Racist confrontation at the historic Big Building in Chapel Street, Prahran

Melbourne was voted the most liveable City in the world seven times, however recently Vienna has pipped our lady to the post.

The two metropolises have been neck and neck in the annual survey of 140 urban centres for years, with Melbourne clinching the title for the past seven editions.

Melbourne’s cultural diversity attracts millions of overseas and domestic travellers annually. Visitors converge on our garden state to indulge in shopping, theatre productions and architectural sightseeing just to name a few.

Historical early twentieth century buildings such as the magnificent Big Store located at 303 Chapel Street, Prahran radiates nostalgic days of emporia style shopping.

Prahan.jpg

Big Store located at 303 Chapel Street, Prahran radiates nostalgic days of emporia style shopping.

Prahran is known for its stylish bars, Southeast Asian eateries and late-night clubs.

Greville Street is a synonymous Melbournian haunt with its hip cafes, specialty boutiques and groovy Greville Records.

People watching is a fun pastime as you sip your long black coffee gazing out of the window of your favourite café, a tram meanders past on a perfect day in urban paradise. The eclectic mix of residents makes for an interesting vibe.

Luxury cars driven by executive’s pull onto the curb in a hurry, well dressed business people dash to that important meeting.

Locals from the social housing in high rise towers wander purposefully. Prahan is inclusive and a true representation of multicultural Melbourne.

There is always one person though, one citizen that throws the balance into disarray, that citizen who is pissed, stoned or both.

One perfect day in Melbourne a middle aged white drunk man staggered into that historical Big Store in Chapel Street, Prahran which is now occupied by Coles Supermarket.

The express check out was in process, shoppers quickly grabbing a few supplies before heading home on a that perfect Melbourne day.

The production line stopped abruptly.

The middle aged drunk man became abusive.

The inebriated man started yelling at the taller man of colour. I couldn’t believe my ears as he swore and told him to go home. Screaming at the top of his lungs saying that he didn’t belong in Melbourne.

The middle aged man was standing so close to the taller man I was afraid he would throw a punch, he continued to shout profanities.

The taller man did not react, he patiently listened to the offensive bigot as he told him to go back to where he came from and that he didn’t belong in his Country.

I was searching for the security, I was mesmerised by the crowd who stood motionless as they witnessed the abusive confrontation. The thought crossed by mind to intervene, to do so though may have resulted in a being punched.

I asked one of the staff to urgently call for security, I was fearful that the drunk man would throw a punch at the taller man.

The swearing intensified, the crowd stood frozen.

Eventually the Manager of the store arrived, more insults were shouted at the taller man before he was ushered onto Chapel Street.

The offender stumbled onto the pavement as he mumbled profanities about the tall man being a black prick and to fuck off back to his own Country.

The cue at the express check out started to move again, the incident was over, however I felt obliged to express my regret.

It was only when I apologised to the tall man that I discovered he was the security guard at Coles.

The security guard told me that the drunk man had been forbidden to enter Coles, as he had a history of being abusive.

This tragic display of hatred and racism was exposed in public at the historical Big Store, both residents and tourists witnessed a violent display of xenophobia on a perfect day in Melbourne.

I walked away feeling nostalgic, remorse and sadness.

Blessings always

Sharon x

Sharon Karyasa ©2019

follow me on  Facebook

follow me on Instagram

follow me on Twitter

click here for your copy of Scarlett Voices in the Shadows