Malware Blog – WoW Scams: Free Gifts and Fake Account Suspension Threats

I’m reposting my blog article entitled World of Warcraft Scam: Free Gifts and Fake Account Suspension Threats that was published via Trend Micro Malware Blog today.

Blizzard’s World of Warcraft (more popularly known as WoW) is one of the most popular massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) in the world. With more than 11.5 million subscribers as of 2008, WoW is plagued by a thriving underground online gaming economy.

The most common scam in WoW that Trend Micro has seen uses the in-game chat/whisper system.

An unsuspecting player will receive an in-game chat/whisper from an unknown player offering free gifts (usually in-game pets, riding mounts, and vehicles) that they can avail of by registering at the website that is included in the chat message.

The website included is, of course, a phishing site that will gather the user’s Battle.net account name and password.

However, we have seen a new approach recently—the use of WoW’s postal system, more commonly known as the in-game mail system. In this new trickery, the phishing URLs are sent via WoW in-game mail and is received by players in their in-game mailboxes.

The mail message is full of a mix of surprises. It combines several elements from other Blizzard games. Wings of Liberty refers to Starcraft 2, which was launched in July 2010. “Deathy” refers to “Black Dragon Aspect Deathwing,” the major antagonist in the upcoming WoW expansion game, Cataclysm.

To add to its credibility, the phishing URL contains the string worldofwarcraft and an abbreviation of Cataclysm. It is also interesting to mention that the website domain is registered and hosted in China.

We also noted that WoW online scammers have raised the bar by pretending to be figures of authority, something seen in spam attacks outside the online gaming industry.

The scam perpetrator poses as a Blizzard employee with a name that contains a string similar to Blizzard. The attacker threatens to suspend the player’s account if he/she does not register at the website included in the chat message.

As in the attack mentioned earlier, the link goes to a phishing site that tries to steal the user’s Battle.net credentials. The phishing site very closely resembles the actual site in terms of layout. At first glance, the user may be led to believe that the URL is related to the WoW Armory, an official site containing information on in-game characters, guilds, and items.

To protect its customers, Blizzard has intensified its information campaign on Battle.net’s security page. It also provided very accessible means within the game to report users who are abusing its chat and mail systems.

Trend Micro users are protected from these World of Warcraft phishing attacks via the Trend Micro™ Smart Protection Network™, which blocks access to the phishing websites.

For a more in-depth analysis of an online gaming Trojan kit (including World of Warcraft) and the underground online gaming economy, I highly recommend reading our research paper entitled, “Dissecting the XWM Trojan Kit: A Peek at China’s Growing Underground Online Gaming Economy,” by Lion Gu.


Image credits to Trend Micro and TrendLabs Malware Blog

Original Article:World of Warcraft Scams: Free Gifts and Fake Account Suspension Threats

Special thanks to Jovi, Jonathan and Badette for the assistance on the images and posting.

Additional personal thoughts on this WoW scam post coming soon in menardconnect.com 🙂
Update 2010.10.12
Part 1: Free WoW Cheats: Free Gifts, Free Pets, and Free Mounts for WoW Cataclysm



On Mayor and Badge: Foursquare

What is this Foursquare?

Before I was a very curious why some people I follow in twitter are sending too many tweets about Foursquare. So I tried it out and I got hooked. And now I find this foursquare as so much fun.

In the tradition of my free six video, my six free cafe world cheats, my six hotel city cheats, my six tagalog love quotes, my six Starcraft 2 crack post, here are six information and insights on Foursquare:

1. What is Foursquare?
Foursquare is a location based social networking site + mobile application + fun game all rolled into one. Users tell Foursquare where they are by doing a “check in” to their venue via SMS messaging, mobile application or via web. By checking in users earn points, credits and other rewards. In Foursquare, you can see who among your foursquare friends are in the same city, etc.

