Terror And The Hole In Our Mindset

By | June 8, 2005

It’s amazing how hard it is to let go of a security mindset when you’ve been living in a place where bombs are (of late) a fact of life. In Hong Kong these things don’t seem to matter so much, so when I was standing at the ATM machine in a subway station today it was only me who was mildly freaked out by a sizeable cardbox box unattended nearby.

By the time I had got to the head of the line it was a good five minutes, still no sign of anyone claiming it, or even caring about it. So I called the security guys over an intercom in the wall, and, to their credit, they sent someone down. But I don’t think they get many calls like this. The security guy, friendly but not in the prime of life, was just about to lift it up — and I about to stop him — when he had second thoughts and walkie-talkied for back-up first. I didn’t want to make him nervous by hanging around to see how he finished his job, but I’m not convinced they called in the sniffer dogs.

Some places are more aware of this kind of thing than others. Australians seems to, so do Europeans and Americans. Japan, too, I guess. And most of Southeast Asia. But Hong Kong doesn’t seem to consider itself a target, which I suppose will remain true until something happens.

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