Fast and Furious ; Misguided Compassion or Abuse of System?

Drag racing is becoming as dangerous as ever. The number of deaths arising from accidents as the result of drag racing in increasing. The recent deaths in Toronto this time involving motorcycles is proof of how precious lives can be lost due the mindless urge for the thrill of speed and quest for tacky braggadocio. This particular incident had enraged the public because an innocent life of a person who had nothing to do with the drag race had been snapped in a jiffy in the most senseless manner. Strangely enough, the driver of the errant motorcycle filmed his own death. For some strange reason, a camera was mounted on the Honda R.C.51’s dashboard to film the speedometer. The police used the film as evidence for the illegal racing and the two racers , the dead motorcycle driver included, were charged with the death of a 60 year old man whose car was hit by the errant motorcycle. The film was shown on TV to educate the public on the perils of drag racing. I saw the film. As the speed was quickly incrementing to 248 km/hr, the motorcycle shuddered fiercely and went into an uncontrollable convulsion, spun around and hit a car on the oncoming lane. Looks to me that the incident wasn’t about racing but blowing the bike’s engine. Truly sad and unfortunate when the poor 60 year old man’s life had been wasted by such and irresponsible and inane actions.


In the recent AIDS conference in Toronto which was graced by high profile guests like Bill Clinton and Bill Gates, the organizers criticized Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for not showing up. The criticism was harsh; in fact the AIDS sculpture located at the provincial parliament grounds was vandalized by people who were incensed by Harper’s no show at the conference. Whatever Harper’s reason was, many felt it was the manifestation his ultra- Christian, right-wing Conservative stance, viewing AIDS as punishment for the sins of promiscuity. When the conference concluded , 140 delegates out of the 24,000 who attended the conference surprisingly filed for refugee status. And here’s the startling twist to the story. All the 140 mostly from Africa are either HIV positive or have full blown AIDS. Refugees? Are these people being persecuted in their home countries? Not really. The claim was due to “discrimination” from treatment, hence their interpretation of persecution.

My question is – IS THIS FAIR? Is a medical condition a valid reason to apply for a refugee status? The hearing with the refugee board takes about two years therefore a claimant gets sort of a reprieve as he is given a social insurance number to allow him to work and support himself. Statistically, the success rate of being granted a refugee status is around 48%. When the refugee claimant says that he cannot appreciate the meaning of “ stress on the health care system” I believe a Canadian taxpayer can equally say that he cannot appreciate why non-citizens are to be granted a lengthy and expensive refugee hearing when it is glaringly obvious that the reason for the application is not due to political persecution in their home countries.


18 Responses

  1. It must have been a very gruesome video, and very disturbing too. I hope these youngsters learn from this. Drag racing has also been a problem in this part of our country, where kids from rich families bet high amount of stakes in these nightime street races. In fact, a friend told me that such races had become sort of very malicious that racers even bet their own girlfriends. I really shuddered at the thought. Buti nal lang, the police authorities have controlled it and have quelled the fad that had almost got every youngsters here in Zamboanga into.

  2. Drag racing will be criminalized here sooner than later. In fact the authorities have started to harrass souped-up looking cars, checking their engines and hardware. They might ban these types of cars from getting license plates although it could be difficult. Movies that glorify street racing are to blame for this.

  3. We can only blame Hollywood for glorifying drag racing. It has become a problem everywhere, especially in places where the kids could easily drum up some cash from their rich parents to soup up their Civics.

    As for the AIDS issue, what’s now happening in Africa happened in the States during the ’80s in which people with HIV or full blown AIDS suffer social deaths before suffering the physical one. You may not remember him, but Ryan White was the poster boy of a victim of such social cruelty. He wasn’t a homosexual; he was a hemophiliac.

    I am not Canadian so I cannot really comment about those Africans seeking status as refugees over there. But if it happened in the States, it would be a non-issue for me. I, for one, would readily vote for them to stay and seek treatment.

  4. Thanks for your candid comments Senor. I think refugee is a strong word to use. These people are notdisplaced nor persecuted politically. They were delegates to a convention with paid tickets and hotel accomodations representing their respective countries. What makes them think that they deserve treatment more than the thousands afflicted with the disease in their countries?

    My in laws came over 3 years ago as tourists and they stayed here for a year to baby sit my daughter so we can take her to day care when she’s a little older. My father in law cannot immigrate to Canada because of his health condition – severe arthritis and diabetes. They won’t accept immigrants who have illnesses that will burden their health care system. That’s the rule. Now these delegates come over here for a convention and jump ship and say – here Canada – cure us, we are here now – what’s up with your well known humanitarian programs? You can’t possibly throw us out!

  5. I don’t buy their reason at all BW. If these delegates will be granted asylum, then, the 5.5 million South African HIV/AIDS sufferers who likewise suffer the stigma will be granted as well.