2.What are Foursquare Badges?
Foursquare badges are the rewards given to foursquare users upon completing some task or achievement. They are displayed on the user profile so its some sort of a status symbol. Some foursquare badges are easy to acquire (like the newbie badge) and some foursquare badges are very challenging. I’m new to foursquare and I consider myself as a moderate user and I have 9 foursquare badges so far:

Some of my friends have 20+ to 30+ badges 🙂

3. Why do I see a lot of Foursquare and 4sq.com links in Twitter and Facebook?
Foursquare is well integrated with Facebook and Twitter and foursquare user can opt to display their foursquare activity in twitter tweets and Facebook status updates. 4sq.com is the shortened link for the foursquare venues.

4. What mobile platforms support Foursquare?
Foursquare applications are available for the iPhone, Android, Blackberry and other popular mobile platforms (like Nokia S60).

(image courtesy of Foursquare)

Users can also check in the venues via their mobile phone and desktop if they have Internet access.

5. What is a Foursquare Mayor?
The user who has been to the venue the most (the most numbers of check-ins) will become the Mayor of that Foursquare venue.

Foursquare support explains the Foursquare Mayorship in their help page:

We calculate mayorships based on the most *days* with check-ins in the past 60 days (so 2 check-ins to the same place in one day just count 1x). Look out though – if someone else comes along who has checked in more days than you, they will steal the “Mayor” title back from you.

For foursquare fanatics the battle for Foursquare mayorship is the heart of the challenge especially for a well-known and well-frequented venue.

6. Is that all for Foursquare?
Foursquare is also for Businesses (those managing the venue). I am not well versed on the business model and other business stuff but I think this is worth looking into (as I see big brands in the US making use of this feature). I suggest that businesses explore this by trying out foursquare first and checking out their Foursquare for businesses page.

Visit the foursquare site for more info.

On the Philippines scene, I believe Foursquare is gaining ground. I saw some Starbucks badges from my pinoy tweeps and 2 biggie mobile phone providers added me as their foursquare friends recently J

Lastly, Foursquare is social networking site and just like other social networking sites, there are some associated risk in sharing too much information. I’d like to discuss this more on detail but that may be worth another post in the future.

Hope you liked my foursquare post.
Feel free to share some Foursquare experience in the comment section.

Microsoft Announces IE9 Beta Download

Microsoft announced today in their MSDN IEBlog that the Windows Internet Explorer 9 Beta is now available for download via the Beauty Of The Web (www.beautyoftheweb.com) portal. The Redmond-based software giant has officially dubbed this as Internet Explorer 9 Platform Preview, which in simple terms is a beta release of the web browser. The Platform Preview highlights the killer features of the next Internet Explorer: faster loading of websites, HTML5 focus and seamless integration with Windows7.

Internet Explorer Platform Preview is available for Windows PC users running either Windows 7 or Windows Vista. Sorry for me and other XP users as Microsoft explained that IE9 would not be available for Windows XP users as the browser’s GPU-powered graphics uses new technologies available only on Windows 7 and Windows Vista versions. Their FAQ page also added that updates for the IE9 Platform Preview are to be expected every 8 weeks.

Email Scam: Classic 419 Fraud of Mr. Dan Maha

As my post on Sam Mendoza SMS Scam is getting a some attention (and lots of comments too 🙂 ), I will be posting another variant of scam and this time its email scam. I got it from my free email account recently and I am sharing the as an awareness campaign to all readers of this blog.

It is very classic 419 Fraud/Nigerian Scam, read on…

Subject: Confidential Respond.

Message content:
Confidential Respond.

