Daily Routine And Fighting Inside Detention Cell

Biggest group is the Indonesian detainees

This post is part of the few previous posts that tells the story of life inside Pekan Nanas Depot. In this post, I will describe the daily routine of life in the detention cell and fighting occasionally that breaks the monotone of the daily routine inside.

The make-up of detainees consisted of many Indonesian-national illegals in the cell during my detention. They are the biggest group and they are cohesive as a group. Many of them do not have legitimate immigration documents and were smuggled into Malaysia by boats. Because of the cultural similarities, they blend in well with the Malaysian Malay. They are also known as being fierce fighters, especially those from the Bugis descent.

The convicted ex-PM has commented on this group of people.

Don’t court the wrath of Bugis warriors, warns Najib

Published 2 Apr 2018, 11:52 am in

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has warned that it would not be wise to incur the wrath of a Bugis warrior.

Najib, who is of Bugis descent himself, said this at a gathering of silat masters in Gombak, Selangor, yesterday…

citation: Malaysiakini.com

About the Indonesian detainees

These Indonesians were detained for not having passport, having fake ID documents or without valid ID documents. Their detention is typically a year before they were deported. They were quietly territorial as well as being a tightly-knitted group of daring fighters.

As Indonesians detainees are one of the biggest group and other groups who are of the Muslim faith, the cell catered religious prayers for them. In the detention center, there is a set routine and the same time table very day that is a part of their Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

Daily routine and time table for prayers

There is one prayer time very early in the morning at 6.30 am. The waking up is at 6.00 am for everyone and washing up till 6.30 am. Following after 6.30 am, the half of the cell at the back would be cleared of sleepers. They then rolled out the long prayer mats for their prayers.

Those who are not joining the religious prayer would move out of the way of these congregants. They would continue resting in the rest of the unoccupied areas. These detainees would keep silent throughout the prayer time as a mark of respect for these detainees’ beliefs.

There is one prayer time before noon, another one prayer time in late afternoon. Then there is one prayer time at close to the dinner time . Whenever there is the prayer time, the rest of the detainees activities are quieten down and whispering instead of talking loudly. The last prayer time being the one late at night before sleeping time at 11.00 pm.

Having found myself in such dire circumstances, I too spend lots of time to pray and fasted many days for divine help to see me through these evil days.

Daily routine for roll call within each day

The other important ritual throughout each day is the 3-hourly roll call event. This roll call is for reporting the number of detainees in every cells within the entire detention center to their central command. This is for them to account for every movements of detainees and their whereabouts throughout the day.

For the roll call, the center siren would goes off and every detainees would scramble into position in rows of 10 detainees breadth-wise, all the way length-wise to the back of the cell. If you are halfway enjoying your shower or doing your bowel movement, you have to get out of your act and scramble to fill out the empty places. There will be no movement allowed and your head must be bowed to look down.

One particular roll call timing was around dinner time. Depending on when the food delivery lorry arrives, this dinner event can be a bit of crazy. When the food arrives late, the timing to eat the dinner, wash up the food tray and clean the floor up is crazy. It is crazy because we have to be in position when the siren sounds for the roll call.

Checker’s role during roll call

The checker’s role is to report the number of detainees to the duty guard. He and his assistants (supporters) would threatened punishment on anyone not complying or not ready in position for the roll call.

In every cell, all the checkers will be waiting for the duty guard to visit the cell before ordering the whole cell to greet this guard loudly. The checker will report the number of detainees and the guard will count numbers by the rows as he inspects the detainees.

The usual time to complete a roll call is around 15 – 20 minutes for all the blocks to report their numbers to their central command. During any roll call, if an officer is not happy with the roll call, he will ordered punishment on the whole cell as a group.

A failed attempt to set me up during one roll call

An incident happened when the officer pretended to be angry with the excuse that the roll call was not done well. The idea is to target me out as an uncooperative detainee and a trouble maker during the roll call. He whacked the iron bars with his baton and screamed profanities at me. At the same time while he pretended to walk away for inspection at the next cell, he instigated the guard to whack me.

