Curly-greasy-haired screaming Syrian.
While my days in the Russian dormitory have gained dignity by locking the female toilet and sharing with only two other normal, flushing-abled individuals from China and Russia, it appeared that my happiness was too short-lived.
My neighbor from Syria, who formerly studied here and run a few restaurants in the city centre, came back. As usual, they had a couple of female friends in their hedonistic existence of music and drinks and what-not in their rooms. Recently they have been so-called sacked by the dorm as some guys here complained that they made shashliks in the washing area, leaving egg shells, unwashed blending machine and dishes in the room. Even the cleaning lady found them unbearable and rude. So officially they shouldn't appear in the dorm.
To his dismay, he discovered that the female toilet was locked. He observed and realised that a Russian from the same floor came to use the toilet and followed by me. However, he was a total coward and dared not ask the Russian, but he raised his voice at me and asked who gave me the right to lock the toilet. He ordered me to open the door.
There were five rooms between mine and the toilet. I simply answered, it is for residents here to use, no one else has the right to use. He went berserk and started screaming at me and said, tell me if you have guest, you will not let her use the toilet. I replied, now already in anger, it is none of your business. Again he ordered me to open the door now. To me, it was like a dog barking at me, I was trying to get back to my room but he temporarily stood in front of me. Screaming still went on. He said he will try his own way to open the door and barge in. While I finally got closer to my room, I told him to ask the Dean if he wants, as he allowed me to lock the toilet. By now, his Arabic blood has reached boiling point, I believe he was not used to women talking back at him. He said that I must have bribed the Dean and said things that I couldn't fully understand. He spouted many vulgar words and slammed the door.
Screaming Syrian, he is someone who makes other Syrians even feel ashamed of him.
His Syrian friend stood next to me, did nothing but smiled sheepishly, visibly embarrassed by his unruly and primitive behaviour. The few Syrians who live here are friendly, polite and intelligent, some of them are incredibly good-looking.
I was brave enough to raise my voice too, but I was also shaken after the door was closed behind me. Why bother to even speak to such a coward who dared not challenge the Chinese and Russian who live with boyfriend and husband in the dorm respectively. Total coward. But at that moment, how could I stood still to listen to his barking? As a single woman, am I supposed to be bullied verbally like this? Is this Russia which allow this?
My heart was beating all night, I was physically affected but rationally in my mind, I was not. I did everything right to protect the women here from female visitors who are not even capable of flushing the toilet. I expected some unpleasantness but not such outburst of anger. Earlier on before they were chased out by the university, his elder brother has been sarcastic, saying aloud to me along the corridor every time he saw me, well done lady, lock the toilet but I simply ignored.
Simply put, I feel my life disturbed and was rather upset. I called my teacher immediately in order to contact the Dean but to no avail. However I sent him an email to describe what happened. I have not heard any reply.
What happened the next few days was interesting. The next day my headmaster, a motherly figure came to my classroom and asked me if I could perform for the university's 80 anniversary. I told her that I feel very privileged but I was not in a condition to sing at all after that has happened. Upon hearing it she was sympathetic and taught me how to bring it up to the authorities.
The next day, I spoke to my former Russian landlord Boris who is rather into martial arts. Among his friends whom I met are either fellow classmates or martial arts coaches. He was very mad upon hearing it and said he would come down to my dorm immediately and beat him up, if not warn him. I was pleasantly surprised by his reaction but I told him I don't like violence, let the university settle it, I am sure they will tell him off. I promised that if I do hear anything nasty from him, I will not tell anybody, I will just call the police and said that a single woman from Singapore is under threat and harassed by a scum. I can say that in crisp clear Russian by now. In his Syrian world, maybe he could shout at women and get away with it but I don't think Russia is proud to have a resident like that.
The screaming creature is still lurking in the dorm after what happened. But he has so far remained silent. Good for him.
But who will protect me in the future in Russia? The system? The conscience of onlookers or still my good old self?
And most delightful out of this, I managed everything speaking in Russian. Disturbed, yes, but it is worth the while, rather than siting in my former comfortable three-room flat all alone.
Despite my almost sleepless night, I still love Russia all the same. Don't forget it was a Syrian who was screaming. Maybe one day, a Russian with an inherent sense of justice will really need to beat him up.