Good day!
I am Mr.Dan Maha director auditing and accounting department” bank of Africa (boa) Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso .I discovered the sum of seven million, two hundred thousand dollars (usd7.2) belonging to a deceased customer of this bank the fund has been lying in a suspense account without anybody coming to put claim over the money since the account owner late, Mr Salla khat from Lebanese who was involved in the December 28th 2006 Benin car crash.

it is therefore, upon this discovery that i decided to take this ultimatum and make this business proposal to you as the fund will be release to you as the next of kin or relation to the deceased for safety and subsequent disbursement since nobody is coming for it and i don’t want this money to go into the bank treasury as unclaimed bill the banking rules here stipulates that if such money remained unclaimed after five years, the money will be transferred into the bank treasury as unclaimed fund. The request of foreigner as next of kin in this business is occasioned by the fact that the deceased customer was a foreigner and a Burkina be cannot stand as next of kin to a foreigner.

Therefore, I am soliciting for your assistance to come forward as the next of kin. I have agreed that 40% of this money will be for you as the beneficiary respect of the provision of your account and service rendered, 60% will be for me. Then immediately the money transferred to your account from this bank, I will proceed to your country for the sharing of the fund. Call me through my telephone: +226 xxx yy zz.

Yours faithful,
Mr.Dan Maha.

Nigerian Scam or 419 Fraud is a classic email scam. The usual modus operandi is like: scammer sends email to unsuspecting users describing some big amount of money or inheritance left by someone who died (usually in a foreign country) and does not have immediate relatives/kin to claim the inheritance. The scammer will try to persuade the future victim to pretend to be a relative of the dead person and claim the inheritance and afterwards they split the supposed inheritance between the scammer and the claimer. The scammer will ask the future victim to send them money to facilitate transfer and other procedures and as a token of trust. But the heart of the scam is that after the victim send the money to the scammer, they will be gone forever… poof!

To give some *credit* to the scammer, the english language and grammar is a lot better now, but the punctuation and capitalization sucks (You scammy guys should do more QA before sending this scam again). But sadly they send it to the wrong person and I’m exposing it here as another EPIC FAIL Nigerian Scam.

In my opinion here some key learnings with Nigerian scams:

  • Awareness is the key. Be aware of email scams and its different variations.
  • If the deal seems too good to be true then be suspicious and consult your family and your friends about it.
  • If you suspect that it’s a scam, don’t reply to the email and don’t entertain future emails with similar offer.
  • Report to authorities as you deem proper.

I will add more tips, email samples, and other helpful links against email scam (and spam) here in my blog in the future.

Google Instant and its Impact to SEO and Blogging

Google recently launched Google Instant. They flaunt it as:

a new search enhancement that shows results as you type

in their official Google Instant page.

Now I believe I understand the connection of last week’s Google interactive dots and the gray Google doodle to this newly launched enhancement. For me, the message with the Google dots is that: user searches are now more interactive than before and will respond to your needs on a timelier manner (remember how the dots respond the mouse point and click?).

Then the Grey Google logo appears to signify that they (Google) put color and life to our searches and it’s happening in real time. I think it was a brilliant idea 🙂 and well done Google team 🙂

Going back to Google Instant, their official site gives a good graph on the main benefit


Graph/Image courtesy of Google Instant official site.

I have tried the feature in Google US site, and as a user I get what they mean by the faster searches and instant results. I remain neutral about the promise of smarter predictions concept that they promised in the site, maybe with more usage I can prove to myself that its really smarter than before.

The techie and the blogger in me raised a lot of questions (than available answers). Won’t this really affect current ranking of search results? (FYI Google mentioned on the Google Instant FAQ page that this new feature will have no impact on this area). How will this Google Instant impact SEO (yah both the good ones and black hat seo)? How can bloggers leverage this new feature? Yeah, it’s nosebleed time for a SEO-newbie like me (and this means more reading/research for me for the coming days).

Have you tried Google Instant?
Let me know your thoughts on this topic by leaving some comments here.

Grey Google Doodle

After yesterday’s Google doodle interactive dots, they now have Grey Google doodle:

Grey… but still interactive 🙂




It is only available in Google US site.

There’s a lot of mystery behind the Google doodle yesterday and today and many kibitzers are guessing that there is a Google Doodle hidden message somewhere out there. Hopefully Google will reveal it tomorrow in one of their public events.

