6 March 2013


I had a 'one to one' with a relatively new Department Head the other day. A 'one to one' is Bank talk for a face-to-face meeting. In person. The Bank is full of strange jargon and acronyms and it took me a while to get used to them. Big presentations to Staff by the Executive are referred to as 'Town Halls". These are occasionally run by people I think of as being "Village Idiots" so I think that this is quite appropriate.

When we in the Bank want to communicate a message to the masses it is referred to as "socializing". When we send jobs and people away from developed countries to cheaper third world countries the process is referred to as "off shoring" and we sometimes also call it "right shoring" now as well. 

I have no idea why.

In my 'one to one' with the new Department Head he told me that he thought that I swear too much in the office. I responded by saying, "What the fuck?". He didn't smile at this response so I have to assume that he was being serious.

No one has complained or anything like that but he told me that he doesn't think it is very professional for me to be swearing as much as I do. Fair enough I guess. I tried to explain to the new Department Head that I am Australian and we swear almost instinctively so I am not really aware of me actually doing it most of the time. 

The new Department Head is Irish. 

I have heard him swear a bit before too. 

I also explained to the new Department Head that I sit amongst the English and I have to deal with a lot with them on a day to day basis. I am surrounded by the English and I also have to deal with them on the phone and by video conferences every day. I told the new Department Head that it is a lot to put up with. 

The English sometimes make me swear. 

I also told the new Department Head that when the need arises I am inclined to call a Fucker a Fucker. I explained to him that this is the Australian way. The need arises quite a lot where I work given who I have to deal with. The new Department Head  seemed to sympathize a bit on the English fucker situation for as I have already mentioned, he is Irish.

Throughout history the English have treated the Irish poorly. 

The new Department Head  suggested that whenever I felt inclined to swear I should say 'fish' instead of 'fuck' so I have been trying to do this. 

I have been trying very hard. 

I have been saying 'fish' and 'fisher' quite a lot.

The English with whom I work are actually mostly pretty good guys. Don't tell them I said that though. I am very good mates with Chris and Dave and Shents and the Hammer – and Karl and Slates too. We take the piss out of each other most of the time and we have a bit of a laugh. We work well together as well and we often travel around the Asia Pacific area as a team.

We go on the road.

Many of us have regional roles and we spend a lot of time in places like India, Hong Kong and Tokyo. It has mostly been India in the last 18 months. It is a tough gig over there. 

It ain't easy.

These English use a lot of rhyming slang. This is a bit of a cockney thing. It originated in East London.  We Australians use it too but there are subtle differences. I can speak the English version OK though and I can understand most of it as well. Some of it is a bit obscure. When the English say someone is "brown bread' it means they are dead. A suit is a "bag of fruit”, and a “pony” is a poo. It is a shit. It is an abbreviated form of "pony and trap' - which means a crap. So if you say I am going to go and have a pony it means I am going to have a poo. A number twos. I don't know why anyone would announce such a thing but the English do. I just quietly go off and have a pony. 

I feel no need to announce it to anyone.

A 'china plate' is a mate, a ''butchers hook' is a look, a phone is a 'dog and bone', and the 'trouble and strife' is your wife. The cockney English refer to the police as 'the old bill' and they refer to jail as 'porridge'. I don't know if either of these terms are actually rhyming slang but I quite like them and I use them myself. 

When I can. 

I hear my good English friend Chris sometimes refer to some of his mates as "me old mucker". I don't know if this is rhyming slang either but I also quite like it. I wouldn't say it myself though because I think you have to be a Londoner to do so - but I like the sound of it. 

"Me old mucker".

I have just been listening to a Paul Kelly album. He is a sensational Australian musician who puts his own poetry to music. His lyrics are brilliant and his music is too. Strangely the song I am listening to - just now - while I am writing - is sort of about fishing. I often listen to music while I write - on my iPod. I play it loud. The song is called "Everything's turning to white". It is actually based on a real story. The story is about a murder that occurred near a town called Jindabyne which is in New South Wales in Australia. The song and story is about a couple of blokes who go away on a weekend fishing trip up in the mountains. They drive way up into the bush after work on a Friday night with all their fishing gear and quite a few bottles of bourbon and they then hike to a fishing spot. To a remote mountain stream. 

They are fishing for trout. 

When they get up there and set up camp it is dark. Near where they are camping they find the body of a young woman floating in the water. The body is wedged between rocks. "In the moonlight they saw the body. Of a girl. Floating face down". They collectively decide to just leave the body where it is and continue fishing - upstream of the body. They then report it to the police when they get back to town on the Sunday night.

The story is told/sung through the eyes of one of the blokes wives. She says, "One hundred miles they drove. Just to fish in a stream". In the song the wife can't forgive her husband for not coming back immediately and reporting the matter to the police. She can't understand why they continued fishing for the weekend with the poor girl's body just floating nearby. 

It haunts her. 

I don't get it either. 

It is terrible. 

It is horrific. 

The wife says - in the song - about her husband,  

"When he holds me now I'm pretending. I feel like I'm frozen inside. And behind my eyes, my daily disguise, everything's turning to white". 

Pretty chilling huh? 

Their relationship is over.

It is brown bread. 

It is dead.

OK I better go now for I have a teleconference with a couple of Fishers from London.

Mother Fishers in fact. 

They know it is 9pm here in Singapore and it is lunchtime in the UK but they still set these calls up all the time. They do this at least twice a week. 

They don't give a fish.

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