Wed | May 24, 2017

Breast is best

Published:Saturday | August 8, 2015 | 8:00 AMTony Deyal, Contributor

You've heard about 'good cop, bad cop'. It is when two police officers work on you to get a confession or at least an admission of guilt or accusation of someone else. One is the good cop who offers you the coffee and cigarette and who is the exact opposite of the bad cop - the one who threatens you, yells, screams and gets you totally scared.

Well, believe it or not, there was an unexpected variation on the good cop, bad cop in Hong Kong recently and what emerged was a good cup, bad cup situation when a woman who was part of a protest was sentenced to three and a half months in prison after being found guilty of using one of her breasts to assault a police officer. Clearly the Hong Kong police still think of them as 'knockers'.

There is a kind of irony in this that most West Indians would find delectable, were it not for the injustice meted out to the woman, Ng Lai-ying, 30, who claimed that chief inspector Chan Ka-po had groped her left breast when he tried to grab her bag. In other words, he was trying to cop a feel.

In Trinidad and some of the other countries, breasts, especially when the owner is using them to suckle her young, are known as 'bubbies', but pronounced by some as 'bobbies', which is what the British call their police and in the former British colony of Hong Kong might still be used by some people.

In the same context of 'wet' nursing babies, breasts are also called 'tut-tuts' or 'tot-tots'. 'Tot' might be one infant and 'tots' two or more, but in English, England and its former colonies, 'tut-tut' is also an expression for disapproval or annoyance.

 

staying 'abreast'

 

So here we have a bobby and a 'tut-tut' in an affray, and I have taken it upon myself to keep my readers abreast of the situation. The whole incident and the police version would be as funny as the comic opera The Mikado, by Gilbert and Sullivan, were it not for the precedent set by the Hong Kong police in deeming a woman's breast an instrument capable of assault with or without battery. Fortunately for the woman, the Lord High Executioner was not around or it would have been Tittipu for her.

It reminds me of an incident that took place many years ago when I was a schoolboy. Every year, the Catholic boys of Presentation College in the southern city of San Fernando made a pilgrimage north to the town of Laventille by train. Even then, Laventille had a reputation for crimes against the person or persons, known or unknown, mayhem, violence with or without weapons, and during the carnival when its steel band, aptly named Desperadoes, crossed paths with any other from a different community, the use of weapons of Mas destruction. In other words, that was the end of the carnival for many people. As calypsonian Lord Blakie sang, "Never me again to jump up in a steel band in Port-of-Spain."

Our principal, Brother Jerome Kelly, an Irishman from the Presentation Order, insisted that for the journey, which included climbing up the winding, potholed Laventille road to pay homage to the statue of the Virgin Mary at the top of the hill, we must all wear long white pants, shirts, school ties and blue blazers.

We disembarked from the train and toiled up the hill in the blazing sunlight, sweating, panting and tripping over the garbage and potholes, while being jeered by the urchins and their parents. It was not your most salubrious neighbourhood or your most neighbourly. The milk of human kindness had dried up in the heat.

 

insulted and assaulted

 

Apart from those with genuine vocations or who wanted to impress Brother Jerome by faking genuine vocations, the rest of us were miserable, and those who had been there before dreaded the climb down the hill. This was because in the twilight of descent, we ran a gauntlet of people of all ages throwing sticks and stones, even garbage cans, at us. Now sticks and stones may break my bones, and I was lucky that they didn't, but it was not just the obscene words hurled at us but their accompaniment by missiles that really did it for me.

One of our teachers decided to go into a little tea shop, what Trinis call a 'parlour', to buy something to drink. He was a short, fair-skinned gentle man whose passion was reciting poetry. As he stood waiting to be served, a huge man pushed him. Then the man pushed him again, harder this time.

When our poor teacher shrank quietly back, the man decided enough was enough. He stood on our teacher's foot and shouted angrily, partly to the gathering crowd and for our benefit, "Look at my crosses! I stand up here good, good and this man come and put his foot under mine! Mister, what wrong with you? You looking for me to slap you up?" A $5 donation did the trick and our teacher staged a miraculous escape.

I suppose this explains how a woman could be accused of assaulting a policeman with her breast but, as one protester who was appalled by the case said, "We better watch out, as one day police might accuse us of attacking with our penis or buttock."

The court saw it differently, a jurisdiction saying that the woman had used her chest to bump against the policeman's arm and "used her female identity to trump up the allegation that the officer had molested" her.

What did not help was the crowd calling the policeman and the judge 'boobs'.

- Tony Deyal was last seen saying that Caribbean police forces are thinking of applying the decision in their countries and are getting help from the FBI (Federal Breast Interdiction) for a full, frontal assault.