Thursday, May 6, 2010

Expat Carrying Around Pot Plants In Cebu Arrested


I'm hardly one to discourage somebody enjoying a toke. But, as always: If you're a foreigner in The Philippines and you are buying or using drugs, it is a 100% sure thing that eventually (sooner, rather than later) somebody is going to turn you in for a reward.

Now, on a whole other level: If your white ass is walking down the street with a marijuana plant cradled in each arm... well, you might as well paint yourself bright green, wrap yourself in a bedsheet, and go stand in front of the police station pretending you are a big ol' man-sized spliff and wait for something to happen. Seriously dude: Couldn't you catch a taxi at least to get your herb home? Couldn't you just sense the text messages broadcasting from dozens of mobile phones as you walked down the street... text messages likely sent by the same people to whom you offered a pleasant smile just a half a minute before?

Yes, marijuana is popular here in The Philippines. A large number of Filipinos smoke reefer (even while sitting right on the curb in broad daylight). But you aren't a Filipino, dude. People take special notice when it's the foreigner who gets high, when it's the foreigner who gets drunk, or when it's the foreigner who acts like an idiot... even if the foreigner is doing the exact same thing that his Filipino neighbors are doing... even if the foreigner is getting high, drunk, or acting like an idiot with a crowd of his Filipino neighbors.

Just a message to the rest of you folks reading: Having white skin doesn't mean the law doesn't apply to you here in The Philippines. I'm happy to say that here in The Philippines, having white skin also does NOT mean that there are special laws that apply to you (like in Thailand, where there will be one set of rules written in English and another in Thai). However, your white skin does mean that the laws really apply to you compared to Filipinos. Get it?

In other words: It means that you can watch a parade of Filipino guys walk past your house every day, taking their pot plants out for a walk in the sunshine in front of an entire battalion of police officers, and nothing ever happens to them... but you don't have that right. (Maybe this guy in Cebu thought he did: Maybe he walked around with pot plants all the time up until yesterday... well, surprise!) The only right you and your pot plants have is the right to satisfy some Filipino police officer's curiosity as to whether or not there is any special notoriety, process, reward, recognition, or simple extra feeling of accomplishment for arresting a foreigner.

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