By LIM MUN FAH
Translated by SOONG PHUI JEE
Sin Chew Daily
A beautiful and caring beauty consultant died after she had failed to open the window grille and trapped in her house on fire. She was suffocated by the thick smoke and a young life is wasted just like that.
Indeed, the fire took her life but indirectly, her death was related to the window grille installed for security purposes.
Why almost all houses in urban or even rural areas are putting on grilles? It is all because of the sense of insecurity. We are in fear of the rising crime rates and since the police has no way to guarantee our safety, we have no choice but to protect ourselves. And one of the ways to do that is to install heavy grilles on all windows and doors and therefore, all houses seem to have been turned into cages.
Although it happened only once in a while, but there were cases in which people died after they were trapped by the locked grilles.
However, what have we done after the tragedy, except for feeling sympathy and regret? Are we suppose to learn a lesson from these tragedies and remove all the grilles?
No, we will forget the tragedies and continue to live in "cages". We do not think that it is dangerous at all. Instead, we feel secured and sleep well only when we are staying in the "cages". We will also forget that tragedies could happen because of the grilles, particularly when there is a fire.
There are many major crimes recently and basically, we are helpless and are worried that we might be the next victims. We are worried of being turned into victims of fake accident robbery and scratch-and-win scams. When major thefts take place in the heavily guarded airport, when housing brokers are murdered, when women are attacked at bustling shopping malls, when four shootings take place in a small area like Segamat in five weeks, only those who lie with open eyes will tell us that our public security is good, even better than neighbouring Singapore!
Under such an environment, under the doubt of whether I'll be the next victim, could you still stay relaxed and not to do something to protect yourself and your family? Therefore, the self-protection mentality out of fear has become part of our daily life. We build fences, as well as install grilles and alarm systems. We also recruit security guards to provide 24-hour patrol services. We even install various anti-theft devices to our cars and explosion-proof car window films.
After you have done everything you can, do you feel safe now?
The beauty consultant lost her life not only because of the fire. Also, her death highlighted not only the lack of fire prevention awareness, but also another strong evidence showing that the law and order in this country is deteriorating. It is now the time for the police, who has the greatest responsibility for public security, to rise!