Friday, November 20, 2009

Longing For Those Carefree Days...

Or something like that...

Just the other day, the security guard company (guarding our neighbourhood), emailed me to remind me to keep my front gate closed and my front door locked at all times.

The company rep related a recent incident in our neighbourhood where the house owner got home, leaving his gate ajar and front door unlocked, and went straight upstairs. Not a moment too soon, someone came into the house and took off with several items on the ground floor. Thankfully, no one was hurt.

How I have heaved a sigh (of helplessness) one too many times.

What scary times we are living in.

When I first moved into my neighbourhood in 1986, I could leave my gate ajar, anytime of the day. There were hardly any cases of snatch-theft or burglary.

My kids could play in the driveway with the gate wide open.

When Adel was learning to ride the bicycle, I took him around the neighbourhood.

When Adel and later, Shaira, were big enough to play in the playground nearby, I'd walk with them to get there.

And I'd not think twice about walking to the nearby shops.

Then, steadily, cases of petty crimes occured. Still, I was confident that they were isolated cases,

But when a neighbour's house was broken into in broad daylight one not-so-fine afternoon, it got me spooked. Only because I had my children at home (with the maid) while I was away at work.

In those days, few houses had automatic/electronic gates installed. You'd usually see bungalows or those huge detached houses with these gates. A kind of status symbol, although, yeah, I'd install the gate if I lived in a huge bungalow.

I used to (and still do) work late hours. When I got home, I'd go out of the car and open the gate, drive into the garage and walk to the gate to close and lock it.

For a very long time, I never thought much of it.

The too-close-for-comfort incident got me worried. So I had an automatic gate installed. For safety. And it was clearly the damn right thing to do.

Today, almost every house -- and I'm talking link houses here -- has got an automatic gate installed. It is really a necessity.

Today, we are all one frightened lot.

Our neighbourhoods are fair game to any would-be criminal.

It's very easy to point fingers at the police for not stepping up their patrolling of residential areas.

Have they given this low priority? Or they are under-staffed?

Whatever the reason, I'm seeing neighbourhoods becoming gated residential areas. For better or worse, I don't know.

The point is, these security guards cannot "close" the roads because I believe it is illegal to do so on public roads.

Several entry/exit points in our neighbourhood have got those things you put up by security guards. They are not "closed". Just manned.

Perhaps the guards are already familiar with the residents' cars that they allow vehicles to pass through.
So, really, from a security point of view, this is as good as not having those points "guarded". Anyone can actually enter the area.
Yeah, what's the point then, of having these guards?

I suppose, it's better than not having any kind of security at all. Besides, I suppose, it makes the residents feel s a f e r.

But, how sad it is that our neighbourhoods have gone that way. Guarded at almost every point.

"What to do...not safe these days.." said a friendly neighbour. So resigned to the state of things.

Oh..for those wonderful carefree days where we can leave our gates unlocked, take that walk to the neighbourhood shops with nary a care or fear of the unknown, play in the park/playground without worry of crazed abductors...

15 comments:

Loko Man said...

Bring back Rukun Tetangga. Call it 1Tetangga for all I care. Get the young men to patrol the neighbourhood. Let them feel responsible for making their neighbourhood safe. Make them more responsible, too.

ALternatively, we can get our National Service boys and girls to organise patrols together with the adults from the neighbourhood. It will help us become better neighbours and together take hold of our own safety.

Tak payah lah pakai security dari Bangladesh yang memperkayakan dua tiga syarikat pengawal.

Come on Najib, let's have 1Neighbourhood!

-- Loko man -

Anonymous said...

alamak

autogate pun tak selamat, kalau tak buat betul betul.

kalau awak balek kampong, kemudian ada blackout for a few hours, the autogate will power off, and automatically terbukak tau. disarmed.

elok, tambah sistem manual (rantai and padlock), on top of autogate magnetic locking function, kalau tinggal rumah lama lama.

keduanya, cuba tengok autogate anda betul betul, bahagian bawah, tempat yang ada cable.

cable nilah yang power up the lock (letrik biasa, atau, bateri, kalau letrik terputus).

kalau tak di buat betul betul, cable power ni, terlalu jelas dan terkeluar. cable ni, kalau di potong (gunting pun boleh), dah, autogate takde power.

maka, terbuka lah ia.

yang jenis rolling sliding sideway, ada selamat sikit. kurang nampak terbukak, bila power putus (black out, atau, di potong, atau sebagainya).

pakmat said...

..no, lady, you cannot have both..you cannot have peace bundled with wealth..that's the price we have to pay for whatever this thing that we called progress..we are leading towards a gated society..with a porous border, and an open door policy for foreign labour to feed the needs of hastened industrialiazation, and a general policy of enriching some, while certain segment are left behind..what kind of peace, lady to you expect?..the pace we have set left some gasping..even here in rural Bachok, we have that occasional snatches.. but the general peace..the nary a care..doors unlocked..and a walk undisturbed..is still there..alhamdulillah..but not for long, maybe..

Old Fart said...

I remember the time.....
The only thing my mom worried about was us kids going to the mining pool!! It was o.k. if we only walked on the bund. But not o.k. if we even dipped our feet in the water. And that silly mining pool water always left its tell tale signature so that our dark brown legs up to our knee or whatever depth we ventured into the water had this ghostly reminder that we'd been in it. And I was not even 10. Even at 5-7 our playground could be anything up to 5 kilometer radius from the house as long as we did not cross the main road which probably saw 100 vehicles zoom though it every hour and maybe half as many bullock carts.

