Burmese Refugees: Save Your Kyats, It Might Not Be Worth It (Part 3)
The real victims of genocide and racial hatred in Burma.
There is no question under-qualified ad-hock interpreters have caused great harm to refugees either by accident or intentional with deviating results. Miscarriages of justice along with incorrect and deadly medical instructions caused by ineptitude and lack of knowledge are only the tip of the iceberg. Other cases reveal prejudice and tribal hatred as the root cause of miss-information and bold faced lies that are told to trusting refugees.
Though ad-hock interpreters can speak ‘da English’ many don’t understand medical, legal and technical terminology nor do they grasp the critical colloquial aspects of the American lexicon. It is likened to ‘the blind leading the blind’, at best. Refugee ad-hock interpreters barely grasp the language, let alone American life for that matter. The lack of higher education is all to apparent and many of the ones that claim a university degree usually got their credentials in a print shop in Malaysia like the others who’ve flooded into America in recent years. Every college degree, certification, pastoral doctorate out of South Asia must be verified since fraud is the name of the game when it comes to immigrating to the US, and immigration fraud is rampant globally. And its the US taxpayer footing the bill.
An innocent Burmese man was in jail for six months because a lackluster ad-hock interpreter botched his case by claiming he admitted guilt when that was not the case. Whence the judge heard the complete story from a trained and certified professional interpreter, the mysterious Madam Butterfly, the refugee was promptly released from jail. I had to explained what to do with diabetes medication and testing supplies to a refugee who was left clueless about his condition by an ad-hock interpreter.
There were no instructions, no advice and absolutely no help. The interpreter just gave a totally inaccurate interpretation of what the doctor was trying to instruct the patient. After learning what the ad-hock told her client it was obvious this bonehead interpreter was only pretending to give the patient the doctors precise instructions. She was clueless and did not understand what the doctor was talking about or grasp the seriousness of her clients condition. Instructing a diabetic patient to count to 80, then count to 120, then take the bottle of insulin was not the doctor’s instructions. There was no instructions on how to use the syringe, alcohol wipes, test strips & device, maybe that was a good thing. The physician was unaware of this fiasco. But how could he possibly know? At least the NGO made their $100 and hour in interpretation fees.
Doctors, nurses must heed this warning because no matter how hard the medical team tries to assist a refugee patient their efforts are stymied by an interpreters inaccurate rendition of specific and detailed medical instructions a patient must follow before/after surgery or any other procedure or medication. A racially motivated or incompetent interpreter is a death sentence to the patient. Judges and attorneys should also take note of the need to have educated, qualified and certified interpreters at their disposal to maintain the integrity of their courtroom and judicial system.
Credentialed and certified translators educated in the myriad of western terminologies ranging from medical, legal and the professional world are the only viable solution to insure the refugee receives adequate medical care and justice under the law. Surely you would rather have a heart surgeon perform your triple bypass surgery rather than a butcher. So what if the butcher knows how to disembowel an animal carcass but that does not make him a heart surgeon.
The same theorem holds true when it comes to interpreters, just because a person can speak English and Burmese does not qualify them to interpret in the legal, medical and professional world. Just remember, the interpreter must be in the same league as the doctors, nurses, attorneys, and judges educationally speaking. If not, then the interpreter becomes the weakest link in a change of professional and it will be the client/patient who will suffer in the end.
It’s a no brainer that medical interpreters should meet US English proficiency standards and be totally cognizant of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) privacy rules. As it were, there is little regard for the refugees privacy with ad-hock interpreters. They run their mouths and gossip about the clients within the Burmese communities they are supposed to serve. Refugees have a right to privacy like anyone else but unfortunately ad-hock interpreters are not trained or don’t care about the ethical responsibilities professional interpreters follow religiously.
There are cases where ad-hock interpreters misrepresented their clients on purpose or scammed them out of their food/cash allotments because of tribal and racial inequities. These cases are overshadowed by the sheer ineptitude and incompetence displayed by ad-hock interpreters in general. How many people already died needlessly from an inept interpreter’s incorrect and sometimes fatal medical instructions? How many refugees are in jails and prisons because of incompetent or racially motivated ad-hock interpreters? The reality is most refugees are fearful and untrusting of all authority figures and don’t say a word to anyone about the abuses. Opportunists know this weakness and use it to their financial advantage big time.
Unscrupulous social workers and ad-hock interpreters have joined forces with unethical American dental groups in recent years and ripped off the US taxpayers for millions of dollars. Is it really necessary to cap, crown, bridge or brace baby teeth?? Dental groups, sham pastors, social workers and ad-hock interpreters are making a fortune ripping off the government with bogus dental care for toddlers of refugees. If the government would do an audit on these aid and dental groups they will discover collusion and fraud since thousands of refugee children were given expensive dental care on BABY TEETH. Then they would repeat the services when the child was actually of age and in real need of caps, crowns, bridge or brace on PERMANENT TEETH. There is no question many refugees do need dental care whence they arrive in America but shaking down the US taxpayer with bogus dental work in toddlers is completely off the charts corruption wise.
Of course the aid worker, interpreter, NGO, church or advocacy group would get massive donations or graft from these Dental Cartels for guiding their trusting flock of refugees to the dental clinic. Follow the money and you will find your fraudsters. It’s widespread throughout many refugee communities not just the Burmese community boys and girls. Maybe you will wake up when you discover refugee babies are getting fitted with dentures for that will be the next scam if we don’t start paying attention to what is happening right under our noses.
