Monday, July 31, 2006

Border Security

Our borders are important to us. Customs and immigration work hard at protecting them.

Australia's top rating television show is Border Security. I have watched it a couple of times. I liked the content but oh, how they string it out and turn it into something so boringly repetatative. I no longer bother with it.

This protection of our borders is a fine thing hey.

Ah, but it is not all beer and skittles.

I cast my mind to when I was offered money by customs at Melbourne Airport to silence my complaint. Out of the pocket of custom's supervisor even. I wonder if customs still repack your bag after inspection? At least if you do it yourself, you are the one who packed it badly and are responsible for breakages. When they repacked my bag and I picked it up, and a bottle of precious liquid fell out and broke, they did not want it to be official. Instead I was offered out of the pocket compensation, after being escorted to a private room. This was around twenty years ago when returning from New Zealand.

That was a long time ago. Now customs and immigration are vigilant and correct in their behaviour.

But how far should they go. An aquaintance from nothern Victoria travels to Thailand twice a year. He is a person about 70 years old. As well as having a boyfriend in Thailand, he has many friends there and a very small business interest. Wihtout fail, his bagage is thoroughly searched every time he returns to Melbourne airport. The last time a couple of weeks ago, they looked at all photos he taken and skim read his diary, page by page. I can only guess they suspect of him pedophile activities. I have known him a long time and I very much doubt it.

An Aussie friend with Indian heritage went on a a tour to New Zealand last year. He is only late twenties and quite cute if you like petite hairy Indians. He has the prettiest face though. He enjoyed the tour and went again this year and is not long returned. I doubt he will go again.

While he felt the need to relieve himself just before the plane landed in NZ, he was mesmerised by the snow laden mountains and held off until he the plane landed and once he was out of the plane, he headed straight to the toilet. Customs grabbed him and asked what drugs he was about to get rid of. He protested his innocence and the short storey is that he escorted to a toilet to urinate, after strongly insisting, the tour group he was about to join was informed reluctantly that he was being detained, then he was strip searched and released without an apology. He had been detained for one and a half hours. I know this guy fairly well, and he is not bright enough to even attempt to carry drugs. If I wanted to paint him in a unflattering light, I would say we a stereotype empty headed faggot, but also he is not stupid and would never have anyting to do with drugs.

So what is going wrong with customs profiling? Both here and in NZ. In tv's Border Security you see the criminals and the stupid and even the ignorant caught. You don't see the innocents harrassed needlessly.

4 comments:

  1. Apparently many small Asian countries are "hot spots" for customs and they take great interest in people returning from that part of the region. Kiddie porn is what they'd be after, as well as the usual suspects like wooden products and narcotics.

    I hate that show because of the hidden message - Here! Look! All these foreigners trying to get in to this country and look! They are up to no good!

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  2. Aren't they up to no good? I have personally learnt to never queue behind older Indians at customs.

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  3. I have never watched the tv show in question, mostly because I agree with robkemp's statement - why do we all need to see that kind of stuff?

    Oh wait..I know...

    Because the only way to control a population is to FREAK them out and keep them that way. If we think scary bad guys are trying to get into our countires, then that will sure help.

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  4. It does make people feel good Jess, knowing that our customs are working so hard to protect us. Pity so much gets through anyway. Our gvt knows how to use scare very well.

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