Set a Thief….

An expert lockpicker used his expertise in his trade to invent a theft-proof lock.

The thief, Wu Mingrong, was (in)famous for committing robberies after picking locks with a toothpick. He ‘used his skills to build a new anti-theft device during his 20-year sentence in Qianjiang prison’ in China.

He invented a lock that he himself couldn’t break, got it patented and also had his prison sentence reduced!

This news report reminded me of the excellent movie- ” Catch me if You Can“, based on the life of Frank Abagnale Jr.,who, before his 19th birthday, successfully conned’ (people out of) ‘millions of dollars by posing as a Pan American World Airways pilot, a Georgia doctor and Louisiana prosecutor’ before he was finally caught.

He was so skillful at cheque forgery that the F.B.I. later asked for his help in identifying forgeries!

He is currentlya consultant and lecturer at the FBI academy and field offices for the Federal Bureau of Investigation’.

This is not really as strange as it seems at first, I suppose.

Recovered alcoholics are often the best people to counsel addicts about the dangers of excessive drinking. The same goes for reformed drug-addicts. Having ‘been there and done that’ they know all about the dangers and pitfalls of addiction.

I wonder if this same logic could be applied to Indian politics?

Perhaps the worst aspect of our politics is the corruption that has spread everywhere. Maybe we could combat it by making use of the expertise of a reformed corrupt politician?

But where do we find such a politician? Would it even be possible to find one?

A reformed thief? Possible to find. A reformed embezzler? Also possible. A reformed murderer? Even a murderer may have a change of heart. We could find one after some searching.

But a reformed politician? Finding one may well prove to be an impossible dream!



  1. What a thought. Needs to be seriously pursued. Imagine what a reformed Laloo will do for Bihar and the Railways! Or a reformed Neerja Yadav, voted most corrupt bureaucrat by bureaucrats themselves, would do to cleanse the bureaucracy! And, a reformed Raju would do to the whole industry!Unfortunately, in real life, it is mostly small-time criminals who hit the reform button. The big guns go blazing into their funeral pyre! Do you think any of those on Wall Street whose greed has ruined the lives and homes of so many people will ever reform?No harm in dreaming, though!


  2. That would make a lot of sense 🙂 But can we ever ever find a 'reformed corrupt politician' 🙂 As you say 'But a reformed politician? Finding one may well prove to be an impossible dream!' 🙂 Loved the movie Catch me if you can.. We have watched it so many times – and have not got bored 🙂


  3. Abagnale is inspirational .. not only for crooks .. i mean he is real .. unlike Robinhoods .. all his tales of swindling and subsequent change in him means he not the next door crook but a romantic folklore hero .. you are trying find Abagnale is others .. I believe people who are best at something can adapt well to different sides as well … because they know what it takes to reach at the top ..sadly most of the politicians not best at anything … i find the best politicians are the most stubborn of the lot .. like MG .. Bajpayee .. anyone who is not the most stubborn will sway both ways.


  4. I guess its a measure of my despair that i think a "reformed politician" is an oxymoron. But the system in which they thrive needs to be changed. So that they become answerable to someone or something. Today they are more than kings. (I just read that MLA's of some state recently voted themselves a 50% raise in pension, the third in the last 5 years. How come we dont have a say on that ? Or is it that legislatures are all about stuffing pockets ? Why must they get a pension after 1 term anyway ? Who allowed that ? So many questions and no answers…..)


  5. You are a dreamer, Manju! But this news about the lock picker is interesting! I have seen the movie, 'catch me if you can', many times. Di Caprio and Tom Hanks. Yes, I have heard that it is based on a true story and the real person is still alive and in FBI! We can never dream of our politicians reforming!By the way, the 'super 30' IIT JEE students' prog. is there today in Discovery channel from 8 to 9 pm.


  6. Vinodji– If only we had a magic potion to reform those corrupt people that you have mentioned!Yes, it's true that small-time criminals are more likely to reform.Radha– Yes, it is improbable…Smitha– It's one of my favourite movies, too!


  7. SP– That is a good point- those who are best at crime can reach the top on the 'good' side also. Also they do not want to be caught while committing crimes. Our politicians, on the other hand, are quite openly corrupt. They do not mind if people know. That's another difference, I suppose…Ugich Konitari– You are absolutely right-'a "reformed politician" is an oxymoron.'Sandhya– I'll be sure to watch the "'super 30' IIT JEE students' prog."


  8. Radha– I forgot to ask- did you have any trouble logging in today?hitchwriter– The movie seems to be a universal favourite.:)And yes, Amen!


  9. I remember this phrase – A leopard never changes his spots.So it is natural to greet your post with a lot of cynicism.Well why not…stranger things have happened and we have reformed persons from so many walks of life….so why not politicians.The trigger for this change has to be a personal and a traumatic experience. Only then the other angle is appreciated and the process of change sets in.Why not?….I say


  10. yes, it so sad that we have never heard of something called a reformed politician?! What is the incentive for that anyway?!If you are a reformed thief, you get a patent and royalties, or a job at the FBI. If you are a reformed politician, what do you get?! A salary worth peanuts which you now cannot supplement with under the table deals! So why should anyone reform from such a cushy deal??!!


  11. The raw material used by the almighty to create the Indian corrupt politician is unique.The level of corruption they have acheived is enveiable.May be,we can use them to teach others to become permanentaly corrupt and don't get caught.In such case, bring this Chinese to cathch them.One of them will successed


  12. Ugich Konitari– Will do the tag soon. 🙂Kislay– I have to concede defeat! 😀Mavin– "The trigger for this change has to be a personal and a traumatic experience. Only then the other angle is appreciated and the process of change sets in."-And then a 'Valya Koli' of Indian politics becomes a 'Valmiki Rishi'?


  13. Roshni– It is sad that -as you say- there is no incentive for a politician to reform…Solilo– 😀BK Chowla– Yes, Politicians do seem to be of a different species than other humans!


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