Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Returning I

I came back from lunch finding Bee looking very perpelexed. She was managing the switch board while I was having my lunch break.

"Be careful," she said.
"Why? What happened?"
"There was a man who came to the door and said that he was surrendering himself. We have alerted the police."

Drama at last! But only while I was gone. *Sigh*

LJ came down to brief me about the incident. With the big bosses gone, she is the highest ranking officer in the office. She told me that they have alerted the special police that look after the embassies. We're on "high alert" so every little thing is making us jump slightly higher. LJ showed me where the panic button was, in case I needed to activate it if the refugee shows up again.

So I took over the control center. Nothing happened.

And he came. He buzzed the front door.

"I want to see the ambassador. I am Singaporean and I want to surrender myself."

He didn't look too dangerous to me. Through the camera I should see he was thin. His body language was that of a dejected man.

"Sir, I am not allowed to let you in. I have to seek approval from an officer. Please wait while I contact an officer."

He didn't fight or curse. He just nodded and stood by the door.

I called LJ and told her the man was back. LJ tried to contact SS. SS was still out for lunch. He'll have to wait until the male members of our staff came back. It was a quiet time at the office. Some were on leave. Others had offsite meetings and conferences to attend.

It was cold outside. He only had a denim jacket on. His shoulders was hunched.

SS came back from his lunch and LJ briefed him as to what happened. "Well lets talk to him then," said SS.

With reinforcements, they went to the door and talked to him. They checked his passport to make sure that he was legit, and finally let him in.

"Ask Raj to get him something warm to drink," SS instructed me.

I looked at the man from inside my bulletproof and shatterproof door. He looked embarrassed. He didn't want to come but he had to.

LJ and SS spent some time processing him. He told them that he was duped. He came to London with big hopes, hope to make some money and then return back to his family. But all his hopes has been shattered. One year after his struggle, out of money, he didn't know what to do.

Story was, he was told my his friend that one can make big money working in London. All he needed was to bring £5,000. He could buy a second hand car and run a private mini cab business. He could scrounge and save and whatever amount he could return with, it could be doubled due to the strong Pound Sterling.

Upon his arrival, his friend took £2,000 off him. To start off the bussiness his friend claimed. One month, two months, nothing happened. He was getting restless. His money was depleting and London can be a very expensive and unfriendly place.

He started doing some odd jobs. He washed dishes, clean tables, cut vegetables, did whatever he think he could while waiting for his mini cab venture to work out.

He harrassed his friend who told him that he needed to give them another £1,000 for some paperwork.

And the friend disappeared and didn't come back.

And he was at the end of his tether. He was lost. He didn't know what to do. All his money was gone. His dreams shattered.

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