14 April 2013


I went for a surf last weekend in Malaysia. I surfed with a Frenchman, a Brazilian, a South African and two Americans. The man from France was Parisian, the Brazilian was from Sao Paulo and the South African grew up in Cape Town. One American was from California and the other was a Texan. We all now live in Singapore.

I have surfed with the Frenchman, the Brazilian and the South African before but it was the first time I had met and surfed with the Americans. It will also be the last. They were fishers - of the highest possible order. 

They were mother fishers in fact.

I have mentioned in a previous article titled 'Fishing' that I am endeavoring to curtail my swearing. It was suggested to me that I replace the word 'fuck' with 'fish' and 'fuckers' with 'fishers'. Although not swearing is at times quite difficult for me I will claim some small measure of success in this effort.

I am trying very hard.

We went surfing at a place called Tengah which is a little town on the west coast of Malaysia. The proper name of Tengah is actually Kampong Tengah. Kampong is the Malay name for a village. Tengah has been a fishing village for many centuries. In this instance it is a village where fish-that-live-in-the-sea are caught. It is not a fucking village.

I apologize for any confusion.

Tengah is about a two and a half hour drive from Singapore. The beach at Tengah is usually empty of all people. It is devoid of human beings. There were a couple of Malay fishermen in their boats about a kilometer off shore and they were fishing with nets. Once again I apologize for any confusion. These fishermen who were fishing-with-nets were not fuckermen nor were they fucking. Not that I could see anyway. They were casting their nets in order to put food on their family’s tables.

Tengah is a little off the beaten track and not many people frequent it. It is not a tourist destination. We access the beach by driving down a dirt road that is carved through the jungle. The jungle grows right down to the beach. The beach is quiet and serene and it is peaceful and beautiful. 

Well it was until we arrived.

There is a shallow sand bank about a hundred meters offshore and when the ocean pushes over the sand bank and hits deeper water it creates a swell. The waves that it produces are clean and they break to the left. The waves last weekend were crisp and smooth and were about three to four feet in height. They weren't very big but they were big enough for us. We surfed from dawn until about 1.00pm and it was excellent fun.

In Australian rhyming slang we refer to Americans as septics. This is an abbreviation of the term septic tank. A septic tank rhymes with Yank and a Yank is an American. The term septic actually means a poison or infection. It is often referred in context to a wound that is contaminated by bacteria.

A septic tank is part of a sewerage system and is used to store shit. In the case of the two Americans with whom I surfed the term septic is doubly appropriate for not only are they Yanks but they are also infected with ignorance and are full of shit. They annoyed the hell out of me.

They really did.

To me surfing is a peaceful and cathartic sport and I enjoy the oneness with the ocean and I get great pleasure from just being out on the water. The Americans whooped and yelled "Yee Ha" every time they caught a wave. They dropped in and cut out we others on a number of occasions. Dropping in and cutting out is when someone has caught a wave and someone else then gets on the same wave in front of them and forces them to pull off - or else collide. Such actions are globally recognized amongst the surfing community as being very discourteous. It is poor surfing etiquette. The Californian and the Texan did this all morning. We had the whole beach and waves to ourselves and there was no rhyme or reason for this behavior. All the time they were whooping and "Yee Hawing".

The Texan and the Californian surfers also constantly referred to me as 'man' and 'dude' and it really pissed me off. I am not a violent person by nature but I yearned to set the both of these Americans on fire.

When I drove back to Singapore in the afternoon I gave the two Americans a ride back in my car. The Frenchman, South African and Brazilian were staying the night on Tengah beach and were planning on surfing again the next day.

On the drive back I asked the septics what they thought of the current situation in North Korea and they both said that they thought that Pyongyang should be nuked to ashes. Pyongyang is the capital city of North Korea and nuking is the dropping and detonation of a nuclear bomb. I suggested to the Americans that a nuclear attack on the Korean peninsula would likely be detrimental to the people of South Korea as well. I told them that they would be affected by the nuclear fallout. In response the Americans told me that they thought that South Korea should be nuked as well. 

That's how fishing stupid they are.

Now I am no fan of the North Koreans Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un and I equally disliked the politics of his father Kim Jong-il. As a rule I tend to not particularly like any homicidal maniacs at all. When I see pictures of Kim Jong-un in the media I can't help but think that he looks like a teletubby. Teletubbies are fictitious television creatures that were created by the English in the late 1990's. It was a show for pre-school children that was very popular. 

Kim Jong-un's resemblance to the teletubby named  Dipsy is uncanny.

Here is picture of Kin Jong-un:

Here is a picture of Dipsy:
Unlike the American surfers I feel a great deal of sympathy for the people of North Korea. Reports from the United Nations suggest that the North Koreans are amongst the most malnourished people in the world and it is believed that millions of North Koreans are on the brink of starvation.

The World Health Organisation estimate that the child mortality rate in North Korea is ninety three out of one thousand. That means for every one thousand North Korean children who are born, ninety three will not reach the age of two. This is an horrendous statistic. 

It is shocking and it is unacceptable.

The North Korean government operate a military regime with a policy they call Songun. This translates to "military first'. The North Koreans spend billions of dollars on armaments and their army. They do this in preference to feeding their people. 

It is truly a crime against humanity.

I asked the American surfers why was it that they thought that the American solution to solving other nation's problems was simply to invade them or blow them up. They told me with some measure of pride that it was the American way. I have had similar discussions and debates with Americans before and I have discovered that arguing with them on such matters is fruitless and it only makes me angry. Violence and shooting and blowing things up is acceptable behavior to many Americans. I know that this is not the case with all Americans and I have met many very nice ones who are as much opposed to such things as I am.

I noticed that the Californian fisher had a tattoo of some Mandarin characters on his left shoulder and I asked him where he had the tattoo done and if he had received any negative feedback from his public declaration of his homosexuality. He told me that he got his tattoo in Bangkok twelve months earlier and he seemed puzzled at my comment about his homosexuality. He in fact told me, "I'm not fucking gay man".

I asked him what he thought that the Chinese characters meant and he told me that they meant "live fast and die young".

When I laughed and told him that the characters in fact translated to "I am gay and proud of it" both he and the Texan fisher were furious. I told them that this was common practice in Thailand where for some reason Thai tattoo artists didn't like Americans. The Californian turned bright red and remained silent for the remainder of the trip.

He was fuming.

I have no idea what the Chinese characters actually mean but I do confess that I felt a smug sense of satisfaction at the ire of the Californian fisher. However I do hope that I don't run into him again though as I suspect that he will soon discover that I was lying to him about the meaning of his tattoo.

If our paths ever cross again it is quite possible that he will try to nuke me.

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