Thursday, February 23, 2012

Basic Instinct: Drug mules ... casualty or conspirator?

[WARNING: Beware of length and falling asleep in-between reads...]

PRE-NOTE: This is one topic I've always been wanting to write about ... in fact drafted, deleted, re-drafted, but never had the chance to finish due to conflicting feelings on the subject and little or not much information at hand to expand it. So, as usual and without fail, I will just go by my own rationales and opinion to address it since no one can fault an opinion. Can they?

Anyway ...

Talking about survival 101: Is there any faster way to be street-smart without first having to go through hardship? As most of us have found out, there is no easy way to teach a person to be careful if they have not experienced risk in the first place. Right? All those lessons we taught our children are basic stuffs that require more common sense on their part. But if they have been sheltered all their lives, how would they discern danger when they come face to face with it? And sometimes things we tell them to do most certainly contradict one from another.

"Don't talk to strangers," we tell our kids. But in school, in public or when they socialize, they will realise that keeping all to themselves isn't going to get them any friends. Most likely they will be branded a snub. And then when you're an adult, you have to talk to strangers because you will need to network, get information, and how else will you break the ice if you don't? So where is the fine line between what to do and what not to do? Children follow by example and most often than not, they read your actions incorrectly. Ironically, when they grow up, sometimes their rationales do not grow up with them.

Every time I read news of young women being arrested here or abroad for being implicated in a drug smuggling scheme, I asked myself, are they really victims, or are they allies? To think of them as drug mules, the victims, are easier on the conscience especially if you see their faces being flashed in the media. In cases that happens overseas, patriotism usually wins and the public would side with the victims, regardless of whether they were proven guilty or innocent. Yes, if this happens to someone I know or God forbid, to someone I love, I too would be enraged.

But the truth of the situation is, do we really know what transpired? I mean, out of 10 cases that were reported, caught and tried, half is of accomplices, the other half is of truly duped and clueless victims. And these cases usually involved young women. Yes, this is the part that often raises my paranoia another notch. As if we don't already have enough in our plate, ladies.

If, let's say she is an accomplice, then what made her do it, do you think? Was it love? Was it money? Was it extortion? Blackmail? Promise of a better future? Adventure? Desperation? Naivete? Gullibility? Attention deficit? Don't know any better?

But if, let's say she was completely victimised and betrayed, then why was she easily deceived? Accidental? Again, naivete? Gullibility? Don't know any better? Or just plain stupid?

It's so easy to blame the girls who let themselves be used, and who are gullible or naive enough to believe the words of a total stranger, or ones they meet online, or even ones they meet while desperately seeking for attention at a social venue, a bar, a pub, a joint. It could easily have been any of our daughters, our sisters, our friends, our colleagues, our neighbors, our relatives.

Last few months back, a few of us were talking to this Special Officer to the Deputy Foreign Minister at one of our function. The friendly and approachable man was telling us about the good and bad of Facebook and of kids being constantly online, and of young girls coming from the rural areas getting the shock of their lives being introduced to suburban lives the quickest way.

The latest report on the young nurse that was caught in Australia, with drugs in her missing boyfriend's luggage? I sort of know her, she was my junior in high school. See how close the circle seems to come around? This, right after one of the Federal Minister warned young ladies to beware of befriending foreigners from certain countries. A little awareness, and still it happens, see?

 Pic courtesy of Cartoonstock.

I don't blame any of them. I just wish they are less vulnerable. Probably too much to hope, but I wish they were born with a strong survival instinct. But then, how can you possibly compare the dangers of real jungle with the dangers of a concrete skyscraping jungle? The predators breed differently. I mean, I am from a sub-rural area. Whatever I know about surviving in the city I picked up as I go along, and usually by trial and error. That doesn't mean you befriend anyone who smiles at you or help you. I hate to say this, but the reality is no one will give you anything for free, and most everyone has ulterior motives.

Many times have I reminded my younger responsibilities that no one will simply give you, example, money without you having to do something in return. Unless he's your father! Even your boyfriend will want something back, and if he doesn't, well he's most of the time lying through his teeth.

So then how do you tell all these to the sheltered girls who look at life in the city with wide-eyed innocence? How do you tell them not to trust anyone, without making your other countrymen look bad? Do we just let the government take the beating for not spreading enough awareness and education, or do we actively take parts in continuing to teach and educate our own loved ones before we send them out to the world? Hey, we cannot forever hold them to ourselves or hide them, sooner or later they will face the world on their own.

Oh well, it is probably not as scary as it may sound, but it is a genuine fear that we must not simply discard.

I am a single white female -- slightly tanned, just to be politically correct -- and quite frankly, is often annoyed  that sometimes people would measure me by my sex, my looks, and my background. Sometimes they demerit my intelligence even before I had the chance to speak... More stupid you.

I learned survival guide the only way I know... by faith in God, by prayers of supplication, and by holding on to my gut instinct that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Walk by faith, not by sight. Hey this goes to all manners of belief, not just mine. True, right? And always listen to your parents even if they give foolish advice sometimes. It just might save you.

