First Posting: Hong Kong
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The vigilant

Last night, a man in a lower floor in the next tower was shouting primevally from his terrace. In response to a call by the estate management for residents to be vigilant, I phoned the reception right away to report the incident. All I was expecting to hear from the man on the other end was that they are going to look into it. Instead, I was bombarded with Who is complaining? I said I am not complaining but was just reporting what we witnessed as we do not know if the man is depressed or suicidal. Can I send somebody to your flat to investigate? What is to be investigated to begin with? Besides, it was 1:00 am! We were not really into the idea of receiving anyone at that hour. It seemed to me that we were the ones being investigated and not the incident itself. This reminds me of what another Mrs. Diplomat experienced while posted in China.

Once, during the deafening Chinese New Year celebrations, a stray firework smashed through the window of an absent colleague, and set the flat on fire.

A fire engine arrived but the guards refused to allow it entry into the compound because the crew didn’t have a written invitation (‘The First Secretary of the British Embassy and his wife, Nigel and Amaryllis Boggis Rolfe, invite you to the burning of their flat at 21.30. Dress formal. RSVP’).

Anyway, it was pointless to argue with the receptionist given the language barrier. The next time I see something similarly weird in this estate, I think it is best to stay mum.

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Dialogue

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