20 September 2014


I was a little alarmed when I heard loud buzzing noises in my office yesterday afternoon. With my new medication the voices in my head seem to have mostly disappeared but for a moment I thought that the buzzing noise might have replaced them.

It sounded like a host of angry bees.

Whilst I was struggling to remember what coloured pills I had swallowed when I awoke this morning one of the English with whom I work – a Northerner – wandered over to my desk and said:

“Ay Oop ‘ep are you going to the Formula One?”

“Ay Oop Hammer” I replied.

“Ah - that is all that noise. I thought my madness might have returned”

‘Ay Oop’ is a traditional Northerner greeting and a Northerner is an English person who - unsurprisingly - comes from the northern part of England. The English consider them to be the scourge of Great Britain but I quite like them.

The Hammer was born and bred in Lancashire and he is a dour lad with a big heart.

I am ‘ep.

The Formula One is of course car racing.

“I will not be going to the Formula One Hammer as neither fast cars nor fast women appeal to me”

“Ay oop” the Hammer replied.

 The Northerners also use ‘Ay oop’ as a phrase of acknowledgement.

It has multiple uses.

I like it.

Soon a small gaggle of the English arrived at my desk – seemingly attracted by the Hammer.

He is an endearing and magnetic character.

There was much discussion about the Formula One Grand Prix racing and chatting about who was going and who was not - and then some mindless debate as to who would win the race.

My yawning did not seem to dissuade nor dispel the gathering.

Ernie - a small whining Scottish colleague of mine arrived to join in the conversation and I asked him whether he had yet come out of the closet.

The term ‘coming out’ or ‘coming out of the closet’ arose in the 1950’s and related to a person publically declaring their homosexuality. It was intended to be a form of liberation from what was perceived to be a life of shame and secrecy and denial.

It is my opinion that a person’s sexuality is no one’s business but their own and it in no way determines who they are. I have many gay friends – male and female – and they are exceptionally good people.

They would not be my friends otherwise.

The reason I have a crack at the whining Scottish man that is Ernie is that I have heard him on many occasions say detrimental things about gay people. His homophobia and his Scottishness annoys me.

“Ay oop Ernie” said the Hammer.

“Ah didn’t know that you were gay”

“Ahm noot fookin gay” Ernie responded.

“Of course you are Ernie” I interjected.

“There is no shame in your homosexuality”

“There is no shame at all Ernie,” one of the other English who was hovering around my desk added.

There were a few other grunts of affirmation from the small crowd that had now assembled.

“Ahm noot fookin gay” Ernie repeated.

Then he turned bright red and walked away.

“He is” I informed the English who were surrounding my desk.

Their presence then distracted and annoyed me and I stood up from my desk and I went downstairs to have a cigarette.

I work at the Marina Bay Financial Centre in Singapore - which is very close to the Grand Prix circuit. Today is one of the practice sessions for the very fast cars and when I walked out of the building the buzzing noise of the vehicles was much louder than it was indoors.

There were a lot of tourists around and as I walked towards the designated smoking area - weaving my way around them and at the same time checking some messages that I had received on my I-Phone - I accidently stepped on something.

I felt something squelchy underfoot.

I stopped in my tracks to see what I had trodden on and when I lifted my foot to scrape it off my shoe - I was quite shocked to see that it was Bernie Ecclestone.

Bernie Ecclestone is the eighty four year old President and Chief Executive of the Formula One Management Group. He is British and he is the dude as far as Grand Prix Formula One racing is concerned.

The Forbes business magazine estimates Bernie’s net wealth as being a tad under four billion American dollars.

That is a lot of moola. 

Bernie is officially reported as being five feet and three inches tall – but it has been suggested that this was measured in platform shoes and his actual height is only five feet and one inch.

He is only a little fella – but size does not maketh a man – nor indeed does their sexual preference.

Heed that Ernie.

Heed it well.

Bernie recently married the 35 year old and six feet one inch tall Brazilian model Fabiana Flosi.

She is his third wife.

The more than twelve inches difference in height and the forty-six year age differential are of little consequence to the Brazilian and the Brit - nor it seems is the four billion dollars in net worth.

Love is often blind to such things.

I apologized to Bernie for stepping on him and he told me not to worry about it.

He told me that it happens to him all the time.

I asked him if he wanted to join me for a cigarette and he informed me that he had quit the habit as it was stunting his growth.

I muttered some form of affirmation to this and then I congratulated him and England for keeping Scotland. 

Then I wished him luck with the Singapore Grand Prix. 

I then walked off to have my cigarette.

As a rule I don’t like to speak to the English for very long.

They displease me.

I am at home now and am a fair distance from the Formula One racetrack and I don’t think that the cars are practicing anymore. Disturbingly I can still hear a buzzing noise in my head and there is a little voice beginning to whisper as well.

I am wondering now where I put my pills.

14 September 2014

Coming and Going

I have returned to the Island and am in somewhat of a daze.

As I age traveling across multiple time zones wreaks havoc on my weary body and it takes longer and longer for me to recover. My journeying has been a combination of both business and pleasure.

