His interest rates are higher, he breaks the law and he preys on vulnerable people who need fast cash. That’s Ah Long, your everyday cina bukit unlicensed moneylender who always has the cops on his tail. But who’s the victim, really, when the deal goes down? Ah Long even gets it far worse than the banks. Here’s why.
(1) Ah Long Doesn’t Run You Out of House and Home if You Can’t Pay
When banks lend you money and you can’t pay, they take your house, your TV, your cat and even your 11-year-old son if they could. This, so they auction if off to pay off the amount you owe them plus interest.
Ah Longs? They pour paint on your house and draw little tortoises. When Ah Long lent you money, he gave you the terms upfront, and you agreed to those terms. When you can’t pay, he loses money. Of course he wants his cash back! As for banks, they bury the sky-high interest rates and other fees in fine print. Who’s worse?
(2) Ah Long Breaks the Law to Collect Money YOU Owe Him
Which brings us to the paint, and little tortoises. Even the rare pig’s head (which costs around S$30 today given inflation). All these things cost more money, and Ah Long isn’t make you pay for them in service charge.
When debtors can’t pay, they work with the cops to get Ah Long arrested. Try doing that with the banks.
Some people even install CCTVS outside their homes specifically to catch Ah Long’s runners, in an attempt to escape payments.
If you’re a victimized debtor, that’s understandable. But if you’re “chow kuan” type (play dirty tricks type) that borrow then don’t want to pay, you’re just being a total bastard.
(3) Ah Long Loses Everything When He Gets Nabbed
So the hounds are set loose and they bite. When Ah Long is arrested, the cops raid his place and seize everything – account books, computers, handphones, and the likes. With all these confiscated, he has little way of checking who still owes him a debt (but don’t underestimate the memory of an angry Ah Long, of course).
Ah Long gets thrown into jail, chalks up a record, and comes out with only his mind to hunt down debtors. And he could have been in the slammer for years, while debtors enjoy their new 42″ HD TV set and Premier League football.
No matter how much you try to run, banks keep your store your records for eternity. ETERNITY. And with those records, they even let other banks know when not to lend you money for that second-hand HDB flat you’ve been eyeing. And they share your records with marketing companies. And they get telemarketers to sell you loans and fast cash. And they can’t be caught for all this!
(4) Ah Long Was Your Friend When You were in Need
“A friend in need is a friend in deed”. When the banks turned you down and your friends dropped you like a cold brick, Ah Long gave you what you needed – of course, at a price which you accepted. But when it came to payment time, you ran like a wet dog. So much for a gentleman’s agreement. Ah Long got family too, you know.
For sure, there’s Ah Longs who prey on gamblers and the likes, who need fast cash to fuel their addiction. Those fellas are the true scum of the nation. Still, you’ve to actively seek them out because these Ah Longs are mostly underground.
Then again, we’ve banks to feed that need too. Loans can even be taken straight from your ATM machine nowadays. Just by pressing a couple of buttons, you’re in debt. And these machines are everywhere in public! Damn!
After all that, what do you think?
*Redwire does not encourage loansharking, or support loansharks and their activities. What we’re saying is sometimes, we got to cut those guys some slack.