Letter Re Advice for College Students Living Abroad

I’m a student from Singapore studying overseas in Australia and I’m also a Christian. I have been following your blog for quite awhile, and there are some things I would like to ask.
First, what advice can you give to students studying overseas? As a student, I stay on my own in a rented place, and probably will have to move every six months or so, so stockpiling food and goods are only feasible for about a month or two worth of food, as I will have to shift everything I own on my own to my new place whenever I move. That being said, I have roughly about a month’s supply of food stored up, but it is mostly in rice. If things go bad, I won’t be able to eat well, but will survive (I stocked up on some vitamins as well. Not healthy I know, but better than nothing.). Additionally, what kind of food should I buy and store? Currently, I am thinking about baking hardtack, as they are easy to make and store well. I also have about 20 liters of water, and am able to purify more than 100 liters of water using water purification tablets and I also have a bottle of plain bleach.

As I am not in my home country, and if anything happens, I have no ‘safe’ place to go. Other than going into the bush, which will not happen, as I have no bush skills, the only choice I have is to hunker down and try, if possible, to get a flight/ship back to Singapore. With such limited options, I am worried about what to do WTSHTF, which is ever more likely, given the current swine flu going around. While I do know a family staying in a relatively rural area, I do not know if I am able to get there as their acreage is quite a distance away from my place and I have no transportation. Also, I am not sure if they are prepared and stocked up for any crisis, so there is no guaranty that they will be able to take me in. I would greatly appreciate some advice over this issue, as it is the most important issue, and also advice on whatever you think I am lacking in below.

Supplies: I have managed to gather some stuff over time, some medicine/first-aid(learned some first-aid when younger, and still know the important stuff), lights (some military stuff, since I have done my national service, a couple of wind up torches as well for backup/indefinite use), fire starting equipment (lighters, matches, fire starters, candles, no flint due to being unable to find someplace that sells it), lightweight cooking equipment (billycan, metal bowls and tins, utensils). Not much, but been trying to convince my parents to send over some more supplies I have, which are mainly military stuff (nothing illegal, but will raise some questions; excuse is they are for paintball, etc). Additionally, for food I have about 10 kg of rice, plus enough canned food for a week (or more, if I ration it), 6 liters of packet milk, about 20 packets soups, cooking spices (very good for making whatever you have taste better), salt, etc. For toiletries, I got plenty of toothpaste/toothbrushes, toilet rolls (about 2 months worth), soap/shampoo, etc.

Self defence: Nothing much, since there are strict airport rules, and can’t get a gun over here or in Singapore either. I keep a Swiss army knife on me all the time, but that is mainly for use as a tool, as normally there won’t be any time to take it out. I learned tae kwon do when young (almost got my black belt, but was unable due to circumstances), and am trying to learn more methods and techniques of fighting. If it comes down to a fight, I am fairly confident that I can hold my own against one or two people, but I have been trying to improvise weapons that will allow me to escape. I have been trying to find a place to learn Krav Maga, which is an Israeli martial art designed to teach you to fight anywhere, any how, and any time, against multiple opponents that may or may not be armed, with various weapons. They focus on being ready to fight at all times using whatever it takes to survive (aka all the dirty fighting techniques). I think that it is a very useful martial art to learn, as it is the most realistic form of combat, and teaches you how to improvise on the spot (They have two rules: 1. survive, 2. Try not to hurt your sparring partner.). In any case, I think the most important thing to have is to be aware of your surroundings and people that are around you. An armed man is hard to be beaten, unless taken by surprise, and an alert man is hardly ever taken by surprise. As a side note, I recently bought a slingshot, not that I expect it will be of any good for defence, but rather more for hunting small animals if things really go south. Just need to get around to practicing with it.

Day to day carry: I carry with me a Swiss army knife, some medicine/first-aid, water purification tablets (for 20 liters), a small LED light, a lighter and some money in small notes in a small pouch close to me everywhere I go. Planning to add on another pouch with more medical supplies, especially for this swine flu outbreak. I also have a SOG multi-tool that I can add on, but chose not to as people will really question what I am doing with 2 knives and all those stuff. Also, wherever I go, I also bring along at least 1 liter of water, a torch, a poncho, additional first-aid supplies, hand sanitizer, a bar of soap and a couple of cereal bars. If I am on a long trip (more than a day or a few hours by car), I would bring along additional stuff, like more fire starting equipment, extra food, extra water, a spare torch, and a spare change.

Skills: I learned basic first aid when young, learned tae kwon do, crude fire making (not too good), cooking, sewing (very basic, mainly for repairing/modifying clothes) and cycling (although my area is very hilly, so I hardly cycle). I am trying to learn more skills, like bushcraft, Krav Maga, hunting (doubt I will be able to), and brush up on my fire starting skills, although in light of the recent bushfires, it may be a bad idea. Also I am handy with simple repairs (mainly a crude temporary fix), and like to innovate and make new stuff.

Swine Flu: I have been trying very hard to raise my stock of food and medicines ever since I heard about the swine flu, but due to time (university) and financial constraints, I can only stock up so much. I have been buying paracetamol tablets, aspirin, face masks (box of 100, plus various other dust masks), anti-bacterial hand gel, hydrogen peroxide, and am looking for surgical gloves, proper N95 equivalent face masks, Sambucol, more water purification tablets, antibiotics, Betadine, bandages, etc.

Economic crisis: I have been looking around for a place to purchase silver bullion with whatever spare cash I have, but have been unable to find a dealer. I am hoping to get at least 150 ounces of silver in 1-ounce to 10-ounce bars before the economy gives way, which I suspect won’t be long. I pray it doesn’t happen, as my home country will be hit really hard as it is focused heavily in the financial sector, but being a realist, I think eventually my family will have to move over to Australia, as at least it has farmland, natural resources and a very social welfare-focused government as well.

Thanks for all your effort to educate people about the coming world situations and how to prepare for it. What you are doing can mean life or death to many people in the future when the world crashes and burns. – DieReady

JWR Replies: By all means, do team up with a rural family, if you can. If you cache a large quantity of food with them, you will be assured of being welcome there WTSHTF, since you will be a benefactor for the family. In such circumstances, food is a much better investment than silver! If you can pre-position your storage food and most of your gear there, you can plan to bug out via mo-ped.

There are two ways of looking at obstacles to preparedness: 1.) As reasons to give up, or 2.) as challenges and opportunities for growth. For example, your hilly terrain can be seen as an opportunity to build strength and endurance, rather than as an excuse for not bicycling. And just because you can’t find a local martial arts center that teaches Krav Maga, don’t lapse into inactivity. Study whichever art is available locally. Just be sure to find the best full contact dojo in town. Furthermore, don’t look at airport security restrictions as a the lowest common denominator for your self defense preps. If you are going to be in Australia for an extended period of time, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t go ahead and purchase a few key “dual use” self defense items, such as a half dozen 15 minute road flares, a machete ., and a six-C-cell black MagLite ..You might also see if these is a local archery club–perhaps affiliated with your local university. Practice at least twice a week with your slingshot! They can indeed be quite useful if you take the time to practice. For your silver purchases, be willing to look further afield for dealers, or if need be, to buy from a reputable mail order dealer. Concentrate on the positive aspects of prepping, shepherd your available funds, train consistently, and you’ll make progress!