Public Eye

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 January, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 January, 2009, 12:00am

Brainless bigots don't worry the terrorists

Let's start by bearing this in mind: most people today, especially westerners, visualise terrorists as bearded brown-skinned males in traditional Muslim attire, Muslim women wearing headscarves, and turbaned Sikhs who are often mistaken for Arabs. So, if you were a terrorist out to hijack a plane would you: a) dress, act and talk like a terrorist, b) not dress, act and talk like a terrorist? Stupid question, you say? Then go tell that to AirTran, a US airline which threw out a family of nine passengers, including three children aged two, four, and seven, from a flight on New Year's Day for looking like Muslims. Two teenaged girls on board who overheard some in the family chatting idly about the safest seats on a plane immediately alerted a flight attendant who told the pilot, who took one look at the Muslims and threw them out. The FBI quickly verified the nine were not terrorists but the pilot still banned them. The real terrorists must be laughing their heads off. They know well enough never to wear a beard, turban or Muslim garb when on a hijacking mission in the west. And if a terrorist is going to blow up a plane, what does it matter where the safest seat is? The moral of this story is obvious: there are a lot of brainless bigots out there. And the more there are, the less chance there is of catching the real terrorists.

Racial profiling at the airport

Talking about brainless bigots, it seems like there are also some at Hong Kong International Airport. Public Eye can testify to that as we saw them in action with our own eyes just last week. Customs officials chatted among themselves as arriving passengers streamed through the checkpoint but when they saw a woman who looked either Filipino or Thai they simultaneously stopped her for a baggage search. There's a term for this. It's called racial profiling. Like the real terrorists, the real smugglers must be laughing their heads off. They know never to use young Asian women as couriers. Public Eye challenges the Customs and Excise Department to publicise how many real crooks they have nabbed from their stereotyping.

An idiot's guide to running a hospital

Forget about the bigot part, just think 'brainless' in the case of those who wrote an investigation report into why and how a heart patient died at the doorstep of the Caritas Medical Centre. Did Public Eye say 'investigation' report? We take it back. There was nothing investigative about it. The investigators told us what we already knew: the dying man had been rushed to a non-clinical part of the hospital by his distraught son. And once there, hospital staff didn't treat the case urgently. The investigators didn't tell us what we didn't know but wanted to know. Maybe it's because they ware all Caritas officials investigating themselves. But here's the brainless part. They suggested that in future all hospital staff should 'render reasonable assistance' to anyone requiring emergency treatment. Huh? Isn't that what hospital staff are supposed to do? The investigators suggested putting in place a system to provide emergency help to anyone in the hospital's vicinity. Again, huh? Isn't that what hospitals should do anyway? The investigators want better road signs to the hospital's seven buildings? Huh, huh, and another huh? Isn't that a basic requirement anyway? After reading the report, Public Eye has reached this conclusion: it's not an investigation report, after all. It's an idiot's guide to running a hospital.

On a fast track to obesity

Is Public Eye allowed to be politically incorrect? Yes? OK, then, how many fat people are out there? Lots, you say, and getting fatter? We ask because a growing number of cities in the US now require fast-food chains to post nutritional facts of their food items alongside their menus. Good idea, since the 'land of the brave and free' is fast becoming the 'land of the obese'. How about pressing our own fast-food chains to do it, too? Yes, you say?