Marching, the Barber and Ammens Powder.
An Old Colonial Boy on the Border
The highlight of that first week was our trip to the border area, including Sha Tau Kok and Lau Fau Shan. Sha Tau Kok Village straddles the boundary between Hong Kong and the Mainland.
Bob was a dying breed, who had served most of their career in the then remote New Territories. Rejecting Kowloon and Hong Kong as the 'bright lights', he was happiest living his life in the NT. Bob spoke fluent Cantonese.
His men worshipped him. He'd taken on the role of godfather their kids, proving a ready source of advice on schooling. He was part mentor, part father-figure and all-around old-school gentleman.
In Force folklore, Bob was the last officer to receive a field promotion. The story behind this gives some insight into the man and his values. For promotion to chief inspector, you need to pass the Standard III law exams. These were then held twice a year down on Hong Kong Island.
Working in a remote location, Bob faced something of a trek to the venue. He was upset when on arrival, the date was wrong. Somewhere along the way, the details got messed up, and Bob sought an apology for that mix-up. As none was forthcoming, he declined to attend the exams.
This went on for over ten years. Then Commissioner Roy Henry intervened to give Bob a field promotion to chief inspector. Even so, years later Bob was still upset that he'd been misled.
Bob was polite and insisted on proper manners. On one occasion in a pub, upset at the rudeness of a friend towards a barmaid, he intervened.
"If you persist with such rude behaviour, I must turn my back on you" he retorted.
I never got to work with Bob, although I met him a few times at social functions. Unfortunately, he died in 2008.