Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Immigration Offender

The Immigrations Offender

The small town people of Aloh avoided Pearl's family like avoiding the plague. They alleged that Pearl and Jake were so unscrupulous they would swindle anyone who had the bad luck to come in their path. They cheated customers, defrauded suppliers. They broke their promises to their investors high returns in the little grocery store.

Their family stood by them refusing to believe all the allegation and gossips. It was until Pearl cheated her uncle and her first cousins. Then they believed the rumors and decided that was it and have nothing to do with this black sheep in the family. Pearl had purportedly ripped off her own uncle.

"Her father's own brother, Tsk! Tsk! Tsk!" Everyone said disapprovingly.

"Lock, stock, and barrel." Pearl told her uncle. "Everything in this store is yours."

"You are getting the best bargain for my mini market. Others have offered a much higher price, but since you are my uncle, I am offering it at a basement discounted price." She gave her uncle and aunt a brief tour of the store.

Despite being warned by friends and relatives about this wolf in sheep's clothing, the nave uncle was tempted by the rock bottom price.

"After all, would a niece cheat her uncle?" Her uncle assured his wife.

As soon as the deal was signed, Pearl and her husband Jake absconded. People suspected they were hiding in a very remote part of the country. It was so inaccessible that creditors didn't bother to go after her.

Her creditors came round to the store and insisted that the new owner paid Pearl's debts. Despite the uncle's protests that he was the new proprietor and he was not responsible for Pearl's debts, the creditor controllers of his suppliers threatened that they would not supply any stock until he cleared Pearl's debts. To make things worst, the stock on the shelves did not tally with the books. Pearl had inflated the quantity of the stock by forty per cent. On close examination, a lot of the cans and boxes were reaching expiry date. Pearl had been buying from shoddy sales representatives stock that was almost expiring at a cheaper rate.

After their flight to Chaltem, they took a bus to Kanza town . Kanza town was almost as remote as Timbuctoo, Pearl survived on their swindled money. Life in Kanza was like going back in a time machine set forty years back in time. There was no electricity and tap water. Pearl didn't like her plight, but she knew she couldn't go back. She befriended women who came to do her laundry and cooking and house keeping for a token. These women were happy to come to listen to her radio, and cassette tapes and drink her instant coffee.

A leopard doesn't change its spot. Pearl was bored in this one horse town. She persuaded her husband that it was safe to go to the town.

"Nobody would recognize us."

They wore big sun glasses, and Pearl's husband Jake stuck a false mustache, they took the rickety bus to the nearest town. At the shanty pub, she met a man who seemed flashed with money. Jake treated him a local beer and asked what the news was in the big town.

"My name is Angus McFarlane, and I am a consultant for a very rich country Sirdindia." Angus handed Jake his business card.

"What kind of consultancy are you involved in?"

"All sorts, business migration and labor recruitment teams."

"What do you need for business migration?" asked Pearl.

"You will need half a million dollars out front and you need to deposit the money in the country. Then you have to operate a business in Sirdindia."

"I don't have half a million dollars, what about labor recruitment?"

"For ten thousand dollars per head, I will arrange for you to enter Sirdindia to work. It is very lucrative working there. In five months, you can earn double your investment."

"Wow! That's a good deal. Let me go home and get the twenty thousand dollars."

Jake and Pearl went home, and took out all the money they had swindled and arranged to meet with Angus. Angus drew him a map of Uranga district of Sirdindia they were to go.

"Remember, when you arrive at the immigrations, you tell the officers that you were touring the country. Make sure you have one thousand dollars and your credit cards when you arrive so that the officer would not suspect you were going to work."

Jake and Pearl went by bus and took the plane from a neighboring country, Chaltem.

At Sirdindia, the immigrations questioned them because they didn't know the language and didn't seem to be tourists, but there was no reason to stop them from entering the country.

"My friends say that Sirdindia is a very beautiful country."

"Why are you visiting in winter?"

"We come from a tropical country, and I want to see snow." lied Pearl by the skin of her teeth.

Once out of the airport, Pearl and Jake took a city bus and went to the downtown bus terminal. There they boarded a bus to the small town of Condor in Uranga. The foreman met them at the bus terminal and drove them to the orchard.

