Sunday, February 1, 2009

It Sucks to be Srilankan

It sucks to be Srilankan, especially here.

Last night, my housemaid was hit by a car while walking to get a taxi. Thank god, it was a relatively low speed colission, and despite some interesting scrapes and bruises, she will be fine. The driver signaled her to go ahead and cross the street, and gunned the engine as she passed in front of him. We think we was likely gesturing to someone inside the car, or to another car, and never actually saw her until he hit her.

The driver who hit her leaned out the window as he pased, and mumbled "are you ok..." but drove away without so much as a further word of concern, let alone an oppology. Nobody managed to get the registration number, but it was a white Midsize Sedan, now likely missing the reflectors on the left front quarter panel.

The ROP felt there was nothing that could be done, (despite the fact that she was hit less than 100 meteres away from ten uniformed officers) Since nobody managed to record the plate number. She was scolded for crossing the street in the way of a car.

What makes this sort of interesting to me, (beyond the fact that it's my housemaid) is that this is the fourth person with whom I am Personally acquainted who has been on the receiving end of a hit and run this year. Here in Oman.

My housemaid was lucky. The others received, a fractured hip, One broken arm, and one had his dog killed, received scrapes and a 1,000 rial vet bill. All were pedestrians on residential roads, not on the highway. In all cases the driver was a young male, who slowed down to look at what he'd done, and then sped away.

Today, My housemaids best friend was coming to visit her, when she was stopped by the ROP. She handed over her totally valid labour card, her passport, and explained that she was going to visit a friend who had been hit by a car.

The ROP Arrested her, and took her to the station, demanding to see her sponsor. The implication being, that a Srilankan housemaid must be up to something bad if she is not physically present at work at noon on a Sunday.

She was doing nothing illegal, other than walking while Srilankan. Her "papers" were in order. She is a portly, matronly, 50 year old woman, and a grandmother to two. She has been working for her sponsor for 20 years, and is, effectively, a part of thier family. She speaks fluent arabic.

She was in the station for the better part of eight hours, and her sponsor had to leave a meeting in Sohar to drive down and meet the ROP personally before we got it sorted out.

Our road deaths and crime rates are shocking, yet evidently, the rop feel that a better use of thier time is to persecute chubby sirilankan grandmothers. Her pointless detention resulted in 10 pages of paperwork, and the waste of at least 20 hours of ROP time. For no reason whatsoever.

Omanis who bitch about being persecuted when traveling in Europe / USA and being subjected to offensive questions by airlines or law enforcement, should be well aware that it happens here too, except here the victims are effectively voiceless.

In like 20 years of living in the states, I knew one person who was the victim of a hit and run. Look for a future post on comparative numbers of crime experiences stateside and Europe VS here.

26 comments:

omanvirtually said...

“Shababiya” a phrase to explain such near death experiences .

Angry In Oman said...

Sub, so sorry that happened. I hope she's feeling alright, physically and emotionally. It can be hard to be a victim of such selfish, cruel and thoughtless behaviour.

Sangeetha Sridhar said...

I too sympathise and wish her complete recovery.

On a another note, I transit between Ghubra and Rusayl for work and have had many panick shocks when people run across the road just based on visual judgement. Even if I'm driving within speed limits, the sudden jamming of the breaks is unwarranted and gives the spine a severe jolt!

Once I saw this man on a lonely drive, just lift his Dishdashah up suddenly, leaving me zapped. Oh, he was only getting ready for his sprint across the high way :-)

TO me, 'Life' is never worth taking such risks.

L_Oman said...

I hope that she is getting better, poor thing!

My hub still talks about their srilankan housekeeper and how she was hit by a car. He saw the whole thing and it really bothers him to this day - she was thrown quite a distance and broke both of her legs.

What a jerk though that hit her. I hope it bothers his conscience forever.

ColOman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ColOman said...

I don't mean to be rude, but what the hell is worng with people you know??? 4 people getting hit by car???????????///

i have not heard of any person I know in the last 15 years, getting hit by a car. Thank God for that.

Take care and don't cross the street buddy

Suburban said...

Coloman,

Perhaps I need to find different friends. Up until this year I only knew one person who had been in a hit and run, so it's possible that it's a statistical anomaly.

Still what sort of asshole hits a pedestrian and doesn't stop to offer assistance?

Anonymous said...

Interesting how you say it sucks tobe Sri lankan in general and then "especially here"... Any particular reason?

Suburban said...

Anon,

Generally: a quarter century of Civil war, (hopefully over now) sagging healthcare and education, recent tsunami, appaling roads and infant mortality rates.


Here, Specifically: Being a second calss citizen, buing subject to police harassment and detainment without a valid reason, employment laws that don't protect migrant workers, and a lower pay scale than thier Indian or Phillipino contemproaries.

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