Google Doodle Goes Interactive Dots

Google never fail to amaze me with their attractive Google doodle. Before there was Pacman in Google and during Independence Day of the Philippines they have special Google doodle for the Philippines like this year and last year. But today they have this:

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of the Google doodle above because if you play with it with your mouse (point your mouse near it) it will disperse and can go berserk like this

And then like this

And this

And after some inactivity it will slowly go back to previous simple google balls.

In short Google logo today goes interactive Google dots. Some say that there is some google logo hidden message behind these dots. It is only available in Google US site so if you cannot view it from your Google or iGoogle, try it HERE.

I hope that this interactive Google dots will be a permanent one like what they did for the Pacman in Google (google.com/pacman and google.com.ph/pacman)

Did you enjoyed the google logo today too?

My #SentiSabado Experience

Last week, my friend Tonyo tweeted that there will be a #Sentisabado this September 4, 2010. At the mention of Bazooka Bubble Gum and Kaypee shoes on the following tweets, I got the hint that this will be a fun filled event in twitter.

But what is Sentisabado anyway? Dissecting the word: “Senti” is short for sentimental and sometimes we call somebody a “Senti” when he or she is reminiscing old stuff (usually childhood memories/etc). “Sabado” is Saturday in Filipino, so for me Sentisabado is about reminiscing childhood memories in twitter. Take your pick 70’s, 80’s or 90’s and tweet it away with the #sentisabado hashtag.

Fast forward to Saturday, it was a busy day for me, as I need to attend to some personal and family stuff in Pasig and in Laguna. I logged into twitter using a “borrowed” wireless connection and lo! and behold the #sentisabado fever is on.

I first tweeted about my favorite cartoon show then: Inhumanoids and Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Lights. I was surprised that it was also the favorite of Tonyo, Jyethrox, Silvakreuz and BlueBaby98

Next I remembered chewing Bazooka Bubble Gum and enjoying the little comic strip that came with it, so why not tweet right? And other tweeps have the same experience.

Marghil reminded me of the Pepsi number game and several tweeps like VSisLove confirmed that it’s the number 349 was the “magic” number way back then 🙂

Silvakreuz tweeted about WWF’s famous rivalry of Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior and I replied back I needed to add Andre the Giant and the Million Dollar Man to the Royal Rumble. Marocharim added his memories of the epic feud Jeff Jarrett vs. Aldo Montoya (sorry Marck but I guess that wrestling battle happened after my eldest brother told me that WWF is scripted and then I lost track of new wrestlers and lost interest in watching wrestling matches in TV).

My Sentisabado experience will not be complete without me tweeting my favorite games. I twitted about Atari’s Pacman, Space Invaders and Galaxian, and Nintendo Family Computer’s Super Mario series, Battle City, Contra and the konami code. Surprisingly Arbet reminded me that Atari and Nintendo both distributed their games in big cartridges and Silvakreuz joined us in reminiscing how we blow (hihipan) the end of the game cartridges (the one with the pvc exposed) to make it work in case the graphics and game itself seems to be malfunctioning. And this tweets reminded me of a post which I have on my Blog Post To Do List (menardconnect gaming interest from Atari to PC)

As my “borrowed” Internet connection in Laguna encountered some technical issues already, I logged out and did not track the rest of the tweets for the sentisabado. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this #sentisabado event and I’m looking forward for the next one 🙂

I love to add other tweeps funny, witty and touching posts on #sentisabado, but I believe that will be worth another blog entry in the future.

Btw, #Sentisabado made it to top trending topics in twitter. Congrats to all who participated.

Join us in Facebook : Sentisabado FB Page

Want to know more about Sentisabado? Read other blogger post below:

Want to share your Sentisabado experience? Want to add your sentisabado post to this blog post? Kindly drop me a comment at the end of the post or drop me a note via my contact page.

