I suppose it wouldn't be too far off the mark if I were to tell you that it all began with the economic crisis of 1997. You see, it was because of the crisis that the university upped it's intake from 4000 students to over 6000 students the year I went in by absorbing the MARA scholars who were supposed to further their education abroad. It was also because of that, a dorm room that was meant for two found itself with three people.
And then there was the old fan. Not any ordinary old fan which would creak like joints on a cold day while cooling the air, but the kind of old fan that simply refused to speed up although you turned the speed to maximum. For that reason, we slept at night with the windows thrown open (after all, we were on the 2nd floor and it was a pretty safe place (university residential college) or so we thought), dealing with the consequences of having cats leaving their kittens under the bed by running helter skelter for help from cat lovers to remove cats and kittens alike!
We woke up to the 1st of March pretty early, seeing that we were first years and classes started at 8, and then there's the issue of the favourite bathroom cubicle. Always the first from the entrance. It was a bit strange seeing one of my sling bags missing. Looking out, I saw it on the floor of the ledge outside the window. As I was looking for my stuff to put into my bag for class, I noticed that my wallet was nowhere to be seen, but I was running late so I just went for class.
It was only after twelve when we went back to the dorm and we had found out that about 10 wallets have been stolen from a few of the 2nd storey rooms. Some lost quite a lot of money. All mine had was about RM7 (USD 2.15) and an ATM card, my drivers license and my Identity Card (which had a picture of me that apparently could make even the most depressed person happy again or so my friends used to say)
The thing is this person, whoever they were had took the trouble to walk around the 2nd floor ledge of the block, entered open windows and picked random wallets. Most of us are pretty light sleepers and how did anyone not know what was happening? It was a very scary thing to think about... cats we could handle, but strangers entering the room (or a strange fishing pole for that matter) was something different. What if we had been attacked? Of course we had friends from other residential colleges and faculties, and they started sharing scarier stories of rape cases and stuff, but apparently things were kept well hidden by the university. I can't say if it is true or not, but I doubt people would talk if it didn't happen.
Of course the windows were kept tightly shut at all times after that. As for the fan, we found out a year later that you could fill up a form and they'd come and change the fan for you. :p
Small note: This happened way back in 1999, and this post was meant to go up on 1st March - like a tribute to the old wallet or something, but I guess it didn't happen that way.
The picture was flicked off the Mechanical faculty's website. I couldn't seem to locate any pictures of the block I lived in but it was called M17.