Saturday, July 11

Nipping a problem in the bud

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I DON’T know how serious the problem is – allegedly caused by the so-called China Dolls who come to the state on tourist visas but somehow or other masquerade as health workers in local spas and as experts in foot reflexology.

THE REAL DEAL?: Many centres are offering reflexology, but how many are just a front for ‘extra services’?

By some estimate, out of 200 of such establishments in Sarawak, 30 are in full operation in the resort city of Miri alone, for quite sometime now. The rest are presumably to be found in Kuching, Sibu and Bintulu.

The men who frequent these places in order to relieve pains and aches of the body and stress after a hard day’s work are the prime targets for services other than the fiddling with aching feet. They say this is a treatment good for blood circulation and the kidneys. A matter of opinion.

But a lot of housewives in Miri are worried about their men being among the clients.

Two years ago, many Kuching wives were complaining about a similar problem in the city; they have either given up the fight or are keeping low for now lest their city gets adverse publicity. That would be sweeping the problem under the mat, though.

Cases of marriage breakups and strained relationships between spouses have been blamed on the visits by husbands to these so-called health centres. It starts with a mere suspicion and perception, perhaps. But perception is more important than reality and can cause misunderstanding leading to something worse. You know what I mean.

Has there been a study to find out the extent of the seriousness of the problem in Sarawak?

Based on suspicion, the problem does not seem to run away by its own volition and therefore must be serious enough to warrant a campaign mounted by many housewives in Miri to close down or cull the number of such outlets.

They suspect that these venues have been converted into dens of vice where members of the oldest profession are likely to ply their trade. The health experts have become sexperts.

So concerned are the respectful ladies in Miri of other professions that they have formed themselves into a group to save Miri from being dubbed the sex city and in the process save wayward husbands for the sake of the marriage and welfare of the children.

By talking and cooperating with the relevant authorities – licensing, law enforcement and immigration, they hope to find ways and means whereby the nefarious activities in these places can be curtailed. Those allowed to carry on in that resort city may have to be subjected to stringent inspection and close supervision.

Members of the Concerned and Respected (Respectable?) Ladies (Conreslam) club are doing a good job in helping the authorities to squash the amoeba before it develops into a monstrous hydra. They do this for the love of and care for their husbands and children, and their pride in a pretty city before it becomes a red light district of Sarawak.

Their campaign of awareness must be supported wholeheartedly by the public. As NGO members they can be effective voices of disapproval that the authorities must listen and pay attention to.

The Mayor is determined that his city will not be a sex destination. Well and good. But wishing is one thing and doing something concrete is another. I have no doubt that the city fathers will do their best to keep Miri free of social ills that are associated with some resort cities.

Dear Reader, stop here. NOT all fellows in Miri are naughty; most are decent hard working men and responsible husbands and fathers. So separate the chaff from the grain, will you?

Tourism a double-edged sword

The excuse is that we must have these foreign girls around because of the tourist dollar. Miri wouldn’t attract visitors without ‘health spas’, so-called.

Not true. Miri has other attractions, if only the tourism planners and traders are creative enough. Its hinterland is full of attractions, yet to be promoted to the outside world.

Talk about our own ringgit just for once; those girls take money out more than they bring in. Their investment is their expertise (reflexology or massage); their ‘other services’ are for personal benefit only and I’m sure they don’t pay tax on that! In terms of technology transfer, we do not need a transfer of expertise in this sort of business for SCORE.

The tourist dollar is important to Miri, but not important enough to make the Eastern Capital of Sarawak into a notorious Sin City! We do not have to resort to a product of this nature for the sake of the high income economy by 2020, more so if the income doesn’t come to us anyway.

We can earn money from the flora and fauna, culture, fresh air and green jungle and clean rivers or what is left of these.

Some people in authority take the stand that unless and until these foreign visitors have created trouble by breaking our laws (overstaying for the Immigration Department to deal with, criminal offences for the police to act on, or municipality by-laws for City Hall to handle) there is nothing that the state can do.

They need concrete and solid evidence of wrongdoing before they nab the suspects. True, but in the case of the problem under discussion, the locals must have known about the seriousness of the problem in their own backyard. They have ears to hear and eyes to see; in a small place like Miri almost everybody knows everybody else.

If we can anticipate a problem that affects the health and morality of a community, we do not have to wait for an event to happen before we act. Isn’t prevention better than the cure?

Passing the buck will not work

The Miri City Council would like to pass the buck to the police and vice versa; after that the buck is handed to the Immigration Department, and from there back to the police. The public watches this merry-go-round with amazement. The buck must stop somewhere!

We in Kuching have already split hairs over the responsibility to clean the Tabuan River of foul water and unsightly debris. Mirians must not copy our style to deal with their kind of rubbish and filth.

It is a community problem and as such it needs a community effort to solve. Ultimately, it is the politicians who will get the blame for sweeping the problem under the carpet.

This is an imported problem and we should be able to solve or reduce the size of that problem by tracing its source. One authority to help us would be the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China. I’m sure its Consulate in Sarawak is monitoring the problem in Miri as well as any other town. We have Sarawakians in our own Foreign Ministry; they ought to have been briefed by the local authorities on the problem with the ‘China Dolls’. Anyone who reads the local papers has been informed of it, now it’s time to do something about it.

