A big table
of Forest Rangers in uniform looked to be having a bit of a night out
and a guy in a supermarket style security outfit sat at a corner table.
We ordered up some beer and I anticipated with relish the first glass
going down in one…
I noted that
the security guard in the corner wasn't exactly toy town and that in
his big shiny holster he had an equally shiny gun of the 'make my day'
variety. Sena nodded and smiled at him and then guessing he didn't speak
English told me that he was the businessman's bodyguard. The said businessman
was addressing the Forest Rangers who'd gone quiet as he cleared his
throat to speak. Sena said, "You should hear what he's saying." With
his back to the ranger's table he quietly interpreted. The businessman
opened with, "I need to know that you are all with me?" And to reinforce
his point, "If you are not you should know that I can sell your jobs."
There was menace in what he was saying yet it was at odds with the reaction
of the Rangers who seemed to receive the words with nodding agreement.
It was total acceptance of complete corruption. I was stunned. He went
on, and clearly this was subtext to a scam they understood, "you don't
need to worry about the police or the military; I'll take care of them.
If you want to cut a tree then you must say that it is from the Community
Forest or it is needed for a school or such." I said to Sena, "surely
these guys are the protectors of the forest?" He gave me a look of 'you
have much to learn'. This is was how it was. There weren't any good
guys to look after the forest; they were all in it together the rangers
acting as the businessman's security guards, protecting his share in
As the businessman
concluded his speech he encouraged each Ranger to make an oath to all
present that he was looking out for his brother Ranger. I couldn't believe
what I was witnessing. One after another they solemnly pledged to all
assembled some kind of allegiance. As if there was something honourable
in their endeavour. It was as corrupt as a paedophile addressing a party
of conspiring churchmen.