Back in 1991, I was an 8th grader at the International School of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I was an average kid living a privileged life as the son of US foreign service officers. We had a US government provided four bedroom, three bathroom house, which today is the Nigerian embassy.
It was somewhat tense times due to the Gulf War. We had a bomb threat at the school, and everybody immediately evacuated. There was no school for a couple days.
For some reason, the principal singled me out as someone who knew about the bomb threat because there were rumors that these kids from Garden International School did it and I was friends with them.
I was called in multiple times over a week period when school went back in session. I remember the last time I was in the office, the principal said,
“Sam, I see it in your eyes. You know who did it. Just tell me and everything will be fine.”
It was as if he was making me trying to make things up like how the cops interrogated Brendan Dassey from Making A Murder to confess in the murder of Teresa Halbach!
As an adult now, I realize how much coercion there is by adults to minors. It is absolutely true to never say a single word without a lawyer present, no matter how tempting it is.
If I had said something, I would have been expelled. If I was expelled, I would have brought great shame to my family, to myself, and to my country. Surely I would have been written up in the local papers and perhaps at home, “Son Of US Diplomat Gets Expelled For Aiding And Abetting A Bomb Threat At ISKL.”
My life would be essentially over. What high school would accept me now? I guess the public school where I eventually attend in McLean, Virginia. But colleges might cast a wary eye, and then what.
I shudder to think how differently my life would have turned out if I said something more to the principal as a 13-year-old.
The school finally caught the prankster, some kid in the 10th grade from my school who was playing hooky that day with his friends from another school. He called the bomb threat in from a payphone and his friend squealed on him like a dirty rat.
It's funny, but I just Googled “NAME expelled from ISKL for bomb threat,” and nothing shows up. It's good to leave things in the past, because the internet is forever.
About the Author: Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 as a way to make sense of the financial crisis. He proceeded to spend the next 13 years after attending The College of William & Mary and UC Berkeley for b-school working at Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse. He owns properties in San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, and Honolulu and has a total of $810,000 invested in real estate crowdfunding. In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments that now generate roughly $220,000 a year in passive income. He spends time playing tennis, hanging out with family, consulting for leading fintech companies and writing online to help others achieve financial freedom.