Failing that, we may have to consult the Obedient Wives Club for better ideas.

Comments can reach the writer via [email protected]

I DON’T know how serious the problem is – allegedly caused by the so-called China Dolls who come to the state on tourist visas but somehow or other masquerade as health workers in local spas and as experts in foot reflexology.
By some estimate, out of 200 of such establishments in Sarawak, 30 are in full operation in the resort city of Miri alone, for quite sometime now. The rest are presumably to be found in Kuching, Sibu and Bintulu.
The men who frequent these places in order to relieve pains and aches of the body and stress after a hard day’s work are the prime targets for services other than the fiddling with aching feet. They say this is a treatment good for blood circulation and the kidneys. A matter of opinion.
But a lot of housewives in Miri are worried about their men being among the clients.
Two years ago, many Kuching wives were complaining about a similar problem in the city; they have either given up the fight or are keeping low for now lest their city gets adverse publicity. That would be sweeping the problem under the mat, though.
Cases of marriage breakups and strained relationships between spouses have been blamed on the visits by husbands to these so-called health centres. It starts with a mere suspicion and perception, perhaps. But perception is more important than reality and can cause misunderstanding leading to something worse. You know what I mean.
Has there been a study to find out the extent of the seriousness of the problem in Sarawak?
Based on suspicion, the problem does not seem to run away by its own volition and therefore must be serious enough to warrant a campaign mounted by many housewives in Miri to close down or cull the number of such outlets.
They suspect that these venues have been converted into dens of vice where members of the oldest profession are likely to ply their trade. The health experts have become sexperts.
So concerned are the respectful ladies in Miri of other professions that they have formed themselves into a group to save Miri from being dubbed the sex city and in the process save wayward husbands for the sake of the marriage and welfare of the children.
By talking and cooperating with the relevant authorities – licensing, law enforcement and immigration, they hope to find ways and means whereby the nefarious activities in these places can be curtailed. Those allowed to carry on in that resort city may have to be subjected to stringent inspection and close supervision.
Members of the Concerned and Respected (Respectable?) Ladies (Conreslam) club are doing a good job in helping the authorities to squash the amoeba before it develops into a monstrous hydra. They do this for the love of and care for their husbands and children, and their pride in a pretty city before it becomes a red light district of Sarawak.
Their campaign of awareness must be supported wholeheartedly by the public. As NGO members they can be effective voices of disapproval that the authorities must listen and pay attention to.
The Mayor is determined that his city will not be a sex destination. Well and good. But wishing is one thing and doing something concrete is another. I have no doubt that the city fathers will do their best to keep Miri free of social ills that are associated with some resort cities.
Dear Reader, stop here. NOT all fellows in Miri are naughty; most are decent hard working men and responsible husbands and fathers. So separate the chaff from the grain, will you?
Tourism a double-edged sword
The excuse is that we must have these foreign girls around because of the tourist dollar. Miri wouldn’t attract visitors without ‘health spas’, so-called.
Not true. Miri has other attractions, if only the tourism planners and traders are creative enough. Its hinterland is full of attractions, yet to be promoted to the outside world.
Talk about our own ringgit just for once; those girls take money out more than they bring in. Their investment is their expertise (reflexology or massage); their ‘other services’ are for personal benefit only and I’m sure they don’t pay tax on that! In terms of technology transfer, we do not need a transfer of expertise in this sort of business for SCORE.
The tourist dollar is important to Miri, but not important enough to make the Eastern Capital of Sarawak into a notorious Sin City! We do not have to resort to a product of this nature for the sake of the high income economy by 2020, more so if the income doesn’t come to us anyway.
We can earn money from the flora and fauna, culture, fresh air and green jungle and clean rivers or what is left of these.
Some people in authority take the stand that unless and until these foreign visitors have created trouble by breaking our laws (overstaying for the Immigration Department to deal with, criminal offences for the police to act on, or municipality by-laws for City Hall to handle) there is nothing that the state can do.
They need concrete and solid evidence of wrongdoing before they nab the suspects. True, but in the case of the problem under discussion, the locals must have known about the seriousness of the problem in their own backyard. They have ears to hear and eyes to see; in a small place like Miri almost everybody knows everybody else.
If we can anticipate a problem that affects the health and morality of a community, we do not have to wait for an event to happen before we act. Isn’t prevention better than the cure?
Passing the buck will not work
The Miri City Council would like to pass the buck to the police and vice versa; after that the buck is handed to the Immigration Department, and from there back to the police. The public watches this merry-go-round with amazement. The buck must stop somewhere!
We in Kuching have already split hairs over the responsibility to clean the Tabuan River of foul water and unsightly debris. Mirians must not copy our style to deal with their kind of rubbish and filth.
It is a community problem and as such it needs a community effort to solve. Ultimately, it is the politicians who will get the blame for sweeping the problem under the carpet.
This is an imported problem and we should be able to solve or reduce the size of that problem by tracing its source. One authority to help us would be the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China. I’m sure its Consulate in Sarawak is monitoring the problem in Miri as well as any other town. We have Sarawakians in our own Foreign Ministry; they ought to have been briefed by the local authorities on the problem with the ‘China Dolls’. Anyone who reads the local papers has been informed of it, now it’s time to do something about it.
Failing that, we may have to consult the Obedient Wives Club for better ideas.
Comments can reach the writer via [email protected]