Works in the Herald 1935

In Sydney on Tuesday a squad of police, led by Constable Chuck, by employing a trick which involved using the phrase “Open the door” (which Chuck had learned to speak in Chinese), passed through four steel barred doors into an opium den and made several arrests.

This is a tale, and a truthful tale,
   Of the wily ways of the white police;
The tale of a trap, and sad mishap,
   And a trick for betraying the bland Chinese –-
Of Ah Quong and Oo Tong,
   Of an opium joint, fair out of luck;
Of Ho Lung and Hi Chung
   And Ah Mee and Constable Chuck.

Mysterious locks and a lacquer box,
   Devious passages, traps galore –-
Said Constable Chuck to Hee Duck:
   “Teach me that sweet phrase, ‘Open the door’.”
Said Ah Quong to Oo Tong:
   “He’d learn our language, this bringing us luck.”
Quoth Hi Lung, Ah Mee and Chung:
   “An obvious scholar, this Constable Chuck.”

Without: soft feet in the darkened street.
   Within: Drugged figures adream on the floor
(Ah, delectable dreams, where paradise gleams):
   Then a bland voice murmuring, “Open the door.”
To Ah Quong, to Oo Tong,
   No warning that they should be doing a duck.
“Open,” spoke Ling.  “’Tis our countryman’s tongue.”
   And, lo, on the threshold stood –- Constable chuck!

With his uniform on! . . . Peking!  Canton!
   Shantung!  Oh, where is your magic now?
Detestable trick by a low-down “Dick”!
   And isn’t the Nordic a traitorous cow?
Ah Quong!  Oo Tong!
   Can you beat the Caucasian for “chuckin’ the muck”?
Ho, Chung!  Ho, Lung!
   Ah, Mee!  Oh, fie, Chuck!

Herald, 15 February 1935, p6

Copyright © Perry Middlemiss 2003