    If this is the trend of future international conferences, to be a stepping stone of asylum seekers, participants should sign a waiver next time.

  6. Totally agree with you. Once you establish a precedent , people would jump into the bandwagon and demand all sorts of things. This is not to suggest the elimination of humanitarian consideration but the behavior of these delegates gives people second thoughts of their credibility as representatives of the cause for their countries. Jumping ship smacks of self-serving motives, as if they have no accountability to the countries they respresented in teh conference.

  7. That video reminds me of the one I saw on cable once of a Japanese guy driving his Ferrari at the speed of 250kph, he videotaped everything and that was used as evidence by the Japanese authorities in filing wreckless imprudence on the guy.

    While I may commiserate with those aylum seekers, their reason for seeking refuge in a first world country is highly suspect….

  8. Just last month the police here gave up the chase on a Suzuki 110 travelling at 250km/hr at major hiway. The man wasn’t travelling alone – he had a girl hugging his back! The bike was traced by the police to a 22 year old girl who paid $17,000 out of her credit card. The soap opera part of this
    story was the police called the girl’s home and her dad answered and was irate with the police insisting that her daughter doesn’t own a bike! It turned out man is married and was having an affair with this young girl. It didn’t end there. The mystery girl at the hiway chase wasn’t the 22 year old nor the wife – it was another girl.. LOL. Man, you got to have bike with some real juice to crank out 250kph!

  9. i don’t know if it’s true but they said that in canada or the US, that if someone came from africa or been to africa, there’s a big chance that they’ll not be able to get an insurance

  10. I just remembered what I was told by a doctor I met at a party here in Manila about a year ago.

    A major US drug company paid for an all expense trip to the US for a group of local physicians(they were to attend a two-day conference in San Diego). However, the US Immigration oficials only allowed them within the vicinity of the conference venue, the shuttle bus, and the hotel premises; they weren’t even allowed to go shopping downtown.

    Right after the conference, they were escorted to the airport.

    Perhaps, Canada should implement similar strict and limited visitation privileges.

  11. Tin – tourists can protect themselves from illness or accident by buying insurance prior or upon arrival. I remember I purchased insurance for my inlaws for protection for accident or catastrophic illness when they arrived . Someone over 60 would pay between 2.5 to 3 bucks a day. Considering that both stayed with us for a year it wasn’t cheap. This didn’t cover regular consulation though. It was meant for something more serious like hospitalization.

  12. Senor Enrique – that’s some serious restriction there. In an area like San Diego riddled with illegals from Mexico, I won’t be surprised.

    I’ve also noticed that Pinoy delegates to medical conventions are a pampered group. My wife’s niece who works for a travel agency back in Manila came over to Toronto as advance party to set up a group of doctors who were having a convention here. She setup their airport pickups, hotel accomodation, convention passes, tours etc.. I’m saying – WHAT THE?? Are these people wimps? What a WASTE of money. It turned out that a pharmaceutical company sponsored them so I’m assuming it foot the bill for the entire trip.

  13. And now you know why the medicines sold by these pharmaceutical companies costs an arm and a leg here. Whereas the same brand of medicines can be had by a fraction of the cost in India, which is another reason why they didn’t want private companies importing drugs from that country. No thanks to the government…

  14. 248 km/hr for a motorcycle? That’s way too much. Normally, I don’t even go beyond 70 when driving in the city. 100 is still my limit at highways. And I have a four-wheel vehicle. But 248 for an unstable vehicle such as a motorcycle? That’s suicide, man. Those racers are idiots.

  15. Sngl – re the high price of drugs, that’s probably why they can pamper their delegates. They can always offset the cost with the mark ups they put on the prices. Seriously though, it’s either that the pharmaceutical companies are being taken for a ride by the travel agencies or the practices of these drug companies are just way too extravagant and wasteful.

  16. Abaniko – very idiotic indeed. THe news report says that the bike was running 100km/hr more than the max rated speed. Taking into consideration that the tires are probably not designed to run at 248km/hr, and even with a good road at the outskirts of the city, the bike driver was committing suicide. THe result was clear, that the bike’s engine was maxed out and ultimately blew up.

  17. young and old people alike who are into drag racing cant do anything better than foolishly challenging themselves. the stakes are not even enough for one’s life. they say it’s the thrill but i say it’s their stupidity that drags them to death or to a devastating accident.

  18. True.. and the worst part is they are likely to kill people who have nothing to do with drag racing. An incident here last year killed a Pakistani cabbie who was grinding to earn a living to bring his family to Canada. The culprits were sons of wealthy families who were trying to race their luxury cars early in the morning at a street in the midtown area. Murder charge was the right punishment for them.

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