22 May 2013

Ivory Towers

I am floundering a bit at the moment. The demands on my time at work are substantial and the English for whom I work are being most unreasonable in their expectations. I am working very long days. The English are issuing a bevy of often ridiculous instructions and commands to me in a typically arrogant and pompous British fashion. They are inundating me with often bizarre and unnecessary exactions from atop of their ivory towers in London. 

This includes repeated requirements for me to visit the tough and harsh projects that we are undertaking in India. I love India but it is hot and dusty and I am old and crusty. It concerns me too that much of my time is spent in aircraft and in airports. Traveling at high altitude in pressurized confined spaces does not agree with me and nor indeed does airline food.

I am tired all of the time.

I am floundering too with repeated visits to doctors and hospitals in an effort to determine the cause of persisting headaches that I have been suffering for a couple of years now. Singaporean doctors have twice injected me in my face.

Yes in my face!

On the Friday just gone Singaporean doctors injected a dye into my head to watch the blood flow through my brain. I was conscious throughout this entire episode although I near fainted from the sheer horror of the experience. I went weak in the knees. It is also now very clear to me that when Singaporean doctors make comments such as, "this might sting a little" or "this might be a bit uncomfortable' - they are generally vastly understating the situation. 

It fucking hurts!

The Singaporean doctors have also drawn inordinate amounts of blood from my veins for testing and I have also been in the MRI tunnel twice where I discovered that I have claustrophobia. The MRI tunnel is a very unpleasant experience indeed.

The site of blood makes me all weak and trembly - even my own.

Particularly my own.

I have never liked injections or blood. Who does? Vampires do of course. The doctors would not allow me to photograph them injecting me in the face with dye when they were watching the blood flow through my brain. I doubt that I could have taken a very good photo anyway as I was shaking and weeping and screaming. 

It is no wonder that I am floundering.

I should say at this point - as I have said several times before in my writing - don’t worry Mum. Don’t panic. There is no cause for alarm. The test results have found nothing untoward and my brain is functioning normally. My blood is flowing freely.

I am perhaps just allergic to Singapore. 

I am now under the care of the highly qualified Doctor Chua who is a specialist in Pain Management. He has more letters after his name than are in the entire alphabet. Doctor Chua has prescribed me some medication called Lyrica to trial for a fortnight and my headaches have already diminished a bit. 

I Googled this medication when I arrived home. It is powerful shit. I went straight to the adverse reactions section for this drug and confess that I was a wee bit worried to read that one in 500 people who use Lyrica may experience suicidal tendencies and it is also possible for hands and feet to swell enormously. I have not however yet felt like throwing myself off my balcony and my limbs are so far un-bloated so I think that I will be OK.

I do feel an increasing desire to to climb that Ivory Tower in London and throw off a few of those English for whom I work. I don't think that this desire is related to the medication though.

It is just me.

It is just them.

The Ivory Tower reference I made with regard to the English for whom I work is biblical. It is from the Song of Solomon. Which is in the Old Testament. The term is symbolic and originally represented 'noble purity'. There never was an actual tower constructed of ivory but that would have been a sight to behold.

In his song Solomon used the phrase to describe of all things a woman's neck! He wrote:

"Thy neck is as a tower of ivory".

I do not believe that this is particularly flattering. A neck like a tower? It sounds like he was in admiration of an albino giraffe. 

At some stage in the nineteenth century the phrase began to be used for people who were considered to be willfully disconnecting themselves from others. Inhabitants of Ivory Towers believe that they are somewhat better than the rest of we mortals. A significant number of the English for whom I work reside in the said Ivory Towers. It is my wish that they will one day fall from their lofty heights and be splattered on the ground below. 

To flounder is to struggle clumsily or helplessly and we all do this at times. Life often throws trauma at us that causes distress and anxiety.

We flip and we flop.

The origins of the term are a bit obscure. It has been suggested that it perhaps arose sometime in the sixteenth century and in Holland of all places - from the word “flodderen’ which means to ‘flop about’.

I have always been a little puzzled why Holland is also referred to as the Netherlands. I could look it up but I am not really all that interested and I simply could not be bothered. 

The flounder is also a fish. It is a rather strange looking one that I have both caught and eaten before. They are delicious. Here is a picture of one:

It is very unattractive and it looks quite grumpy. It is not dissimilar in appearance to some of the English for whom I work.

Please do not confuse my use of the term fish here. I am not actually referring to the substitute word for ‘fuck’ that I have adopted in an effort to diminish my swearing. I am talking about the fish creatures that live in the ocean and in lakes and rivers. It is interesting though that when one catches a fish - be it a flounder or some other species - they generally ‘flop about’. The Dutch would say that they ‘flodderen’

The flounder is a very flat fish that swims about on the bottom of sea beds. It is a salt water species that will never be found in lakes or rivers. These fish have been around for a very long time and there is a record of them dating back to the thirteenth century. Their name is similar in a number of countries. Norwegians refer to them as flydhr; the Germans call them vlundere; and the Danish name them flynder. 

The Greek people however refer to them as platys.  

When I was a kid by brother and I and some of our mates would go “floundering” at night. We would shine bright torches in the shallows of beaches and the Flounder fish would be attracted to the light. We would then spear them. We would often light a fire on the beach and barbeque them and sometimes we would also gather mussels and oysters from the rocks and eat them as well.


Mercifully this weekend in Singapore we have a long weekend. Friday is a public holiday to celebrate Versak Day. This is commonly known as the Lord Buddha’s Birthday.

I have not been invited to his party.

I intend on having a very relaxed and laid back long weekend reading my book and laying by my swimming pool. There will be no ‘flodderen’ for me and I will not be flipping and flopping about. 

I will not be floundering.

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