Archive for the ‘Personal Safety Management’ Category

You Have To Love This…

We all love to read about uppity young punks who get their come-uppance, ideally from a retired soldier or self defence expert. Well here the hero is both a former soldier and a one-time boxing champ. The young bloke broke into this man’s home, attacked him with a bladed weapon and was sorted out for his trouble. Not in any Hollywood fashion, all slick, choreographed action but a more realistic fight for his life kind of struggle.

Fortunately the 72 year old triumphed, the punk is off to make new friends in the local prison and all is once again well in the world. But what if the punk had scored with his slash? What if the old guy had a heart attack, even after the police dragged the dross down the driveway? Have no pity for the scumbag, drunk, drugged or whatever. Think beyond what happened and imagine how very easily it could have gone, and almost did go, horribly wrong. That’s when we read one of those tragic waste of life stories.

No Risk, No Reward

If you play with fire you are bound to be burned sooner or later. These three teenagers performing a stunt where they ride their bikes through burning cardboard were doing this for the first time. The organisers have set this stunt up many times before without incident, apparently; but this time it went ‘horribly wrong’. Given the ingredients of fire and teenage kids, how else could it go if it goes wrong other than ‘horribly’?

Should we now call to ban all such events? Stop teenagers doing anything remotely risky? Or perhaps ensure those responsible for the safety and setting up of these things double and triple check them first? Even then, f there is no risk of it all going ‘horribly wrong’, where is the thrill? The danger? The reason for doing it in the first place?

Life is not risk free, even today. Humans have only ever moved forward after taking risks, daring mightily and pushing the envelope. Along the way there are casualties but so long as we learn from our mistakes and keep trying to do better, then their sacrifice was never in vein. If we aren’t prepared to take risks then we can’t expect anything to happen… good or bad and that can’t be good for mankind.

Regain Your Online Life, Identity & Reputation!

Cyber Bullying and Stalking GuideAt last it is available! This has to be the single most important event in the fight against online bullying and cyber stalking since the invention of the Internet. Simple to understand yet very comprehensive. East to implement the safety steps and recover your reputation as well as your identity and to know when a cyber stalker just might turn really nasty. I couldn’t put it down!

This is more than just an eBook, it is your life given back to you. If you have ever beent he victim of a troll or cyber stalker as I have, this book will give you hope and help you regain your life. As well, if you need one-on-one help, you become by purchasing this book, a member of the group and have access to all sorts of additional value services and a lot more. As you can tell, I love it… but then I helped edit and produce it and for me what I learned as I did that was worth every minute of the time I invested.

Singapore Slings And Arrows

Singapore is a very safe place for anyone to visit but it is not without risk, nowhere is. I was exploring the Geylang area which, it turns out, has more than old world charm going for it. It turned out to be a red light area, but only off the main street. Here women lined the footpath to be ogled by dozens of men, all Indian, mostly holding hands in friendly pairs. As I turned to return to the main street my instincts were proven correct when a soft drink can just brushed my hair. A milimetre or two closer and it would have hit me. I scanned the dozen or so faces of the men surrounding me but they were impassive, yet hostile. Obviously they resented a European on their street. In the next street it w nearly all Chinese men watching the handful of women dutifully lined up and on parade.

As I made it back to the relative safety of the hustle and bustle of the main street I wondered how many men each must see every night. These were the second and third tier of prostitutes apparently. The younger ones no doubt working more upscale venues. I could clearly see, especially with the Sri Lankan women, they were not happy with hat they had to do. The Thai and Chinese, Vietnamese women seemed to be there voluntarily but the looks on the Indian/Sri Lankan/Bangladeshi women told a different story altogether.

Wherever there is alcohol there is a chance of trouble brewing. Throw in women and the risk increases. In this case it is prostitution rather than girls at a disco but the formula is the same. Men + Alcohol + Women = Trouble. There were places in Kuala Lumpur I had read about that were great places to go in the daylight and shop, but at night they were low rent red light areas, known for pimps and prostitutes ganging up on clients and even likely victims just passing through. Spiked drinks, violent robberies and bashings are to be avoided at all costs. If you have the back up and the curiosity, by all means take a trip there but be prepared, travel light without your valuables and just enough cash spread around you to get you through the night. As I was on my own and not in the market for female company I felt the best thing was to make sure I left the area well before dark, hanging out close to my hotel where there was more than enough local colour to keep me interested.

