If you want to speak good english, then don’t read some Straits Times headlines aloud. If not for the little whatsitcalled before the headline, I’d have been a little more curious about why ‘carrying cash without escorts’ was a consequence of a risk taken. You risk being robbed. You don’t risk carrying cash without escorts. And security guards might take offence too at the whatsitcalled below the headline:
An Australian made toy was banned today after it was found that when ingested, it metabolizes into the illegal drug known as GHB.
In Queensland, a two-year old boy was hospitalised after falling unconscious from swallowing some of the beads from the “Bindeez” toy. Apparently, the glue used in the beads is the culprit, and the chemicals in it changes into GHB when ingested.
I haven’t seen any information in Singapore yet regarding the toy, but it is still listed on the local Toys R Us as of today (6 Nov). Please pass this information on.
Update: The toy is made in Hong Kong, and apparently, the component in the toy’s glue used had been switched from petane diol to butane diol, which metabolizes in the body into GHB.
Update 9th November: 6th child in Australia/New Zealand hospitalised. Toys R Us Singapore has taken it off their website, while there’s still no news on a Singapore recall, if any.
This anti-speeding campaign ad is targeted at young male drivers in NSW, Australia. It depicts young men driving fast to impress women and friends, who aren’t impressed and who wag their little finger to indicate that the driver has a small… y’know?
As with a lot of things Australian, it’s slightly offensive and controversial, but to the point. Like the first slogan for the state of Victoria’s anti-drink driving campaign: “Drink, Drive, Bloody Idiot”.
It seems there was a twist in NSW’s offensive offensive against speeding.
Last week, a driver blamed the RTA’s ad campaign for a fit of road rage:
A Sydney man has blamed the Roads and Traffic Authority’s “little pinky” advertising campaign for a fit of road rage, saying that a woman’s wiggling little finger implied he had a small penis.
Simon Jardak was fined $400 by a magistrate after an accusatory finger on the Anzac Bridge enraged him so much he threw a plastic bottle out of his car window, hitting the gesturing woman’s car.
Mr Jardak blamed his malicious damage charge on the RTA’s anti-speeding campaign, in which hoons are mocked with wagging little fingers, suggesting they have tiny penises.
He told Richard Glover’s Drive program on ABC 702 that the RTA’s relentless promotion of the “little pinky” gesture had made it more offensive to males than the traditional “middle finger”.
Still, I think we can do better here than “Speeding Kills” or “Drink Driving Is Not Safe Even If You Are A Mediacorp TV Actor”.
Northern Lights over Oslo – photo by flickRarity
When I was in kindergarten, I learned about the different ethnic groups (known in Singapore as “races”) in Singapore and the festivals they celebrated. Ours, the Chinese “race”, was coolest because we had our New Year for two days in a row, and we received cash money from relatives and friends of our parents.
Every other festival was known as a “New Year”. Hari Raya was “Malay New Year”, Deepavali was “Indian New Year”. We also celebrated with the ethnic groups known as the “race” of “others” during the proper “New Year”, or “Ang Moh New Year”, as my grandparents used to call the first day of January. Christmas and Easter were also “Ang Moh” festivals which we knew weren’t New Year’s Days. You just know these things when you’re such a smart kid.
We’ve been invited to a Deepavali luncheon this week, and I’ve only realised that it’s only been in the last decade or so that some of us have started calling it Diwali as well. We also watched a very funny episode of The Office titled “Diwali”.
Naomi asked me why there was a difference between the names, and whether they were two separate festivals. Being the smart kid that I am, I told her that they were one and the same, and that Diwali was Hindi for Deepavali, and Deepavali was Tamil for Diwali, and that we’ve only started calling it Diwali because of an increasing North Indian / Bollywood influence here, and that previously, all Singaporeans knew about India was that everyone spoke Tamil because if you are Indian you are Tamil.
As with most things I state with an air of authority, I found later that I was only half right.
Diwali and Deepavali are actually two different festivals. Diwali is celebrated in the north one day after Deepavali is celebrated in the south. Diwali celebrates the return from exile of Lord Ram to Ayodyha, while Deepavali celebrates the victory of Lord Krishna over the demon Naraka.
