Monday, September 25, 2006

人性本恶?

记得中学时候念儒家思想时,读到关于孟子与旬子之间的思想差异. 其中之一包括"人性本善"或"人性本恶"之争. 到底人是一生下来就有罪恶的念头,还是后天的因素导致一个人走上不正当的途径?

Why do i suddenly think of such things? Well, a simple incident at work, really.

A week back, i lent my laptop charger to a colleague, who subsequently returned it to me. The problem is - he simply left it on a common table, and didnt hand it to me personally. (at my workplace, there's no personal desk, so we all share common "hotdesks" in the office)

When i went to the hotdesk to retrieve my charger, i simply took one which was lying there and unused, assuming it was mine (the colleague told me where he left it, and since i found one lying at the location, i'd assumed it was the one).

The next day, another colleague came to me and asked if i've seen her charger, which she claimed was lying exactly at the same spot. Since there's no way of confirming the rightful owner, i decided not to create a scene and i decided not to "contest" the issue of ownership.

Today, through a series of asking around and "testimonials" from several witnesses, it became a little more likely that the charger actually was mine. But the problem is, there's nothing conclusive and since the charger was not labeled, nobody could prove it was mine/hers.

But whatever the outcome here, it led me to a disturbing conclusion - that SOMEONE must have stolen a charger from the desk. And according to some of my more experienced colleagues around who told me, "you should've labeled all your stuff. it's not safe leaving things around in this office". Hey, we're not talking about a large multistorey office building with hundreds of employees streaming around. We're just a small one floor office (in a building), with max 50 or so employees, all of whom more or less know one another (if not by name, at least by face).

拿走不属于自己的东西,而没有打算还,这就是偷. "偷东西是不对的",这是我们从小就被家长和老师灌输的道德观念之一. 这道理有谁不知道,不明白? 我之所以感到遗憾是因为在这里上班的人应该全都是受高等教育的专业人才,怎么连这点基本的道德观念都没有呢?

难道人性真的是"本恶"吗? 又或是,在这个竞争激烈,你争我夺的功利社会里,所讲究的"真理"是-"人不为己,天诛地灭"?

A collegue told me to fight for the charger. His words were "if you want it back, you cannot be a nice guy". Yeah, someone said before "nice guys finish last". So that means, if we want to finish first, we can't be nice anymore.

If everyone thinks like that, this society will be a really scary place to live in.
Gosh...

6 Comments:

Anonymous hansen said...

Are you guys using the exact same laptop? Cos if not, the charger will not be similiar.

As for Ren Xing Ben Er...well it's not conclusive that somebody actually stolen a charger (who the fish would need that?!?!) but could be a simple case of misplacing items.

Personally, not giving the benefit of doubt or being overly suspicious is a not much better off than stealing. Both are a misplacement of trust, in direct opposite sense.

12:08 AM  
Blogger Owls said...

Stealing to many highly educated people may occur as "long-term borrowing" or as simply as "taking". The guilt of stealing is often less when the object stolen is very affordable. The person may just pass it off in his/her mind as "at most I pay you back if I am found out. No big deal."

This track of thought is very much against basic morals and ethics which is sorely lacking in our younger generation as well. This trend is contributed by the affluence of a society, where the moral values erode since money seems to be able to remediate certain mistakes.

The idea is as though I took a piece of tissue paper from your home to clean my face. I didn't ask, and if you really want me to pay you back, I'll return you 3 boxes at least!

12:10 AM  
Blogger Hiong Gai Gai said...

Same laptop, same charger...

Initially, i'd hoped that it was just a case of someone mistakingly taking an extra charger as their own. But after more than a week of asking around, and waiting for it to "reappear", what other conclusion can i arrive at?

Possibly someone lost their own charger, and saw it as a ready replacement. Or just wanted to have a backup? (we all use the same kind of laptop/charger here, same model/make)
Not that hard to imagine - remember our army days? Some people who lost their equipment in the field would try to 'kapo' others' stuff (things like scabbard, mess tins, even helmets!)

My other colleages told me their have lost personal belongings in this office too (such as MP3 players, cash cards, etc.).

Personally, I think it's all down to a person's integrity.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Wai said...

Quite hard to say, actually. Perhaps someone saw it and kept it, but that person hasn't been alerted to the fact that it actually belongs to you. Why don't you ask around somemore? Not so sure about how morals come into these things. Sometimes I think it's better to give people the benefit of the doubt. Could be a genuine mistake.

12:47 AM  
Blogger Yen said...

A similar incident happened at my office. I left a camera on the desk of a colleague who was on MC, the next day, when she returned, it was no longer there. We wondered who would take a camera without the charger? Anyway, it was never found.

Somehow, when working, it's difficult to trust everyone, and to take everything at face value. I usually "observe" my colleagues before deciding if I should tell them more. It's usually a case of "protecting one's interest". But I'm lucky lah, my dept not so jia lat.

Good luck on finding your charger!

1:14 PM  
Anonymous JQ said...

Ermm.. this comes under section 380 of the penal code under theft in dwelling. Maximum is 7 years jail.. that person better own up man... haha

6:32 PM  

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