoe, I guess that might be why they can return the lost items to the owner with high success rate.

I can't image in Singapore this high success rate. Of course there are some good kind soulds out there, but to compare to the above yield high results, it's insignificant.
The signifance would probably be hopeful that one day Singapore or the world would become such a graceful society.

Of the lost and return cases that I heard locally, some will pickup the wallet and take out all the monies. After which they will put it in an envelop and drop it into the mailbox, and let it become the responsilibilities of the mail/post center to sort it out to return to the owner. Such act compromise the integrity of the signifance of return lost item. Although the wallet got returned, the person is actually expecting a fee for it and this act is actually an act of theft.

In the case of lost cell phones in Singapore, I think most people can forget the hope about getting it back. It would most likely become's another person's new toy or sold to second hand shop. Nowadays seems like Singaporean are quite loaded, can afford to change or buy new handphone when it's lost. Still to me the agonies would be the lost of contact, addresses book and information which is no amount of money can be bought with.

The act of return lost property and not keeping it to oneself reminded me of a Chinese teaching - "路不拾遗".
The chinese characters in there aptly describe the meaning of it. Yup, we were taught to return lost items to owner, or at least report it to the police. However how many of us actually practice this virtue?

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