Got a rep to protect?

I guess since the Cronulla riots on Christmas 2005, there has been a little increased tension between Muslims & Christians in Sydney. There have been some muslim clerics whose willingness to speak before they thought have given muslims an even worse reputation.
Of course, I have been house sitting in the suburb of Lakemba, which is probably the suburb in Sydney with the largest Islamic population (certainly the largest mosque). It also has a reputation (earned) of having one of the higher crime rates in the city.
Yesterday, one of my neighbours, a young muslim guy of about 16 knocked on my door & asked me if I knew anything about bikes. I said “a little” & ended up outside his house for half an hour changing an inner tube on his mountain bike & chatting to him about stuff in general.
It was one of those little passages of time that you really enjoy in life. I was impressed that he was happy to knock on the door of a relative stranger (I certainly wouldn’t have done so at his age) then he sat & kept me company for the whole time & chatted to me about my life & telling me a little about his.
I was happy enough just to help out, but I ended up scoring a free soft drink, and, after I said I didn’t mind spices or Pakistani food, I also scored some lovely spiced kebabs.
It’s always a pleasant surprise when the media tells you to expect hostility & instead you get a free, and tasty dinner!


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