Cp4ab0lishm3nt’s Blog

Border’s Dilemma Between Thailand and Malaysia Part 3

Posted in Uncategorized by cp4ab0lishm3nt on July 7, 2018

Bombs recovered in Thailand made in Malaysia?
Bernama | June 22, 2018

41 home-made bombs were seized from a pickup truck in Narathiwat yesterday.

Made in Malaysia – Pics for Presentation Purposes only

A police officer claims the PVC used to make bombs was not available in Thailand and could have originated from Malaysia. (Bernama pic)

BANGKOK: A police officer in southern Thailand has claimed improvised explosive devices seized there were made in Malaysia.

Security forces in the restive province have been instructed to intensify investigations over the seizure of 41 home-made bombs from a pickup truck in Narathiwat yesterday.

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan wants the authorities to identify the culprits behind the bombs.

“The authorities need to find out who was responsible for bringing the bombs.

“They need to investigate more,” he told reporters today, adding that officers were also instructed to hunt and arrest a suspect who evaded arrest by fleeing into some jungle.

His statement came as Thai security forces in the southern provinces stepped up surveillance following the seizure of the bombs.

Narathiwat police chief Maj Gen Manas Sikamat was quoted as telling the local media today that the bombs were made in neighbouring Malaysia and were intended to harm security officers.

He, however, did not provide any evidence to back his claim about the origin of the bombs.

An unidentified Thai officer quoted by the local media claimed the PVC pipes used for the bombs were not available in Thailand.

At 11.45am yesterday, officers manning a checkpoint in Kampung Saring in the Takbai district in Narathiwat stopped a pickup truck and arrested a 39-year-old man at the wheel.

The truck, from Sungai Golok near the Thai-Malaysian border, was heading to the Ranget district in Narathiwat.

Upon inspection, the officers found the 41 bombs hidden under a thick blanket at the back of the vehicle, along with other equipment, including timer and communication devices for detonating the explosives.

According to the Explosive, Ordnance and Disposal officers at the scene, the bombs were ready to be used at any time.

Non-governmental organisation Deep South Watch said the southern Thailand conflict between the government forces and armed groups since 2004 had claimed about 7,000 lives.

Advertisements

Border’s Dilemma Between Malaysia and Thailand Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized by cp4ab0lishm3nt on April 29, 2018

Kelantan is one of the most fortunate state in Peninsula Malaysia to have two border crossings. Earlier and yesterday, I made a good crossing from Pengkalan Kubor to Tak Bai in Thailand. Today, I made a third time crossing and this time from Rantau Panjang, Kelantan to Sungai Golok (Thai: Su’Ngai Kolok) in Narathiwat, Thailand. From here onwards I prefer to spell Sungai Golok as Sungai Kolok like how they write in Narathiwat, Thailand.

Sungai Kolok is a bizarre town and for a long time it has been one of the many popular crossings for travellers from Malaysia, much more than Bukit Kayu Hitam (in Kedah, Malaysia) and Danok (in Songkhla, Thailand) crossing. There was even once a rail connection between Rantau Panjang and Sungai Kolok but that has thus far become defunct for a long time – no one actually knows why the service is discontinued perhaps it was way during the Colonial times as more of logistical transport rather than public transport for commuters.

Apparently, the Immigration, Customs, and Quarantine Sections (ICQS) have improved tremendously since I last visited. The pedestrian ICQS is simple and impressive. On the Malaysian side, despite there’s a queue line for both Malaysian and foreign nationalities, on the other side of the counter, the Malaysian immigration authorities have set up a feasible passport reader and scanning machine for Malaysian passport readers. As I stepped into the booth the machine closed the booth’s door, scanned me as the passport, scanned my thumbprint without any fuss and in a matter of seconds, confirmed me as the passport holder, and the booth’s door on the other side opened to say that I was cleared. Similarly, on my return from Sungai Kolok, after four hours later, the machine on the returning side cleared me as well. Somehow, some officials saw my actions as bizarre, perhaps no one had yet to use the machines, and most Malaysians and Thais prefer the queue line to get their passports or travel permits (those that stayed on the borders and traverse along Kelantan and Narathiwat can get travel permits from the Malaysian and Thai immigration authorities) checked and stamped. I was the most glad person for this development – and on my way out I gave both my thumbs up and the authorities thought perhaps I was mad or what.

That was however untrue for the Customs side of the enforcement – there weren’t anybody at all especially on the side where visitors from Thailand entering Rantau Panjang, Malaysia. The bag scanning machine was turned off and not sure where are the customs officials. Having said that, however, Malaysia ICQS have in fact one of the best vehicular inspection bays consisting of 5 vehicular bays. Perhaps Customs officials are better stationed to check vehicles rather than pedestrians crossing the borders.

