What are the chances of getting your lost property back in Sydney? Pretty big. But if it doesn’t have your phone number somewhere on it, cool your heels eight days before you may retrieve it.
Okay, I’m sharing my experience, and this is the story of my wallet, lost Monday nine days ago while I was showing Sydney to some visitors. I saw it last at Wynyard Station when I was buying them cold drinks from the vending machine, just a few minutes before hopping into a North Shore train. When I realised that I had no wallet with me after leaving the train, I returned to my local station and spoke with the local Lost Property. The staff kindly checked their list. OMG, there were about 50 wallets found that day alone! But none was mine.
She said, “You might have lost it on the train or in the city. Call the main Lost Property, 93793341.”
93793341 only gives out a recorded message. It says the address of Sydney Trains’ Lost Property office is 484 Pitt Street, Sydney, the opening hours are 8.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Friday, and that they receive lost properties 7 days after the items are found. But, but my son’s umbrella was found on the same day! In fact, the Lost Property called us one hour after it was lost. So I went to their office the next day, which was located underneath Central Station, roughly under Central’s Big Ben, next to Canberra buses. I was told that my son’s umbrella had our phone number on it, but please come back a week later to check about my wallet.
I filled a lost-item form before I left, and from the glass wall I could see hundreds of big bags and suitcases, and, and a huge bicycle! Who on earth lost such a big bike on the train, and how?
The kids’ French teacher advised me to report to the Police and fill the lost-property report, in case somebody handed it to the Police.
I confiscated hubby’s bankcard (yeah, I know his PIN number 🙂 ). He said to order new cards, but instead I phoned my bank to block my bankcard until I could find my wallet. I had hopes to find it because, somehow, my level of anxiety was very low.
And today I had my wallet back!
The Lost Property had not phoned me back, because they’d just received the item last night. It’s been kept at Wynyard’s Lost Property for 7 days. I hadn’t checked there, thinking I’d lost it in the train. So this morning, after 8 days, I visited the main Lost Property office.
When I first came in, the staff behind the counter searched his computer for my name. First he asked how much cash I had in it, and when I answered correctly, he opened the connecting door and took me to see the wallets. OMG… there were hundreds upon hundreds of found wallets! Shelves upon shelves of them! In various colours, from tiny thin ones to larger ladies’ purses. As a test, I was asked to pick mine ~ which was easy because I saw it right on the top. As proof of ID, I had to show them my passport, because my other IDs were inside the wallet. Then I had to pay a $7.20 retrieving fee.
I thanked God for the kind person who handed it in at Wynyard, with all the cash and cards intact. There was no cash inside my wallet though, they have the policy to bank all found money. I gave them my bank details, and they will transfer the cash, all of it, directly to my bank account.
Readers, I hope you will never lose anything when you visit Sydney. To the Sydneysiders, please write your phone number on all of your important items now! Yeah, including on your big bicycles 🙂
Am on holiday; just want to express heartfelt gratitude to those who have sacrificed their lives for this country.
My late spiritual father once said something to this effect, “Look at the Great Barrier Reef. How magnificent! And the beauty that you can see is due to the enormous sacrifices of the previous generations, who are now hidden beneath the surface. The same thing applies to mankind. What you enjoy now, is the result of the earlier people who have worked very hard, fought and sacrificed for you, and yet you can’t see them anymore. They are never insignificant, nevertheless.”
Wherever you are in the world, I hope we’ll all continue to give our best for the advancement of our countries, for we will become the platforms where our future generation will stand on.
Joe Hildebrand brings Drunk, Dumb, and Racist to the small screen and successfully lifts ABC’s rating, makes hundreds of thousands laugh and laugh—and makes hundreds of thousands of Australian hearts cringe to face the truth.
But how much truth is in it? And is it the only truth?
I feel I can’t just laugh (yes, I’ve been a fan of Joe’s satire for years), shake my head, and get on with my life on this one. I’m a true Australian, albeit born overseas, and this stereotyping hurts me no end.
I can tell you how drunk we can be. But I can also tell you no one can beat the Icelanders for maximum damage yet, although Pommy and Irish friends boast how they try.
I can tell you how dumb we can be. But I can talk for hours about many great achievements our Australian scientists have contributed to the world lately, too.
I can tell you how racist we can be. But are we more racist than others?
Once I worked for an inbound Australian call centre in Sydney. Hearing my accent when I answered the calls, some people said the following. I include what would have been my responses- had I been allowed to voice them.
“Ahhh… a new Australian.”
New? New??? I’ve lived in Sydney longer than any other place I’ve ever been on earth!