Lee Ying Chuen and the The First-Person Account Of A Manila Hostage Survivor

Below is the translated text of Lee Ying Chuen essay. Lee Ying Chuen is a survivor of the recent hostage taking incident in Manila last month. It is a first person account of the incident and what transpired days after it.

Credits to original poster/source after the blockquoted text.


The First-Person Account Of A Manila Hostage Survivor

(Ming Pao via InMediaHK) Lee Ying Chuen: Give justice to the victims, Not direct anger at the weak. August 29, 2010.

[in translation]

On Wednesday evening, the government charter airplane landed at the Hong Kong International Airport. My mother who had been so terrified went in the company of family members to wait in the vehicle arranged by the government. I stood along with other family members of deceased victims to quietly attend the farewell ceremony. The bagpipe played . It was very solemn, and also very sad. I read the names of the fellow travelers written on the white cloth on the coffins. Tears came touring out of my eyes. Who could have imagined before that this tour group would return to Hong Kong in this fashion?

I watched Mrs. Fu and her two children bid farewell to her husband. Her 4-year-old daughter affectedly asked her mother: “Mom, why is dad going back to Hong Kong but not coming home? Mom, why do I see Dad when I shut my eyes?” These innocent childish remarks broke the hearts of listeners. But the admirable Mrs. Fu was quite strong. She addressed her daughter in her normal parental tone and said that Dad has gone to heaven. She asked her daughter to bid farewell to Dad. After a while, she began to cry. There was also the dull look in little sister Wong’s eyes, looking as if all her feelings have been drained. After getting off the plane, I approached the mother of our tour guide Masa. I held her hands, but I did not know what I should say. I was only able to say that I wanted to thank Masa because he took care of us right until the very last moment.

On the way home, I looked at the moon through the car window. It was so round that it was heart-breaking. I don’t know if this is July 15 or 16 in the Lunar Calendar. The moon was so bright, yet so cold.

I have reviewed the incident in my mind many times over the past several days. I am extreme angry and sad. I also have an indescribable regret. I kept thinking, Why didn’t we take action to save ourselves? Why did hand our fates over to an incompetent government during the long waiting process and quietly wait for the help that never came?

Some of us actually did think about taking action to subdue the gunman. So why did we waver? Because we were afraid, because we thought that the gunman did not really want to kill anyone, because we thought that the matter would be peacefully resolved and, of course, our biggest mistake was to over-estimate the capabilities of the local police.

The gunman got on the bus around 10am. We were about to leave the ancient fortress that commemorates the founding father of the Philippines. He got on the bus and said a long string of words in local dialect. He also used some simple English. Through the interpretation of our local guide, we learned that he was a policeman who had been dismissed unfairly. He was originally scheduled to retire in January next year. He wanted the government to re-open his case, give him his job back and restore his 1 million peso pension payment.

The gunman apologized to us many times. He said that he did not really want this to happen to us. He only needed us to help him force the government to pay attention to his case. He emphasized repeatedly that he would not harm anyone as long as we cooperate with him. He then asked the tour guide to confiscate our mobile phones. But he did not really seriously check whether we did hand over our mobile phones (I was really sorry afterwards that I actually handed over my mobile phone). He emphasized that he did not want our mobile phones, but he was only temporarily holding them.

He said that he did not want our money. He let the elderly Mr. Lee get off the bus, because Lee suffered from diabetes. Everything made us think that he had some minimal humanitarian concern to look after the young, the old and the sick and therefore he was not a vicious thug. Right before he opened fire, he never even pointed the gun at any of us. He never threatened us. When we said “toilet” to him, he would wave his hand to let us go into the small room in the rear of the bus to relieve ourselves using a plastic bag.

During the first few hours, the gunman was calm when he spoke on the phone. Often times he smiled. He kept saying, “Ok, ok.” This reassured us. Periodically he would emphasize again that he would not hurt us. He let people from the outside bring food for us twice. Right before dusk, while we were still worried and afraid, it was still relatively calm in side the bus. I read my palm several times. I thought that I have a long lifeline. Didn’t the palmists tell me that several times before? I told myself that this was just a farce that would end satisfactorily.

