The world is attracted to Paris, the city of light, but if you stay to live the shadow beneath her reveals itself to you eventually…at least it has to me. Through my daily struggle in Paris, I began to realize what possessed me to title this blog as ‘the third red apple.’ An initial hint is in the pages available in English and French, but little did I know that it was just a beginning.
Mme. Empathy was being confronted by her chef. ‘Madame, you lied to me. I only agreed to install the extracting
ventilation directly on the ceiling because you assured me that the ceiling had been
insulated.’ Mme. Empathy replied with a
smile ‘but it is! I cannot do any more insulation than this.’ He did not quite
believe her because this chef did not abuse the extractor to his credit. Any chef would know the hell I was being put
through upstairs. At least the other chefs I had the chance to consult was aghast.
I was incessantly hit by relentless
vibration that my hands started to shake regularly. My lungs and my necks felt oppressed that I desperately needed to leave
the apartment. However, I had to go back
and record everything for at least one month.
The police would only come and measure the noise level only after I have
suffered and got affected by it. My
lawyers needed time to gather all the necessary documents and the tribunal in
France required HEAPS. Many times I had
to grit my teeth to prevent myself from vomiting. Every time the extractor stopped I would drop down on the floor like a puppet
with a string that got snapped. At least 10 hours of this every day and all the muscles around my neck and my shoulder became stiff as rock.
Mme. Empathy was annoyed that her mood was
ruined by being reminded of me. I knew
she was more angry than sorry because I had run into her one morning. She looked at me like a trouble maker whom
she had every right to be indignant with.
She tried to get the chef to agree with her by saying, ‘that Asian woman
is exaggerating to deceive money out of us.
It can’t be that bad if she is staying.
Asians can breed in any kind of conditions, can’t they?’ Mme. Empathy did not realize that the chef,
whom she had hired in order to ride on the Asian cuisine wave in Paris, did not
reply. Shortly afterwards, the Asian chef quit
the restaurant. This I heard from the other chef who would
also quit the restaurant later.
Some readers may suspect as Mrs. Empathy
did that I may be suing the restaurant for money. The compensation for noise nuisance is
amazingly small in France. My lawyer
warned me that the legal fees would be easily be tenfold of the compensation
price. However, Mme. Empathy is right in believing herself
not to be a racist. She does not indeed
see the colour of people’s skin. In fact
she does not see human beings in anybody, otherwise she would have paid more attention on the facial expression of the Asian chef she addressed. There are cases when even racism feels more
humane. To be continued.
I returned to my building after midnight
but the guests were still in the restaurant. The drunks were laughing away with
Mme. Empathy. But I was
relieved to find that the chef was outside smoking so at least there would be no
more cooking. This chef was an Asian
which is considered trendy in Paris these days.
He did not know then that Mme. Empathy would later reveal her racism and
threw him out after stealing his French-Asian fusion recipe. A woman who tramps down her neighbors would
have no scruples mistreating her employees.
However, there was one group of people Mme.
Empathy would turn her charm on and that was 'elites'. She boasted of being chummy with famous food
critics. Even her brother had a
connection with someone in the Council or in French le Mairie. Can such a thing be possible in an advanced
nation like France? But how do you
explain the fact that their permit to open a restaurant was granted by one
person at the Council only a few months after the first application was turned
down by a different person?
I walked up the stairs expecting my apartment
to be quieter, but even after the cooking had finished I could still hear the
staff’s every movement, every shelf and indoor door slam shut as they were in
the same room. Mme. Empathy and Mr.
Pride had not insulated their ceiling AT ALL and yet they were granted the approval by PASU for the facilities in their restaurant. In Paris, you need two types of permit, one
from the Council and one from PASU, but our two clever pair managed to cheat both
systems. To my dismay, their dishwasher
was set in motion. Even in France the
electricity rate is cheaper after midnight.
Of course, Mme. Empathy would take advantage of that. Eventually the guests and the staff would
leave, but I was to be left behind exposed to their electric appliances for
After the sleepless night, I opened my door to
Mme. Landlord. She saw my distress but was
too honest to offer me unrealistic consolation.
In silence one old lady with one Asian woman headed for the restaurant. Power was not on our side. To be continued.
My last 4 posts have related my personal life which I hope to stop with this post though they were all in tune with my theme of multiculturalism not working in practice. My long time readers would know I only question the multi-nationalism pushed by the politicians for commercial financial gain. Love between two individuals exists on an entire different level. I have much respect for the people who have the courage to live by love because I must confess I have been rather coward in that field.
If one of his reasons this 'Gentleman from Sydney' kept a distance from me was racism, I cannot blame him because although I am not a racist, I am guilty to some degree of its cousin 'classism'. You may be picturing a rich brat, but my great-grandfather squandered it all that we have been on our own financially since then. Financially I am a middle-class of Japan, but my life has been imposed of many ‘Don’t’ than ‘Can’ because I am a genuine descendent of Shizoku, or you might know better as Samurai Warriors. Unlike depicted in TV and films Samurai spent more time on study and art so their mind would be fulfilled and content to let go of their lives when their feudal Lords required their service which highly likely to entail their death. Thank God I was not born in the old days when a Samurai lady would be required to carry a dagger to kill herself should she ever face disgrace of violation of her virtue. If time allowed she would be required to tie her knees together with a string so during the excruciating pain from the stab in her heart her legs would stayed closed no matter how much she writhed in pain.
Things have much relaxed since then and most restrictions I have to live with are pretty normal as those withstood by girls from decent background of any country. A few example are: do not speak or laugh loud in public because it is crass. Speaking of money is so unladylike. See? Pretty normal. What may surprise you that marriages are still arranged among some and it is perfectly acceptable for the parents to hire a detective to check out the background of the candidates. My relatives were content with my ex-husband for having the ancestors they could approve.
I do not give a damn for all those things and have lived freely since the divorce…except in relationships. I have been too scared of making another mistake when all my cousins have courageously stayed in their loveless marriage endorsed by the society. I am in awe of their patience and feel a bit ashamed of myself for lacking it. So you see, my mild classism stems from fear of letting down the people that I know and want of a strong stomach. Not arrogance as you might have imagined. However, it still served me right that I got jilted by a man from racism. With the sense of a mild defeat I leave Australia. A person like me should never have aspired to overcome the obstacles of multiculturalism.
To be continued.
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