Phoney Rangers:

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 the robbery.

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.

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