At first, we thought that the demands of the gunman were simple enough to be resolved within an hour or two. By noon, we were getting impatient. We whispered to each other about acting together to subdue the gunman. The gunman was alone. Although some of us are children, elders and women, we had about ten able men, youngsters and adult women who could act. The tight space on the bus would make it hard for him to escape from us. If we act together, we could subdue him. But we were scattered all over the bus as ordered by the gunman, one person per row on each side of the aisle. The bus was also long. If we cannot hold a discussion together, it would be hard to coordinate our actions. I spoke several times with the team mates in the rear. But because it was still relatively peaceful, we did not take action because we thought that the matter would be peacefully resolved and, if we took action, it would rile the gunman.

At some time past 1pm, the gunman used simple English to tell us that he would let us go at 3pm. I thought he said 8pm. But Mr. Leung who sat on the same row on the other side of the aisle corrected me and said that it was 3pm. Mr. Leung asked the gunman whether it was 3pm. The gunman said, Yes. Mr. Leung replied, Good. We were relieved. I don’t carry a watch and my mobile phone had been taken away. So I kept asking Mr. Leung for the time. When Mr. Leung told me that it was 230pm, I got worried again: Why did the government seem to be doing nothing? Why didn’t they meet the gunman’s demands? I began to think whether we should negotiate with the gunman ourselves? But the gunman seemed to understand only minimal English …

Several times the gunman opened the front door of the bus and stood on the steps. I really wanted to race up behind him and kick him out. I rehearsed the move many times in my mind. But I was afraid that I could not communicate with the driver and I was worried that he would not be alert enough to close the door and drive away immediately, leaving the time for the gunman to counter-attack … I thought about many possibilities. In the end, I took no action. This may just be an excuse for my fear and cowardice.

Time dragged on without any sign of resolution. The team mates at the rear of the bus discussed several times about subduing the gunman. We noticed that he always carried his weapons on him. We determined the best spot to attack him. We looked for objects around us to use as weapons. I said that although I am short and weak, if the guys can hold him down, I can grab his gun and hold his hand down so that the people in front of the bus can escape. Mr. Leung also instructed his children to assist during our assault. But in the end, we wavered and did not do anything, all because the gunman kept moving the stated deadline back and back while waiting for a government response.

We felt that he really did not want to kill anyone until the moment when he actually opened fire on the team mates in the front rows. By the time Mr. Leung rushed over to save his family, it was too late. Afterwards I spoke to Mrs. Leung and she said that she was ready to join us in our attack on the gunman. She planned to use some strings in her handbag to tie around the gunman’s neck. If we had all been braver, if we had gotten our act together earlier and if we took decisive action instead of waiting for the police rescue, the outcome might have been different. Unfortunately, history does not have any “maybe’s”.

I hid underneath my seat and avoided the volley. At that instance, I could hardly believe that this scene from some movie was really happening to me. I saw that my mother hid herself under her seat in another row and was also alive. I felt better. After the first volley, it became quiet inside the bus. There was the sounds of thunderclaps outside. Then the rain fell down hard on the bus top which made the inside of the bus even more eerily quiet. It was very dark inside the bus. When the gunman found someone still alive, he fired more shots with flames coming out the barrel. I saw that blue fire entered the bodies of the team mates who became immobile and silent. After a while, there came many more loud gunshots. The bus was also being struck hard on all sides, reminding the survivors that they could be dead within the next second.

Looking at the immobile bodies in front of me, I automatically began to say the Buddhist chant ?????,????,?????,?????? so that the dead ones can reach the opposite shore quickly. This was my long-time custom whenever someone passes away. I wondered without reflection, Are they really dead? Several minutes ago, they were still alive. Are their souls still wandering around inside the bus? I kept repeating the Heart Prayer slowly, one word at a time … I thought about all the things that I still cannot bear to leave behind. I thought about all the things that I still wanted to do. I thought about my beloved family and friends. Of course, it would be better not to die. But I was no longer as scared as I was initially. I was most concerned about my mother who was coughing from the two tear gas assaults and might be detected by the gunman.