Coming back from the Skybar where I had spent an enjoyable hour or so taking in the view of the Petronas Twin Towers by night, I spied a gang of local youths charge across the road and towards a single, male European. He was outnumbered about ten to one and the only other people around were older locals, none of whom I think would come to his aid if need be. The crowd mock charged him, stopping short about two metres from the man. He faked a counterattack and as they hesitated he turned and legged it. I told the cabbie to slow down and slid open the door to the 7 seater mini van and called to the man to get in. Either he wasn’t paying attention or didn’t grasp the seriousness of his predicament but he just looked at me then ran past the cab. At this point the mob were closing in so I slammed shut the door and locked it and the driver hit the gas. I have no idea what happened next as we soon rounded a bend and they were lost to our sight. I gave him a chance and he failed to take it. I wasn’t going back for him and putting my life at risk in a fight I didn’t have a dog in.

Overll both Singapore and Kuala Lumpur are safe cities but of course, if you go looking for trouble, it will find you. As we used to say in the Military Police, it is all about  the Three Ps; Prisoners, prostitutes and property! Also known as Cash, Bash and Gash!

Practising What I Preach

Singapore 1969, On Guard with my slouch hat and trusty SMLE .303 MkIII*

I’m off to Singapore and Malaysia on Friday, flying the new budget airline ScootAir. I will be away for less than two weeks but lots can happen in that time. When I first booked my flight I went for the economy seat with the extra leg room and took the last seat at the back. It has a space between it and the aisle seat and as the tail survives more often in crashes than the nose, I figured I could quickly escape providing I was still ambulatory. Then reality sank in and quite frankly eight hours in a seat precisely as wide as my butt did not appeal. I upgraded to ScootBiz and now I’m at the sharp end. Weighing the odds I am confident of getting there and back safely. New Boeing 777 aircraft and Singapore Airlines maintenance schedules all add to the equation. In fact, I am at more risk getting to and from Sydney Airport!

Once in Singapore I will be staying at a small hotel across the street from where I lived as a boy in 1969 and 1970. In those days the hotel was a row of shop houses with a ‘makan’ or restaurant on the corner and a mechanic next door. The intersection is where I was hit by a car one evening when a local drove through the red light and sent me flying over his bonnet. The forecourt of my old apartment building is also filled with memories. I was bitten by a dog, had my collar bone broken by a kid showing off his judo skills and my nose broken by a flying cricket bat during a game of Rounders. The field the giant python slithered out of is now housing and the street where my sister was nearly dragged into a car now seems so much narrower. I know this because of the magic of Google Maps and their street view camera. It has allowed me to recce my trip in infinite detail. I am keen to ensure this trip to Singapore, my first in 42 years, will be less accident prone.

Singapore isn’t the real concern though. Malaysia is a different story and as I will be taking a coach form Johor Bahru to Kuala Lumpur, there is mild cause for concern. More concerning will be driving the rental car I will use to recce Muar, Gemas and other WW2 and Malayan Emergency battlefields. To avoid the notorious KL traffic I will rent from the international airport, a swift 25 minute train ride out of the city center where I will be staying. It will be much simpler and less stressful to get off the train, pick up the car and drive out onto the motorway and head off in multi-lane safety. YouTube is full of video clips demonstrating the road behaviour in the country, again a 21st Century tool being used to full advantage to prepare and plan this trip.

The Internet has helped me locate all the main sites I wish to visit, as well as determine to the minute the bus and train timetables,  comparing them to what it would cost to take a taxi. I know what the fares should be, the buses to catch, where to transfer and so on. Is this taking anything away from the joy of travel? The adventure of the unknown? Not for me. I have ten days to accomplish a ton of stuff. I want to collect information for various papers and essays on the conflicts of the 40s and 50s, experience a little W. Somerset Maugham like magic and also relive my halcyon days as a schoolboy in the immediate post-colonial days after Singapore became an independent nation. And eat satays. In fact the risk of my gout flaring up thanks to inhuman quantities of satays and peanut sauce is a concern.

