Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Japanese Boy teaches a lesson in Sacrifice - Very touching

I saw this link on my Facebook feed and clicked on it. It was a letter written by a Policeman in Japan to his friend in Vietnam. He tells of his experience with a 9 year old Japanese boy. Read ahead - It's really worth your time.


How are you and your family? These last few days, everything was in chaos. When I close my eyes, I see dead bodies. When I open my eyes, I also see dead bodies. 

Each one of us must work 20 hours a day, yet I wish there were 48 hours in the day, so that we could continue helping and rescuing folks.

We are without water and electricity, and food rations are near zero. We barely manage to move refugees before there are new orders to move them elsewhere.

I am currently in Fukushima, about 25 kilometers away from the nuclear power plant. I have so much to tell you that if I could write it all down, it would surely turn into a novel about human relationships and behaviors during times of crisis.

People here remain calm - their sense of dignity and proper behavior are very good - so things aren't as bad as they could be. But given another week, I can't guarantee that things won't get to a point where we can no longer provide proper protection and order. 

They are humans after all, and when hunger and thirst override dignity, well, they will do whatever they have to do. The government is trying to provide supplies by air, bringing in food and medicine, but it's like dropping a little salt into the ocean.

Brother, there was a really moving incident. It involves a little Japanese boy who taught an adult like me a lesson on how to behave like a human being.

Last night, I was sent to a little grammar school to help a charity organization distribute food to the refugees. It was a long line that snaked this way and that and I saw a little boy around 9 years old. He was wearing a T-shirt and a pair of shorts.

It was getting very cold and the boy was at the very end of the line. I was worried that by the time his turn came there wouldn't be any food left. So I spoke to him. He said he was at school when the earthquake happened. His father worked nearby and was driving to the school. The boy was on the third floor balcony when he saw the tsunami sweep his father's car away. 

I asked him about his mother. He said his house is right by the beach and that his mother and little sister probably didn't make it. He turned his head and wiped his tears when I asked about his relatives.

The boy was shivering so I took off my police jacket and put it on him. That's when my bag of food ration fell out. I picked it up and gave it to him. "When it comes to your turn, they might run out of food. So here's my portion. I already ate. Why don't you eat it?"

The boy took my food and bowed. I thought he would eat it right away, but he didn't. He took the bag of food, went up to where the line ended and put it where all the food was waiting to be distributed. 

I was shocked. I asked him why he didn't eat it and instead added it to the food pile. He answered: "Because I see a lot more people hungrier than I am. If I put it there, then they will distribute the food equally."

When I heard that I turned away so that people wouldn't see me cry. 

A society that can produce a 9-year-old who understands the concept of sacrifice for the greater good must be a great society, a great people. 

Well, a few lines to send you and your family my warm wishes. The hours of my shift have begun again.

Ha Minh Thanh

Source: http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/?id=467066&type=Opinion

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Don't Ever look for Police to help you! ..... ANYWHERE!

It was just another regular weekend in Manila where I go out with friends for a party at Metrowalk. After the party, I wait in the taxi queue to get a taxi. When I get into the taxi, I see that the guy's meter is already running! And its already 50 pesos +! I ask the guy what was wrong with his taxi and he says its a new meter etc etc... I already know that the new meter starts at 40 pesos! Hence, the stubborn ass in me gets so pissed off and I tell him to just drop me off and i told the guy that I would find another cab. The cab driver starts telling me that I need to pay him for the small miniature trip! I told him that there is no way I was going to pay him! I then get down from the cab and call the operator of the cab to complain. The operator told me to go to the nearest police station and complain! I did just that - I got back into the cab and asked the driver to take me to the nearest police station. The guy takes me to a patrol car (the meter is still running). I get down from the cab again and ask the cops to help me. I ask them to check the meter then and it read 117 pesos already. I tell them that this guy is trying to cheat me and that I wanted to complain against the driver. They asked me to get into the police vehicle and said they would take me to the nearby station. Before I forget, the driver already made abuses at me and threatened me saying that I wasn't a Filipino and I was a Bangladeshi! And that we shouldn't be in the country... Blah blah blah... That pissed me off! And ensured that I didn't leave him right there!

