17 May 2013

Bogans Abroad

I have written about Bogans before yet I feel compelled to write about them again. They are my Australian brethren. I met a mate at the Boomerang bar here in Singapore last night. The place was packed with Bogans, It was awash with them. There were more bogans than you could shake a stick at. I have never before seen such a high concentration of bogans outside of Australia. 

They were everywhere.

The term "more than you could shake a stick at" I have always assumed was bogan in it's origin but apparently it is not. It is not even Australian. There is some speculation that it was first uttered in Lancashire in the north of England. By a Northerner. Ay Oop. The Northerners are the bogans of England. They are the dourest and crudest of the English people. I know quite a few over here and I like them a lot. "Ay Oop" is their tribal greeting. The bogan equivalent is "Gidday Owzitgoin mate". My favorite Northerner in Singapore is a character we refer to as the Hammer. 

I have written about him before in a piece titled "Coloured Birds" so I will not regurgitate.

It is believed that an old Lancastrian shepherd was tasked with counting sheep in a paddock. Sometime in the late nineteenth century. He was using his walking stick for this job by pointing at them and trying to count them. There were so many of them and they moved around a lot so he couldn't tally them up. He supposedly declared to his master with some degree of frustration that "there were more than I can shake a stick at".

Like the bogans of Australia, the Northerners of England can not count very high. They are limited by the number of digits on their hands and feet so any number above twenty would have been a challenge.

The term bogan is pejorative and is often self-deprecating. It refers to an Australian who is considered to be unsophisticated. Rudimentary. Slovenly. Their speech, clothing, attitude and general demeanor reeks of crassness and a lack of formal education. They are generally heavily tattooed and are missing quite a few teeth. There is however a little bit of bogan in most Australians and although there is some cultural cringe by many Australians about the bogan clan we are also a little endeared to them. 

I like them a lot actually.

Bougainvilea have nothing to do with bogans. The bougainvillea is actually a genus of flowering shrubs that are native to South America. They are grown all over the world now and are exceptionally beautiful. Similar to the rose their stems have sharp thorns and can inflict damage if you try and pick their flowers. The reason they are named bougainvillea is because they were first described by a French botanist by the name of Philibert Commercon. Philibert accompanied the French naval admiral and explorer Louis Antoine de Bougainville in his circumnavigation of the world in the late eighteenth century. He first saw the shrub in Brazil and named the plant after the Captain of his ship. 

The Botanist Commercon got into quite a lot of trouble on this journey because he smuggled his girlfriend aboard the ship disguised as a man. Women were not allowed on ships back in those days. Her name was Jeanne Bare. She was therefore the first women to circumnavigate the globe. 

I bet you didn't know that did you?

The bogan abroad is fiercely patriotic. The ones with whom I associated last night were no exception. They wear sleeveless shirts of their favorite football team and quite often don Akubra hats. The Akubra hat is wide brimmed and is worn by cattlemen in the Australian bush. And bogans. The name Akubra is derived from an aboriginal word that means "head covering". In the Australian bush it is useful to keep the beating sun and rain off one's face but it is also used by people in the bush to drink water out of and to fan camp fires.

Here is a picture of one:

Bogans are generally very friendly people and are always open for a good chat. In Australia we call this having a yack. For non-Australians they can be difficult to understand. Bogans speak strine which is a colloquial form of English. This is best done by speaking through the nose and the mouth at the same time. There are also words which are completely made up. I have also written previously about strine in a piece I very unimaginatively named "Strine" so I once again will not repeat myself here.

Singaporeans will have great difficulty in understanding bogans although the English will understand much of what they say. I am able to speak very good strine when I choose to and I am also fluent in bogan. I am therefore able to communicate effectively and easily with these people. 

I also enjoy it very much.

Like myself, the Bogans do not really like the English. They will refer to them as "Pommy bastards'. Which in fact they are. Most of the bogans I associated with last night were male although there are most definitely female bogans out there and it can be difficult at times to distinguish differences between the bogan genders. The haircut of choice for both the male and female bogan is the mullet. I have no idea why it is referred to this way but a mullet is also a type of fish. There is no relationship between the fish and the hair style chosen by the bogan. The former Beatle Paul McCartney and his then wife Linda both sported mullets in the 1970's.

Here is a picture of a bogan with a mullet. I think you will agree that it is not a good look.

You will note that this bogan is holding a stubby of beer. A stubby is a small bottle. Bogans always drink out of stubbies. They will rarely use a glass. The bogans are also able to use the stubby as a weapon. An aggravated bogan will not hesitate in breaking the stubby and stab someone who has offended them in the face with the same. Fortunately the person they will typically stab in the face will be another bogan. Bogans love to fight when they have had a skin full of beer. 

It is what they do.

When I asked the bogans with whom I associated last night at the Boomerang bar what they were doing in Singapore, they informed me that they were on a stopover before heading to Phuket. Phuket is a resort island in Thailand that is a popular bogan holiday designation. Bogans also like Bali. They travel on package deals. Several of the bogans told me that they thought the name Phuket was pronounced Fucket and they liked the idea of a name being called thus. They thought it was funny and they told me that they thought this was "sweeeeeet". ""Sweeeeeet" is bogan talk that means very good.

When I asked what they were going to do in Phuket the bogans informed me that they intended to drink a lot of piss (bogan for beer), root some sheilas (bogan for having sex with girls) and get some shit hot ink (bogan for get some more tattoos).

I didn't stay very long at the Boomerang bar with the bogans last night lest I accidentally angered one of them and got stabbed in the face with a stubby. However I very much enjoyed their company in the time that I was there. 

It reminded me of home.


  1. This is very very funny. I like the way that you write and have Bookmarked your blog. Please keep writing more! Christina

    1. this is funny. At least they are unpretentious. Bogans are simple-minded people.