My health is not what it was prior to my death in 2009. Despite serious attempts my weigh is still an issue and now I am diabetic with gout and cellulitis in the left leg. None of which will stop me doing what I wish but it does give me reason to plan ahead, to throw caution in rather than to the winds. This trip has objectives I wish to achieve and as I was taught in the army decades ago, always keep the objective in mind. The first objective is to return home safely and healthy. I will be wary of strangers, especially overly friendly ones and I plan to stay away form known red light areas. I have no interest in fleshspots any more and they are a magnet for criminals and trouble. Like avoiding shark attack, just don’t swim where the sharks are.

I will be careful crossing the street, choosing modes of transport and the security of my belongings. I will double check my luggage to make sure I am not carrying anything that will get me into trouble. Drugs means death in these countries and you must guard against anyone slipping anything into your bags; it happens. Alcohol is also a trigger for unwanted consequences so I will be careful where I enjoy my Singapore Sling (Raffles Hotel is the only place!). Food is another issue, but common sense will keep me away from salads, unbottled water and of course ice if it is not from a decent establishment. Fortunately hygiene standards are high in these two well developed South East Asian nations but you still need to take care.

I will buy my toiletries when I arrive as regulations against carrying even a large but half empty toothpaste tube are strict, let alone liquids or aerosols. Better to nip into the nearest 7/11 when I get there than worry about arguing with an airport security officer over a few dollars worth of deoderant. I have prescription medication so I will take the prescriptions, just in case I am questioned about them. Money is another issue and fortunately ATMs are everywhere nowadays. I plan to have some cash but keep the rest in my VISA Debit card. I bought one online from Australia Post I can charge online if need be and if it is stolen then they won’t have access to much, plus I will have a backup stored somewhere else. Online security is another issue as all hotels have free WiFi, but you never know who might be monitoring the signal so I have precautions in place to manage the risk. In the evenings I will roll down the sleeves and protect against mosquitoes and generally be aware of infection from cuts and so forth, carrying a small first aid kit in my day pack.

So is this paranoia or simply common sense? I think the latter and because I am prepared, have done my homework and have a good but not overly rigid plan to follow the trip should be a great success. Time will tell.

Not My Brand Of Honour

Shafilea Ahmad, rest in peace young lady.

A man in a rural part of India has beheaded his daughter with a sword because she brought shame on him and his ‘honour’. The marble miner, Oghad Singh, sat in the police station with the sword in one hand and his daughter’s head in the other. Even the police were sickened by this macabre sight.

Meanwhile in the UK the parents of murdered 17 year old Shafilea Ahmad have gone on trial for killing their daughter for being ‘too westernised’. The Pakistani born parents allegedly murdered their UK born daughter because she wanted to be like all her friends in a country she never asked to be born into, but that her parents went to some effort to move to and live in.

No doubt they fared better living in the UK than if they had remained in Pakistan and yet they repaid their adopted country by murdering one of her citizens. She was their daughter but what right did that give them to take her life? Offended their ‘honour’ by assimilating and wanting to be like everyone else in the community? What kind of ‘honour’ is that? Not the kind I value and neither do other decent people in the UK, Australia and even Pakistan and India.

What goes through these people’s heads? How can you take the life of your own children for any reason other than self defence in the heat of the moment? Brutal, premeditated murder is evil at any time but to do it to your own children and for the spurious excuse of them having offended your honour, beggars belief.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking everyone from these countries thinks the same way, though many do. Judge each person individually, not collectively and try and give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

Honeybee Leadership

On Wednesday night a leader and mentor of mine, Dr Greg Nazvanov, invited me to speak at the Honeybee Leadership Dinner at the Apprentice Restaurant in Ultimo. The assembly of some 100 or so business people and academics were treated to a presentation about Honeybee Leadership from Dr Harry Bergstein of the Macquarie Graduate School of Management and the Institute for Sustainable Leadership. I spoke about my death in 2009 and the leadership shown by the surgical and nursing teams of St Vincent’s Hospital, as well as how that led to my becoming a full time writer, doing what I love for a living.