And, “How’s the weather in New Delhi?”
Never been there in my life, mate. Go google the world’s weather.
“I want to speak with somebody who knows better English!”
Nobody in my office knows better English than me. I know legal English. I know finance and business English. I know biology and medical English. I know physics, mathematical, and IT English. I know geophysical and geological English. I know electrical and mechanical engineering English. I know philosophy and theology English. I know Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Harry Potter. They all have very different vocabularies—wanna compete with me? I’ve done linguistic work in those fields, written essays and speeches, been invited to speak in a major international conference, and I live with a hubby who can only speak English. You think having an accent equals being dumb? Think again.
However the majority of callers said, “What a lovely accent! Where are you from?” And I haven’t spoken my mother’s tongue for at least 20 years. My native people have disowned my belonging-to-nowhere-land unrecognisable accent.
Furthermore, the above facts and experience aside, I strongly disagree with stereotyping Aussies as drunk, dumb, and racist, because those are not the only facts and experience I’ve encountered, and not the only truth I know.
Let me start with how friendly the people of Jakarta were. During my high school years, which began as a new kid from Sumatra, a parentless one at that, the feeling of acceptance from kids and adults of various ethnic backgrounds was gratifying. I was a charity case at a prestigious Catholic school and had wonderful Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, and Confucians for friends, as well as fabulous atheist Russian teachers. But at 18, moving 200km away to a university town called Bandung, I was rudely forced to face racism for the first time.
Unlike the mix-raced kids from Jakarta, students fresh out from the provinces looked down on others who were “different” and were very reluctant to speak the national language. The two most dominant groups were the Javanese and the Minangs, although there were at least 20 major ethnic groups—each with different language, cuisine, tradition, religion, culture. The Javanese said the Minang’s lively dances were uncultured, the Minangs said the Javanese aristocratic class were snobs.
My Minang friends criticised me, a Minang, for not being active in the Minang Dance Club—never mind that I was a very poor dancer. My Javanese friends in my hang-gliding and aero-modelling club spoke Javanese all the time, trying their best to make me one of them—never mind that our sport had nothing to do with culture. A Muslim friend complained about me being close to a Christian Chinese. A Catholic disapproved of a Balinese Hindu. Why? I wasn’t close to these individuals because of their faiths or origins, but because they were people.
Another friend was furious with me for feeding a starving, vegetarian English friend. She said if I lived in the land of the white people, they would not care for me, and would never be bothered about my special needs. But I had not fed this friend because she was white! We had just come down from the mountains, hungry and cold, and the only available food was for the meat lovers. She was a human. I remember crying for days, couldn’t get over the heartlessness and intolerance.
Anyway, in December 1983 I visited Aussieland for the very first time. Several first impressions stayed indelible. At the foremost, was how my Australian friend, a former exchange student at my high school, had sent me all her savings so I could visit. How could I view Aussies as selfish and racist after that? Once during this visit I stood on the side of the road about to cross it, and, to my surprise, a car stopped to allow me to pass. Where I came from, nobody would ever do that! And the people I met face to face, how friendly, helpful, and polite they were to me, accent and all. When I returned to my then home, a Chinese acquaintance asked, “Your Australian friend is white and beautiful—how come she is willing to be your friend?”
Three decades later, after being in more places and becoming an Aussie myself, I can safely share we aren’t anymore racist than others. My Belgian friend says, “When a Dutchman dies, he is buried facing Belgium, his dreamland.” Don’t start me on what my Scott friends say about the English, or the English about the Irish. I have a Fijian friend whose mother complains all the time, “Your husband is kind, but his skin is so dark!” I had attended a birthday party where only friends who were university graduates were invited. And I have been among Indian friends who talk happily among themselves in languages that I don’t understand. There was this Asian shop in Coolangatta, filled with merchandise from Thailand. Once, wanting to brush up my rusty Thai, I asked the lady at the counter whether she was from Thailand. Bristling, she snapped, “No I’m from China! The Thais are brown! Can’t you see I’m white???” Will I label the Chinese as rude and racist? Stuff it. I have a few wonderful Chinese close friends.
I have also worked with French, American and British colleagues, and everywhere I have encountered more helpful ones than not. Methinks racism and prejudice aren’t national traits, but individual’s.
My little one has two best friends, from Kenya and from the UK, and they are very happy together. My old white Aussie friend and I are like family—our kids sure can’t stand a chance having two mothers mothering them since they were babies.
Stop slinging mud, people. Methinks promoting friendships is more beneficial for you—and all humanity.