From Madras to Manila

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Emailed Advisories

So much has happened in the past couple of weeks that it's going to take some time to do justice to it all - I had a short sojourn in Singapore, we had a four-day weekend here in which we took time to clean up the house and make a full-day trip to Tagaytay, we've finally visited the famous Salcedo Park Market, Diwali came and went... the list is really long!

And we got a couple of advisories in the space of two days a couple of weeks back:
  1. How to Avoid Carjacking
  2. Urgent Warning on the Bringing Into the US of PIRATED ITEMS (not just DVDs but also bags, cosmetics... the works!)
  3. And an oldie but a goodie - An Earthquake Survival Guide

I don't think I ever expected to receive emailed corporate advisories like these! Contrast them with the typical Indian emailed forward on how to deactivate your cell phone in case it's stolen... doesn't quite seem so critical any more, does it?

How to Avoid Carjacking

The advisory begins with the following information for the benefit of those vistims whose primary concern in the first few seconds after the theft is to find the precise term to describe the event:

Carjacking involves the forcible theft of a vehicle when someone is aboard, usually in transit. This is different from carnapping, wherein the vehicle is taken while it is stationary and there is no one aboard it

Of course, this does leave some legal loopholes.


Defence: "So, Mr Victim, you say my client carnapped your BMW"

Victim: "Yes"

Defence: "Where were you on the night of 14th June, between 11 and 11:30 pm when the crime allegedly happened?"

Victim: "In the car, watching helplessly as this gang was preparing to drive away with my car"

Defence (pouncing on the victim): "AHA! You say you were in the car? But, according to the Carjacking Advisory, a carnapping can occur only when no one is aboard. And yet you were in the car. I rest my case, your honour."

(Shocked silence from the victim. Murmurs in court. Flashbulbs go off)

Judge: "Case dismissed"


The advisory further goes on to list six car-jacking hotspots, all of which are in and around Quezon City. Yet, presumably to mollify any feelings of hurt that these car-jacking residents of Quezon City might have, the reports warns that "although most incidents have been noted to occur in Quezon City, carjackings can happen anywhere". Sure, we'll keep that in mind - but in the meantime, I know which part of Metro Manila I'm avoiding.

Among the risk mitigation tips are items such as "ensure your vehicle is in good working condition in order to avoid vehicle breakdowns in potentially dangerous situations". Perhaps there is a point in this, but I cannot see it. After all, would a would-be carjacker really want to steal a car that breaks down at the first sign of pressure? And, even assuming stealing beaten up old lemons is a requirement, say as a sort of training programme in Quezon City Carjacking School, what would they do with the one-ton heap of junk? Call a towaway van?


Bringing Pirated Goods into the US

Apparently some Filipino passenger had his fake Louis Vuitton bag confiscated - I'm not even sure whether the poor schnook know it was fake - and had to carry his clothes in a garbage bag! Hope they emptied the bag before giving it to him. Piracy stinks!

Earthquake Survival

This was sent by a concerned friend in India. Thanks - I think.


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