Saturday, March 18, 2006

from the dark side

Went to a class today at the Sydney Taxi School as part of the requirements to renew my licence. It's interesting to spend a day in a room full of Turks, Bangladeshis, Chinese, Iraqis and so on, especially since these classes are fairly perfunctory so far as actual learning is concerned. Or, the learning consists more of listening to stories than it does absorbing information. You always end up talking about security issues in a group of cab drivers. One guy had a shocker to tell. He was driving in the St. George area, in the south of the City, not long after the Cronulla riots. It was one or two in the afternoon. He was hailed by a woman with bags, pulled over, popped his boot, got out to help her with her bags. As he was bending down to pick them up, he was set upon from behind by two or three guys - he wasn't sure how many, because they knocked him half conscious (with some kind of, again unknown, implement) then started kicking him when he was down. He surmised it was a racist attack because he heard the abuse they were shouting as they hurt him, calling him a wog. This guy had recently been stitched up after an operation to his stomach - they undid that. He had to have his nose rebuilt. He still has a bruise under one eye, three months later. He doesn't know how he got home but assumes that he somehow drove. His wife took him to hospital. He can't work and he said his kids start to cry if they even hear the word taxi. And this happened to him, with malice aforethought, purely because of his appearance. He said he looked around as he got out of the cab but saw no-one; the police later suggested the guys waiting were hiding under a car (!) Don't know what his background is, he didn't say. Perhaps Turkish, his friend, next to him, who knew the story, was. The guy taking the class said he looked Italian. I just thought he looked like an Aussie. But, no. But, yes.