Saturday, August 31

Be Careful

Times are really getting tough these days. 

Not only in third world countries but also in other countries as well. Dubai has now been home to more than a hundred thousand expats who have moved out of their countries to provide a better life for their family. 

Everyday, adjacent to our office, you can see a lot of people lined up either to submit for their CVs... some wait for the good news under the heat of the sun,if they are shortlisted. 

In the Philippines, news reports say that the percentage of people who are out of employment are increasing resulting to my fellow kababayans violating the policies implemented by the government - like going to countries that are high risk, security wise or paying off illegal recruiters for them to be brought to other countries wherein they can earn and send money to their families. 

Now, if you don't have money to spare or connections, you end up going after retirees or tourists. A friend of mine who has stayed in Malaysia for close to a year now, experienced his first robbery on broad daylight. 

Bev, a British expat has been in Malaysia for sometime now and is considering retiring there for good. The incident occurred on 14 August 2013. This is his encounter:- 

Subject: An Incident in Ara Damansara

i Rachiel
thought you might be interested
in the following
  which I sent to my local Residence Association to day 
I wish to share with you an incident that occurred to me this afternoon, the 14th August, in PJU1A / 20b.
I am a retired UK expat who has been living in Ara Damansara for the past 3½ years.
Recently I have taken up cycling to combat the onset of those unwanted additional kilos and to build up my fitness. 
So this afternoon at around 2.30, for the first time, instead of driving down to the shops I decided to ride my bike.
I took a rucksack to carry the chain I would use to attach my bike to a suitable anchor and unusually I placed my wallet (containing cash, atm and credit cards), phone and house keys in the rucksack. I say unusually because my normal modus operandi would be to place my wallet and phone in separate pockets of my cargo pants and the keys in a side pocket. Today, however, I was not wearing cargo pants so they all went in the rucksack.
I slowly cycled down to the shops and found a suitable signpost pole located on the corner of Jalan PJU1A/20b and 20c to use as an anchor for the bike. A location that is in full view of all people in the vicinity. I leaned the bike against the pole, took off my rucksack, removed the chain and placed the rucksack on the ground directly beside my feet. I proceeded to chain the bike to the pole and had only been there for a matter of one or two minutes when I became aware of a slight draught at my ankles. I looked down to see that my rucksack had disappeared. I looked up and saw a man with my rucksack running towards Jalan PJU1A/1 where his accomplice was waiting on a motorbike so that they could make their get away. I gave chase to the thief but I never had a chance to catch him as he had at least a 15 meter start on me.
This snatch was made in mid afternoon in broad daylight, with many people present who witnessed the incident and the rucksack was taken from right at my feet. A very audacious act, by people who obviously consider that the reward is worth the risk as there is little chance of getting caught. 
I have been an expat for more years than I care to admit and have worked in many countries both in the Middle East and South East Asia. I have, with out doubt, enjoyed my time in Malaysia, which I believe is a very fortunate country endowed with friendly citizens, natural resources, dramatic scenery and for me a great climate so it is with sadness that my positive feeling for this country has been tainted by my experience to day.
I hope the above will help to make people aware of the dangers that lurk at all times and in some small way avert an incident similar to mine. 
Best Regards
Good thing is he was not hurt. I feel sad whenever I hear these types of stories wherein people think it is alright... We know there is a purpose for doing this - to put food on the table for your family (I sure hope this was the reason) but there are other ways to earn money - not by stealing things.

True, immediately, Bev was able to replace all the material things but the trauma of having to look over your shoulder again and again, making sure that you are secure with your stuff is tiring, most especially if you have to do it every time you leave the house.

This happened in Malaysia but this is a usual scene in our country and I feel sad about it. I know the government says they are trying to come up with more jobs, I hope that they are true to their word however whilst these are still rampant in the country that you live in, make sure that you be extra careful when going out and even when you are at home.

Be Safe. Always.