terse & at large

GRRRRR. Arrrgh. And sometimes a travel log.

Friday, April 28, 2006

More Scenes from a Multiple Society

Originally uploaded by Terz.

Woman in the picture (centre) orders a whole ton of food from the Indian-Muslim stall at the coffee shop. Man comes by with all her orders and tells her the cost of the whole meal. She tells him to give her the breakdown of the costs. She does not listen to him as he lists out everything; instead, she gorges herself on the food in front of her. Then she nods and waves him off dismissively, handing him the money for the meal. When he returns with the change, she asks him again. The sum is correct, and he is dismissed again. While he's still within earshot, she sagely tells her children (boy hidden behind her bulk) that 'they' cannot be trusted. Always count wrongly, always give change wrongly.

Well, in this case, everything was correct.

racism - noun:

1. The belief that race accounts for differences in human character and that a particular race is superior to others.

2. Discrimination or prejudice based on race.

discrimination - noun:

1. Treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit; partiality or prejudice.

2. Basing one's opinion of an entire racial or class group on what one knows from one or a minority of a racial or class group.

The sad thing is that this appears a well-heeled family, with all the trappings of being able to afford an education at the 'better' schools on this island; the boy spoke English well (ie, everything was grammatical) and, though loud, had opinions to share; the mother, when espousing her views, also spoke with in a clipped manner I normally associate with the civil service (like there was some course all those years ago that teach civil servants how to speak in a 'prah-per' manner; all three are dressed in the finest clothes I've seen at a neighbourhood coffee shop, on a weekday, at lunch.

Somewhere, somehow, I'm thinking when we had to consciously celebrate something like racial harmony, a la Racial Harmony Day in schools, something went terribly wrong.

Me. I finished my meal; debated internally whether or not to comment loudly to the guy from the stall, "Why are you bothering. Stupid woman isn't even listening to you..."; gave him a nod of solidarity instead; and went on my way.

Originally uploaded by Terz.


Had a shoot today in the building that looks like that building from the Ghostbusters movie. Went well, I guess, if I don't count the morons from security making the whole thing feel worse than I'd anticipated.

I'd received a forwarded email from the building people in which I'm to bow down to the great and powerful building maintenace staff: don't enter by main door; turn in your IC (and only IC) at the security counter in the basement car park; use the fireman lift only.

When we got there, it was multiple checks by multiple security guards at every point of access; my assistant having to show her face, because, heck, having just her IC with me to exchange for the really, really ratty security pass just wasn't enough. Dude, she's carrying the lights, light stands and every other little bit of paraphernalia . I'm not about to make her walk all the way to the security counter just to show you her face.

And if I appear to be rude and uncooperative: you try responding to being treated in the manner in which we were treated. Let's see if you can remain chirpy.

10 minutes.


Thank you very much.

* And it didn't help that one of the clients said something to the effect of, "but he only a photographer, what would he know about retouching?"

Yeah, right, lady. You're lucky you weren't one of the those getting shot today; how would you like it if I put some of your colleagues' blemishes and visible nose hair on you?

Think about that.


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