I get into the station to see a totally new story! The cops were actually trying to get me to pay the guy! Saying that I needed to pay the driver and only after then could I file a case against him. I was like "Hello, my complaint itself is against the fare that the guy was charging me, I come to the police looking for justice, and you ask me to pay him".... They kept threatening me to pay him saying that if he complained against me, they would have to arrest me and stuff! I stuck to my guns saying I was looking for justice! And that I wouldn't pay the guy since he was cheating me (maybe by around 20 pesos tops huh)... But I told them to arrest me if they felt that I had done something wrong! I thought the cops who took me to the station were there to help me. They left me to the care of someone else and they got busy.... Doing what??? They logged on to FACEBOOK! Imagine! I have no clue how to put together this experience of mine.... However, I called the operator of the cab and explained the situation to them. They said that I didn't need to pay the cab guy... that worked sort of to my advantage.... But i was so irritated by then with the cops that I threw some money on the driver's face in my anger and frustration! They used this to build a case against me saying that I was disrespecting their office. While, all the time, I made sure I stood in front of the cops... said Sir thousand times! And they were holding me for this! But I still stood my ground looking for justice. The chief came and tried to act all serious like he was helping me but he threatened me too! Saying that I should pay the guy or else he would have to arrest me. I refused... saying that they were discriminating against me since I was non-Filipino... which was true to a large extent. These guys were talking in Tagalog and actually laughing at times! However, they finally filed a case and I didn't have to pay the guy. But during this process, my nerves were almost breaking. I also noted that the police guys were using fake ink in their printers! Imagine, the government of Philippines breaking laws in their own police stations.

I sensed however that the cab guy only seemed to be scared about my complaints to the LTRFB (Some Land Transportation organization). Hence, I decided I would surely complain to those guys! I held my nerves knowing for a fact that the taxi driver had more to lose in the form of his boundary (these guys rent cars from the operator for a 24 hour period)..... I held my nerves and insisted I wanted a case filed and they did just that at the end of this huge discussion and drama! Finally they filed a report, got some guys in the station to sign in! And those guys were signing without even reading the report. I felt like a JOKE over there! I even insisted one of the cops reads what he is signing! the other guys still went ahead and signed without reading.

Anyways around 3 hours later, I left the station, with the only form of justice coming from the operator and not the police! The Chief in the station went as far as to say that they were not going to give me justice but rather the court was responsible for that!

So where is the justice in this country for expats? Is it true that since we are expats, we have no access to assistance, justice and righteousness??? How would this country ever see any progress from tourism then? Or any form of development from the globalization front. Maybe this episode finally answers my question as to how the Philippines has not been as developed as it could possibly be! At the end of it all, it was the same as India or even worse! They would have actually taken me more serious at an Indian police station!

So for all you expats out there - Don't go to a POLICE STATION in the Philippines looking for any assistance/help coz you won't get any! Maybe this is a gap in the market and needs a business plan. I am thinking that maybe a company filled with lawyers etc who can protect the interests of expats would make a lot of sense. Something similar to an insurance company.

However, this is the tipping point. If I were to leave the Philippines anytime now, it would be because of this episode. The jokers that they call POLICE here are seriously jokers! They basically sit at the station using the computers to access their FACEBOOK accounts! And nothing else! I doubt they would even come to help Filipinos though Expats would be the last of their worries/issues. And the bloody cops actally wear Levis and Fila shoes! Where they get their money from is another question! But why not help when it comes to someone coming to them for help and assistance! I don't even remember the cab guy's name but I will remember the cops' name for the rest of my life!

Goodbye Philippines. You have truly lost one of your largest promoters. I talk about Philippines to all my friends, enemies, family! I promote your beaches, your people and everything! I have even had arguments with my mom saying that Filipino people are so polite and courteous! Well, I have no attachment to this damn country now! These are times you appreciate the Singapore way of doing things! They protect every citizen, tourist and resident!

Goodbye Manila, Goodbye Philippines - the clock is ticking and you're never going to get anywhere! Balls to the Philippines and Filipinos... you no more have my sympathy for why you guys are really not on the agenda of any country in the world!