Business in India - and then pleasure in Nepal.

Actually it was business too in Nepal but dutiful business in which I take a great deal of pleasure. I will have a short respite in Singapore before next weekend when I will return again to both India and Nepal.

I will be visiting Nepal with my younger brother Richard who like me – has bonded with the Himalaya and its people. We do what little we can to create some opportunity for some Nepalese children. We do this by opening some doors to education – something that it important to us but is critical to the Nepalese. There are some very bright young minds in Nepal who just need a sniff of a chance to reach their potential.

It is always a bit of a shock to my system returning to Singapore from India and Nepal. Things like electricity and air conditioning and food that I so easily take for granted I marvel at - and I often wonder what the mountain children would think if I could miraculously transport them here.

I think they would be shocked.

They would be speechless.

Anyway – I arrived back on the island very early on Friday morning having taken the overnight flight from Delhi.

As is always the case, I bought a bottle of Old monk rum from the Delhi airport to take back for my deranged Danish neighbour Jens.

Any appreciator of good Rum would be fond of Old Monk. It is famous in Bombay and throughout Maharashtra. This is where it is distilled.

It is iconic.

My English colleague and friend Chris describes it as like drinking Christmas pudding.

It is very sweet. 

He loves it. 

It is very powerful and has a kick like a mule. 

I do not like drinking it at all and am not much of a drinker of anything alcoholic. I am not anti-alcohol but I just don’t much like the taste of it nor do I enjoy the sensation of being drunk.

I don’t mind the odd glass of red wine.

I very much like the name “Old Monk”

I like saying it and I like writing it.

I will therefore write it again and I am saying the name out loud as my fingers tap on the keyboard of my Mac.

"Old Monk". 

The name “Old Monk” has resonance and it offers up a happy image. There are bottles available that are moulded in the shape of an actual old monk.

They were a special release.

They were a dedication piece. 

I have one. 

It has pride of place on my bookshelf.

Whenever I am in Bombay I always make a trip out to the Grand Hyatt hotel.

The one in Santa Cruz.

I travel there specifically for one of their specialty dishes. It is a roasted leg of lamb. The lamb is flambéed with a cup of Old Monk as it is served at your table. 

It ignites with a ‘whoosh’ and the succulent meat falls of the bone. 

It is spanking. 

It is worth the travel.

I always have a bottle of Old Monk in my kitchen and I make a fairly wicked custard flavored with just a nip of Old Monk.

It gives it a kick.

You can put it on your ice cream as well. 

Old Monk is versatile in cooking. 

No pantry should be without it.

The bottle I bought in Delhi was for my neighbour Jens. I think I may have already mentioned this but I often repeat myself.

I often repeat myself.

I have described Jens many times before but I will do so once again. Imagine if you can an enormous and fat and hairy Viking with wild and unkempt hair and a bushy red beard. His eyes are normally bulging and he has crooked little yellow teeth. The Dane normally roars around the place on a Harley Davidson motorcycle wearing a motorcycle helmet that has two small horns stuck to the top of it. 

This is Jens. 

His whole upper body is covered in thick mats of hair and there are many prison tattoos scattered over his torso. I have used the term 'prison tattoos' because they are crude and non-artistic works that appear to have been done by someone other than a trained tattoo practitioner. Someone who I strongly suspect is most likely a convicted serial killer in a Copenhagen prison and who used the ink from a ballpoint pen and a blunt needle.

I know good tattoo art when I see it as my son Tom has much of it.

He is all inked up.

After I had unpacked and showered I thought I would pop down to Jens apartment and give him his rum. There was no answer when I knocked on his door so I went down to the swimming pool.

Jens often sits poolside and he occasionally swims.

Well not swims exactly – it is more like floundering in the water like a furry walrus.

I was correct and he was there reclining on one of the pool lounges dressed in a bright yellow pair of swimming trunks and a horribly stained singlet with a “Tiger Beer” logo on it.

"Good morning Jens" I announced.

I was somewhat startled when I heard the word "Modderfokker" bellowed from behind me. I was so startled that I nearly dropped the Old Monk.

When I turned around there was another Jens. This one was fully clothed and was holding a half-drunk bottle of beer. 

"Dat is Dag my tween brodder skeepy modderfocker" the lunatic Dane responded.

"Ah Dag is back"

"Ya ya" both Danes cackled.

Jens then roared some guttural Scandinavian sentences to the other Dane who then belched and muttered some guttural Danish back.

"For fuck sake Jens" I replied.

"I have told you before that it is quite rude to be speaking Danish to me when you know I don’t understand a word."

"Ya ya skeepy modderfokker" Dag responded.

Both Jens and Dag call me 'skeepy' in reference to 'Skippy' who was a famous television kangaroo. He calls everyone 'modderfokker'.

Jens - not Skippy.

Kangaroos do not talk. 
My automatic spell-check function keeps changing the word "skeepy" to "sleepy" and it is beginning to really piss me off. 


It just did it again.