Dr Greg Nazvanov is a leading financial adviser here in Sydney and someone worth listening to when he has something to say. In fact, all the people I met at this high powered event, organised by Greg, were worth listening to. He included a representative from the Army Reserve to educate employers as to how fortunate they really are to have Reservists working for them. Apart from the $1200 a week the Army Reserve pays the employer while their employee is away serving their country and developing priceless leadership skills, there are the skills themselves they bring back to the workplace. Sgt Amanda, I forget her surname and I do apologize, made a very definite impact on this audience and I am confident many went away keen to hire a Reservist for their next vacancy! I served in the Ares in 1977 aged 15 (lied about my age) and again when I left the Regular Army in 1985 and I have to say they are every bit as good as the regulars and I would have one beside me in business or battle any day.

We also heard from Mario Frapiccini who is a personal trainer and had recently returned from trekking in Nepal. He looked so fit I reckon he ran back from Kathmandu! Then Tony Morris took the floor and he engaged the audience with his craft, that of interpreting body language. All in all it was a terrific event and a great opportunity to network. I have met some top people through it and am already teeing up more work and making some great connections.

As for honeybee leadership, suffice to say I am a convert. Visit the web site and read up on the concept. It is how it should be here in Australia. One day, perhaps it will be.

What Do You Do When They Die?

A recent report from the UK of a man taking his dead mum home on a 50km bus trip has made me think about what to do when someone dies. I have a cousin who is handicapped after suffering viral meningitis as a boy. Until recently he lived with my aunty, now 92 and in a home. He is 64. I can imagine him just wanting to get her home and then asking for help from the neighbours. He would be confused and very defensive… who wouldn’t?

Death has no timetable or appointment schedule. when it comes, it comes. Do you know what to do if a loved one passes away? Who do you call? What do you do first? As a former Military Policeman my first thought is to protect the scene as it may be a crime scene. In the case of an elderly relative passing away peacefully in their sleep this is not an issue but what if you were to come across them lying on the floor in a pool of blood?

First you check for vital signs and give first aid but if they are not responding, consider you may be standing in a crime scene. Forget the CSI TV hype, real forensic scenes of crime investigators don’t carry on like on TV, nor do they have the time to. Try not to spoil the scene or move too many things. Obviously giving first aid will change things but it will be clear to the SOCE officer that you did what you tell them you did, the evidence will support your story.

Once all that is in hand, police and ambulance called and so on, then what? Do you know what to do next? Are you an executor of the estate? Start thinking now about the unthinkable. What if it was a child or spouse of yours? What if it were you, would your loved ones know what to do?

A bookcase that becomes a coffin, I want one!

Two Way ‘Mirror’ Test

I was sent this by a colleague and I have to say it might just save someone’s life one day. We have all seen those TV cop shows where the prisoner is interrogated behind a two way mirror, or is that a one way piece of glass? I can never be sure but you know what I mean. You can see in the room but the prisoner can’t see out.

Genuine Mirror

Two Way Mirror

Well it seems that there are cases (mostly in the USA, where else!) of perverts fitting two way mirrors in the rest rooms of gas stations and even their private homes. You go in and do your business,but not in private as the sicko is watching, or filming, through the two way mirror. So how can you tell if it is a real one way mirror or a two way? Simple (aren’t most things?) Put your finger against the glass and if the mirror image touches with no gap between them, it is a real mirror.If there is a gap, then it is a two way mirror. The gap equates to the thickness of the glass. Go on, try it. I know you are dieing to. Just remember, next time you go into a public restroom, to the test and say to yourself, “No space? Leave the Place!”

Ignorance Isn’t Bliss, It’s An iPod

A victim of a vicious sexual assault, just 100m from her St Kilda home, warns women not to walk around listening to your iPod. She was attacked as she walked home from the station, iPod ear pieces in place and listening to her favourite songs. Fortunately a passing motorist disturbed the attacker.

I have seen this behaviour in women for years. Before iPods it was a Sony Walkman blaring away and before that, girls reading books, even while walking the street! They have absolutely zero idea of what is happening around them. Their environmental awareness is non-existant and they are prime targets for predators.

Forget the iPod, ladies. Look alert and look around you. Take note of who is near you and how they are behaving. Most criminals can be spotted long before they strike, if you are looking for the signs. Shifty, unnatural behaviour stands out. Incongruities are obvious, like wearing raincoats or other heavy clothing on warm days, what are they hiding under the coat? Loitering in a car park when everyone else is walking either to or from a car. Hanging around with no apparent purpose… why?

Attitude plus awareness equals avoidance and trouble is best handled by being avoided than having to actually manage a problem.

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