The Thai side of the ICQS at Su’Ngai Kolok has improved tremendously since those days they stationed on the wooden bridge (along the Sungai Kolok) and a row of connected of offices were built adjacent to the then Thai immigration office. The Thai immigration office shifted inland and they set up similarly to the Malaysian ICQS. When I arrived at the Thai pedestrians’ ICQS, its very organized and straightforward two queues in tow. The clearance is simple, efficient, and fast. I took my time to take a few pictures for this write-up and also took my time to fill up the traveller or tourist immigration card. Still the clearance only took like less than half-an-hour. The Immigration Officer was also meticulous as well and queried me as to my whereabouts in Sungai Kolok because I did not input a residence as I would be there for a few hours only. In the end, I did offer him my input that I will be hanging about in the morning market in Sungei Kolok and he was indeed satisfied. I wasn’t annoyed at all, and thought his actions and questions were relevant, important, and commendable, as Sungei Kolok was troubled with a bomb blast a couple of weeks before and not far from the ICQS.

As I exited the Thai ICQS, I noticed a poster of wanted persons on banners. Not sure whether these individuals are wanted for a series of troubles in Narathiwat and Southern Thailand.

About 100 metres from the Thai ICQS, there’s a military checkpoint with two soldiers in full military uniforms and weapons straddled on their shoulders. They were pleasantly nice and offered their “hellos” or “Sawadee Krap” as most Thais will do. Thailand like any country in the world, when their country is besieged with a violent problem, the full force of the military is called upon to make the presence felt rather than to enforce the law.

After the military checkpoint, the immediate building near the ICQS zone is the Thai Tourism Office and Exhibition Centre. The buildings are so massively built that it kind of reminds tourists and travellers that Narathiwat is not dangerous and patrons are free to visit and travel anywhere in Southern Thailand. I did not go there because I felt silly and felt the buildings are just ‘white elephants’  because even from the outside, it seemed quite empty and not much actually feel the insides even though today is a Sunday. Trespassing is not my best suite anyway and decided to prod on towards more exciting places.

My aim is to find out where the Sungai Kolok Train Station was.

As I proceeded on, I saw another banner in fact one big banner was actually stationed across the Tourist and Exhibition Centre and its about the International Competition on Chinese Lion Dance and to be held sometime in May 2018. Participants from Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, China, and Australia are invited to the competition together with the Thai competitors and it will be held in the Exhibition Centre. Further down there were smaller banners hanging straight down on the lamp post.

Just after the Genting Hotel, the shops came into view; I was surprised to see so many shops and further into avenues, five-foot way shops sprung and there were security checkpoints with policing figures stationed at these checkpoints. In these controlled areas apparently, many Thais of various ethnic groups (despite majority are still Malay Muslims) conducted their businesses. Most are Chinese owned shops and they employed Muslims to run their shops – whether its eateries, sundry goods shops or pharmacies. Most of these Thais spoke dual languages, Malay and Thai. And some even can converse in local Chinese dialects like Hokkien or Teochew to my delight.

The odd thing about this, is that, it seemed the controlled secured areas are run by Thais whom have assimilated comfortably into the Thai culture. It seemed as compared to Tak Bai, Thai Muslims in Sungai Kolok are pretty comfortable with their lifestyles and have assimilated more readily. When I was having my lunch at one of the eateries, they played and sang along with Thai pop songs that one could listen readily in Bangkok and not those traditional Thai music. And to my delight most of them are Muslims and yet they don’t feel the uncomfortable and at ease.

I managed to arrive at the Sungai Kolok Train Station, and the station had metal detecting machines and military figures but it seemed they either uninterested or lackadaisical in their attributes. Hence, the metal detecting machine is for show as deterrence rather than for enforcement. I went to the ticket window to inquire the ticket price for a lower berth sleeper from Sungai Kolok to Bangkok and got a favorable answer.

I did not hang around that long and decided because this place is anywhere like Thailand and thus did not thrill me at all, apart from the vegetarian lunch I had and thought it was delicious.

I returned to the immigration and observed what are the impossibilities but it seemed, on the Thai ICQS side, one have to go to one of the vehicle bays and not back to the office. Nevertheless, everything’s efficient as well but I just feel its rather queer to have to be examined and checked at a vehicle bay.

All in all, my experience with the Rantau Panjang and Sungei Kolok crossings is one of positive note, if not the best, and most efficient crossings of all times. Despite, the crossings is considered well enforced but still I could see bike runners offering rides to pedestrians, however, I did not see any of those who want to risk crossing illegally.