Not that I am teaching you not to trust anyone, I am telling you to learn to listen to what your inner feeling says. Unless of course you enter the vice freely and willingly knowing the consequences that will ensue, then go right ahead, you're on your own sister. I cannot stop you, hey, who can? But ... the long arms of the law will get to you someday. And so you have been warned.

Are you not aware of the legal implication? I have yet to read those in details (oh here comes Part 2) but it's either Life or Death, and ironically here they actually mean almost the same thing. In some other countries, it could be worst. Eh, what's worst than death? The way you will die?

Yo. Do I sound like I'm handing out lame advice? Oh well. *shrugs*
POST-NOTE: Ramblings. Dang. I finished it after all! I shall reward myself with a latte after this.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Love, marriage ... really?

Ah. Love is a messy business.

Saw a couple drove by on my way to work this morning. The guy was silently driving while the lady was in a state of screaming the house down, apparently unsatisfied about something, probably a stale argument the night before. The guy drove on, giving all the impression in the world that he was ignoring her, leaving her to rattle. Unnerved. From where I sat, it was like watching a horror silent movie, with her unmistakable body language screaming anything but. When I caught his eyes at the traffic light, he looked ready to jump across to my seat. Or anywhere else but there, for that matter. I smiled weakly. Poor guy looked ready to expire on the spot.

I would hate an unfair argument, wouldn't you? You give as good as you get. I love a sound set-down sometimes, it could be exciting if you let it. My bet is that they have been married for years, and just about now, very much used to each other's ways that killing one another on the way to work probably sounds as exciting as feeding papers on the shredder machine. I can only imagine the ugly words hurling out of her mouth and him constructing mental barriers.

Pics courtesyf of Googles

There are good fights, and there are bad fights. There are fights that make you grow stronger in love, and there are fights you just don't really recover from. 

Did some people look far ahead into their future before jumping on the marriage wagon? That 'growing old with you' phrase sounds a tad too good to be true sometimes. Sure you have ups and downs, everything in life does, but how resilient are you to survive each one? And if you knew what your partner would be like 10 years, 20 years down the road, would you take that one step towards a life sentence together?

Ok, a life sentence probably sounds too harsh. Let me rephrase: Would you take that one step towards ever after?

I mean, I may sound prejudiced a little, especially since marriage is an uncharted territory (at least to me), but look at it from a single's point of view. ME.

I know nothing about love. Of the opposite sex, that is. I had a problem saying 'I love you' even till now, that's how paranoid I can be. Because saying it without meaning it or saying it in return is not genuine enough motive to actually say it to a person. I waited years to summon up the courage to say those words -- Yes, in English, for saying it in another language does not really give it the feeling of love at all, or so some of us movie-addicts think -- and even then, I wasn't even sure how to define LOVE.

Like, you tell a guy you love him, and then he goes on to ask "Really? What is love, do you know?" So great, two people in a relationship totally misinformed. But that's definition issue.

How long did you wait before you tell someone you love him/her? Were you even sure then, or was it just motivated by a certain feel-good moment? And then after you said it, did you go home and wondered "Oh man, what have I done?" And no you can't take it back.

At least in a pre-marriage condition, there is always room to grow. And if you feel suffocated by the minute, that would be the best time to look back and assess the situation... not alone, but together. It's like a test of strength and compatibility. I know many couples who withstood these tests of time and came out winners, and I happened to know a few who came tumbling down at the first sign of disaster.

And if you manage to hold your head even in your state of anger and wrath at each other, you will manage to overcome all when the storm has passed. That's the time to contemplate the Ever After.

Although I must say, some people are not so lucky to have the free advice of a single intelligent woman who has no experience whatsoever in the topic she currently chooses to write about, but hey, why, she is most certainly observant enough! Aha ha ha.

Contemplating marriage? Don't delve into it until you're most certain you're certain. How are you certain then? Let me get back to you on that.

P/s: I'm not against the idea of marriage, just trying to face my irrational fears of the uncertainties.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Writing does pay ...

Oh hey!

And so, yours truly was debuted in today's New Sarawak Tribune under the column "Blogger Says", a weekly publication of articles written by members of the Sarawak Bloggers.

Thank you Sarawak Bloggers for being so encouraging, supportive, and supercool about this project. And for a little promo: If you're a Sarawakian, and you happened to blog, join the Sarawak Bloggers group, it's a non-profit club. They have a lot of great activities for members, and if you haven't noticed, Sarawak Bloggers is everywhere now and getting famous by the minute! Thanks to Cyril and the gang who co-founded it! Proud to be one of them! If you want to know more about how you can be a part of the project between the New Sarawak Tribune and Sarawak Bloggers, go check out the site.

So it seems like I don't need caffeine today because being picked to start the ball rolling for all other talented bloggers out there is apparently enough to get me superexcited. Hahaha.


YEAY! GOOD JOB COFFEE GIRL! What a way to start the year!

P/s: I think people I know including my siblings, and some others, will be heading this way, so self-censorship is going to be implemented, and it will hurt me more than you. Sigh.