PETALING JAYA: Malaysians are no strangers to hard times – with a sluggish economy driving prices up, stretching that humble ringgit can be downright daunting sometimes.
So just imagine encountering a grand old RM50 note lying on the street just begging to be claimed. Would you take it if it wasn’t yours? Would you be willing to tell a lie when asked face to face if the money was yours? Or would you tell the truth and say it wasn’t?
FMT recently collaborated with the creative team at Maxman TV to conduct a social experiment to see how ordinary members of the public would react when asked if money found on the street, was theirs.
The video, which was released yesterday has garnered mixed reactions from netizens. With the perception of a troubled economy, a debate ensued between those who supported taking the money and those who were against it.
Creative director of Maxman TV Ali Mustafa told FMT that this social experiment was different from the ones they had previously done as this one involved money.
“When we used money in this social experiment, we got some really hilarious reactions,” Ali quipped.
Asked about the reactions they received from the public, Ali said, “We realized that Malaysians are honest despite the hardships they are going through.”
The experiment, Ali added, made them notice that people who looked like they could use the extra cash, honestly returned the money.
“Those who had money tried to keep it instead of being honest,” he said, adding that social experiments such as this worked as a platform to create awareness because it involved raw and real actions, caught on camera.
As for the experiment itself, Izmir Mujab of Maxman TV did the honours, planting RM50 on the ground and asking random people if the money belonged to them.
Many instinctively bent forward to pick up the note and literally pocketed it as if the money was indeed theirs, even as Izmir asked: “Sir, is that yours? Did you drop it or did I drop it?”
In another instance, two people scrambled to pick up the same note, with the younger giving way to the older man in the end. When asked if the money was his, the older man said convincingly, “Yeah, It’s mine… yup.”
Others also took the money, claiming it was theirs, although grudgingly handing it back when Izmir told them the money was actually his, not theirs.
One man in particular, a foreigner, took some serious convincing from his wife before agreeing to return the RM50 note to its rightful owner.
“Is it yours?” Izmir asked to which the foreigner confidently said, “This one is mine.”
“Nah, bro I think it’s mine,” Izmir said, explaining that the money actually belonged to him.
The foreigner however played tough and when asked if he was an honest person, replied that he was while insisting the money was his. Despite Izmir continuously asking for the money back, the foreigner turned his back on him, walked away, and consulted his wife, even making light of the situation by swaying to the music of a dance troupe performing in the background, until she persuaded him to return the RM50.
“Next time be honest, that’s all,” Izmir said, walking away as the foreigner then tried to hand him money from his wallet to save his pride at being found out.
Another man carrying a pink plastic bag and looking very much like a foreign worker, took the RM50 but gave Izmir back the note when he was told the money did not belong to him. Noticing the look of pure dismay on the man’s face, Izmir asked the man: “Having a hard time? If you need it, I can give it to you.” The man graciously accepted the RM50.
The experiment did show however that there were members of the public who were honest and readily admitted that the money lying on the floor was not theirs.
But how would you react when asked about money that wasn’t yours? Stick to the truth or tell a fib and make a quick buck?
For more videos by Maxman TV, visit their YouTube page at youtube.com/user/mxmantv