Borders’ Dilemma Between Malaysia and Thailand Part 1

Posted in Uncategorized by cp4ab0lishm3nt on April 28, 2018

Tak Bai Morning Market Facing East 20180428@084701To many of us crossing land borders are of wonders, mysteries, and excitements. It’s a burgeoning experience coupled with uncertainties. Some people love it, some hated it. Airports’ borders in Thailand and Malaysia are basically very organized and secure without much frills, but full of professionalism and surveillance. Security is considered a serious responsibility for all travellers as the airlines, IATA organization, national governments, etc., ensure that there will be untoward happenings after a series of hijackings, terrorisms, crimes, etc., that plagued airlines and airports. We can seriously say that airports’ security are one of the best managed, anywhere in the world, except  those troubled hotspots nations.

ICQS @ P. Kubor 20180428@083422

That said, however, it’s not the case for land borders.

Land borders are plagued with surveillance and disciplinary issues. There are many concerns about land borders immigration and security. One of the reasons why a country like Malaysia with serious weapon laws and controls, have weapons regularly turn up in the country illegally. Another area of serious breaches of immigration and security issues, is the trafficking of human beings, either for labor or migration. Middlemen (on both sides of the border) will certainly take control of these illegal opportunities to make quick bucks and become rich instantly.  On July 18, 2017, a very senior army general, two provincial politicians, and police officers were among the 62 people found guilty of human trafficking in Thailand. One of the individuals responsible for the dozens of murders in the mass graves is a Rohingya by the name of Soe Naing, aka Anwar. Most of these dead are Rohingyas running or fleeing their homelands from political persecutions, genocides, and/or discriminatory practices of the Burmese government. Many viewed that Malaysia would have given them hope and a second chance in life. Anwar, a supposedly good talker and salespersons, for “immigration” offered that senseless hope. As they reached the Thai-Malaysian border between Wang Prachan (in Satun province, in Thailand) and Wang Kelian (in the state of Perlis, Malaysia), they were unable to cross into the jungles as authorities have rigidly implemented protocols and controls.   Another issue that’s of real concern was that many of these immigrants were duped and many had to fully pay for their crossings, and thus they were made to stay before crossing into Malaysia. As they had no choice and as illegals in Thailand as well, they built makeshift camps not far from the border (in the jungle). When their families were unable to come with their payments, these desperate immigrants were murdered and dumped in mass graves. Unfortunately, these immigrants did not know that they were actually in Malaysia already, as majority of these mass graves were found just slightly Northwest of Wang Kelian. The human trafficking case caused a major embarrassment to designate Prime Minister Chan O’ Cha of Thailand. It also created a major international uproar and the then Obama Administration decided to downgrade and highlighted Thailand as a major human trafficking nation. Relations between US and Thailand was at a low ebb since.

Thailand has yet to fully meet the minimum standards of human trafficking and thus they are still within the realm of Tier 2 on the US Human Trafficking Watchlist. Since June 2017, Malaysia has been taken off the watchlist, however, as  a precaution and monitoring the US decided to emplace Malaysia under the Tier 2 list.

I am not applauding my efforts for Malaysia right now because I think there are still many issues facing the country’s borders. Despite Prime Minister Tan Sri Najib Tun Razak has promised to enhanced border securities, it’s still lagging somewhat behind.

In September 2016, the Prime Ministers of both Thailand and Malaysia agreed to building a wall to stop human trafficking, drug trafficking, weapons smuggling, and illegal cross border trade and smuggling. These had yet to materialize, however, because building building a border wall requires humongous resources and the need for true feasibility studies of what entails in the strategies and not just with a wall to prevent illegal immigration. When US President Donald Trump wanted to build a wall, he came to the realization that a wall need not be a wall because a defensive and reliable fencing coupled with surveillance solutions really are much cheaper way then building a wall. From the Israeli experience as well, its not necessarily that a wall can stop breaches of sorts because desperate persons can still tunnel beneath a wall.

The most important question is how do we actually resolve security immigration issues?

Despite earlier, this article pointed out the importance of surveillance and disciplinary issues, the real resolve is still the discipline and how land border control officials view this perspective. Do they have a lackadaisical attitude and just go about their jobs or do they want to do this seriously as pride and their actions and implications (here within and as stakeholders) can translate the whole security network in a more solidifying presence.

Today, I visited the Malaysian and Thai border between Pengkalan Kubor (just off Tumpat in the state of Kelantan, on the Malaysian Northeast) and Tak Bai, in the province of Narathiwat, Thailand.

