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When I'm not writing about my experiences in this journey called 'life', I'm singing and uploading my own interpretations of modern music. Click on "Cover Songs" to hear them, or on the YouTube logo on the right to see my YouTube channel.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I Know Where Osama Is...

There was a time when the words ‘peace’ and ‘brotherly love’ were thrown around with reckless abandon. We were all encouraged to reach out and unite the world, to break down bridges and build barriers. Wait, that’s not right. But you get what I mean; there was a gooey sense of ‘warmness’ in the air. It was preached from every form of pulpit, be it the media, our peers, our parents, our teachers. Everyone was encouraged to learn about our fellow man, and to embrace foreign cultures and values as our own. We were taught that no one should be treated as aliens, and that the way to the future was only through us opening our borders and extending the hand of friendship. Any nation or group of people who didn’t conform to this ‘legislation of love’ were labelled Communists and bastards.

Then along came the 21st century and blew our little hopes for utopia out of the water. Yes, it was like a little kid walking up to you with the most saintly of smiles on his face and then punching you in the post office; a sort of reality-check if you may. Nowadays, the phrase ‘mi casa es su casa’ is accompanied with a theatrical roll-of-the-eyes; we know its all just talk.

Where did it all go wrong? What happened to our little pipe dream, where Jewish boys and Muslim girls frolicked in the park playing football against the Chinese kids? Where the Afghanistan basketball team played America in the Iraqi Olympics? It’s difficult to say, but the general trend is to blame it on 9/11. Ever since that tragedy, every nation on Earth became eligible for being declared a ‘terror-state’ or an ‘axis-of-evil’. These phrases were suddenly raining down on us left right and centre, and just like that the world went from being covered in daisies to being filled with evil-eyed Arabs who wanted to steal your ‘way-of-life’.

The repercussions from these actions are massive; countries around the world are closing up their borders, and making it extremely difficult for anyone to gain entry into their patch of earth. It doesn’t matter if you’re going there on legitimate reasons, they’d prefer if you didn’t come at all! But even here there is a kind of stereotype. For example, just recently my family and I were planning on making a trip to a certain European country. We set about collecting details on how to obtain the required visa, and it soon became clear that this was not as easy as walking into the embassy and asking for one. Far from it; the amount of paperwork kept us up almost all night as we laboriously signed sheet after sheet and photocopied countless documents to prove our identity. I kid you not; they required our passport (naturally), birth certificate, travel insurance for an amount of €30,000 per person (in case we got sick on the plane and died, they wouldn’t have to spend state money to bury us), letters of sponsorship (to prove that there were people in their country who actually wanted to see us), financial statements and statement of securities (some had to bring the deeds to the land they owned, to prove that they could afford the trip to and from their country!) and since my brother is still in school, they needed a letter from the principal saying that the school has granted permission for him to travel! Why does it matter to them if he misses school?! Are they concerned for his education?! And why do they need our birth certificate? Don’t they know that to even apply for a passport, we need a birth certificate? So surely the fact that we have a passport should entail that we have a birth certificate!

It didn’t end there. We finally got all this done and went to the embassy, where a polite lady went through our stack of paperwork. She then told us (politely) that the birth certificate should be photocopied on an A4 sheet, even if the original is printed on an A3 sheet. Apparently all our documents will be analysed by futuristic robots made in China, and if they happened to glance at a sheet of paper that was not A4, they’d explode. Oh and since dad is travelling on business purposes, they’ll require him to sign another set of documents; just to prove that he does in fact have a job and isn’t part of some clever deception.

We left the embassy shortly after. The message to me was clear; we don’t want you in our country, we’re fine the way we are. You are Asian and so are more likely to try and stay illegally in our country to escape your own cesspool of a nation. Also, since you are Asian, you are probably a lot smarter than us and are a harder worker, and so you will probably rise to political power in our country and destroy us from within. After a bit of research, I found out that the visa we were applying for was the same price as a plane ticket from here to India. And that’s not all; if we had wanted to go to the UK, we’d have to end up paying five times that amount for their visa. Five times! That amount works out to the price of a plane ticket from here to Sydney!

Of course, none of this is applicable to European nations; my friends hop from one Scandinavian country to the other as if it were a bus ride to the next city. Apparently only Asians are capable of forgery and diabolical agendas. Meanwhile, among south-east Asian countries, no visa is required to enter Sri Lanka. No, all you have to do is jump on the plane and we’ll be waiting for you here to put a meaningless stamp on your passport before ushering you towards the duty-free with a big smile on our faces.

So I suppose there is only one conclusion to this matter; if you’re from the east, please stay in the east. It’s almost like being in the playground at school; the big rich kids get to play on the swings and the smaller runts get to watch them from their own little corner of the grounds.

That’s why being a flight attendant is the coolest job in the world. You get to fly to almost any destination, no problem. No one checks your ethnicity, and no one questions your financial status. Apparently if you smile and serve people tea, you are incapable of planning a terrorist attack. For all we know Osama is on a plane right now, all clean shaven and neat, plotting his next attack in the country of his choice, all the while asking “Tea or coffee?”

1 comment:

alicia said...

:D phunny

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