A Visit to the Police Memory Booth

A Visit to the Police Memory Booth

We received this “exciting” letter at the flat today. It was addressed to a “Loo Pin Seng” and was postdated 11 April 2012. Unfortunately, no one called Loo Pin Seng has ever lived at this address in at the very least the last 7 years, so this is a bona fide mystery!

What is the significance of the yellow paper though? I am not sure, for Taoist practices are completely alien to me. The Wikipedia page on Taoism in Singapore says that a “paper coloured yellow with a gold foil printed on it represents a gold tael”, so I think this might be joss paper. What is the significance of sending joss paper then?

We’ve passed this on to the friendly policeman at Rochor Police Station, who took our statement and wrote us and our account into a lovely little story which he printed out, got my housemate to sign, and then filed away for posterity. Although it was replete with typos and grammatical errors, I love the idea of this police man sitting here and writing down all these silly little stories all day long. Years ago I’d imagine the head of a town would do pretty much the same, minus the uniform.

Although it is a kind of memory booth, the crucial difference is that this is not a place to make up stories. I wonder whether the policemen have to go through a writing course, because they would be writing down all these statements, and how did they know how to write a compelling statement or story? Wouldn’t it be a bit like having to read the account of someone else’s dream, something that you won’t ever live but have to imagine being real because it was going to be set down in writing?

Behind us there was also a sign board that warned us that it was bad to tell false stories to policemen in order to get back at people who had offended you. It had a photo of two men sitting in the very same position that we were sitting in Rochor Police Station, across the counter from a policeman, and submitting their statements to a policeman. I looked up to the left and also saw the surveillance camera in the corner. The sign had a very longwinded story in it about a man who had told the policeman that someone had stolen his phone because the other man had offended him. It said that the lying man was jailed for 6 months for making a false statement. In the police memory booth, it is clear that there are some stories that will not be told, that the police refuse to tell and record – ie: those imaginary stories, the made up stories. How can we ever tell which is the true story? If we hadn’t made this legal statement, and because the police make their business about recording true stories, would this incident be any less real or true if not backed up by the physical statement written on the paper?

Anyway, if anyone wants to have a hot sexy chat with a mysterious english-speaking illegal loanshark, the hotline number to call is 83485909.