By the grace of God, this guard realized that he was actually being instigated by this officer and did not attacked me.

Apart from instigating the guard, this officer also imposed a punishment on the whole cell to remain in each restricted position for another half an hour. He proclaimed to the whole cell that I am the cause of his unhappiness with the roll call. He is hoping some nut case detainee will listen to his dog whistle and will attack me inside the cell.

Daily routine and fighting during free time segment

Outside of these two particular notable routines in the daily time table, the rest of the time is for the four meal breaks and our own activities (free time segment).

These free time segment will see some occasional incidents that will break the monotony of the daily routine. These incidents is started by fierce, aggressive arguments and fight challenges between individuals. A couple of such arguments leads to real open fights, gang fights and lastly, guards beating up a detainee within the cell and outside the cell.

In such an environment of many impulsive, unthinking and aggressive males, there are quite a few such fights and usually involves the Indonesian-nationals.

Gang Fight between Indonesians and Bangladeshis

I will start with the story of a fight between a gang of Indonesians national and a gang of Bangladeshi nationals. Both groups have quite a considerable number within their numbers. Within their group, there are a few who likes to street fight because they grew up in such environment. Both groups have individuals who are fierce, fighters background and outspoken but more on the side of the Indonesians. The Indonesian side often challenged and questioned the checker and his supporter’s certain decisions.

One of the checker’s supporter is a Bangladeshi-national and there is no Indonesian-national chosen by the checker. It is because supporters enjoyed certain priviledges. They also tends to be biased to their own nationals. Hence there easily is resentment from unhappy campers. Within such cramped and squeeze spaces, tempers are easily short-fused and ignited. On top of that, supporters need to be loud mouthed. They also act mafia and behaved macho to be able to control the detainees.

Snippet of Affidavit – Fight between some Indonesians and Bangladeshis

Why and how the fight started

One fine day, this resentment boils over to an argument over privileges enjoyed by Bangladeshi (being made the supporter of checker). The total dissatisfaction by a couple of Indonesians with the Bangladeshi supporter breaks the monotone of the daily routine and fighting occurs.

The angry Indonesian and his friend started to attack the Bangladeshi. It then snowballed into many Bangladeshis entering the fight to help their Bangladeshi friend. Soon the fight expanded to many Indonesians fighting with as many Bangladeshi fighters.

The whole place was a mayhem for a while as bystanders moved away to avoid being hit. Fists and kicks were flying all over the place for a good while. I can see that the Indonesian are fierce fighters and in fact most of the Indonesians joined the fights as a cohesive group.

A squad of guards entered to break up the fight

A squad of guards were being assembled outside the cell. When the gate was opened, they rushed in with their batons. Then they started beating those involved in the fight before the fight broke up.

During such fighting involving many fighters, innocent bystanders could sometimes be drawn into involvement. Bystanders could accidentally be beaten by mistake or be drawn into involvement as a witness (once you snitched, you will be marked and targeted). The danger that I faced is that the crooked officer could have planted someone inside to attack me. This fight would provides an opportunity as cover to carry out the attack.

As usually happened, the guards were screaming, questioning the checker and the main persons who started the fight. The guards decided that their best course of action is to punish those involved. These are the ones starting the fight. They were taken outside to be whacked the guts out of them. This is the guards’ visual “lesson” to teach detainees that they will not tolerate anyone creating any disorder inside the cell. This is totally unlike the kid’s glove approach in their handling of the Australia-national detainee’s fighting.

Witnessing this visual “lesson”

We could all witnessed them being beaten through the wire meshed grille. The guards were sending a message that this was the consequences for fighting.

This was the first fight that I witnessed. I have included this incident in my court documents. Even though those involved in fights were brutally punished, there were still fights occurring thereafter.

Such as there is an attack by the guards against a solo Indonesian. You can read his story here. Then another fight between one Australian and the Nepalese checker and his supporters. You can read his story here. There is also fights involving a Japanese and some individuals.

The brutality of the guards and their message is not just lessons visually for me. It is also visual lesson for the public to be aware.

“Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.”

The words of Jesus Christ

Matthew 10:26 (KJV edition)

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