Monday, April 5, 2010

Across The Border Dilemma

After a few days of work, I would find weekends as the most blissful moment in my life (except for work overtimes of course) wherein I could roam free around places within reach and when things gets a bit too familiar and formulaic I would try to roam farther. Working in Shenzhen, places within my short reach would either be Guangzhou, or Hong Kong. Guangzhou isn't exactly a cross border trip, a speedy 1 hour domestic train is all you need and no immigration stops. Hong Kong on the other hand, being a highly autonomous China territory, everyone has to stop for an immigration check. It isn't a big deal for me actually, laws are laws, and being in a foreign land every immigrant should obey it wholeheartedly. Though to be honest I do have small complains like the time consuming process and for a frequent fellow crossing the border (since our main office is based on Hong Kong), it would always fill up that precious space on my passport and on an average I'm obliged to renew it twice a year since it would run out of page for the immigration to stamp on.

Normally it would take few minutes to cross the border, unless you have mile length of people lining up. Last Sunday was a normal one, 5 folks in front of me in the foreigner lane, except for one thing, it lasted almost an hour. Out of curiosity during the waiting process, I tried peek and see whats taking it too long, only to find out those fellows in front of me were from Pakistan and some from Nigeria. I expected they were from other nation but anyway I could sense them muttering asking why the Chinese immigration seems to be tight on them and light on other nationalities like the Europeans or Americans. The Chinese started to be tight also on Filipinos recently especially women. Before anyone would mutter that heavy "unjust" word, there's a bitter yet true reason behind it. Because of the sins done by others a whole nations image suffers and its easy to understand that China is merely doing some measures and apprehensions against anything that's unlawful that would happen to its people and country. And all countries on the world has the right to do that. Even our beloved Philippines is stamping "Not Valid for Travel to Iraq" on our passports.

On a case of the said countries I realized few things, first Pakistan, as we all know they're everywhere on the news, CNN, BBC, Reuters they all report things about violence, bombs, and some of them are even involved in some political unrest's in the borders of China. Now I could see the immigration lady double checking or shall I say triple checking their passports looking for signs of tampering etc. It reminded me of this George Clooney movie "Up in the Air" wherein he told his colleague to avoid falling in line in front of some Middle East looking fellows, or folks with beards because it would take her more time to cross the airport security and the immigration. “5 random questions” as Clooney described it.

Next case is Nigeria. Guangzhou alone has large population of Nigerians...and are often the subject of apprehensions by the local police because of alleged cases like being connected with international illegal drug trades and drug syndicates and hundreds of cases of overstaying because most them wouldn't even bother to go back to their countries and renew things when their visas expire.

Lastly and the saddest thing is our very own country the Philippines. The news would tell it all. Philippines has most jailed drug mules in China than any other nation. Try searching Google: and its nothing but the sad truth. Its a dismal fact that even our own educated teachers are getting the bait, for a small amount of money given by this Nigerian or any international illegal drug syndicate they would agree and choose to destroy their future by carrying out illegal drugs.

“Drug Mules”

With advanced equipment to spot these, apprehension on airports becomes an easy task for the police. I was again saddened by the news of that lady who died of overdose on a Vietnam airport as she swallowed large amount of cocaine in fear of being detected on airport scanners. Another sad thing I bumped this day is this one 'Form task force vs syndicates using Pinoy drug mules' from this blog Yes its true, I know its a must to take force to root out these syndicates, only he forgot to mention something, it should be more encouraging to tell our fellow Pinoys not to even think about dealing with this syndicate on the first place.

Philippine Consulate

"Hindi mo rin masisi, dahil sa kahirapan kaya nila nagagawa siguro ang ganyan". I overheard few teachers while they're conversing and staring at the Philippine consulates' bulletin board. It was full of newspaper clips about apprehended Filipinos on cases of carrying illegal drugs, about Filipinos being lined up in a death row.

Learning from the Chinese

“Poverty is an absence of choice” - Dick Gordon.

For decades the word “poverty” has been the Filipino way of “an ultimate excuse” to warrant us to do something illegal. Either we complain about our government, our neighbor, police, politicians, weather and all others. The one thing left that most of us doesn't do is “blaming our selves”.

But the sad truth that reflects on us are people like Lucio Tan, Henry Sy etc and all those Chinese who are rich now. They sailed to Philippines with nothing but sandals and the only clothes they have was the one they were wearing just to escape from a known regime in their native land. The worst part was they cant even speak English those days.

They lived alongside with us through corruption, red tapes, pollution and all those complaints most of us Filipinos declare on our country but surprisingly they rose up ahead of us “on our own country.”

I got the chance to talk to my boss before. He was a Vietnamese by birth and again escaped from his native land during the time it was in havoc to Hong Kong. He traveled all across the globe for jobs and education and then finally he was able to set up his own firm in Hong Kong.

In my younger years I saw a Chinese holding up some business on our province. People on our place would usually make fun of him because the only profit he could get per day was few peso and centavos. But 10 years later..I passed by a corner, there was this huge commercial building, the fellow who owns it was the one who once “earn a peso and a centavo per day”.

Asked whats the secret to success a Chinese would tell you one thing.. “diligence”.

A Pinoy Dream

“If vain is the toil, blame the culture not the soil.”

I know what it is like to toil hard. I wasn't brought up on a silver spoon and platter. When I was young my father would ask me to dry sacks of palay under the sun so we could have something to eat. The ardent task would last mostly 9 AM to 2 PM and one thing you would fear about is the pouring rain. I experienced lots of things on rice field.

“Don't waste your time on anything illegal, there's no replacement for hard work”.

When I was young (80's) we were encouraged to plant on our backyards, on empty lands. Planting was common as changing underwear those days. At schools our teachers would tell us that the Philippines has one of the richest soil on earth and has the largest supply of natural resources. The only thing we cant grow on it are apples, grapes and oranges. Until now I still agree with with them.

There was this monthly supply of seeds, fertilizers given to every public school supplied and funded by United States of America. Public schools was on strict sense. Teachers were good those days. Some of them was even old enough and graduated during the American regime. We were tasked monthly to plant vegetables on our backyard and every month the teachers will check it on your home, talk to your mother about your character etc.

Back then nothing could beat the experience you would get on a public school, no not even a private one and I could go on with 100 reasons to debate about it!

1980's was still the days wherein the barrio I lived in was full of diligence! You could pull out sugar canes out of a slow moving cart pulled by a slow carabao on streets. You could pull out crops, cassavas, corns, almost everywhere. You will get paid by helping a farm baking some copras.

Thanks to the remnants of Marcos back then agriculture was highly supported on our province. Rice fields were well irrigated, crops were everywhere. No TV,s computers, plays stations, etc..just pure stick and stones, spiders, bottlecaps, rivers, carabaos, grass, guavas, ice candies, tress, patintero, sungka, tagu-taguan, pitik bulag, chinese garter, luksong baka, camping etc. There was nothing like it, I pity my nephews they didn't experience what “real fun” was like.

Gone as those days.Gone are the days wherein being hungry was synonymous to being lazy.

So whats this Pinoy dream? I hope to wake up one day and we could start planting our soils again.

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