Ah, those times...Nuraina, How I remember those times!! We did not live behind any fence. Our main door opened out to the road. And after the door is opened each morning about 7.00 it will remain open until shut at about 9.00 at night. Immediate neighbour was Malay, and on the other side a Sikh. no doors stopped us from venturing into each others kitchen to see what sweets could be had. Well, as the song goes...those were the days my friend....!

Anonymous said...

1.Those days,during TDM ,the Malaysian economic prosper and unemployment rate less than 4%.
2.Now, the unemployment rate is higher and cost of materials increase. Malaysian are now in difficult situation to earn a living.
3.Previously, the RM200 can purchase groceries probably 25 items, but now same amount only can get less quality product for 12 to 15 items.
4.Too much politics between government and opposition cause less concentrating to develop nation economics.
5.These resulted increase in crime rate ie. Corruption, snatch thief, robbery etc. Should we blame the police ?

Arun said...

No point in being sad lah sister.

Gomen keep putting in the same corrupt IGP Musa as head of police.

All police very keen to catch politicans than catch criminals.

Also crime is there when economic is in bad state. People cannot makan, harga barang naik gaji tak naik, but BN prime minister say 'economy got strong fundamenntal'. What fundamental? Prime minister only mental.

Too many foreign workers in malaysia also.

Gomen policy just to make money for rich people only la sister.

Thats why we need new gomen. Please hope sister we have new gomen change things for better.

Anonymous said...

The situation is getting worst day by day . There are shops now dont operate when the night fall at our area.

Some sundry shops operate thru the gap of locked gate.Can you imagine this years back ?

This one Off Topic- possible to advise for a seperate blog for Thiagarajan. Lately it occupied almost half the space in the top in blogs.

Anonymous said...

That's because the police are not allowed to do their job properly and politician like to defend the criminals.

Anonymous said...

dear Arun

there's no such thing as new gomen lah brader.

PR is led by same person, anwar ibrahim, a true blue umno also. same flavour and taste and style. same korup qualities.

whatever you dont like about umno, he did it in umno. he was a leader in umno. azmin ali and all, are all hardcore umno style people, lavish lifestyle, diri di utamakan, rakyat dikemudiankan.

trained and handpicked by umno. from head to toe, they are umno. different political labels does not make them different.


mana ada new gomen? sama je.

dap is better than mca? with father, son, inlaw cronysm and dynasty, it cant be better.


mana ada new gomen?

mana ada new gomen? you are that gullible ah?

-bodo betul-

Anonymous said...

Well Ena, times have changed. The same predicament that the UK faced with lots of immigrants flocking there. Nowadays many immigrants flocking to Malaysia looking for jobs and siphoning out a lot of money back to their home country.

Can't blame the Banglas who work as security guards. I am told the security guards at KL Plaza are all Banglas. So you can hear them communicating using the walkie-talkie in their lingo. Luckily in the area that I am staying they had changed the security guards three times in a span of three months. At the beginning it was Malaysians and four months ago it was changed to Indonesians, then less than one month it was Sikhs and now Banglas.

Just how safe are we? Well a number of my friends who own luxury cars currently dare not drive their BMW, Mercedes, Lexus etc at night. They are rather scared of being abducted. You can see them driving the lower range cars at night. Frankly even walking along Bukit Bintang at night does not feel safe. What more with the children going to tuition at night. Even though it is not too far away and within walking distance but we took the precaution of sending and fetching them.

I concur with you the carefree days are over....we used to live along Jalan Ampang and yes our doors are wide open in the morning and only closed around 10 pm. We do not even have gates then....but alas now we have to take extra precaution. Just how times have changed....I guess it is the price we have to pay.....

Anonymous said...

First we had to pay extra to use the roads...now, we have to pay extra for 'security'. Who knows, one day someone will come up with a brilliant idea that we have to pay for the air we breathe.

I realy wonder whether these 'security' companies are actually scams. I heard that they hire people to kacau an area. Then, they will offer 'security' for a price. Easy money. One house about RM100 a month. 3,000 houses? You do the math.

Anonymous said...

Security companies offering to put up gates with one or two bangla or myanmar guards for a price seems very dodgy to me.

How come PJ can suddenly turn from quite safe even to walk at night to scared even to walk in house compound? Come on, whats going on?

Anonymous said...

Actually, if we throw moral and ethics out the window, this security thingy is every marketer's dream come true. Think about it. Create a need and in this case, the need for security. How to create that need? First, create fear among residents. Where there's fear, there's a need for security. Very clever indeed. Surely, an award winning marketing plan which came richly true.

Anonymous said...

If things get worse I'm applying to carry a handgun. Shoot first (ok, maybe shoot leg first) then ask questions later. Make no mistake, if I don't feel safe anymore and gangsters on bikes and in cars are just around the corner, i'm going to shoot first, question later.

An armed society is a polite society.

Anonymous said...

Growing up in the 1980s was for me like episodes of 'The Little House on the Prarie' with many days like the opening scene where Melissa Gilbert runs down that small hill.

Today it's more like episodes of CSI, where there's danger, corruption and violence all around me. So much, that i feel like throwing up.