The gun battle went on for a very long time, as if it would never end. I felt that my hair and body were covered in blood, all coming from others. But the next second it could be my blood. For several days afterwards, I could still feel the smell of blood.

Inside the ambulance, we asked the emergency workers to stop the bleeding on Mr. Chan’s hands. The emergency workers said that they had no equipment. My mother was still suffering from the effects of the tear gas and wanted some water to drink. The emergency workers said that they had no water. I looked in the cabinet inside the ambulance. There was nothing inside. I had to smile bitterly.

We arrived at the government hospital, where the facilities were also sparing. We were then moved to a better hospital. Various government officials, emergency department people and consulate representatives kept asking us why the gunman suddenly went crazy and opened fire. I got mad and I cursed them out, Did they really want to rescue us? How could it take so long to rescue people? Why didn’t the police seize the opportunity to attack the gunman when he showed himself in public? Why didn’t they meet the gunman’s demands and free the hostages first? … Mr. Chan kept trying to find information about his girlfriend Ms. Yee. But there was no way because it was chaos at the hospital. Mrs. Leung tried to find her children. It was heart-breaking to see her tear-covered eyes. She looked ready to collapse any moment. I took care of my crying, terrified mother on one side while holding Mrs. Leung’s hand in my other hand. She and I repeatedly asked the government officials present to take her to see her children. But these incompetent government said that they had no idea which hospital her children were at …

I was at the hospital. I let my mother settle down. It was almost 5am in the morning. I took off my blood-soaked clothes. My hair was rigid after the blood had curdled. I washed myself for a long time. The thick smell of the blood made me want to vomit. I came back out and sat on the sofa. I watched the steady rhythm of the breathing of my mother sleeping in her bed. I was afraid that she might become motionless suddenly. I watched for I don’t know how long. Then I became certain. Yes, we are safe, we are alive. I took a deep breath. I became calm inside slowly. I watched the dawn come, as if I just emerged into a new life. I closed my eyes. But the sound of gun shots rang out — “pow, pow” — my calm was disrupted. Hereafter, every time I closed my eyes, I heard gunshots and saw the bodies of my team mates writhing. I didn’t know if they are on the way to Heaven. I could not close my eyes.

The world saw how ridiculously and incompetently the Philippines government and police handled the matter. There is no need for me to say more. While at the hospital, I watched the local news. I learned what their President did and said. I heard that the police excused their own incompetence by blaming the media. They said that there should be news blackout during emergencies. I had to curse out aloud in the room. During my two days in the hospital, I was visited by many Philippines government officials and other persons. The younger sister of the President visited me on behalf of her brother. I stated my anger directly. I demanded a thorough investigation, accountability and an explanation to the families of the victims. The medical workers at the hospital did their best to take care of us. I am very grateful to them. I realize that they are trying to make good for the mistakes of their nation.

Before returning to Hong Kong, I went to see Mrs. Leung. I wanted to tell her that we were returning to Hong Kong before her. I also wanted to give her some support. Mrs. Leung was awesome. She was very calm, and she comforted me. She believed that God has given her a lot of spiritual support. But when we spoke about the final moments inside the bus that day, both of us began crying. Dear God, although I am not a believer in you, please take care of her heaven-bound loved ones as well as give your infinite love and blessing for her son who is still struggling between life and death.

I kept thinking about what turned a former excellent policeman into a cold-blooded killer? Didn’t he have any reservations? Didn’t he worry about his own family? What drove him to such desperate straits? Why did he have to choose to take hostages in order to force the government to review his case? Is there no way of making an appeal in that country?