The Southern provinces of Jala, Narathiwat, Pattani, and Songkhla are not in the best of terms with the rest of Thailand. These Southern provinces were once part of the Malay Sultanate states but when the British came, they agreed with the King of Siam (then) in exchange of land borders and thereby, Perak, the then Province Wellesley (Butterworth), Penang, Kedah, etc., became part of the British Administration. Hence, Siam (Thailand) would hold on to Singgora (Songkhla), Pattani, Satun, Narathiwat, and Yala. But even before the British agreements, many provinces in Southern Siam and that included the Northern Malay states paid honorary revenues and taxes to the King of Siam. During the Second World War, after the defeat of the British Administration in Malaya, the Japanese apparently handed over the Northern Malay states (of Perlis, Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah, Perak, and Penang) to Siam for administration and control. After the war, the Northern states were returned to Colonial Britain. That said, Southern provinces in Thailand were pretty much of Malay identity rather than that of the Siamese influence. Islam is the stronghold’s influence and not Buddhism. In the hardcore provinces of Narathiwat, Jala, and Pattani, many Thai Muslims still identify themselves as Malay Muslims rather than Thai Muslims.

Fresh Vegetables @ Tak Bai 20180428@084713

In the 1950s and 1960s, Thailand wanted to indoctrinate the Southern Thais and shifting their attributes stealthily away from mainstream Islamization to Buddhanization. Another manner that’s practiced in many countries trying to whitewash a mainstream society is to encourage Northern Thais, Northeastern Thais, and Khmer Thais to move to the Southern provinces to do their business. As the weather in the Southern provinces are conducive and the land aplenty for agriculture, numerous business opportunities, and the advent of communism and socialism in Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam (during the 50s, 60s, and 70s), these Thais moved in numbers especially to the less hardcore provinces like Trang, Phatthalung, Krabi, Phuket, Surat Thani, Songkhla, Satun, and Ranong.  The indoctrination was so invasive and stealthy that Muslims in these provinces shifted their religious stance from being Muslims to being Buddhists. Many hardcore Southern provinces Muslims, where they practiced a serious sort of Sunni Wahhabism refused to adhere to such demands and thus many shifted to political strifes, by way of rebellion and causing troubles. And the result, a guerrilla war ensued. Till this day, the war is ongoing but somewhat less as before because the Thai government made serious strides to recognize the rights of Malay Muslims. Today, the three provinces are given conditional autonomies but still the Thai government dictate the policies in the provinces. As such, with these conditional policies, many Muslims in the Southern provinces are still unhappy.

On October 25, 2004, 85 Muslim residents in Tak Bai were massacred. The incident began when 1,500 residents from various parts of the three Malay Muslim provinces came to demonstrate against the detention of so-called 6 suspects, who were alleged to have given weapons to militants in the fight against the Thai military. The protests went awry when the protestors were cornered by the leaders of the protesters and the enforcement authorities. Gun fires were heard firing at the protesters but that didn’t contribute to their demise. What contributed was when the protesters were forced to lie face down and thus with the many bodies on top of each other, the ones near the bottom or at the bottom were suffocated and asphyxiated and that resulted in their deaths. In retaliation for the deaths of the Tak Bai protesters, a deputy police chief, senior officials, buddhist monks, teachers, and innocent Thais and even visiting Malaysians were targeted for a period of some years. Today, and just a couple of weeks ago, there was a bomb that went off at Sungai Kolok, Narathiwat.

So what’s this got to do with human trafficking? The problem here is because of these rebellion, strifes, and wanting independence and in retaliation from the Thai government, the apprehension of economic development, communique with the militants and political bodies, and the impositions of curfews and strict surveillances in many parts of Southern Thailand via many road blocks and identification checks and profilings concocted uneasiness for many Southern Thais who just want to have normal livelihoods but found their homeland unsustainable. Majority are Muslims and being Muslims (in the past) forged a stigma in their livelihoods. In the past, when these Muslims went to Central, Northern, Western or Northeastern Thailand, they were being discriminated. It’s only when the late King Bhumibol saw these indifferences advised the various Thai Governments to forge a policy of inclusion and regard Thais not just as one religion but of multiple represented religions. Despite many efforts from the various administration sought to include the diversities in Thai education, many Muslim parents refused to send their children to attend Thai national schools because of the (fearful) indoctrination towards changing their faiths or identities, and as such they send them to Madrasahs or Islamic schools known as “sekolah pondok”. These “sekolah pondoks” ran with minimal funds supplied from generous Islamic religious charities via the ‘zakat’ or Islamic welfare payments.

Many of these communities in Southern Thailand have problems of assimilation because of their religion, ethnicity, as well as their language. Despite many Malay Muslims do speak Thai as their mother tongue, but within their vicinities and communities and families, they prefer their own ethnic language which is not entirely Malay but more of a similarity to that Kelantanese Jawi language. Most don’t read the alphabet form of the language but more of the Jawi traditional language that’s a return in the form of Arabic. Hence, because of that similarities with the Malay language in Malaysia, they tend to comprehend and understand Malaysia better than Thailand. Moreover, their relations transcends on both sides of the borders because in the past, these parts are part of the similar administration or perhaps a similar sultanate. As such the willingness to come to Malaysia is more of a desirable need than going up to Bangkok or other parts of Thailand.

