Home and Away

my faith, my life, in a faraway land Livin', inspirin & lovin' it

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

my day in the valley

I received a tip-off (from Bruce- from Dr Sayes - probably from his Thai wife) that there are a number of restaurants in Chinatown that have been frequent by a group of Anglo-Saxons (sounds a little racist hey) who often left without paying for their meals. So there I was, the whole day, trudging the streets, under the HOT sun and asking Chinese bosses if this ever happened to their restaurant.

No! no! no! Some said.

Aiya.. it's common! Said others.

Don't put my shop name ar. Said all.

Sigh. Asians. Or Chinese? I expected this. It's obvious that most of them would have made losses through this way. But most wouldn't own up. Fear? I think so. But I just can't really understand what they are afraid of.

Two restaurants were brave enough to give me a proper interview. A Thai and a Vietnamese restaurant. Please Chinese! Don't be so 'Kiasi' can? Those people were no thugs. Just some nasty ones who think they could bully Asians because of their language barriers. Wicked.

This Thai waiter who spoke to me. Think he's probably around 18-19 years old. He said this group of freeloaders usually come in groups of 5-6. They would pretend to be skateboarding while eating outside the restaurant and would leave one by one while the people are busy serving other customers. Otherwise, they would either complain of a wrong order or that the food was not up to standard and try to dispute the charge. He said he's always afraid when they come in as he'll be scolded again if he's not careful.

The Vietnamese restaurant related experiences with a much older bunch in their late 20s. One time, the whole group left and got one of their friends to walk into the restaurant, pretending to pay. But in actual, that girl merely went in to enquire about the bill and not to pay. Just to ask how much was the food. And the rest of the staff thought she had paid and there they were allowed to sly off again. On other occasions, these people would gobble their food and leave just one last piece of meat and complain that the "meat is not fresh".

Well, I guess the hard fact was also that the police are simply not enthusiastic in helping them. This is what I gathered. The owner of the Vietnamese restaurant said her restaurant was burglar once and the police merely told them they couldn't do anything unless there were fingerprints. This was almost the view of all the people I spoke to. The police can do NOTHING!

Anyway, I thought I probably should have a look at these 'ma da' (Cantonese for police) for myself. Went to Police Beat, FV.

"I'm sorry. We're not supposed to comment." female officer said.

"Yeah, I've been here. I've been explained all these. I just need some information," I said.

"OK," she said and passed me to another male officer.

Man... he was tall. But not handsome. Nasty attitude too. I'm not one of those street people I thought in my mind while trying to maintain my politeness. Well, it didn't work.

"Well, I just need to know what the police is doing for the people in this area. What are your normal duties?" I asked.

"I can't tell you out routine. I'm not all that sure who you are. You may be these people who are trying to get information off us. How am I supposed to know?" he said.

Wasn't that silly?

"Yeah of course, Sir. I'm not asking for your routine. But don't you guys do patrols around the area? What do you guys do here?" I asked again. Man.. I thought this is such a straightforward question and they have a duty to tell us what they are doing but no.. He tried to beat around the bush again.

"As what police in all parts of the world would do, we do patrol around the area," he replied. "We can't give out any information.. da da da da".

"Sir, listen to me.. listen to me," I tried hard to shut him up. To the point I thought we were having a shouting match. Or debate. Maybe.

I must say I wasn't intimidated. We stared hard into each others eyes. I was smiling. He wasn't.

"Sir, I've been explained all these. I've been here a number of times. You don't have to tell me all over again ok". I explained to him. "In fact, the last time I was here, I was invited into that room (I pointed to the room on the right) and I had a great interview with one of you ".

He looked a little sheepish and gave an awkward smile before he said again. NO.

What an arse.

Anyway, I got back at him by teasing him in front of his colleagues, by saying his real stern with a comical tone. All of them laugh and he retreated to the pantry. LOL.

Yeah.. but thank God, I didn't pack my day right away. I walked back to China Town Mall, to take some pics. And there, I met this Chinese police officer!!!!! Yay! I walked up to him and he gave me some really good 'information'. Well, according to him, the Aussie police really don't care a damn about what's happening in their backyard. Therefore his position 'Police Liaison Officer' was created to act as a bridge between the Asian communities and the Australian police.

"I push the people to report and I push the police to work" he said.

And so our convo summed up my day. Got what I need to write a story. Satisfied. Will be back in the Valley for more stories next week.


At 3:46 AM, Blogger Dave said...

Grace Chen! Hardcore la! ;) I'm close to talking to Bruce.... look at my stories from Narrabri Bruce, help a brother out yo. Yeah, I can't remember why I was up late the other night. No doubt avoiding work, like now. So I'll leave. :) see you, Tuesday? in ethics.

At 9:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

good stuff, girl! am proud of u! asking the tough questions! i'm so rusty.. haven't written one for so long.. good on ya! :D

-- ephiriel


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