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HONG KONG: Long journey home: Humour from Hong Kong

[Stewart Sloan is a staff member of AHRC. A former employee of the Hong Kong police he is also a prolific writer. Most of his work focuses on the humorous side relating to the local police force¡Xespecially during an era that things were very different from what it is today. Indeed, the development in efficiency and expertise observed in the HK police today is an example to its regional neighbours both near and far away. The following is an excerpt of one of his short stories to be published soon.]

It had been a long day, I¡¦d left home at 9.30 that morning, it was now ten minutes to ten in the evening and I was waiting for the 81 bus in a thunderstorm and occasional flashes of lightning leapt across the Tsim Sha Tsui skyline.

Settling into my seat I looked forward to a short trip home in light traffic. The bus continued along Nathan Road and turned onto Taipo Road, which took us through Sham Shui Po. It was along this road that the excitement started. We stopped, as usual at a bus stop and passengers started boarding. Although I could see them out of my window I paid no attention until I saw two men approaching.

I wasn¡¦t sure what it was about them that caught my eye. Neither of them were the right age for triad enforcers as they both appeared to be in their fifties. Then I saw that one of them was holding a knife. These two men started shouting at someone that was out of my line of sight and then rushed on to the bus. Pandemonium broke loose and I could hear people shouting and cursing downstairs. Then two people emerged up at the top of the staircase, a man and a woman.

On hearing the commotion the woman, who came up last turned to see the knife wielding maniac running after them. Her companion turned and obviously recognized the knife-wielding maniac and moved to intercept him. The lady however, moved first and positioned herself between her man and the fellow with the knife. A confrontation started which consisted of the knife-wielding maniac swearing and cursing and trying to get at the man and the lady who started kicking at the fellow and swatting him with her oversized handbag.

At this time a scene that could only have happened in Hong Kong unveiled itself. The lady held her man at bay with one hand whilst alternatively punching the knife-wielding maniac with her other arm and kicking him with any foot she didn¡¦t happen to be standing on at that moment in time while at the same time managing to call 999 on her hands-free mobile telephone. Her conversation with emergency services went something like this.

Lady: I¡¦m being attacked by a knifewielding maniac on the number 81 bus. We are on Tail Po Road. No I don¡¦t know where we are, look for a number 81 bus with a lot of people screaming and shouting that¡¦s us. What? You¡¦re joking, okay wait. (At this point she managed to pause in her struggle with the knifewielding maniac, stoop down so that she could see out of the window and then said): We¡¦re opposite the Chung Lau Restaurant okay!

Amazingly only second later we heard the sound of police sirens. At that point the knife-wielding maniac turned and ran. We watched him high-tailing it up the road in the company of three fully armed, well trained police Tactical Unit Officers who managed to lose him.

Things started to settle down. Mrs. Amazon and her husband descended the steps to speak with the police and at that moment a plain clothed officer who was so obviously a police officer by the fact that he had no less than two mobile phones, a beat radio and crisply ironed creases in his jeans arrived on the upper deck and asked in Cantonese if anyone had seen anything.

Amazingly, despite the fact that we had all been sitting within five feet of the event, no one admitted to having seen anything. I actually did see what happened but unfortunately could not understand what the officer had said as, everyone will tell you, My Cantonese is only slightly better than my Mongolian¡Xwhich is nonexistent.

So, the excitement over, we were allowed to go on our way. I sat on my seat at the front of the bus and wished fervently that I had a beer. I also decided once and for all that I would never again ask myself: "What else could possibly happen?"

Posted on 2009-08-13
Asian Human Rights Commission

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