Since the Tak Bai incident, many Southern Thais have sought refuge in Malaysia. However, since the state of Kelantan is under the administration of Party Islam Se Malaysia (PAS) since the 1990s, it seemed that perhaps PAS is more amenable to the plight of these Southern Thais’ sufferings. When the Tak Bai incident broke and the tit-for-tat retaliations, many of these militants at one point of time sought refuge in the state of Kelantan. As such, these happenings are not just coincidences and hence, the borders have become a relatively way to make fugitive runs either from crimes or human rights issues. It’s not only for fugitives coming in from Thailand, but it’s also a way criminals from Malaysia sought refuge in Southern parts of Thailand as well. Well, during the Communist insurgency in Malaya, many Malaysian Chinese Communists like Chin Peng sought refuge in the jungles of Southern Thailand, and if one today visited Betong, Jala, there is an elaborate underground tunnel (ran by Malayan Communists) that’s a museum of sorts today.

Today the Malaysian-Thai border is not only a fugitive run; the porous border has become a heaven for drug smuggling, human trafficking, weapons smuggling, and goods smuggling like cigarettes, cooking oil and at one point petroleum.

So what’s happening today at Tak Bai and Pengkalan Kubor? Well, there’s a proper way to go to Thailand and Malaysia and there’s an improper way vice versa. The proper way is the individual produced the necessary papers at the egress and ingress immigration checkpoints to have his or her documents checked and bags scanned. The improper way is to avoid the checkpoints, take an inordinate route by immigrant runners and pay a fee. This improper route does not require any documentations but the individuals are on their own risks. Most times they are able to get through this without any aforethought because everyone (including to a certain extent) authorities are paid as well. The whole process is silent and as long as the individual follows without question asked, everything’s alright.

At Tat Bai, so-called long tail boats (they are not as long tail as the ones in Krabi or other parts of Thailand because of the culture here) but the boats have long tail motor propellers and as such they are definitely Thais. They traversed from some inordinate (or secluded) route from one end of Malaysia to the pier at Tat Bai.  The Thai immigration office here is located about some 250 metres from the pier. Apparently, there’s an immigration office at the steps of the pier but somehow it’s defunct! So if you are a Malaysian or Thai and don’t have the documentation you can just basically disappeared into Narathiwat or Thailand, because you don’t have to report to the immigration office which is a way away.

As such, I decided not to report to the Thai immigration office because I didn’t want to fill up a silly immigration card that detailed the stay for two weeks in Thailand without a visa (even those that required a visa they are also required to fill up the visitation card). So after my three hours recce and rests at Tak Bai, I decided to return to Pengkalan Kubor at the Malaysian side. But to my dismay, the Malaysian authorities decided to check on the stamps from the Thai immigration side and discovered non. I was asked to return to get the chops before returning to Malaysia. Initially, I tried to argue but thought best not to because in order to be a responsible individual, its best to be steadfast on a policy rather than question it. I did the necessary and the Malaysian authorities were happy.

What irks me was that, here the Malaysian authorities were steadfast in the stamps from the immigration of Thailand, but they have yet to notice so many Thais and Malaysians living across the borders just used the inordinate crossings without even having the required documentations. Giving the problems we have recently about the trafficking of persons, gun smugglings, and the recent killing of a prominent Palestinian academic in Kuala Lumpur, I have no forgivings at all on how our land borders are enforced and how these so-called immigration officers think they are doing their jobs but they just turned blind eyes on how these inordinate crossings are happening daily.

I am traveller with tales and I prefer that authorities know what they are doing and not take advantage on responsible holiday or business travellers that travel the right way and not taking advantage of the system. I do hope that the Malaysian and Thai government seriously rectify all these faults and defeat these illegal and unnecessary border crossings.

Ethnicity: A Far Cry to Burmese Nationalism

Posted in Uncategorized by cp4ab0lishm3nt on April 2, 2018

In the last few years, the world have witnessed the atrocities done to Rohingyas in the Rakhine state. Genocide, rape, mass murders, mass graves, and villages and communities disappeared from satellite photos and become scorched earth. International communities and the United Nations are angry at what the Burmese authorities are doing to the Rohingyas. Daw Aung San Su Kyi was took to task for not speaking out and being defiant at the Rohingyas’ plight and mercy. Some celebrities that used to praise her for her peaceful fight against the Burmese Junta regime, eventually condemned her and even returned their human rights work accolades that they were presented together with her. Having said all that the West and the United Nations have never been interested in the plight of Burma except for the fact that they thought having Daw Aung San Su Kyi as freedom fighter the world would be a better place.

