Friday, February 19, 2010

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother...

A few nights ago, I had a conversation with someone that he noted I addressed the late A. Kugan as Adik Kugan. A brother to another sister is also my brother, I said in my heart.

He said Adik Kugan made a living through not-good activities – he’s a thug, a debt collector. I wonder if he’s a collector for the approved Financial Institutions in this Ibu Pertiwi or some Ah Longs because if he’s with the latter, then he’s definitely with the bad guys. Still, even Ah Longs are on friendly terms with you-know-what/who. So, both ways, he is a victim of our institutions – who hired his service to collect debts – and his blood is in the hands of those institutions too!

Today, the private clinic doctor told the court that the symptoms showed Adik Kugan was critically ill prior to his death in January last year – his body found sitting up against the wall with his eyes and mouth opened.

The quest for Adik Kugan’s justice is also my personal quest. Here’s my story.

Two weeks before Hari Raya Haji last year, my baby brother was remanded for 5 days – without us knowing. Super independent as always, he decided not to worry my parents about his predicament because he knows he is not on the wrong side of the line. We only got to know about it after my dad received a beige-coloured postal notification from POS Malaysia, with a note “Saman JPJ”, addressed to Adik (that’s what I called him). Kaypochi, I asked him what was that about when I handed the notice. His facial expression changed distinctively because we were just laughing when I told how vain he is asking me whether he had dark circles under his eyes. After much persuasion, he told us about his predicament. No wonder!

Adik has his hand in a JV to operate Starmart Coach that ply the KL-SG route on top of his networking scheme here (Alliey is Man Kidal's son). He never had tertiary education from any colleges because he is being taught by better institution – that is School of Hard Knock - by choice.

"The difference between school and life? In school, you're taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you're given a test that teaches you a lesson"

~ Tom Bodett

For that, he is even brighter and better in many ways than those graduates our IPTA and IPTS produce (kalau cerita lebih, nanti orang kata riak pula). We are very proud of him for his aspirations in life and for all the hard works he has put in all this while. Even at his tender age of 23, he hired people for his JV, ensuring everyone brings back at least RM1.5K a month and re-hiring those breadwinners, who had been fired by other bus companies – on disciplinary ground, etc. For that, I love my Adik so much, not only for being a good son he has been to my parents (the most understanding and foresighted son my parents have) and a caring and considerate baby brother to me (the one that would fetch me from Puduraya in the wee hour every other Saturday during my stint in The Little Red Dot, which I only paid back in kind by asking him “Adik nak makan apa? Akak masak OK?”). Yes, my baby brother rules.

"Intelligence appears to be the thing that enables a man to get along without education. Education enables a man to get along without the use of his intelligence" ~ Albert Edward Wiggam

So, in Puduraya, he’s well known, amongst those familiar there (everybody knows his name) and he’s amongst the few that would stand up for others (like when the employer quietly deducted salary of their staffs for no solid reasons during high fuel price some time back, even when the employees were asked to work long hours, without mercy). He shows me that most ‘ulats’ – negatively labelled by us – are the best salesmen if you need to hire one. Some, like him, dress casually smart. Some, like him, speak good English. Some, like him, are the best ambassador and negotiator this Ibu Pertiwi could have. However, due to their gung-ho selling strategies, some bus companies see them as the ones that would bring them down – financially. Some called up you-know-who/what and rounded up these ‘ulats’. Some spent nights in lock-up. All had to fork thousands to be bailed out. Sometimes, I think all this nonsense ‘rounding up’ makes Ah Longs more prevalent as no Financial Institutions would lend these people money in difficult times like this except the Ah Longs. How cruel we could be?

On that fateful evening, JPJ had stationed its posh-looking vehicles and personnel around Puduraya. Adik and his people heard people in Puduraya ‘boo-ing’ those JPJ personnel. As told by my ‘pilot’, “ini orang tak boleh tengok orang senang, dia boleh park kereta atas jalan saya, kita mau ambik passenger pun tak boleh sebab nanti kena saman. Itu Puduraya bukan tempat tunggu bas ke? Bodoh punya orang!”.

Adik didn’t know anything what had actually happen because as usual, they are busy people. Things turned for worse when they saw a group of you-know-who/what got up the stairs of Puduraya, rounded about 10 of them, handcuffed them, including Adik, and shoved them into their Black Maria – without a word uttered, explaining why they were treated as such!