Thank goodness for the ingterneck, else I’d never have googled the term “difference between Deepavali and Diwali“ and I’d never have landed on a blog post titled, “Difference between Diwali in North India and Deepavali in South India“.
And while I was at it, I looked up some more stuff about India and her peoples, just to add to the anecdote I’m about to put here about a platoon mate of mine who got really really offended when the Chinese platoon mates called him “Bangkalee” and “Keling kia” in what we thought was Hokkien, both being terms the older generations of Chinese used to call Indians, and akin to when every Singaporean calls any Caucasian “Ang Moh”.
“I am not from Kalinga, nor am I of Bengali origin”, said Corporal Selvam Sivaraman very eloquently, before he added just as eloquently, “you stupid Chinese communist bastard Ching Chong chow chee bye motherfuckers!”
So, yes, you should never anyhowly use the word “Bengali” or “Kalinga” to call any person of Indian origin unless they really were from those places. And even so, it pays to note that these terms, over the generations, have gained some sort of derogatory quality to them.
You could have the excuse that you grew up in the days before all schools had compulsory “racial harmony” days where every kid has to come in traditional ethnic costumes to better understand each other’s cultures. But it’s still up to you to go find out these things yourselves, and not wait for your platoon mate to set you right by screaming at you.
Besides, the last time I saw a Racial Harmony Day in a primary school, I saw one kid come dressed as Spider-Man.
Our Ang Moh friends find it hard to understand us sometimes, and it suits us just fine. It suits them fine too. In fact, this status quo ante bellum thingie works well for everyone.
If something stuffs up, the Ang Moh can just say they find it hard to understand us, and leave it at that. We stuff something up, we say they don’t understand us, and everyone leaves it as is. Get it? No? Me neither. Hard to understand lah, we all.
One of our Ang Moh friends recently commented that Singaporeans had trouble understanding each other, and it wasn’t just an Ang Moh vs Singaporean thing. Apparently, according to him, we’re out there misunderstanding and undermining each other because of our lack of a common effective language.
Take for instance the petrol kiosk cashier auntie whom I see once every ten days because I can’t afford to buy a hybrid car to save the environment. I’m in a ten-long queue, and she asks every one of the nine customers in front of me the same question, and they still all go “har?”
The question being: “Good evening sir/ma’am, any pumm?”
It throws me off every time, and it still takes me a while to understand that she’s asking, “good evening, did you purchase any petrol with the rest of your purchases, sir/madam, and if so, which pump did you dispense the petrol from?”
So, if you were having a humdrum day, doing humdrum things like filling up your petrol tank, and you walked into the kiosk/grocery store, you’d hear the following:
“BING BONG (irritating door chime)…. good evening sir, any pumm?… har?… orh… pump five…”
Sometimes there are variations:
“BING BONG…. good evening sir, any pumm? har? Orh. No pumm. I looking for lollipop. You got lollipop? No. Lollipop no have, got Chupa Chup. Har? No lollipop? Yah, don’t have…. BING BONG”.
I swear that really happened.
More importantly, add up the collective time taken to go “har?”, and you’ve lost valuable productive hours. And add to that the time taken up by the kiosk cashier auntie trying to sell you something that’s “on ploe mow shun”:
Petrol Kiosk Auntie: Together with pumm?
Me: Yes, together with pumm, and it’s pumm five
PKA: Any Burnetts for you? On ploe moe shun only twenty five dollar after discount?
Me: Any what?
Me: Who are the Burnetts?
PKA: Burnetts, Burnetts.
Me: Um… Yah, I dunno any Burnetts.
PKA: Burnetts! The nets make by the Burke!
Me: Make by the Burke?
PKA: Burnetts you never eat before? Good for the saw troke!
Me: Um, how much is my petrol?
PKA: You should eat the Burnetts ah, your skin not so good also. Try lah, eat the Burnetts….
Me: No thank you
PKA: So, only pumm ah?