Walter De Havilland
Some history, a few opinions, the odd rant and other noises from one of the last of the colonial coppers.
The moment compressed time and distance. A moment in time that baffled me. The absurdity. The sudden interruption of events, with flashes of memory. A different place, a different time, a different world.
There was pandemonium around me. I was holding a bandage on the chest wound of a stabbing victim. His rasping breath was failing through a mouth spotted with spittle and frothy blood.
The usual gawking Hong Kong crowd pressed in around me. Sweat was trickling off my forehead, with the oppressive heat of a July evening.
A constable arrived beside me with a first aid kit. I reached for another bandage, as I ripped the package open, holding the first in place with my elbow.
As the wrapping fell away, I caught sight of the words ‘Smith and Nephews’. In an instant, I was back home in the UK, riding to work on my bike as the night shift girls huddled together at the factory gate. The chill of the morning air. In a sudden displaced, the world around me was so alien, disconnected. I was out of place.
Then, I was back in Hong Kong. All business-like. Handing the dying man into the care of an ambulance crew, pushing back the crowds. Then clearing the road and securing the scene for the nicotine-stained CID officers.
This is the life.
Another call comes in … “Robbery in progress.” So its blue lights and sirens down Nathan Road. Lighting up the faces of startled onlookers as we barrel our way through the heavy traffic. Jesus Christ … this is fun! I’d pay them to let me do this job.