Friday, May 17, 2013

The beginning of my very own little Cold War

Let me get this straight. As I may have said elsewhere, I blog out of no particular self-constrained obligation to do so, but only when I am intensely annoyed or pleasantly amused; or when I've decided that I've procrastinated for long enough. Demand and supply has absolutely nothing to do with it, although in some cases the two do seem to misleadingly coincide (in the case of a Doraemon movie review I did which unfortunately derives most of its hits from paedophilic search terms).

This time, my emotions are on the negative end of the spectrum. Here's what happened. Recently, in the area I live in, some crimes have taken place. On one occasion a neighbor's house a few doors away was invaded by parang (machete) wielding bandits during the day- some neighbors were at home, but paid no attention to the screams, as to be honest, that family stretches their vocal chords on a daily basis. In the following week/month (I wasn't paying much attention), a few other attempted burglaries took place.

As a result of that the majority of the populace went hysterical, formed a 'Residents' Association', even going so far as to register it in the Registrar of Societies. Now they've gone and, with a consent of the 'majority' of the residents, turned the area into one of those fancy 'gated communities'. Gates with metal frame and green wire mesh have been erected in a few entry points, and private security guards hired to man two boom-gates.

What's really got me riled up is that some frightened fools have been clamoring to have the gates locked 24/7 and not just early in the morning and late at night as they are right now, which is annoying enough as it is. I don't know if they realize the trouble this will cause. In the first place locking down the neighborhood has made it more difficult to visit/operate for the usual harmless crowd- old newspaper collectors, town council cleaners, garbage collectors, school buses... come to think of it, I think they are aware of it. They just don't care.

My family, and a few others, is not going along with the plan. There is little to no doubt in my mind that this will lead to some form of ostracization by the paying members (all those facilities don't come cheap). Payment is of course voluntary- that's something they can't force upon us. What these people are buying into and marketing into is a culture of fear. Locking themselves and others in a gilded cage for 'protection' from the outside world. Better still, as they've only blocked off sections of the neighborhood, we can expect some form of backlash from the excluded residents: when they become the new target of thieves.

For some reason, someone's gone and put up signs on each gate (facing outwards) saying 'emergency exit'. I don't get it. This is an emergency exit, so do not park there? In that case, why is there no similar sign on the other side? Does this mean that in the case of an emergency, people outside the gated community may run in for salvation? Yet the people living within have nowhere to run to? Oh, and if the gate is locked, who will be there to open it in the event of an emergency? If they're running from someone, who will open it? In any case since it's only a gate, without any effective walls, we can just walk around it, though. Unadulterated genius at work, people. I think I should print out a sign saying 'prison' and stick it to one of the gates.

What are my options, then? I refuse to go past the guards and their little boomgate-fief. Even if the gate is closed, unless I'm in a major rush, I'll stop to see if I can open it (I don't have a key). Oh, and I won't bother closing it behind me. If I have to go through the guards, I'll slow down, but I'm not going to stop (unless they have that gate closed too. They're in for a talk if they do. Illegal restriction from entering private property. Nuisance. Anything I can vomit out from 3 years in law school (even if the argument may be flawed). If they don't let me in, and I'm driving the old car- which is basically a tank in disguise- there's always the option of bulldozing through.

Enough venting for now. We'll see how things develop from here. We're surrounded by paranoid, frightened, panicky, hypocritical knee-jerk reactionaries. They're quite like the government itself, actually, even if nobody voted them into power.

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