It is dangerous to think we are dangerous

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Has our perception of crime finally reached an all-time high to the extent that we visualise the streets in Kuala Lumpur the same way we do the favelas in Brazil, wonders Nicholas Chan.

Brazilian soldiers on patrol in Vila Cruzeiro - Photograph: affordablehousing.org
Brazilian soldiers on patrol in Vila Cruzeiro – Photograph: affordablehousing.org

Referring to the reporting “PDRM denies Kuala Lumpur among 10 most dangerous cities globally” by Bernama, it is both sad and amusing to see our capital ranked amongst the other truly dangerous cities in the world, like the ones in Honduras (which has the highest murder rate in the world), Mexico and South Africa.

Vetting through the list personally, I am pretty sure Malaysia is in no way as dangerous as these cities and the world isn’t yet “accommodating” enough to make Kuala Lumpur one of its top dangerous cities. In fact, KL would hardly make it into the top 50, even after discounting the Middle Eastern cities.

Although the methodology used by this not-so-respectable website is questionable, it is also alarming to us how such an unsubstantiated allegation raised so many eyebrows in Malaysia. Has our perception of crime finally reached an all-time high to the extent that we visualise the streets in Kuala Lumpur the same way we do the favelas in Brazil or the ghettos in Cape Town?

Viewing it positively, it would mean that we had enjoyed a relatively safe Malaysia – and were blessed with the naivety to compare ourselves to places where drug cartels rule cities and assault rifles are used by criminals instead of parangs – until recently when a surge in crime finally broke our threshold of acceptance.

READ MORE:  Is Malaysia sinking in crime?

It would probably mean we are as fearful as the citizens of these truly dangerous cities. And this is something a good police force or even government must not allow. In a perception war, it is really about blaming the players, not the game.

Nicholas Chan is a socio-political research analyst at Penang Institute. A forensic scientist by education, he believes there is a truth in everything and it all depends on whether we want to see it or not.

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