Oh, who would be a security guard?

18 11 2009

A security guard is usually a privately and formally employed person who is paid to protect property, assets or people.

Have you noticed how security guards seem to have suddenly proliferated all around Colombo? Wherever one goes – the restaurant, the nightclub, the corporate office or eco-resort – there they will be, ubiquitous as bajaj, standing around in little groups of three until you show up, all wearing those badly tailored mud-brown uniforms with fake badges and fake military caps…whining, intimidating and entirely irritating.

The average security guard has, like Pooh, Very Little Brain. He will manifest himself inappropriately, appearing suddenly in your rear view mirror standing directly behind and as close as possible to your car as you are reverse parking neatly into a space you have found after much blood, sweat and tears. Having made this maneuver as difficult as possible by constantly getting in the way, he will then wait till you have climbed out in the rain to tell you firmly that you have to move the car somewhere else at once.

He also has a habit of looming up out of the dark in empty car-parks at night, minus his badly tailored mud-brown uniform and fake military cap, looking instead like a small serial killer and frightening you half to death until you realize he’s just doing overtime annoyance duty in civvies.

Security guard recruitment apparently doesn’t have very strict regulations regarding size or strength since a high percentage seems to be below average height and size. They can also be found in an aged and feeble model. Either way, one cannot imagine anyone who was planning a burglary or murder (or even a disorderly parking activity) to take the security guard factor very seriously. Indeed the temptation to laugh in the security guard’s face and walk away quickly as he froths about your car needing to be moved two inches to the left is always very great.

Right now people are eagerly contributing to our list of places that employ annoying security guards. This may be published as a public service. (There may be companies and individuals that employ strong, silent, intelligent security guards but we have not discovered them yet. Please let us know if you have met one of them because we would like to go meet him too and you should learn to share.)

But I don’t think I’ll be hiring a security guard to protect my property, assets or favorite people anytime soon. It would make me feel too terribly insecure.

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10 responses

18 11 2009
N

haha…so true. What really worried me was at the SLT office…there were these chaps wandering around wtih gigantic shotguns. Very disconcerting.

19 11 2009
Dappi Sira

In this part of the world, we respect everybody regards of who they are. Here in Toronto we have the “Pride” parade which is a beautiful thing to see. It is said that stereotyping and prejudice is what makes people to discriminate others who are not exactly not like them. Don’t you think, those “badly tailored mud-brown uniforms” clad security-guards with pea-size brains also deserve little more respect than this?

19 11 2009
Dee

Agree with DS. One of my relatives was a guard cum valet at a hotel in Colombo as well as in the Maldives for a long time. He saved and managed to educate both his kids and send them to England and they are presently living there as well. It’s just another profession, and in our country’s case, cheap labour.

19 11 2009
Suresh

I think you need to put yourself in their shoes before you be so critical of them.

19 11 2009
varad

my worry is that most of the security guards i have come accross or even spoken to, are not really trained to be security guards. its just a job to them and so long as no one tries to rob them or the property they are guarding, they are fine. What annoys me is that because it is so easy to become one, it is difficult to differentiate between a trained one and just some guy wielding power and holding a gun! this sudden power also leads to abuse..for example, they may be rude to you to show power. And yes i too have had the experience of parking in one place, getting out and then suddenly being called back to move the car. it’s annoying when it could have so easily been avoided by an alert security guard. This post is not about generalisations. god knows we have enough of that…

19 11 2009
vatura

we believe that being polite to people regardless of who they are (or how rude they are) is a lovely concept. respect however needs to be won, again, regardless of who you are.

but this post was not about respect. it was about the phenomena of male persons given a little power who use it to bully and irritate ordinary people instead of doing what they are supposed to. (this may have an interesting sociological explanation relating to cheap labour and other serious issues but we were not discussing that.)

in the first world there are rules about things like that. out here, we just get to put up, shut up and have a laugh.
so that’s what we do.

19 11 2009
Dappi Sira

I’m not denying the almost irritating attitude of many security guards out there. All I’m saying is that we should not brand them altogether. That’s stereotyping. Let’s be honest he, shall we? When you see that “badly tailored mud-brown uniform”, what’s your 1st impression: “respect?” I don’t think so. How many of you think that there could be a ” committed father” inside that uniform. Even for the namesake, their presence in dark & lonely parking lots, could avoid many possible crimes. We need a whole paradigm shift of our attitude, if we ever expect a solution to other social injustices such as gender discrimination. If you are not a part of the solution, you might be a part of the problem.

19 11 2009
Vak

I think my biggest issue with security guards in Sri Lanka – and any man in uniform for that matter – is that they think the uniform makes them men, and they want to make sure that I feel their masculinity. So, as much I respect and accept some of the criticisms voiced here about being judgmental – I would still like it if they didn’t think that the uniform gives them the right to stare at you, be rude to you, and to generally order you about.

20 11 2009
Dappi Sira

Agree with you.

21 11 2009
vatura

Like I said, respect must be won, whether its from the powerful or the powerless. i have yet to meet a security guard who thinks before he speaks. and surely the fact that he’s a lovely father when he’s at home doesnt give him the right to bully me when he’s at work..?

but i take your point. we live in a most obviously inequal society at every level and that is tragic. but i still believe the answer is for
everyone to take more responsibility for how we live in the world…whoever we are. not turn our lack of income or education into a reason to elicit pity
or guilt.

the fundamental structural inequalities are not going to to change anytime soon. but if we all increased our level of critical analysis and responsibility instead of only indulging our (understandable) compassion which blurs the problem while making it easier to live with; things might actually change at many levels.

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