Posts Tagged ‘Philipines’

Can I speak to the Owner please?

August 11, 2013

Speak-a- da-english pleaz.

Do people still speak English in Australia or is it my aging? Of late, I am drawn to the language of silence as the preferred language. There are silent movies why not silent speech? It’s just that I don’t seem to mix with people that still speak normal English. The English speakers have all died, or, like me, are old and prefer silence.

Most people, especially the young now, use a kind of rapid language with bits of English thrown in for good measure. On the television or radio, it is the same. There is the Adam-Hills show which has been lauded as the best ever. In between lots of laughter there is that kind of unintelligible rapid machine-gun type talking between hopeful Biebers or other Big Brother like fame seekers. They must be in such a hurry to attain fame and riches. How else to explain their strange fast talk?

By the time I try to decipher the first few words the program has changed into a mad dance routine and I am again faced with the manic laughter of a rapturous audience and Adam’s rampant crinkly face all contorted into a somewhat too spontaneous response, making a mockery of anyone still trying to make sense of the first joke. I don’t get it anymore. It all moves too fast. The fun has gone out of comedy. Give me back Charley Chaplin or even Ronnie Barker with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore. They spoke English.

At least with those cold- calls on the land line you get to talk to someone from India or the Philippines where English is still being spoken properly. It’s a pleasure to be reassured by a polite; ‘can I speak to the owner, please?’ I always feel honored to answer and take great pleasure in finally meeting like-wise people linguistically still normal and intelligible.

It is a great pity that I can’t really extend the conversation. Regrettably, I am not in the market in wanting to get richer, neither need a cheaper phone rate, nor a lucky chance to own a resort on some pacific island with waving palms and coconut clad wearing maidens playing the ukulele. It is a cruel conundrum to find an equal in language but with totally opposite desirable aims or outcomes.

I usually am too much of a coward to end the pleading conversation by, just as politely refusing their kind offers. Instead I switch on the electric juicer , hoping the noise will be seen by the callers as something close to a technical hitch. Those cold-callers have families waiting, little mouths to feed and probably live in some shanty without drainage, let alone have electric juicers. It is a cruel world. But, at least they still speak English, heavily accented, but preferable to the gun fire tattle rattle of our locals and TV comperes.

Here in Bowral we have an Elvis impersonator. He arrived on a Saturday morning by small truck laden with large speakers and amplifiers and a DVD player with TV screen on which he can read and hear the words of the songs that he then ‘supposedly’ sings. He is totally into being Elvis Presley with many glittering gold baubles stitched on his vest and flared trousers. His face is old and a brown weathered sixties looking, topped by a shiny wavy pitch-black wig of hair carefully brushed back but enough of it falling over the right side of his fore-head. Through the years he has developed a formidable stomach but still is agile enough to sway, very routinely, backwards and forwards with a speaker in his hand and makes a credible impression as an Elvis. I can tell that the young walk past somewhat bewildered and amused. They wouldn’t know what a legend he represents. The young are all in a hurry to become instantly famous aided by incoherence.

I really think that this is what he has been doing for years, perhaps his entire life. The whole electronic caboodle is driven by a small petrol generator that is only just less noisy than the pre-recorded music and singing. He has a printed note in an open suitcase asking to support him and his love for ‘The King’. I suppose his cause is as good as any or better. He certainly deserved a couple of dollars. It can’t be easy to pack and unpack this half-truck load twice daily doing the rounds around Australia. A true troubadour. What dedication for an idol that is still lingering around yet faded into history like forgotten notes left in a bottom drawer. I try and spend time listening to this Elvis still sung in fairly normal English.

I can understand every word.

Giving up?

March 27, 2012

If there is one thing that could tip me over the edge, it would be that modern phenomenon; the mobile phone. I have always been a difficult customer, perhaps not meant for anything much more complicated than opening an umbrella or rinsing out the tomato- sauce bottle.

Perhaps my inherited frugal gene is to blame, forever ferreting to save and scrounge for the maximum that costs the minimum. My days of hanging around a phone waiting for calls from friends have long since gone with most calls now coming from unknown sources urging me into the world of a Black-Berry or some other mysterious device. Change your plan through us, they text. “You’ll save with us”, is the lure that got me last time and is now the cause for ‘over the edge tipping.’

I have become a victim of a device that connects five other devices. It does so wirelessly but not effortlessly. All you need do is insert a little card and you get connected to all those devices. That card is called Sim-card. Don’t be fooled by its short name. It’s holding the whole world to ransom. It’s a terrorist in disguise.

My own aim has always been to seek simplicity and certain disconnectedness. This aim is probably steeped in wanting as little responsibility as is humanly possible and… A kind of laziness not to get involved in anything distracting me from …whatever it is that fills my head at the time, most likely, nothing much really.

My dream still is to live in a square room made of straw bales. It would have a wooden floor and a cozy wood heater in the middle. I would live out of a suitcase and eat simple food, may be lentils or smoked pork spare ribs with apples cooked with rhubarb and crumble on top, a simple glass of red wine afterwards…Sleep on a kapok mattress and read Patrick White’s Voss under a kerosene light.

With the $30. – Pre-paid mobile connectivity, it kept me reasonably in touch with any emergency that might pop up. The emergency might be a call from the hearing-aid centre for an appointment or a cheerful reminder that 80% credit has been used up, nothing much more than the most mundane of calls.

I often wished I could get an insight why so many are glued to those devices. If not held to their ears they have them in their hands and they are so busy flicking up and down, even sideways. What am I missing out on? What sort of fascinating world is escaping me?

I believe that undertakers are flat tack with people having been run over by semi-trailers while crossing the road and stroking their IPods, IPad and multiple other connect devices with numerous Apps and Blackberries stand alone. What a riveting world it all has come to!

My latest sojourn into that, to me denied, world of devices was an invite on my $30.- pre-paid for a WeiWah wire free Wi Fi modem that would connect up to five devices. Can you imagine; five devices? It was guaranteed to open a world hitherto unknown to me. Not only that, for a mere $49.95 a month it was going to give me 10 gigabytes of this ‘open world’. It was just too tempting.

Of course my ignorance in those matters I keep close to my chest. Not wishing to show my ignorance and lack of confidence in general, I quickly nod in agreement when experts try and inform and instruct me on device connectivity. Any gadget that uses electricity, especially if it has a screen with options and menus instantly fills me with dread.” Open up tools, please”, they tell me. “What tools”, I ask. I then quickly resort to seemingly understanding it all.

I can’t tell you how close I came to tipping over the edge. Optus must now be having conference calls over it. I became the despair of the Philippines call centre. India gave up on me a long time ago. No matter how patient they all were, nothing connected, nothing worked. I removed the dreaded Sim-card, wiped it and even put it in reverse, all to no avail (as they say in romantic novels when the hero just can’t seem to be able to seduce a recalcitrant virgin).

I must have spent an entire year of $49.50 per month in trying to find this so much desired connectivity. It finally turned out the mini Wi Fi WeiWah wire free was faulty. So, there you go. All that modernity, all those wonderful opening up of a new world, once again denied through a mere faulty ‘device’.

Where are the straw bales?