“One should not look at each and every visitor as a potential terrorist, drug smuggler, a potential runaway or one arriving to break the country’s laws!
I do admit there are many who do that but that professional in uniform should have the experience and adequate training, to know the difference between a law abider, friend and a potential foe!”
MALAYSIA’S APEC/ASEAN LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE – URGES A DIGNIFIED TREATMENT GLOBALLY AT ENTRY POINTS!
Like some of my writings the one on racial profiling and my call to the Malaysian authorities not to give bourgeoisie treatment to foreigners has hit a raw nerve in certain countries and at the same time received support for addressing an issue that is usually below the radar as governments do not want to address issues that are critical and concerning as the world becomes a global village!
This is amidst ongoing international debate whether gone are the days where one is looked down and suspiciously because of one’s color, race, religion or way of life!
But the dilemma is politicians want to be politically correct and not committed to address wrongs even though there are enough laws both domestic and international which includes the United Nations!
So why do politicians pussy foot when what is expected is a direct intervention to right wrongs?
Claire from the United States – you are certainly right that the majority of people are in fact good people, both in uniform and without, caring, sensitive, and participatory and I thank the heavens for them!
But the narrative is fast changing and profiling and stereo typing is today the hallmark when one steps into the arrival halls of a second country as a tourist, a visitor, a professional, one needing medical treatment or just visiting one’s relatives who are citizens of that country!
Richard from the UK – you are right buddy, that there are also ‘morons and idiots’ among us, who fill an immigration form which could be in a foreign language some intentionally deceiving and in other cases out of ignorance which creates self-inflicted wounds, problems from the authorities rightly addressing their due diligence, compliance and laws of that state!
I have no sympathy for these idiots!
But Bridgette from Tasmania, Australia – I am speaking about the reasonable man or woman who arrives after a 10 to 15 hour flight to visit or see a relative.
The law abiding individuals who are sometimes asked impertinent questions that sounds like criminalizing or profiling the arrival?
You must remember the arrivals are from a different country, race, religion, culture and upbringing and this is the reason I have always mitigated to my friends in diplomatic services and the home ministries that front end officials must have specialized training to interact with foreigners.
Medical doctor, Dr Ruth Stephens, let me address your remark with what I personally experienced during my recent visit to certain country.
I had visited the Western portion of that state where I was visiting my foster father who was very gravely ill and addressing some very grave critical issues.
I wanted to be there for him as he was my friend, priest, confidant, father figure ever since I turned 18!
While I was there I went shopping too to pick up Christmas gifts for my family!
During the fourth day there, I received word that my Malaysian “father” died post-surgery.
My world came crashing on me as he brought me up from an age of 10!
Changing my travel plans and tickets I rushed there to perform my duties as a son!
As I was returning home, I was advised by very kind souls at the check in, that I need to address GST repayment at the departure lounge.
And I did just that.
I showed the official all the receipts.
Which included, bills for the funeral expenses.
The lady in uniform at the desk threw it back saying that were for services and as such no claims entertained.
This despite me telling her that there was a coffin bought and that was not a service by any definition of “service!”
She refused to entertain me.
We moved to the second receipt where the items I purchased souvenirs, T-shirts, caps and so forth were listed.
She asked me where the items purchased were physically.
I replied that they were in the checked in baggage as it was major shopping as can be seen from the receipts.
Basically like I stated plenty T-shirts and souvenirs as give away presents for Christmas.
She immediately took offense saying that my tone was abusive?
I thought I had a romantic bedroom voice!
She called her supervisor to attend to me and I moved aside shocked at this response!
As the lead consumerist and human rights lawyer in Malaysia, ASEAN/APEC I had traveled in enough countries and what was before me was traumatic and for one who has just buried his ‘father!’
The supervisor came.
I explained what happened.
She was super nice, pleasant and very professional.
I told her my disbelief and did not want to continue my claims.
But I told her that I will have a word with her country’s Ambassador in Malaysia, on my experience, on my return.
I gave her my mobile number inviting her over to Malaysia as my guest and thanking her, even though nothing was achieved.
I told her please do come to my country and see how we treat visitors!
The point raised here is, you need someone well versed with addressing consumer grouses and issues, one exposed to foreigners so that the conversation is one of respect, dignity and with decorum.
Not assuming or profiling that one making a claim for GST reimbursements which is one’s right to be made to feel one is acting fraudulently in making the claims?
And you do not speak down to clients or visitors!
There is a cross cultural challenge here and we must recognize this!
A visitor may not know and it is one’s duty to explain or to produce the purchases physically at counter when claims are made!