"You are not to leave the orchard until your three months is up."

"I thought we were going to work for five months."

"Sorry mate, you are in the country on a social visit pass, you can stay only three months and you are not supposed to work, so you make yourself very "small" when you are here."

"The bloody Angus, he lied and cheated us."

Pearl was assigned to work one shift in the orchard and to cook for fifty men and do the dishes for all the three meals. Jake had to work two shifts and do the maintenance of the equipment. Earning the promised money was not easy. Work was arduous, Pearl and Jake had never worked so hard before. But it was too late, they had to work otherwise Angus had reminded them that their twenty thousand dollars would be forfeited.

Pearl lamented that her fingers were getting callous from doing all those dishes. Jake said he was in no better condition than her. They said living in boring Kanza was heavenly compared to their situation then in Uranga.

When their three months were up, they vowed they would never be back to this hell hole. They took their plane to Chaltem country, boarded a bus and arrived at Kanza. There in Kanza, they lied to the people what a fantastic holiday they had in Sirdindia. The women were happy again to come to work for Pearl.

Six months later, they saw Angus again in the pub.

"I have been looking for you!" shouted Jake.

"I have been looking for you too!" echoed Angus.

"Thanks very much for sending us to a hell hole. You bugger!"

"But you earned a lot of money, didn't you? And did I ever promise you that Sirdindia's roads were paved in gold?"

"Oh forget it, what are you looking for us for?"

"I have a better business proposition?" said Angus.

"It better be good."

"Jake, you don't have to go this time, you just have to find ten women to go with Pearl,"

"What do I get in return?" asked Pearl.

"For each woman, you get five thousand dollars, and Pearl doesn't need to pay her ten thousand dollars."

It took quite a while to convince ten peasant women's husbands to let their wives to go with Pearl to Sirdindia and for them to find ten thousand dollars. Many had to borrow from friends and relatives. Jake promised them that it was very safe and they would be away for only four months, and when they came back, would be rich. Eventually, after all the formalities were done and passports issued, they were ready to go.

The peasant women whom Pearl felt embarrassed to be with were behaving like country bumpkins.

"You gals don't do the talking, I know the language, and I talk." Pearl was very proud to have picked up smithereens of the Sirdindia language from the three months she was there before talking to the other workers.

They were a bunch of nervous looking women when they arrived at the immigrations, they were interviewed one by one. Pearl was interviewed first.

"What are you coming here for?"


"We suspect you are here to work."

"No! no work, holiday."

"Were you here in Sirdindia before?"


"What were you doing then?"


"Did you work?"


"No? You are lying, we have in records in our IRD. IRD means Inland Revenue Department. You see, any one who works in Sirdindia has records in our IRD."

"What's going to happen to me now?"

"We will deport you on the very next flight back to Chalthem."

"Those ten women, are they with you?"

"No! I don't know them."

"You are lying again, they all said you asked them to come with you, and they have the same address that you were going to."

"They wanted to come themselves."

"You are lucky we stopped you, vulnerable women like you have been sold into prostitution."

"Oh Bloody Angus."

"Did you say Angus McFarlane?"

"Yes, Angus McFarlane!"

"He's been arrested for being in a syndicate for bringing illegal workers to Sirdindia."

But the time, the immigrations officer had finished with Pearl and her band of ten women, they had been in the airport for six hours.

"I am sorry there is no flight for you to be repatriated back to your country. You have to wait for three days. I am sorry there is no room in the airport for you. We have to send you to the Nukau police station. They will lock you up in the holding room so that you don't escape."

Pearl and her ten friends were hand cuffed and driven in a paddywagon to the Nakau Police Station. They spent three days in a police station holding cell together with prostitutes, druggies and thieves.

When they got back to Kanza, before Pearl and Jake could pack up and abscond again, the whole village torched their little hut and warned them, "Don't you set foot again in our village and abuse our hospitality."

Pearl and Jake did not learn their life lessons. They tried again to enter Australia without the right documents with the intention to work. They were stopped at the immigrations because Sirdindia had an agreement with Australia to share information of illegal aliens. They were jailed two years. In jail, they reflected on their actions, and thought of the life lessons they had to learn in a hard way.

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