We were out four days ago with my family. It was already two o'clock in the morning when we decided to call it a night. At the last hour we decided to not go home and have an early start with grocery and produce shopping so we headed for the wet market to buy the things needed for the house.
Immediately jumping at the opportunity to go for I rarely go there, only tagging along whenever I wished to before.
I was excited because I was hoping I might pick up a few tips and pointers on how to select vegetables, meats and stuff. Since lately I've been interested in learning how to cook.
It was nearing three o'clock when we got to the place.
Even at that hour there were already a number of people busy with their own shopping.
I was enjoying my self, looking at the fresh produce that just arrived, observing the whole market scene, sharing jokes with my brother and sister-in-law, cool air and shopping.
As I was walking along with my sister-in-law, my brother who was walking a few steps behind us noticed a guy was following us.
He called out our names, making us stop and turn our heads to see what he wanted.
The moment I did, I noticed the guy but didn't think anything of it. I assumed he was just someone who lives near there. He didn't carry anything and looked kind of scruffy.
He kept right on walking and brushed past me.
My brother immediately approached us and told us to be more observant in our surroundings since the market place is also known not only for their produce but also of the many scalawags who 'work' in that area and victimize unsuspecting buyers.
I completely forgot about the guy following us soon after. We kept walking and shopping and looking around when my brother's mother-in-law said we were going to buy some rice.
She headed for this store that sells only rice, we went along with her.
As we waited for her, my sister-in-law and I were busy talking, my brother was peering at the different kinds of rice being displayed and sampling some.
It was an open type of store. Anyone could just pass by without you noticing it.
We were all standing facing the rice being displayed when suddenly I felt someone put their arm around my neck. I thought it was my brother, so I didn't bother looking up immediately.
Then, he moved his hands to my ears and started massaging my earlobes. I wanted to turn my head right then, but he prevented me from doing so. He then whispered that if I exert pressure or scream and cause a scene he would stab me.
My sister-in-law who was standing beside me was unable to move or even speak, she was so nervous it rendered her immobile.
I felt my earrings lock snap and he took them.
He, then slid his hands all the way down to my waist and I thought he was going to check my pockets.
That's when my brother noticed the thief and pushed him away.
When his hold was released I immediately turned and faced the person who robbed me.
My heart was pumping because my brother was about to beat the crap out of this small man and I knew he must have a weapon concealed.
When my brother was about to punch him he pulled a thick, sharp ice pick from his waist and told my brother that if he puts up a fight he'd stab him. My brother didn't move as I was so close to the thief, we were standing face to face.
I told him that we won't fight with him and he should just leave.
My brother wasn't aware the thief already had my earrings and he was just thinking that the guy was a pervert.
The thief then turned to me and asked me for fifty pesos cash! The nerve of the freak!
I had a good look of his face. His eyes were a bit bloody. He looked stoned or high.
I told him I didn't have any money with me. He then eyed my bag.
He said he didn't ask much, just fifty pesos and he'd leave.
I was firm with him. I told him I didn't have any cash with me which was true.
Before we started shopping, I gave the money to my brother's mother-in-law as we left her in-charge of the expenses since she knew more about produce shopping more than we do.
When my brother's mother-in-law saw the guy she thought it was just another beggar hassling us for money. When she asked what was the matter the thief then turned his head.
My brother was about to approach him when he noticed and pulled the ice pick.
He stopped and told the thief to just go away. He was fearful that the thief would attack his mother-in-law next.
The thief faced my brother and asked him for twenty pesos as if they were buddies all this time.
My brother told him that he has nothing to give.
He asked again, but my brother was quite firm.
I don't know what possessed him to just walk away after my brother told him for the second time he didn't have the money.
These all happened without a single person trying to help us.
The clerks in the store's excuse were, they thought the guy was with us because they saw us just talking there.
Then one of the girls who were selling some vegetables then whispered to me that people here don't really exert any intentions of helping since these low-lifes have little gangs and whoever tries to get in their way would be dealt with violence.
So the locals reaction is to just turn their heads and pretend they didn't see anything happen.
Nobody in that crowded marketplace even tried to help.
Thank you so much Filipino helpfulness and sympathy!
When the thief left, my brother asked me if I was okay.
I told him there's nothing he should worry about since I was fine all he was able to take was my earrings.
He was surprised since he didn't notice the guy took my earrings. He thought the guy was just being a pervert.
I tried to dismiss it immediately and not cause any further scene.
Though I was burning inside and wanted to kill that person.
He violated me and the people I love and hold most dear!
I've had those earrings for three years.
It was a pair of silver earrings with stones, not really worth that much if you take into account the market value of the thing.
But, I loved those earrings because they were a gift from my brother which he gave to me when he was still in high school.
He patiently and diligently saved a little of his allowance everyday 'til he was able to buy them and surprise me with it on my birthday.
He turned his head to where they thief went and was about to go after him.
I stopped him and said that even if those earrings were indeed valuable to me, his life was more valuable than them.
I would not let him risk it for a pair of silver earrings which I could always buy.
If that piece of trash wasn't carrying an ice pick even I could beat him black and blue.
In my eyes he was a midget, very short man. I was taller by two inches and I'm only five foot three!
I told them to continue shopping and not think of the incident any further.
I refused to let that scum further ruin my day. I won't give him that victory too.
So we bought other things we needed and walked back to our vehicle where our mom was waiting.
As we walked towards our vehicle, my brother saw a patrol car and hailed it to stop.
He then talked to the police officers on board and told them of the incident.
But the unsympathetic, lazy, good for nothing 'arm of the law' just shrugged and said that its a natural incident especially in those parts of town.
They then said the best thing we could do was go to the police station and report the incident and look at some old mug shots.
My brother then asked IF we could identify the guy would they go out and have a search and arrest him. They then looked at each other and then turned to me, asked what item was stolen. When I told them it was a pair of silver earrings they sort of smiled and said they'll do their best.
"Fuck you!" I said to myself. Right then, I decided to not report it. I'm not going to go through all that hassle and still have nothing done about it.
If the thing is not deemed expensive might as well forget about it even if a CRIME was committed.
Thank you so much Philippine Justice System!
When we got to our vehicle, I immediately told my mom what happened.
She was fuming mad, as any mother would be, but I immediately said we'd just go home.
I needed the rest and I don't want the incident to be brought up again.
I'll just log it here and save it as part of the many misadventures I've had.
I still want my earrings back but I'm just glad we got out of that one without a scratch.