Random Drivel from your Average Tosser

...with your host, Binty McShae - whether you like it or not!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cab fair?

I always assumed that trying to get a taxi when it rains was so damned difficult simply because the weather would cause demand to go up. Simple logic, really... all those folk usually happy to walk, even if only a couple of hundred meters to a bus stop, all of a sudden needing a way to make their journey without emerging from it like a drowned rat. Yet whilst this logic is, indeed, accurate it appears that in Sinless City other factors weigh in.

Obviously we are talking slightly different circumstances here compared with wet 'n' wild Britain. A tropical climate makes for some wonderful sun but when it rains we are not talking the usual grey, nasty, depressing, shitty weather that I grew up with. No, even a light rainstorm here is cause for you to scramble and abandon the streets. And when it gets bad... I have sat waiting for a bus one day and seen the change... nay, felt it! The way the trees start moving more and more aggressively and the sky turns as close to black as I have ever seen in the daytime. Get to cover, and quickly, because once that first drop hits the ground you cannot walk unprotected more than 5 meters before you are soaked to the bone. As for umbrellas, this kind of rain hits the ground so damn hard you get water-shrapnel from the ricochet. Just forget it - if you ain't under a roof you're fucked.

But I digress... In Sinless City it is not simply an increase in demand that results from wet weather but also a decrease in supply. You see, in wet weather the risk of having an accident goes up... if the taxi drivers do have an accident their companies automatically presume they are guilty... to curtail such accidents the companies impose fines of $2000 (about 670 pounds sterling) per incident, regardless of severity. As a result many drivers clock off during stormy periods and those wanting to get from A to B without looking like they fell in the C are left stranded...

I cannot blame the drivers, to be honest... a fine that size is an entire months income for some. And in a society where workers have no real recourse in the face of unreasonable employers, what else are they going to do?

Cheers m'dears!

Labels: ,

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Lost in Translation #03


In Sinless City they just love acronyms. You leave your HDB, drive down the PIE (or take the MRT), get cash from the ATM at the DBS or the POSB, use your HP to send an SMS and tell your friends to meet you in the CBD for a G'n'T before heading off to MOS to pick up an SPG*. It's ridiculously baffling, but I think I'm getting to grips with it. At least, I did until today...

Having spoken to my HOD, who wanted to report to the VP about my progress on the MT side of the IP here at [acronym removed so I don't get fired] I went for a coffee at the SAC and ended up chatting with some RBC's**. Mid-tedium one of my colleagues suddenly jumped up and announced that she had to rush because the P was expecting her. "That's a rather unusual way of excusing yourself to go to the bathroom" I said, gathering the finest set of blank stares ever assembled as a result. It took amoment to register but it eventually dawned that she was referring to the Principal... I mean, if the Vice Principal is the VP it stands to reason, right?

But really... how fucking lazy do you want to get?

Incidentally, you may have noticed the location of my morning coffee, the Student Activity Centre (fancy name for the school canteen). They are having a major drive at the moment to get the kids to clear up after themselves, something I fully support but doubt will catch on as adults in this country are just as bad in food courts. What caught my attention, however, was the way in which they decided to get this across to the students... a nice big sign bearing the legend "KEEP YOUR SAC CLEAN".

...and no-one had a clue why I was stifling that snigger!

Cheers m'dears!

*That's: "Housing Development Board" (state built flats); "Pan-Island Expressway"; "Mass Rapid Transportation"; "Automated Teller Machine"; DBS I'm not sure of... but it's a bank!; "Post Office Services Bank"; "Hand Phone"; again, not sure of the actual words but it's a text message...; "Central Business District"; "Gin 'n' Tonic"; "Ministry of Sound"; "Sarong Party Girl" (essentially a loose young woman)

**This lot are: "Head of Department"; "Vice Principal"; "Music Technology"; "Integrated Programme"; "Student Activity Centre"; "Ridiculously Boring Colleagues"

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Lost in Translation #02

No Common Censor

Censorship in Sinless City takes a bit of getting used to. This is a country where cigarette packets bear pictorial health warnings with such graphic images as rotted feet and a dead foetus yet the London Financial Times has to place a little black square over the naughty bits on a photograph... of a statue. This is also a country where mindless violence is the order of the day on TV but they get scissor happy when BBC sitcom 'My Family' shows a husband cuddling his wife on a bed. Of course, I would opine that 'My Family' would benefit from several other cuts, but that's by the by.

Language, though - that's a whole other thing. Despite my initial shock at the word 'shit' being bandied around all over the place in a stage play for primary school kids I soon accepted that this word was not considered offensive here. It is, instead, purely descriptive, and the play was talking about bird faeces. On the other hand I will never, ever understand why the TV company decided it needs to bleep the word penis, a legitimate name of a body part... or (and I shit you not here) why they bleeped the first half of the accessory item "bum-bag" (that's a 'fanny-pack' in the States).

But these all register only mild surprise next to what I witnessed last night. Watching 'The Sopranos' on local TV is a very musical experience, with every other word bleeped. But you get used to it... it goes something like -

"Paulie, don't be a ****ing mother****er and pass me the ****ing gun before I **** **** you with my **** and pull your **** off. You ****!"

So you can imagine my disbelief when Tony uttered the phrase "She's a cunt"... completely uncensored.

Now, leaving aside the mirth that State-siders using that word always induces in me (I'm sorry, but there is something about US accents that just causes that word to lose some punch!), I was completely floored! Did I hear that correctly? Gosh-darn it, I think I did!

After an evening spent wondering how THAT word could have slipped past the censors and creating conspiracy theories in my head about some rebellious TV censor starting a cultural revolution I came in to work today and mentioned it to a colleague. "Oh, yeah" she said, with an air of disinterest. "That never gets censored. Pretty much no-one understands what that word means".

Cue me calling everyone a cunt all day...

Cheers m'cunts!

Labels: , , ,