Of proper Parangs and Australian Bikies in Chinatown.

One of my regular readers, also a friend, brought to my attention the fact that the parang in my last post is actually a Wu Shu sword, which is technically sports equipment. So in the interest of good blog-manship (a play on “penmanship”, get it?) I have scoured the internet to find you a REAL, scary-looking, can-cut-you-just-by-looking-it parang as my experience of being a victim of crime in Malaysia, has thankfully, excluded any encounters with one. If you must ask, I have only ever (note the sarcastic tone) been robbed and dragged across a drain, thereby having all 4 limbs abraded by gravel, in broad daylight.

However, let’s not get distracted from good and proper parangs. Here is a common version of the mean steel monster, as promised.

A picture of a parang.

A picture of a parang.

And here is a nice Chinese meat cleaver, currently on sale on eBay, which can do the same job, but which no self-respecting Malaysian thug will dream of brandishing because it smacks of amateurism.

A picture of a Chinese meat cleaver.

A picture of a Chinese meat cleaver.

So on Tuesday, just a day after my last post, HRH and I went to Northbridge (aka Chinatown) for lunch. HRH had already finished his Peking spare ribs and rice, complaining as he ate it that there were no vegetables, and I was at the tail-end of my fried rice and pork chops smothered in tomato sauce (I’ve since resumed eating Mr Pig), when in walked 5 heavily-tattoed beefcakes, sporting coloured mohawks and identical black shirts with only one word: Comancheros. A quick search of the internet reveal them to be involved in drug-dealing, murder and mayhem.

I didn’t know who they were then but after a five-second glance in their direction – they were seated in a row, an arm’s length from us, one of them even leaning on our table – my inner safety radar said it’s better to mind my own business and go back to eating. I knew they wouldn’t touch me because which pussy picks on a small-sized, unarmed and inoffensive Chinese woman in Chinatown, anyway? But I was a tad worried for HRH who summarily got up and slid out the other side to pay for our lunch. Later on, as we drove away, we saw all 5 skip across the road to VHT, the gigantic Asian Grocery store my friend Joyce had suggested I check out.

“It’s a veritable treasure trove,” Joyce once told me.

Er, I think I’ll pass. After all, who knows what the Comancheros were in there for. I hope they were only stopping by to say hello to the neighbours. Another quick search of the internet reveals that their Western Australian headquarters is in – drumroll please – Chinatown!

“Why do you think Chinatown is full of pai kia (bad hats)?” asked HRH as we made our way home.

It’s not just Chinatown in Perth that attracts unsavoury characters, it’s Chinatowns the world over. I pondered the big question: why does Chinatown attract the underbelly of society? Could it be that Chinese are too focused on making money to really care who our neighbours are? Or is it our usual, mind-your-own-business policy that has them all living in our midst? What do you think is the reason?

As we neared home, HRH said, “They could smell the blood on me. Bikies like talking about smelling blood all the time but I have seen more blood than all of them. When they usually see me, I’m standing over them with a knife in my hand, fixing up their wounds.”

“Aiyah, these people,” I mumbled, irritated by all this talk of blood and wounds.

“That’s why we (as in Chinese) say that ghosts also don’t come near surgeons. The sat hei (killing force) is too strong. Don’t I smell of blood to you?”

Ah, the bullshit that men say. “No, you just smell like body odour and sometimes of shampoo. Really, I don’t see the point in all this stabbings and slashing and whatever else.”

Go to a place like Malaysia where innocent people have parangs held to their necks and you’ll know what I mean. Why go looking for trouble in a land as peaceful and blessed as Australia? I blame all those movies that glorify violence and breaking of the law. Well, one may achieve infamy through crime but there is no glory when one is six feet under.