For the past week, Expatdom residents have become
increasingly-aware of the tens of thousands of fellow- Expats
who are walking backwards.
Expats are walking backwards on inner-city footpaths,
into stores, inside stores, and then leaving shops, offices and other
buildings in reverse-mode. Some have been observed ascending their apartment stairwells
in this way.
With my newshound’s nose aquiver, and my tail up, I made my way to
Gambays, to speak to Frank Minkleman, who is regarded as being one of the
best-informed of almost everything that happens in the WCE.
Arriving at Gambays, I had to take swift evasive action when Hans Klingner,
and Kennesaw "Hui San" Landis, came out the front door, and they both descended
the front entrance steps, backwards, with the dexterity of a Shanghai Expatdom car-driver
performing a precisely-steered, reverse-parking manouvre.
Inside, I sat at the long bar with Frank Minkleman and asked him if he
had any explanations, or theories, as to what lay behind these bewildering behaviours.
"Beats me", Frank said, "patrons in here walk around backwards every night. It may be some
kind of craze, you know, like hula hoops, or Rubicon’s Cubes". "I’m amazed", he said, "that
Expats are walking backwards across those jam-packed Zhongshan pedestrian crossings – it’s
sheer madness, and I can’t understand how they manage that in one piece."
Just then, our conversation was interrupted by Frank’s twin brother, Fred, who
told Frank that he was wanted, urgently, on the ‘phone.
"Excuse me please", Frank said to me. I then sat and watched, as Frank – still facing me –
took rapid retro-steps backwards to the far end of the bar, colliding with seven barstools,
and sending Tsingtao-quaffing Expat patrons off their bar-tables.
I then left Gambays, intending to call on Chief Inspector Harry Callahan, and ask him
if he could shed any light on this bizarre practice. I didn’t make it down to the Station to see CI
Callahan, as I saw him, in his squad-car, reversing at a speed of at least 140kmh, heading in the general direction of the 1912 Bar District.