Adik, optimistic as always, thinks he would be released soon after giving statement at you-know-that-place. Well, Adik and his friends in Puduraya how this you-know-what/who works – they ‘tangkap, tanda dan lepas’. However, he was shocked after being told that a complaint had been lodged by someone that he had obstructed the duties of you-know-what/who. Blimey! When he asked who was that, no answer was given. I asked him, “Weren’t you supposed to get to make one call after being arrested?”. He did call his friend, asking his friend the whereabouts of his car and keys, his cash (Puduraya is cash-rich I tell you) and things to do. He told his friend not to contact us. I was so mad being told that by him because if anything to him like what happened to Adik Kugan, I won’t forgive myself forever!

So, he slept in the you-know-where and woke up to his name, along with his other friends, being called. They were jubilated. They thought they are going to be released. Shoe-less, in shorts and tees, they lined up in front of the you-know-what. Yes, now, they are being remanded for 5 days. A joyous start of the day seemed a false alarm to them. So, “what did you do in there? Did they treat you right? How’s the food? Are they palatable?”, I asked. Adik said he only ate a piece of bread and a sip of water for the next 5 days because foods served were so bad, they could make you sick!

So, they asked why they were being investigated about. An IO, a friend of his, told him that he can’t do much because someone from you-can-guess-which is really pissed with the unfriendly ‘boo-ing’ his kuncu received that evening or he would get into trouble. On the day he was released on bail, of course (Adik spent thousands of his hard-earned moneys), they said they would be informed to attend a court hearing for a charge under Section 186 of Penal Code, that carries a penal of up to 2 years jails or a maximum fine of RM10K, or both upon conviction.

I cannot put it in words how wrecked my heart is (as always, we don’t tell everything to our parents because they would worry more than their physical and emotional beings could handle). This is utter injustice.

I told Adik to go to Bar Council’s Biro Bantuan Guaman to seek some legal assistance. Of course, he is not eligible to get any assistance based on what car he drives. So, by word of mouth, he engages a lawyer, who handles this kind of charges. This alone costs him a lot of thousands of his hard-earned moneys. End of last month, he appeared in front of the court but was later told, that they would postpone the case to a date, to be determined, in October. As of now, he is yet to procure a copy of the report, never knew who the complainant was and worried that it is a set-up. In between now and then, anyone could alter the report and making it more grievous. I told him that I hope they would drop the charges by then.

The lawyer Adik sought informed him that such Section 186 of Penal Code has been widely abused by you-know-who/what after Hindraf and Bersih rallies. He also said that it is no point turning for help from Biro Bantuan Guaman because it is handled by freshies and most of the time, it takes ages for them to be contacted by the said bureau. Too many times, the 'bantuan' comes too late.

On that point, I asked a law practitioner if we have a list of panel lawyers according to their specialities. Unfortunately, there is none. I think we ought to have one because if I don’t trust lawyers that fail to work within the framework of conscience and deserved justice, what happen if people who go to lawyers and get screwed up? Would Bar Council be penalised for allowing such lawyers to practise?

As much as I worry about Adik, I wonder what happened to those who have to suffer from this injustice. Adik is still single. How about those who are married with a wife and kids at home? How about those who haven’t had enough even to feed his family?

Uncle Zorro posted a heartbreaking post on the state of prisonship here and what Raja Azman, the son of Uncle Pete, had to go through simply because he is Uncle Pete’s son. Like I always say, if this could happen to someone who is related to someone famous, how about others who have none? It could be worst!

Any brother to a sister is my brother. I write with tears streaming down my cheeks for injustice that has befallen my brothers.

Adik didn’t do anything wrong. For what he has gone through, I am thankful that he is alive and is as his normal self. Well, what do you expect – he’s my baby brother!

Adik Kugan may have caused discomfort to some high-class people but he did it for a living – a life thrown at him with so many inadequacies – thanks to us. That’s the price we pay for having crooked minds and hearts up there.

Adik Kugan maybe bad in the eyes of those people but may we always remember that he is a human being, a son to parents, a brother to sisters and brothers – just like us.

I shared The Hollies with Uncle Zorro earlier. I guess that song, "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" would be a suitable for this post about Adik and my brothers out there.

1 comment:

walla said...

All about feudalism and patronage, that's Malaysia for you.

Just make the change in GE13 and end the horror story.