I realized finally that even though I had some colleagues from the Philippines, I and most Hong Kong people know almost nothing about that country. There are more than one hundred thousand Filipina domestic helpers in Hong Kong and they live with our families. But we have never cared about this country and its people who provide us with a large number of cheap laborers. We know that the Philippines is poor and that is why they export domestic workers all over the world. But how poor? I checked and I found out that one-third of its people live below the poverty line. Killings and kidnapping occur on a daily basis. Under such circumstances, why kind of life do the people have? I remembered that two days before the hijacking, our schedule included a visit to a flower car factory. There we smelled a foul odor. The tour guide pointed to the outside of the factory wall. There was a mountain of garbage out there. Many young children were picking through the garbage to make their living. This made us sad and speechless.

After returning to Hong Kong, I learned that there had been quite a bit of anti-Philippines talk in Hong Kong over the past several days. On the Internet, someone proposed revenge by sending all Filipina domestic helpers home so that their country would plunge into economic hardship. I learned that Filipina domestic helpers were insulted in the streets, with the Philippines being referred to as the “nation of slaves” and the “nation of servants.” I can understand that the citizens are incredibly angry with the Philippines government and police. I feel the same way myself. But what has this got to do with the people of the Philippines?

Have we forgotten what it feels like to be discriminated against? Hong Kong was a colonized society for a long time, with the Chinese being discriminated against by the so-called “masters” within the system and their daily lives. But now some Hong Kong people turn around to speak like slave-owners that “We hired so many Filipinas so we are their bosses” and “it was an act of benevolence to hire you so how dare you offend your superiors” against the Filipina domestic helpers who had nothing whatsoever to do with the Manila hostage incident itself. This is just appalling.

The Filipina domestic helpers are the victims of their incompetent government, which was unable to provide a decent living for its people. That is why so many Filipinas have to leave their families. They work to take care of other’s children while leaving their own children behind. So why should the Filipina domestic helpers in Hong Kong serve as the scapegoats of their incompetent government? Why are some Hong Kong people angry but also being racist?

Even more incomprehensibly, the Hong Kong government has just announced at this time that the wages of all domestic helpers (including Filipinas) will continue to be frozen. This means that the foreign domestic helpers cannot share the fruits of the economic recovery. Is our government exploiting the situation? Would the government care to tell us about their standards and system for determining wage levels for foreign domestic helpers? Their actions right now carry the impression that the government wants to punish the foreign domestic helpers. This is no help towards relieving anti-Philippines sentiments. A friend quoted the words of Lu Xun: When the brave become angry, they draw their knives at those even stronger; when the meek become angry, they draw their knives at those even weaker. Do the people of Hong Kong only know to draw their knives against the weak?

Over the past several days, Hong Kong has been both angry and sad over this Manila hostage incident. Although I have not discussed with other team members, I am sure that we are grateful for the concern and support of the citizens. But the way to comfort the souls of the dead is not to blame the innocent Filipina domestic helpers and the people of the Philippines. Our focus should be clearly on the Philippines government and its police. We want a fair and proper investigation. We want to an account of the responsibility in the incident. We want to provide for the future of the injured persons as well as the families of the deceased. This is how we show our concern for the casualties in this incident.

In the long run, we should support the people of the Philippines to build a more trustworthy government and a more just society. This is how Hong Kong truly becomes a member of the international community and a cosmopolitan city with humanitarian concerns.

Dear team members, we have finally returned home to Hong Kong. Dear departed team mates, may your trip be smooth; please pray for your family members still with us. Those team mates who have suffered mental and physical injuries, please be strong and recover well. The road ahead is still long. May we all have a good life. Please take care of yourselves.

Credits to EastSouthWestNorth blog. I got the whole english text from them. Link also goes to Ming Pao and Inmediahk.net, I believe the untranslated text in chinese can be found on inmediahk site.

Note: I checked the official list of hostage victims and confirmed that Lee Ying Chuen is one of the survivors. I cannot vouch for the veracity of the translation, but you can view the source article and translate it.

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