Tuesday, 22 June 2004

when did the world become such a nasty place?

Black & White House, Singapore

as i was admiring and taking pictures of these pretty black and white houses in sembawang last sunday, my friend and i were suddenly accosted by no less than 2 police cars, 8 police officers and two soldiers on an open truck with a mounted machine gun who circled us twice and finally stopped and surrounded us.

since we had entered the compound via one of several unmanned gates, and there were no signages whatsoever which had prohibited us from doing so or taking pictures, we didn't see how we could have done anything wrong.

i was wrong.

this police guy (whom we later found out was an inspector no less) stepped forward and asked us, in this suspicious and slightly sneering tone (which was immediately off-putting): Why are you all here? What are you all doing here?

i replied: We're taking a walk and looking at these black and white houses cos we find them very interesting. is it ok to take a walk here? we see no one stopping us at the gates and no signages saying we cannot do this.

and his reply: Oh, so you find them interesting? What do you find interesting about them? (his tone was now even more sacarstic, mixed with disbelief - he really was bad at asking questions, no doubt..) Where are you all working? Is this for your work? (yes, it seems that everything that people do in Singapore is only either for money or work.. sigh.. sad, right?)

not trying to point out his ignorance, i tried to be educating: "These are black and white colonial style houses. They are historical features and i just find them architecturally interesting, like the ones at Portsdown Rd. Is there anything wrong admiring them?

this other smart aleck police guy (i think a staff sergeant or something) then blurted out: "The ones at Portsdown Rd never mind cos other nationality staying there. if you want to take pictures, no problem. but here, cannot cos you know (which i didn't) there are a lot of Americans here (a fact which i didn't care about, anyway, since i wasn't there to see them). and you know after Sep 11 (blah blah blah - i lost him after a while)...

Anyway, they were obviously unconvinced by our story and asked to see the pics i took, which i gladly showed them (since they didn't show much anyway, durh!) and proceeded to take down our details.(probably to track us later??.. sigh..)

as if this wasn't annoying enough, this inspector guy came back after a while and started asking us some really dumb and irrelevant questions, to which we looked at him in bafflement .. finally, i realised that he was just trying to delay time so they could check their master database for records about us.. i was annoyed and asked him if they were actually doing that and then told them straight in the face that they could have just told us they needed to do that instead of being sheepish and beating about the bush and looking rather foolish trying so hard and poorly to engage us in lame small talk.

this other guy then sacarstically said "Never mind, you don't like the police anyway" to which i could only reply (while trying not to roll my eyes) "i don't think i ever had any opinion about the police" and his reply just made it so hard for me not to cringe at his childishness "cos they don't take down your records what.." durh! wouldn't words like that just make u so annoyed??

and to make things even more annoying, the second police car drove up at this point and one other police guy asked to see the digital pics again. "Again??" i asked " your colleague has already seen it!". and then this second police woman began repeating the whole story again about how they needed to protect the residents of the place etc etc.

our moods dashed, we left the place straight after the rigmarole and went for a coffee instead.

initially, i was annoyed at the whole event. but after thinking a while, i realised that ultimately, it was really because of the lack of wisdom, tolerance and understanding of the very people who were supposed to be the leaders of the world, and because they just love to get into wars and kill each other and declare themselves and what they believe in to be right that has led to the world becoming a more and more unsafe place everyday..

it was at that point that i realised i needed to pray.. so so much.. :(

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