Thursday, April 10, 2008

54 Illegal Migrant Workers From Myanmar Suffocated To Death

Caught this piece of news today off Yahoo:

BANGKOK, Thailand - Fifty-four illegal migrant workers from Myanmar suffocated in the back of an unventilated truck Thursday, while the rest of the passengers being smuggled to Thailand pounded on the container and screamed in vain for the driver's help.

More than 100 of the migrants were packed into a 7 x 20 foot container area of a truck normally used to carry seafood. They were being trucked to Phuket when they started collapsing. According to sources, the air-conditioning broke down and temperature reached around 93 degrees that day.

The migrants finally managed to get the driver's attention by pounding and screaming from inside the container. When the driver saw what happened to the migrants, he ran away, and left them there.


I'm a little affected by this piece of news. The unfairness of it, the unnecessary waste of life -- it makes me sad, but most of all it makes me angry. That the political and social conditions of so many countries around the world forces people to take this risk of looking for work outside their country illegal. They died trying to find a better life.

Meanwhile, there are so many people around me, with good health and a steady job that actually allows them a comfortable living -- maybe not a lavish living, but a comfortable one -- whines and complains about how unhappy they are with their lives. Oh, how high the interest rate on their bank loan (for their condominum) is. Oh, you studied law because you didn't know what you want to do and now you're unhappy being a lawyer. Oh, how unhappy that it cost so much to buy a car these days.

All I want to say to them right now is: Shut the fuck up.

A lot of us are unhappy with our lot in life. But the truth is -- a lot of us have a choice. Sometimes it may mean taking a paycut to be happier. No matter how bad the situation is for many of us, we are not desperate. We do not have to pay thousands of dollars to snakeheads to leave our homes for a foreign land packed like animals with a hundred others, inside the container of a truck. All of it just for a chance to earn a little more money for the family.

You don't need that 50th pair of designer shoes. You don't need branded, expensive underwears. You don't need to dine at Four Seasons. You don't need to live in an expensive apartment. These are luxuries, and the fact that you have a choice to luxury is a blessing.

Be grateful for your family, your good health, for having the financial means to support yourself and your family. Think of the 54 people who died for nothing here, the people who would love your lot in life, and stop whining like a spoilt child denied a toy.


Ana S. said...

Excellent points.

Every now and then there are horror stories in the news here about people who try to cross the sea from Africa to southern Spain and Portugal in rickety little boats. Sometimes there are shipwrecks, and dozens of people die. I remember that a while ago a Spanish fisherman got in trouble for saving a group of people who were about to drown and bringing them to land. He got in trouble for "helping illegal immigrants enter the country". He saved human lives, and he was criticized for it - probably by the same people who complain about interest rates and the price of cars.

Anonymous said...

to count our blessing and expressed gratitude in life.

most of the times people are comparing luxuries and it purely disgusted me Be thankful that we got the chance to enjoy the life, there are people out there who worry about their basic needs (housing or food or livelihood). There are people out there who worry about the next meals and providing for their family.

I hate those superficial talks around me and usually stay away, in my comfort corner and day dream away. It can be quite amusing how these people compare and how they tried to shove their opinion onto people sometimes.

Life does have its challenges and yes we do have a choice. that much is within our control and means to make life a little better. quietletters

darkorpheus said...

Nymeth No one would leave their families to earn so little in a foreign place until they are truly desperate. I understand the social problems of too many illegal migrant workers -- but it irks me when my friends -- my own friends -- would sometimes make racist remarks about how they deserve being poor because they are uneducated and lazy etc.

Hello? Do they realise just how hard the migrant workers have to work to earn less than half what we do?

quietletters I get bored around people whose main topic of conversation is the house they are buying, how they need TWO cars for a family of two, their stocks and shares, and oh, how much the government punish them by taxing oh, so much?

I once met an old schoolmate who became a lawyer but she was unhappy -- she wants to quit but she can't.

I said to her then, "Maybe you should consider what is important to you. Maybe it's not that important to have the big house and the big cars."

"But I WANT the big house and the big cars!" she said with no sense of irony.

"Ah," was all that I said. I can't bring myself to be sympathetic. She is unhappy because she can't give up the lavish lifestyle. Oh, poor her.

Carl V. Anderson said...

That is awful. There is indeed a fine line between necessary complaining (I think a little venting does keep folks from going postal) and wallowing in the Oh Woe Is Me mentality while people in other countries are starving and, if roles were reversed, would take our lot in life and make something magical out of it. Situations like this are certainly a wake up call to be more aware of just how blessed we truly are and also a wake up call to make sure our voice is heard in the way decisions are made, etc.