Jens twin brother was openly salivating at the bottle of Old Monk that I was holding. He has tasted the Indian Rum before and like his deranged brother has an insatiable appetite for alcohol.

I think they are both alcoholics.

Dag said something guttural again in Danish to his brother - which caused Jens to cackle insanely again.

"Dis is Dag" Jens said to me. 

"Dis is Dag?" I repeated.

"Ya dat is Dag" said Jens.

"Ya I arm Dag" said Dag.

The name 'Dag" was pronounced "Darg" by both brothers. 'Dis' is of course 'this', 'dat' is 'that' and 'arm' is 'am'. They are spoken thus when one is Danish and mad and is speaking in English. 

Writing the words phonetically is sending the spell check function of my laptop into overdrive.

“I know that is Dag Jens. We have met before”

“Dat Room is for me ya ya?” enquired Jens.

“Ya ya” I replied.

I have spelt the word Rum as Room as this is the way that the Danes pronounce it. I also tend to slip into the Danish “Ya ya” when speaking to the twins.

I know that “Ya” is “Yes” but I am still unsure whether doubling it up is a Danish thing or simply the madness of the twins.

I don’t really care either way.

The Dane that is Dag looked suddenly startled and his insane brother Jens appeared alarmed.

The two security guards of the complex in which we live – the Sikhs Raj and Raj had come marching up to the pool and stood opposite me snapped to attention and doing elaborate salutes.

Both Raj and Raj are aware that I have had my run-ins with Jens before and they have taken a vow to protect me from the madman. Mr. Tan - the Building Manager of the complex in which I live - incorrectly informed the Raj that I was someone of importance in our Condominium - which I am not - and since they started on the job they have been incessantly saluting me.

"At ease guys" I commanded.

Saying this is the only way I can get the Raj to stop the salutes.

"Good morning Raj and Raj" I said.

"Good morning Mr. Peter sir" both of the Raj's replied as they dropped their salutes.

Jens was eyeing the security guards warily. The Raj are very big boys and Jens has called them 'modderfokkers' many times before.  My relationship with Jens has been checkered in the past - to say the least - and the Raj are well aware of this. I have previously instructed both Raj and Raj to shoot the Dane if necessary but they informed me that they were not permitted to carry guns in Singapore and they could not do so. 

I have written about the Jens saga and the two Raj many times before so there is no point in elaborating any further.

"Is everything being alrightest Mr. Peter Sir?” a Raj asked.

"It is fine thanks Raj" I replied.

"This is Jens twin brother Dag who is visiting from Denmark"

Raj and Raj nodded politely, Dag grunted and Jens shuffled about a little nervously muttering 'modderfokker' to himself.

We all stood there silent for a moment. The Raj were at ease but they had a protective and assured air about them and Jens nervousness seemed to intensify. The Dane who is Dag was looking a bit more timid too but he was still eying my bottle of rum.

"Did you know that in the English language a dag is a term than can be used to describe someone who is a bit nerdy and it is also a matted piece of shit that hangs from a sheep arse?" I said to the Danes and the Raj's.

I said this because there was a bit of an awkward silence and also because it is true. 

In Australian slang a dag is indeed a person who is considered to be somewhat uncool. The term 'daglock' refers to a dung-caked lock of dried faeces tangled in the wool that hangs from the hindquarters of a sheep.

It is most commonly abbreviated to the word 'dag'. 

The word 'faeces' is also not being recognized by the spell-check function on my laptop computer. That is weird because it is most definitely a real word that means excrement or shit. 

I am also very serious about the Australian-English uses of the word dag. 

If you have any doubt look it up for yourself.

My comments elicited some more guttural Scandinavian between the twin Danes - and the Raj seemed to tense up a little. 

"Vee are going now skeepy modderfokker,” Jens announced.

“Our moomy is cooming today” added Dag

“Your moomy?” I enquired.

“Ya ya” the twins nodded in unison.

I had forgotten that Jens had told me that his mother was also coming to visit. I am very much looking forward to the woman who begat the twins. I have a vision of her being a wild Hells Angel looking woman and it will be very interesting to meet her.

"Please bring her up to my apartment when she arrives Jens." I replied – then I handed the bottle of Old Monk to his brother Dag.

I have no doubt that the brothers will devour the entire bottle in one sitting.

They love the stuff.

“Ya ya” Jens replied.

Dag grunted and cast a nervous look at Raj and Raj then the two brothers did a hasty retreat. 

I chatted for a while with the security guards for a while before retreating myself to my apartment to write all of this down.

The two Raj saluted me again when I said goodbye and they were still saluting as I walked to the lift lobby and went back up upstairs.

I have done a lot of arriving and leaving in the past week and it is the leaving that I find the saddest. When I left my friends in Kathmandu I told them I would be back in about ten days.

I told them this because I will.

Be back in ten days.

The Nepali for "Good Bye" is Bidha Pau. I always find it a sad phrase when I am leaving. 

So I like to add “Ma Turuntai Karkanchu”. 

It is Nepali for "I will be right back"