Memory.. Little threads that hold life's patches of meaning together. ~ Mark Twain

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Lending Money

"Eh, can borrow me xxx bux ar?"

Probably once in your lifetime, there's someone, be it your family members or friends would ask you that question. What will you do? I'm not talking about lending 10 or 20 bux. I'm talking about a couple of hundreds or thousands. Will you fish it out from your wallet, or will you say No? Money issues can make or break relationships, no matter how closely bonded they are. How matter how good the intentions are, it somehow ends in a sour note... Like it was in my case...

I met her in college 8 years ago. We became the best of friends. Like any other friendships, we had our ups and downs. It didn't matter how totally different we were from each other. It didn't matter how many continents away we were from each other for nearly 3 years (I was in Sheffield, she in Melbourne) . It didn't how much Inspector and other friends despised her and our friendship. We stood strong for each other, and helped each other out. We were together through the good and bad times, mentally and emotionally...

Until the money issue hit us.. Real hard.. I was in my final year at that time. Somewhere in October 1999, she e-mailed me. She gambled her money and she needed to borrow AUS$450 (that's almost RM 1k here) from me to pay her month's rent. I was disappointed. I knew that all along while she & the bf were in Melb, they popped E, they smoked weed and they gambled. But I never thought she would go to the extent of needing to borrow from others. Bear in mind, she comes from a super rich family. 3-4 storeys bungalow house with a huge swimming pool. Her bf''s family is just as rich as hers. I was really skeptical. If I don't borrow her the money, does that mean I'm not loyal to the friendship? If I do, would she repent? Do I trust her enough?

After my classes, I walked to the nearest HSBC. I still had slightly enough to hold my own. But it wasn't my money. Should I tell my parents? I made a long distance call to Melb and spoke to her. She just needed the money to be put into her bank account to show her mum that she had enough to pay for the rent. She would return it to me by December. Finally I agreed. I made a TT for 165 pounds (15 pounds for service charge) to her bank account. She thanked me zillion times. I was glad to help her. Came December, she didn't mention anything about the money. And I left it that way. I didn't want to ruin the friendship by bugging her about the money. I considered that as bad debt. I came back to Malaysia for good, she came back for summer break. We had a blast celebrating my 21st birthday.

Then the next year, 2001, she asked me to lend her $ again. Her bf lost in gambling and needed the $ to pay his rent. Whether the reason was valid, I put my feet down on that. She didn't return the $ the previous time. Why couldn't they ask from their filthy rich families. Why didn't they learn their lesson from the previous time. I told her I barely had enough for myself. She said she would borrow from her old friends from secondary school.

Months later, she e-mailed and asked me for $ again. I can't remember what reason she gave me. To be honest, I didn't care anymore. I found out from Wan Nei that she lent her nearly RM 1.5k and a few other friends chipped in as well. I think that was enough to tell me that she didn't quit gambling and she didn't appreciate my concern towards her well being. Adding to that, she b*tched about me to Wan Nei. That I was not "best friend" enough to help her, to lend her the $. That I need a f*cking life (coz I don't go clubbing/pop E/smoke substances/gamble like her). That I nagged at her. So much for being a very concerned friend! I confronted her and she admitted saying all that. In the end, she said, "I don't think we are best friends anymore" or something like that. As childish as it sounded, it hurt a lot. For me to have given everything towards the friendship, this is what I get. For not borrowing her the $$ the second and third times she asked me. The year 2001 was when my friendship with Cleopatra ended.

1-2 years later, I found out that she had not returned Wan Nei & Shaggy's money. Apparently she woke Shaggy in the wee morning once, asked him to go to the nearest bank to take out $ and lend it to her. She borrowed a huge amount from many people. And her best friends were now her secondary school friends who lent her $ various times. Wan Nei convinced me to get back the $. So I called her. She did not remember borrowing any $ from me. All she remembered was that she asked me for $, and I did not borrow any to her. What a joke. To think that she would ever thought I'd lie to her. To me, it wasn't about the $ but the fact that she took me for granted. She wanted proof. For the next 1 month, I scurried through my e-mail archives, letters and documents. I had deleted all the e-mails relating to her and also threw away all my HSBC statements. I never thought I would need them in the future. I made various long distance calls to the Sheffield branch. Thankfully, they still kept a record of the TT service I made to Melbourne. I waited for the photocopy documents by post and then showed it to her. She was finally convinced and she returned me the $ the next few months. She still owes me RM 40, but I don't want to bother about it anymore now.

Until now, I do wonder if the friendship was worth losing due to money. Was I not doing enough to save the friendship? I do not know anymore. And I lost the belief in "best friends". I thought after all these years, I had found a best friend.. I guess not.. I'm not bothered about her having her own best friends. If best friends are based on money, so be it for her. I don't care anymore..

Note: Articles to guide you if you are to lend $ to anyone.. Should You Lend Money To Friends? and Advice For Lending Money To Friends Or Family .


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