Housing is another point of contention and massive fraud since slumlords are in collusion with NGOs, interpreters and social workers to fill their dilapidated and outdated housing complexes. Then they charge the federal government premium price on rentals to refugees for a dump where rats and roaches rule the roost. Imagine, we the taxpayer are footing the bill for a $1,000 a month apartment that smells like a sewer with broken pipes, windows and staircases.
Cabinets are unhinged and the complex more resembles a post Armageddon landscape. Some housing projects for refugees had standing sewage on the lower levels of the complex. Surely these dumps were not worth $1,000 a month but who cares, they are only refugees and probably don’t know the difference, right? Don’t even get me started on the electrical in these high dollar slums. Some refugees consider their apartment complex ‘a prison with no fence’ with nowhere to go. It is not hard to see why they miss their beloved jungle back in Burma.
One thing a refugee must know is the fact you don’t have to quit your religion to become a member of another faith to get aid from an NGO that receives US government funding. If anyone tells you that you must convert from Buddhism to Christianity or any other faith to receive aid they are lying to you and his/her agency could lose their funding for it is against the law. Religious Extortionism: Refugees are pressured or intimidated by sham religious leaders into changing their faiths or they will not receive aid and human services. It’s not about saving their souls, it’s all about tithing and filling offering plates by targeting newcomers and their hefty refugee aid checks and food cards. Targeting refugees has become a cottage industry in the USA.
Dim bulb pseudo religious icons condone men buying women and kids from Malaysia then defrauding the U.S. welfare system with this ‘made to order’ bogus nuclear family, gads. It should be noted this is the minority and not the majority of the Burmese religious community. Legitimate religious leaders from all faiths are absolutely livid about these ‘fraudsters of the cloth’ since they are giving the Burmese community a bad name. I know many legitimate Christian, Buddhist and Muslim organizations with ethical leadership that walks their talk and don’t rip off their congregation in the process.
Their churches, temples and mosques reflect the love & dedication they have for G*D and their congregations. They actually help their people assimilate into this new world while offering them support and advice, with no strings attached. These religious organizations address the ever mounting social ills that are unique to the refugee experience. They also provide English workshops and support healthy family development while addressing cultural differences and assimilation. Their outreach programs don’t have a price tag on them and they actually care for their brethren refugee without picking their pockets.
A former Karen child soldier once told me he wished to go back home to Burma and would rather face the junta instead of live in this strange place called America. “You have to lie to live in America”, he said. An old Karen lady told me she should have let the junta kill her in the jungle rather than live in a country that charges people to sit under a tree. Her contention was that she thought America was free before she arrived but nothing could be further from the truth. “You have to pay for everything, even the water you drink”, she said.
Suicide has become common place within the Burmese refugee community in America as hopeless and disenfranchised refugees kill themselves out of despair. Refugees are struggling to keep their families out of drugs and other abuses. Parents must work nights, work long hours or work two jobs while their children are left to fend for themselves, with disastrous consequences. Sex, drugs and all the societal cancers that are destroying the minds of the American youth are destroying the minds of unsupervised latchkey refugee children. Some refugee families have lost control of their children and their apartment complexes more resembles Kyauk Thabaik, Mandalay where crime is king.
Racism and tribal hatred by Burmese against Burmese has gone to another level in America. Burmese who lie and cheat their fellow countrymen make General Supremo Than Shwe look like a boy scout and the Military Junta a group of choir boys. At least the junta was honest enough to let you know they wanted you dead or Burmanized, unlike ‘goodie goodie’ ad-hock interpreters and other aid workers who pretend to help you while ripping you off blind.
I am not trying to promote the junta or dissuade anyone from migrating to the USA. But for the potential refugee they must know what is actually happening within some of the Burmese communities so they can make an educated decision to migrate or stay home. Are you able to learn a new language and a completely new way of life in a technologically advanced society?
It is just to complicated to live in America for some people plain and simple. Life is complex even for an average US citizen, born and raised here. Technology and all it’s nuances are a very real part of daily life and some people can’t grasp this technologically diverse way of life for this is not the jungle anymore. One Burman told me that America is the ‘Concrete Jungle’. But for refugees who study hard, learn the language and culture America can be a most rewarding and life altering experience, provided they survive the ad-hock interpreter merry-go-round and the NGO thugs waiting for new arrivals at the airport, like vultures to carrion.
On a positive note there are Burmese immigrants who came to America years before there were refugee groups and NGOs eager to assist or rip them off as the case may be. They had to forge a new life in America on their own, without handouts, aid packages or interpreters. They faced insurmountable odds but still forged a new life from the ground up and it was not easy like it is today. These early arrivals came and learned the American way of life, it’s culture and language without the welcome wagon refugees receive now. For their efforts they did become successful business men and women, educators and doctors. They also preserved the Burmese cultural experience and continue to live and worship within their tradition while maintaining their new America persona.
Assimilating is not an impossible task but a refugee must be sincere in their pursuit of the American Dream whence they decide to migrate here. On the other hand fraudsters don’t really care to assimilate since they know they can go back to Burma if they get into trouble, unlike the true refugee who still has a price on their heads. Good thing is, the fraudsters days are numbered as local, state and federal authorities are made aware of the criminality that is being perpetrated within the Burmese refugee community in their jurisdictions.
The fact American NGOs, businessmen and other opportunists are involved in the various schemes to defraud the U.S. Government and taxpayers, its only a matter of time before arrests are made and in some cases deported. The paper and money trails are very easy to follow and the fraudsters are clearly identified in many documents and logs. In all fairness the corrupt dirt bags are the minority but they target the majority of the most trusting and vulnerable refugees, this is no coincidence. And its in defense of the most vulnerable and innocent refugees I am telling their story.
Your Devil’s Advocate
© 2014, Buffalohair Productions. All rights reserved.