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by TV Smith
You've just ordered another drink. The music stops
abruptly and the house lights ceremoniously faded
up. Dour-looking, torchlight-touting men in jackets
marched to the middle of the dance floor. The boys
are separated from the girls. You're forced to exchange
your IC for an empty 'Essence of Chicken' bottle.
No; it's not a free diabetes test, it's a police
if you have never been near a club or disco, I'm
sure you've seen pictures in the press of groups
of youngsters rounded up in a raid on some entertainment
outlets. They're often made to squat (like legal
Indian IT workers or illegal Indonesian immigrants)
outside the club premises or at a police station's
compound. For the party-goers, it's just part
of the humiliating process of waiting for the
results of their urine tests or having their ID
checked against a 'wanted list'. Granted that
some of the 'detainees' might be prone to substance
abuse, whatever happened to the principle of innocent
until proven guilty? Will there be a Geneva Convention
to protect these people? They are sometimes treated
worse than POWs; paraded before press and television
cameras like trophies of war. The only crime for
most; dancing, drinking and having a good time.
privilege of having your pee tested at your favorite
party place is a recent advancement in law enforcement.
Not too long ago, unfortunate clubbers were often
rounded up, herded into police trucks and made
to wait for hours at the police headquarters while
'screening' was being done. If the indignation
of the process is not enough, you'll soon find
that the 'free' transport provided is only one-way.
You'll have to find your way back to wherever
they picked you up from. Some of the negatively-tested
one-way ticket holders returned to find a summon
on the windscreen or their vehicles towed away.
Not a deliberate act by the cops, after all it
was already 9.00am and their cars were illegally
parked and holding up traffic along busy Jalan
somebody in charge figured out that you could
save a lot of petrol and time by bringing along
portable drug testing kits to the targets. Recently,
I noticed that they bring along drug-sniffing
dogs too. Normally, at the slightest hint of an
impending 'operasi', the guilty ones dispose of
their 'worldly possessions' on the floor, underneath
bar stools or any familiar nooks and crannies.
The narcotic dogs find the 'lost' items. The cops
have a 'success story' for the press; a prized
catch measured in grams.
are often reminded about the importance of our
ICs, yet in some cases, the big stack of ICs are
handed over to the DJ, to be returned to their
respective owners after the cops have long left.
Who's responsible when someone's IC goes missing?
I'm all for drug-free party places. I'm also all
for busting the supply chain. It is no big secret
that drugs are fairly easily available from or
around some establishments. This is an ironic
reverse of the vice den raids. There, the foreign
women (suppliers) get arrested, while the married
men and fathers (customers) are let off the hook
with some friendly advice and a pat on their backs.
high-handed harassment accorded their sons and
daughters surely need a review. How about showing
up in uniforms and treating the many innocent
with a little courtesy and respect? After all,
these youths are supposed to be our future leaders
and movers. By mishandling, mistreating them at
their most impressionable age, the authorities
have probably inculcated in many a life-long hatred
for 'The Establishment' and 'Essence of Chicken'.
© 2003 TV SMITH
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