But that’s not the case, is it?

Ever when the British Colonials allowed the independence of Burma, Burma was a broken country with numerous ethnic groups unprepared to be ruled by one group, the Barman/Burman, led by Daw Aung San Su Kyi’s father, General Aung San. Despite General Aung San was able to get the Burmese ethnic groups to come together, some in his ranks saw that he was a threat to the Barman/Burman ethnicity and thus he was betrayed and assassinated. That led to the rebellion amongst the many ethnicities in the rural communities and states in the Northern and Eastern Burma.

So who are these groups then?

The Barman/Burman is the largest group and basically the whole nationalism revolved around this main ethnic group which is about 68%. Then there are 8 minorities groupings that make up about 27.5% of the Burmese population. And lastly another 5 other minority groups that make up the rest of the 4.5%.

The 8 minority groupings are: (1) Shan – 9%; (2) Kayin (Karen) – 7%; (3) Rohingya (Arakanese=Rakhine) – 3.5%; (4) Chinese (Chin) – 2.5%; (5) Mon – 2%; (6) Kachin – 1.5%; (7) Indians – 1.25% and; (8) Kayah – 0.75%.

The other 5 minor minority groupings are: (1) Wa; (2) Naga; (3) Lahu; (4) Lisu, and; (5) Palaung.

Many of these ethnic groups can also be classified down to a further sub-ethnic groups and there are some 135 sub-ethnic groups in these groupings. And the information can be sourced from here.

The Barman/Burman wanted total control of the lands and the natural resources and refused to indulge in autonomy by the various ethnic groups and sub-groups demands. When the British Colonials left the country after independence, they also did not care about what would entail in the foreseeable future and when the independence of the nation was handed over to the Barman/Burman people, they thought it was a right thing to do. But how wrong they were. During the Colonial years the British favoured the rural communities more because most of them are Christians as compared to the Barman/Burman who are basically Buddhists. The divide and rule proportionality gave the rural ethnic communities space to breathe as they knew the Colonials were their protectors. But after the British Colonials left, peace began to deteriorate and the ethnic communities did not see how they can be ruled by another ethnic group in which they had any connection at all.

Hence 1963, the Burmese/Barman regime under General Ne Win saw that the country was reeling away and the many rich natural resources will also become unattainable because the lands were under the ethnic groups. General Ne Win launched  a coup d’etat, deposed an elected regime and introduced the ‘4 cuts strategy’ campaign, aimed largely at suppressing the support from ethnic communities for supporting opposition ethnic rebellious armies and thus cutting off the: (1) Food supply; (2) Funds to support the rebellion; (3) Intelligence to the ethnic armies; and (4) Recruitment within the ethnic groups. They utilized the similar policy against the Rohingyas/Arakanese. But of course, the methodologies against the Rohingyas was made even more cruel like genocide.

During the wars, many of these communities ran away from their rural commune and many sought refuge in Thailand. Today there are as many as 100,000 displaced persons and refugees from these parts of Burma.

There are 9 refugee camps in Western and Northwestern Thailand and the largest of them all is Mae La Camp that’s about 75 minutes away (57 Km) from the town of Mae Sot in the province of Tat in Thailand. Mae La Camp has about 37,000 refugees and displaced persons of various ethnicities.

On 2nd April, 2018, I did a quick excursion trip to Mae La Camp. At about 9am I took a Song Teauw together with the Thais and ethnic Burmese. The Song Teauw actually traverse between Mae Sot and Mae Sariang on Highway 105. Just slightly before the hour, there are a number of checkpoints. According to a conversation with an ethnic Kachin girl, she noted that the main purpose is to monitor drug trafficking which is a problem for the Mae La Camp community. In fact, there was a DARE Centre at Mae La Camp, and the purpose of the rehabilitation centre is to offer programmes for individuals addicted to ecstasy (methamphetamine), heroin, and alcoholism. DARE stands for Drugs and Alcoholism Rehabilitation. But nevertheless, I think it’s not only drugs the Thai authorities are worried about. Other issues could be human trafficking, and more importantly, mass exodus from the states of Kachin and Kayin (in Burma) that’s about 8 Km from the Burmese-Thai border.

The number of checkpoints act as lookouts and if one is breached further up the road, reinforcements can be resolved immediately to stop the rush into other various cities and provinces in Thailand. Just last week, Rohingya boat people, from Cox Bazar in Bangladesh, had their journey cut short between Koh Ha and Ko Lanta, off the province Krabi, by the Thai Navy.  The Rohingyas were supposed to travel to Malaysia and disappear.

