Describe a problem you once had while you were travelling. Explain what you did to solve the problem and what you have learnt from the experience.

- by Sphynx
IGB International School,
Sungai Buloh, Selangor

During the last school holidays, my best friend Benjamin and I decided to travel overseas for our holidays. We visited Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Unfortunately, my pouch containing money and travel documents were stolen when we were there.

We stayed in a hotel while we were touring Phnom Penh. On the fifth day of our tour, we had our dinner at a restaurant nearby the hotel. After ordering our food, I placed my pouch on an empty chair at the table. While we were having our meal, a stranger who was in our age group approached us. Appearing to be extremely friendly, he explained that he just wanted to befriend us as we seemed to be foreigners. He asked us where we were from and we had a long chat. After that, he said he had to go. As he was leaving us, he took my pouch along with him when Ben and I were not noticing.

Having finished our dinner, I reached out for my pouch to pay for the meal. To my horror, I found the pouch missing. I got into a panic as my travel documents, money and ticket to go back were in it. I was worried sick and had no idea what to do. Ben told me to calm down. We then searched high and low for my pouch but failed to find it. He then suggested that we go to the police station to lodge a report and I agreed. After arriving at our destination, we told a policeman who was on duty about the theft and made a report. He told us they would do their best to find the pouch and apprehend the thief.

After lodging the report, I called home to tell my parents about the incident. Upon hearing what had happened, they were naturally anxious for me. They told me to apply for an emergency certificate in the Embassy of Malaysia in Phnom Penh as I would not be able to go back to Malaysia without the certificate. I did as told and and learnt from an official in the embassy that the certificate would be ready in three days. My parents then flew to Cambodia to give me moral support. When the certificate was ready, we flew back to our homeland together.

From the experience, I have learnt to be more careful. While travelling abroad, I should be more cautious about keeping my belongings safe. I should also be more alert when strangers approach me. They may appear to be friendly but there is no way for me to know whether they have any ulterior motives. Thus, it is best that I remain vigilant in order to prevent any untoward eventualities.