A fashion clueless struggling in Paris. The world is attracted to the light of this city,and me to the history, but the shadow beneath her reveals herself to you eventually. The Parisians are forged thus so attractive is their culture. Why ‘the third red apple?’ A hint maybe in the page available in English and French.
Mme. Harmonie was not
beautiful.But Scarlet O’Hara she was
not either.But the two women shared the
look of determination, not letting anyone get in her way. Mme. Harmonie derived her power from her occupation
which was critique.It would have made
more sense if she had been a food critique, but no.She decided to have a restaurant on side to
lean back on.A very condescending
attitude to get into any business, especially the food industry.It is much more than providing food, drinks
and a fake smile promoting ‘honest artisan experience’.There are number of reasons why there are so
few restaurants are awarded Michelin Stars.
I have come to
notice that Michelin Star awarded restaurants mostly rent or own the floor
above their restaurants so as not to annoy the neigbours.Their kitchens with commercial size machines
are kept down in the basement to protect the clients and the neighbours from
electromagnetic, low frequency noise and all other health hazards.Of course it is all costly infrastructure that
requires professional integrity to observe.What do I know but it seems a wonderful coincidence that Michelin has
awarded the restaurants with CONSCIOUS, not just the taste.
Mme. Harmonie soon
blasted us with all night dance bar with a disco beat music.Had she bothered to obtain the costly bar
license?No, there is not yet a sticker
of blue and red opal on the façade of her restaurant.As for my plea to insulate her ceiling, Mme.
Harmonie insisted to believe Mr. Pride’s lies that it had been done so already.She insisted that it was all in my mind.‘Don’t jump to judge us just because the
former manager was bad.We’re totally
new team!’ You cannot win with a person
whose job is to criticize.
Totally new team,
Mme. Harmonie said.However, I saw a few
waiters who used to work for Mme. Empathy.The main chef was new, but the assistant chef was still the same
guy.I remembered this guy with
bitterness because he was the one who kept breaking the regulations.Chefs were prohibited to wander into the
private court of the residents, but he kept puffing the cigarette there with
insolence look.This lack of
self-discipline may have been the reason he was never promoted to the main
chef, despite there had been 4 or 5 main chefs under 11 months since the
opening of this restaurant from Hell.
But it was the man
walking into the restaurant with this mediocre chef that stupefied me.To be continued.
Mme. Landlord creased her face and spat ‘Do not expect this
tenant to reciprocate decency.She is
from the lowest end of the society!’Now
I do not claim to know much about the society in France, but I had been surprised
that Mme. Harmonie allowed her team to do renovation work over 4 weekends in
row in this respective area of Paris where sensible people refrain from doing
washing on Sundays. Even Mme. Empathy left us in peace on Sundays to show some class.
Nevertheless I still had to pin hope on her
because the sales of the restaurant to Mme. Harmonie practically rendered my
lawsuit against the restaurant invalid.
All the deception to the authority was committed by the former
restaurant owner, not the new one. Even the
name of their lawyer was withdrawn from the online noticeboards of the court
cases because there would be no meaningful verdict now.
The plus side of this, however, was that
Mr. Honour, the biggest Goliath, was gone with Mme. Empathy.It was a humongous relief.Sure it was his misplaced sympathy in his friend that put the restaurant from Hell beneath my floor, but it was also his
influence that forced Mr. Pride and Mme. Empathy to do the right thing, though
partially.I was rescued from the death chamber
of noise and leaked electricity. Now it
was up to Mme. Harmonie to insulate her ceiling.She had called out to the landlords that she
would like to come to favorable agreement, had she not?
It turned out what Mme. Harmonie really meant was ‘favorable to
her only.’ She walked into my room and
closed the window and told Mme. Landlord that I should keep my windows closed
all the time if the restaurant noise bothered me.Mme. Landlord hit back, ‘People have the
right to enjoy fresh air from the opened windows in this part of Paris, though
it may be different from where you are from!’ I gasped that a restaurant owner who serve food to the public should have little regards to the well-being of others. Also the decisively superior attitude of Mme. Landlord made me wonder how she really saw me and her gay tenant in her mind. I was to find out several months later.
Back to Mme. Harmonie. She turned to me all of sudden in English demanded that I admit that the noise of the
kitchen did not bother me.Now, she came
in the morning when there was no clients in the restaurant. There was only one chef and he was standing still in front the cooking
table.It would be different once the
guests came in and the chef and his assistant chef would be rushing around the
kitchen, opening and bang closing the refrigerator.As I tried to explain this I saw a crafty
grin on Mme. Harmonie.She knew all these
but trying to feed her words into my mouth.I
said ‘it would be different at later hours.’Mme. Harmonie was adamant to trap me. ‘But are you annoyed by the noise now?’Seeing that she was not going to let up, I
had to resort to shake my head slightly.It was ‘no’, but I gave her no words to quote me later. She was taken back in silence.
During the conversation pursued between
Mme. Landlord and Mme. Harmonie, it was revealed the new owner of the
restaurant had not been informed of the unauthorized ventilation pipe by neither
Mr. Pride nor Mme. Empathy.Mme.
Harmonie had been deceived, but she was no way a victim by nature. To be continued.
You might wonder why I was not disappointed that Mme.
Empathy did not get her uppercomance. First, I had not expected any
because this is not a movie, but a true story in the real
life. Secondly, it was all those men who had bent the rules and
morality to indulge her ever since she could remember. What person
would not be affected by that? What person would even think of doing
the right things or playing by the rules after such easy rides? I
have no sympathy for those men who ended up being trodden by her. I
was just sooooo grateful that I had survived the woman.
