ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 42
Financial Times  

Personal protection

Living to tell the tale

By Damith Kurunduhewa
It happened two weeks ago, on a calm night which suddenly turned into an hour of horror. Screaming parents inside a three story American home were hurling their children through the windows. “All I see was just a big cloud of white dust – and out of nowhere comes the first baby” said Edward Soto, who caught a tossed up child. He was one of many neighbours who sprang into action during the deadly home inferno near Yankee stadium – New York that killed eight kids and a lady, leaving 10 more injured. That home and those families will never be the same. The tragedy struck in a flash - and they virtually became nothing from everything.

Back here in Sri Lanka, after a hectic day in office, a young business manager of a blue chip company was returning home in his new car. The car looked flashy, smooth and beautiful. It was the hard work and commitment that he contributed to the success of the company that earned him a new car, which he cherished a lot. This was yet another usual evening home coming and he was enjoying his favourite music CD and the greenery of the semi rural route he liked to travel. Pleasant thoughts of his lively kids and the loving wife at home ran through his mind, and he indeed was a happy man.

“If anything can go wrong, it will,” according to Murphy (Murphy’s Law). Yet, what can go wrong in a usual and seasoned drive like this? After all, he was nearing his suburban home and the clustered, friendly neighbourhood. In a minute, he will be hugging his kids and his wife before settling down to his comfort chair, enjoying a hot Nescafe. But, this was a different day. As he was approaching the gate at his home, a few strongly built men blocked his car and vigorously demanded the car keys.

No management book taught him how to manage this moment of force and brutality. The young man resisted. The car-jackers instantly used the best language they knew – the gun – and shot him dead on the spot and vanished with the car (that was driven seconds ago by the man who is now only a dead body). He never lived enough to tell the tale.

A business manager lost his prime life, his kids lost their super hero, the wife lost her sincere companion for life, his parents lost their dream, the company lost a committed professional, friends lost a buddy and the country lost a promising son of our soil. Life is a delicate energy.

The protection of life in the ambience of urban terrorism, criminal encounters, inadequate fire safety, diminishing emotional discipline and dreadful road safety - is an ever enlarging challenge. The life energy will remain within our body as long as the body power can grip and hold it.

Any occurrence that weakens our body power to grip the life energy is threatening our existence, partly or totally. This is partly due to caused disabilities and totally due to pre-mature death. The man-made world that amazes us is a result of life. Similarly, what we have achieved and built up thus far is a result of our active living. Let us look closely. Our knowledge, our qualifications, our capabilities – corporate and otherwise, our little kingdoms, our designations and our potentialities – they are all resting on one single element - LIFE. All these are possible only because we are actively alive. The saddening reality is that we take this most important aspect for granted. Many of us do not give the priority to our life protection as much as we sweat about our image, our car, our comforts, our business or our exterior looks.

At a recent business meeting, a CEO said “I need the best staff to serve in our company and to serve our customers. We head hunt to get the best (number 1) in the country and if he is killed in the next month, I then have to settle for number 2. But still, we will go down from best to better. Life protection in business is primarily guarding our corporate skills”. This perspective reflects a lot on the importance of personal protection in business and its vital relationship.

Personal protection begins from within. We may survive from a claymore explosion, yet a glass of poisoned orange juice can take our life away in slow motion. Risks to our life in office, while traveling, at home and during socializing are enormous opportunities for a waiting covert agent. The cultivation of risk knowledge, response skills and vigil attitude sets the base for life security. Therefore, break risky habits and form security habits. Protection is a habit ever worthwhile. It is of no use being wise after the tragedy.


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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.