I read a fun article today in the Straits Times about a recent event in the Johor state of Malaysia (bordering to Singapore).
The Crown Prince of Johor; Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, made a surprise visit to a local supermarket and offered to pay for every shoppers groceries in an impulsive spree of generosity.
Pandemonium erupted as shoppers went bezerk, filling up three trolleys each worth of food. According to the article, the generous prince was only in the store for about five minutes but the bill landed at over 1 million RM.
The news about the prince’s largesse spread like wildfire, causing the supermarket to close the shutters early due to the overwhelming crowd. Furthermore, a voice recording on the messaging service WhatsApp proclaimed that the generous prince would show up to a few supermarkets in other areas of the state.
Despite public announcements that the news was fake, thousands of shoppers flooded the supermarkets and begun filling trolleys. Police were called in to control the traffic chaos that ensured outside. When the shoppers realized that the prince wasn’t coming to pay their bill, they simply abandoned their trolleys and left the store. Managers from the supermarkets reported that they had to close, and clean up the mess. Many groceries such as fresh meet, fish and dairy products were completely spoiled.
I think the prince’s initiative was great! It’s always cool when wealthy people do philanthropy and good stuff that nobody expects. The backside is of course the huge unnecessary waste of perfectly good food that ensured. It clearly shows the tragic greed and selfishness that many people inhibit. Whenever there is a prospect of something free, all forms of civilized and prudent behavior go straight out the window. A not so subtle reminder of the animal side of us that we otherwise hide. I really can’t understand the people who just left their trolleys in the store, causing the food to spoil. How stupid are you? If it were me, I’d be happy if some eccentric prince miraculously showed up to pay my bill. But you can bet your balls that I’d never leave a full trolley like that. I’d put everything I wasn’t paying for back. I HATE food waste.
Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim is the oldest son to the Sultan of Johor. He is the first Malasyian to ever enroll in the armed forces of India, where he holds the rank of captain.
He is a skilled horse rider, and a good polo player. The prince is also the president of the Johor Football Association, and a sports car enthusiast. His license plates are “TMJ” – his nickname. He’s married with two kids.