Besides, a few months break in Japan had normalized my
I realized that the worst was over. Mr.
Pride’s architect had done a good job suppressing the noise of the
ventilation. Sure there was still some noise during the night, but
my super-duper insulation SHIZUKA would conceal it. Sure it was
unfair that I had to pay for them from my own pocket, but they were portable
thus I could take them with me anywhere.
Mme. Landlord was still ever bent on driving Mr.
Pride’s restaurant out, but I was feeling sorry for the new
owner. The new owner was also a victim of Mme. Empathy. I
shall call her Miss Harmony because she sent a letter to every resident and
every landlord that she would like to talk and come to an amicable
agreement. No one replied, except me. I felt sorry for
the woman who had been lied to and invested her savings into this dodgy
restaurant permit. If she could agree to insulate the ceiling of the
restaurant, I would have loved to make peace with Mr. Pride for her
sake. With this high expectation I went to meet the woman with Mme.
How naïve I was. I should have remembered
my instinct when I first saw Miss Harmony: the dark shadow leaning against the
wall puffing smoke out with confidence. As I got to know her, I
began to see why Mme. Empathy felt no remorse for deceiving the new owner of
the restaurant from Hell.
But what surprised me just as much, if not more, was Mme. Landlord who
was not at all pleased about meeting Mme. Harmonie. To my surprise the
departure of Mme. Empathy did not excite her either. ‘They're just
tenants. Dealing with them does not solve the problem at the
root. It is the landlord that matters.’ Her reasoning was
correct, but I was a tad surprised to detect classism in her
tone. We are all guilty of some form of discrimination, but not
everyone poses to be egalitarian. I had respected Mme. Landlord for
her volunteer works for migrants and her tolerance for
homosexuals. Unfortunately, she was having problems with her other
tenant who was gay and that may have affected her frame of mind?
Pork Barrel is politicians’ one mean out of
many (hopefully legitimate ones) to ensure their office, but Japan is currently
rocked by a scandal tagged by the word SONTAKU that can be translated as ‘Conjectures’. It all started by our First Lady whose desire
was to become ‘a Saint.’ God, help
us. According to the media (thus not
guaranteed, these days) she had been urging people to exploit her influence that came from her status. People with good sense did
not take up the offer, however, at least one man thought, ‘why not?’ and to cut
the long story short, one bureaucrat had to commit suicide and our current
Prime Minister’s third reelection is off the table.
It may have been the same with Mr.
Honour.He may have wanted to do a
genuine favour for Mme. Empathy. But many people, not just me, have suffered
physical damage as the result of his action.But what Mr. Honour and the First Lady of Japan ought to have known was that
doing a favour to one person would result in depriving a fair chance from other
candidates. In Mr. Honour’s case, some other decent restaurant team which
deserved the chance to contribute to serious Paris dining scene was wasted on Mme. Empathy's team who was in it for easy cash. The First Lady of Japan may have become a Saint to her
acquaintances, but she has become a predator in the eyes of the others.
My neighbors live in fear of Mr. Honour
after their official complaints against Mme. Empathy’s
restaurants were rejected based on inconclusive evidence.The officers had come to measure the noise and odour when the restaurant was
closed.Coincidence? My lawsuit was slowed further by an odd counterclaim
from the accused. My lawyer could not
believe how things were different from his other cases.However I somehow sensed some darkness had
been lifted from the building.
It was not long before Mme. Landlord found
out that Mme. Empathy was searching for a new apartment where she could live with her new man with the money she had obtained from the sale of her shares in the
restaurant business.Our femme fatal had found a sucker to wash her
hands off.This meant my struggle would
continue, but it brought about a wonderful twist. Mr. Brave, her arduous admirer, also sold his
apartment, which left Mr. Pride with less allies.I chose to celebrate for the time being.
…until another shadow was leaning by our
wall, puffing out the smoke.
No more sugar sweet voice, Mme. Empathy
bared her fangs at Mr. Pride.‘I and my
brother (Mr. Justice) will sue you for compensation for failing us.My patrons invested into the renovation and machines
of the restaurant based on the 10 years guarantee you signed. However, you failed to silence that nagging
Mme. Landlord at the last assembly general.You said you had intimidated the Syndic so that he would yield to your
demand!But we cannot forever ignore the
lawsuit against us by that Jap or Chinese, oh, whatever!’
I had seen the scary side of Mme. Empathy
which could send shiver down the spine of anybody, even Mr. Pride, the man who
sniggered at the physical ordeal of an Asian woman.Despite that, I could still see his points
that she was to be blamed for not having played by the book which led to my
lawsuit.He was also a victim of Mme.
Empathy because if it were not for her silver tongue, he may not have purchased
this defective property equipped with an extractor pipe installed illegally by
the former owner without the consent of the Syndic.In fact this was the main issue of my
lawsuit.My lawyers saw that my physical
suffering would not carry much weight in the court (wow!), but the illegality
of the pipe may.This is why the
otherwise confident Mme. Empathy was rattled.
She softened her expression and cajoled Mr.
Pride.Oh I have seen that transition a
few times myself.Mme. Empathy purred ‘But
we can get out of this if you follow my plan.I will find some sucker to buy my machines off me.You just keep your mouth shut about the
pending lawsuits and I will not need to sue you.’My lawyer did not think this was possible as
any sensible buyers would check the status of the restaurant permit.The prospective buyers would soon see the
records of the pending lawsuit and would stay away from the trouble.No problems as Mme. Empathy would choose her
preys wisely.Would her protector or my
Goliath give her time she needed to run?Would there be another prey added to Mme. Empathy’s trail of