It is not just individuals, uniformed agencies, law and order groups, but the foreign media as well, the manner they write about us – talking down when their (foreign)citizens are brought to book for breaking the country’s laws!
Look at the way they write on a second country that arrests allegedly diplomat’s assistant wearing a swimsuit in that country’s flag – a strict violation!
Or another group of tourist drinking and dancing fully naked and having sex on a mountain top considered a holy ancestral ground!
As for the country’s flag it is to be respected so not all countries have their flags on a slipper as I saw in one country!
If that was in the Middle East, India or Pakistan you are looking at a capital offense!
Claudia from South Africa, alluding to what you cited – yes indeed, it is true when certain journalists write on a third country using their own benchmarks, values without trying to understand a foreign country’s internal perspective!
Malaysia like other countries have laws, we have guidelines, we too have statutes and practice parliamentary democracy.
Like all countries yes indeed – we also have crooked politicians!
Professor Gibbons with due respects, I fully agree these are the minorities who are creating the negative tsunamis and narratives!
But the point is, these minorities are monopolizing the narrative and that creates a distasteful image!
They behave not as professionals by trolls and perverse individuals abusing the public space!
We are visiting your country and spending our money as a tourist, or a professional providing a service, pro bono – when invited.
One should not look at each and every visitor as a potential terrorist, drug smuggler, a potential runaway or one arriving to break the country’s laws!
I do admit there are many who do that but that professional in uniform should have the experience and adequate training, to know the difference between a friend and a potential foe!
And let us be real – as a professional myself on law and order issues, most arrival halls are fully covered by assets and CCTV surveillance cameras monitoring arrivals and suspicious characters and as such trained professionals can and will be able to detect friend visitor and foe!
Like others we are hurt, embarrassed when one abuse us verbally on the train or bus, when there are no seats and he shouts out – “Get out you Paki bastards!”
Or when another who punches a colored conductor only doing his job, on a train when he caught him traveling without a ticket despite the carriage fully having surveillance cameras!
And the whole train comes to a stop as Police reports are to be made and a whole lot of commuters made to suffer because of the action of an idiot!
What I am advocating globally is it is time to hold governments and their law enforcement accountable for practices that involve targeting people because of race, ethnicity, or nationality.
Stereotypes based on race have held people of underrepresented communities down for centuries.
One of the worst forms of discrimination is being subject to police brutality or profiling simply because the terms ‘suspicious’ and ‘person of color’ are used interchangeably by law enforcement.
In order to begin to hold rogue police officers or other uniform agencies accountable, there must be systemic changes implemented.
Perhaps, it is time that we have The End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA) universally initiated by the United Nations!
It could be one legislative solution that may help relieve some of indignities suffered by individuals and minorities!
For me as an attorney – the End Racial Profiling Act calls for a clear definition of racial discriminatory practices internationally against racial profiling.
The bill should also mandate collection of data pertaining to racial profiling and provides funding for the retraining of officers.
For me ERPA initiated and enforced globally will hold law enforcement agencies accountable and allow for injunctive relief for those who are victims of racial profiling practices!
I must admit with all honesty that the said act will not fix the tensions between communities of color and law enforcement but it is a step in the right direction.
As a global society, we want to believe that the days of racially motivated abuses, profiling, killings are history, and the deaths for example of Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Mike Brown (and the list goes on) should show us that we are far from the ideal of equality promised by our respective constitutions.
And we must be grateful for write ups, the prevalence of social media and nationwide protests, which have given a rise in awareness about the unequal treatment of people of color!
Whether they are at immigration entry points, by police or other agencies!
Whether they are minorities in a domestic situation, or travelers or visitors, we need to address such abuses!
Whether there are stop-and-frisk program, which allegedly showed that police targeted blacks and Latinos about 85 percent of the time, with most searches ending without evidence.
To show the double standards, do you know that in 2013 alone, for example the police department in Ferguson, Missouri in the US made more than 5,000 stops and 600 searches, with black citizens making up 86 percent of the stops and 92 percent of the searches?
And yes, indeed the said statistics alone are alarming, but they become even more so when you discover that only 67 percent of Ferguson identifies as black.
There have been countless statistics pointing towards the use of racial profiling practices and prominent figures speaking on the subject.
In the US – a dear friend, and former Attorney General, spoke out against racial profiling in 2014 at the annual National Action Network convention in New York.
While speaking, he revealed how he fears that his son may become a victim of police brutality if profiling activities do not stop.
These are real fears many parents who have children of color seem to be having more and more, which leaves us with one question: “If law enforcement cannot be trusted, then, who do people of color turn to in times of need, whether as a local, a visitor or traveler?”
May the ALMIGHTY help us as we ponder through these tough questions as we move soon to 2019!