Many of the displaced persons and refugees from Mae La Camp have already resigned to the fate that their livelihoods now are in Thailand. Fortunately, many of these refugee camps in Western and Northwestern Thailand have full commitment from the well to do ethnic communities that have resided in Thailand for sometime (even perhaps before the troubles) and they sought sizeable assistance from voluntary groups in Thailand and as well as international voluntary groups that are mainly Christian organizations. Many of these organizations developed educational programmes that preserved the ethnic identities and as well as offering English education.

The young Kachin girl I met in the Song Teauw, her command of English was commendable. Initially, I was not able to tell whether anyone was able to converse English other than their ethnic languages and Thai. But when she took out from her bag, an English book called, “Phantom of the Opera,” immediately, I sought a conversation with her.

We did not get into the pleasantries because I knew the situation can be demanding and difficult for her, as these people preferred not to be known, thus, I decided to ask her about her origins. She told me she’s of Kachin descent (from Kachin state) but her mother is Cantonese. Her parents divorced long ago, leaving herself, mother and sister to look after themselves. In the bus, together with her mother and nephew, they were going to Mae Sot to look for her sister who’s working in town.

She told me, the camp is lucky because there are some 40 primary and secondary schools. Two schools are top notch and the Australian Catholic University is offering a Diploma in Liberal Arts program at the camp. Successful and bright students are offered scholarships either from the Australian Catholic University or other tertiary institutions in Australia. This is one great path they can seek to render themselves opportunities and thus become citizens of another country. Despite the opportunity offered by the Australian institutions, a thought came into me and thus I asked her how is it possible for Australian institutions to offer scholarships since these refugees don’t have proper documentations, like passports? Perhaps, there’s policy in Australia that really allow bright and successful refugees to reside in Australia and this is another way of attracting talents to the needed industries in Australia.

One thing we both agreed that many application forms whether its to apply for a school or papers to get citizenry documentations require the acknowledgement of ethnicity. In a way it’s great and at least the country recognizes an ethnic group and thus there’s a statistical documentation. However, its bad as well, when even in Australia these ethnic groups can be recognized and ultimately being discriminated. In Canada, many application forms do not need ethnic groups to specify their ethnicity any longer.

Another great development program for these refugee communities in Thailand is that they are free to farm crops and livestocks. The Kachin girl brought a big bag of cow’s milk that was requested by her auntie to be sold in another community. This is fresh cow milk and not those run of the mill production that’s sold in the supermarkets. Crops like bamboo shoots, maize, sugar cane, and various vegetable crops are sold in the wet market and night bazar in Mae Sot. Of course, other exotic delicacies like bugs food, and exotic animals like the black small leatherback turtles are sold at the market as well. Not sure whether these are endangered species.

Mae Sot, a vibrant migrant town, in the Tat province in Thailand, is a diaspora of tastes, peoples, and peaceful livelihoods. This is one town where Muslims thrive as well. Despite there are Rohingyas, there are other ethnic Muslims, mostly comprising the Karen (Kayin) and Kachin group. As a matter of fact, there’s one small Kachin Muslim village and the Tatmadaw (Burmese Junta Regime) had completely obliterated the village. They are perhaps only a few hundreds of these Muslim Kachins and now mostly they are in Mae Sot or at the Mae La Camp. Many of these Muslims are skilled at the roti business. Roti, is the famous Indian or Pakistani flour flattened bread better known as Chapati in India or Singapore or Roti Canai (in Malaysia). Despite they are displaced people or refugees, in fact they do pretty well in Mae Sot and their businesses are flourishing.

Daw Aung San Su Kyi tried a number of times to get these ethnic groups to sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) and upon signing to repatriate them back to Burma. However, these promises are vague and do not prepare for the ethnic groups to settle into ease. There’s the question of what entails and do the Burmese government promised to supply sufficient accommodation, offer land compensation, and allowing ethnic education to prosper. What prospects are available for the young adolescence and what future the Burmese government intend to provide for the future of these ethnic groups. Many of these ethnic groups, despite being refugees and displaced persons in Thailand, the future seemed brighter to them. Of course, right now, they don’t have identities and a country to call home, besieged by poverty and discrimination in Thailand, but at least there’s a path and light in the tunnel. If they returned, they are worried about the fact that they’d even be in dire straights. What Su Kyi wanted to do is not comprehensive enough and not called for and thus many parties have disagreed.

Similarly, the Rohingyas fate in Cox Bazar is seemingly dim even when Su Kyi and the Burmese authorities agreed with the international bodies to allow them to return. The question is how to resettle these displaced persons and refugees. Many of their homes have been scorched and many of the lands are perhaps scattered with land mines. How do the Burmese government go about implementing harmonious policies since many in the ranks refused to accept even to recognize Rohingyas as an ethnic group? Do the Burmese government ever wanted to progress on harmonious policies and enforcing against hatred and discriminatory practices and policies? That said, they also need to allow freedom of religion which in many Burmese Buddhist quarters, they think Islam is evil. To date, no ethnic groups are comfortable at all, as long as the Junta or Tatmadaw policies are dictating the country.

Targeting leaders won’t deter Taliban’s ‘jihad,’ group says | The Long War Journal

Posted in Uncategorized by cp4ab0lishm3nt on June 19, 2016

“History shows that such befallings have never weakened this Movement, but more often than not, has only strengthened their resolve,” the Taliban said in the

Source: Targeting leaders won’t deter Taliban’s ‘jihad,’ group says | The Long War Journal

Ontario Tanto Bayonet for M16, M4, and AR-15

Posted in Uncategorized by cp4ab0lishm3nt on June 12, 2016

“What’s the spirit of the bayonet!” the drill sergeant yelled. “To KILL! KILL! KILL! with the cold blue steel!” I roared back, trying to look as mean as I felt with th…

Source: Ontario Tanto Bayonet for M16, M4, and AR-15

U.S. fighter jets bomb 16 more IS targets in Syria, Iraq: U.S. admiral

Posted in Uncategorized by cp4ab0lishm3nt on June 8, 2016

U.S. Navy fighter jets flying from an aircraft carrier in the eastern Mediterranean Sea bombed 16 new Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria on Monday.

Now in their fourth day, the strikes from the Mediterranean have opened a new front in the U.S. air campaign against the militant group.

“We’re getting the job done,” Rear Admiral Bret Batchelder, commander of the USS Harry S. Truman strike group, told reporters on the ship as the strikes were being conducted.

He said carrier-based F/A-18 fighter jets had released 10 to 20 naval munitions on targets in Iraq and Syria since Friday, when the Truman moved to the Mediterranean from the Persian Gulf to resume bombing militant targets in both countries.

Navy officials gave no details about what targets were hit and destroyed, but said they were largely the same as in previous strikes from the Gulf, with a focus on destroying and eroding Islamic State’s financial base.

Shifting the Truman to the Mediterranean was intended to demonstrate that the U.S. Navy is ready to respond to threats and hit targets from anywhere in the world, Batchelder said.

If needed, the ship’s 72 fighter jets and other aircraft also could be used to hit targets in Libya, where Islamic State militants are making big inroads, but that is not why the ship was redeployed to the Mediterranean, Batchelder said.

Batchelder said the fight against Islamic State is starting to bear fruit, with estimates showing the U.S. military and coalition partners in 64 countries have retaken about 45 percent of the land formerly controlled by the militant group.

Islamic State’s oil and gas revenues have fallen to $250 million, he said. In February, State Department spokesman John Kirby used the same estimate to describe the decline in the group’s oil income since last summer, before the U.S. began targeting its oilfields and supply routes in Syria.

Batchelder said the Truman also would participate in several military exercises with allies in the Mediterranean before returning to her home port of Norfolk, Virginia in mid-July. Those exercises would include an air defense exercise with the French military, and a simpler exercise with Morocco.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Richard Chang)

A U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter jet launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman in the Mediterranean Sea

A U.S. Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter jet launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman in the Mediterranean Sea in a photo released by the US Navy June 3, 2016. U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bobby J Siens/Handout via REUTERS

US military targets senior Shabaab commander in Somalia | The Long War Journal

Posted in Uncategorized by cp4ab0lishm3nt on June 2, 2016

The US military announced that it targeted Abdullahi Haji Da’ud, a top military commander and planner for Shabaab, al Qaeda’s official branch in East Africa, in

Source: US military targets senior Shabaab commander in Somalia | The Long War Journal

Why ISIS Will Outlast the Coalition Arrayed Against It, and Why It’s Our Own Damn Fault

Posted in Uncategorized by cp4ab0lishm3nt on May 25, 2016

Today’s guest post comes from Barefoot Boomer. Boomer is a career Army officer and strategist. He is also a historian with an emphasis in American and German military history.  The content an…

Source: Why ISIS Will Outlast the Coalition Arrayed Against It, and Why It’s Our Own Damn Fault

Iraqi forces report recapturing city in western Anbar | The Long War Journal

Posted in Uncategorized by cp4ab0lishm3nt on May 18, 2016

Rutbah has been a key center of activity for the Islamic State in Anbar. It is the latest population center in the western province to be liberated by the Iraqi

Source: Iraqi forces report recapturing city in western Anbar | The Long War Journal