*The Pointless Writer*
has a life you're completely uninterested in. But it's okay because I can write. No abbreviations. No shoddy grammar (though I'm not immune to mistakes). Just quality writing on sometimes completely pointless topics.
UnPoints of Note
1. I write when fancy takes. Sometimes, fancy takes many months of leave.
I hope I don’t get sued for my title. This post isn’t a jab at SMRT per se. You of all people should know that I try to make every single mundane part of my life entertaining. And, well, who wouldn’t want to know the tremendous amount of FUN I had on the MRT this morning? I mean, I even got to experience the adult peak hour! (Hear the sarcasm.) And no, I did not oversleep. What kind of person do you think I am?
To cut a long story short (because we all know I can write a few hundred words about Nothing, and I really want to get to that), there was some issue with the train/ track. Oh! And the silly staff. Here’s what mind-boggled passengers were hearing:
Station announcer: “Passengers going towards Pasir Ris, please board the train at Platform A. Passengers going towards Joo Koon, please board the train at Platform B.”
He said this a couple of times. So, a whole group of people surged onto the train at Platform A, even though the TV clearly said “DO NOT BOARD”. And even though everyone on the train was alighting. Maybe they just can’t read. Or maybe they watched too much Final Destination and their eyeballs rolled clear out of their heads. Whatever it was, I decided to go with the flow and ignored the literary skills my education has provided me with. I boarded the train. Then, a softer, raspier, more static-distorted voice tried and failed to fill the train. (SMRT really needs to improve the quality of its in-train speakers. Or send its drivers for voice projection classes. I’ve never quite been able to hear their non-prerecorded announcements.)
Train driver: “This train is going for servicing. Passengers, please do not board the train.”
So the multitudes poured out.
And poured back in.
And poured back out.
Me? I gave up after a while and went to grab a bun from the bakery. Then ate while waiting for the technicians to realize that they were making conflicting announcements. Now we get to the even better part: the train ride.
Since there was now half the population of Jurong West at the station (I could be exaggerating slightly here), the adult peak hour was shifted forward. It was like Armageddon. I think I whacked a few passengers in various parts of their anatomy with my bulky school bag trying to squeeze myself into the sardine can. I kid you not. (The traffic isn’t usually like this at Boon Lay. After all, it’s near the end of the line.)
When the train reached Jurong East, all hell broke loose. If you stay in the west, you probably know that there are now TWO tracks at the Jurong East MRT station for trains going towards Woodlands to pull in and out of. So the train doors opened on both sides. I thought it would be fairly easy. People on the left leave through the left-side door, and people on the right leave on the other side, right? After all, trains on both sides go in the same direction. Well, some joker took it upon himself to emulate Moses and part the human sea: he squeezed his way from the left side of the train to exit through the right-side door. He would be an interesting case study for an aspiring psychologist.
Apart from that, it’s a really good thing I don’t take boxing classes, because NOBODY has patience on the train and TWO men were trying to squeeze past me simultaneously while the rabid passengers outside were trying to squeeze on, when I’m clearly a normal-sized human being and NOT a sheet of paper wannabe. It was a classic example of brainless mob mentality.
Somehow I managed to survive being squished on all sides, only to be shepherded into a female sandwich in the centre of the carriage. I think I had it better than the people at the door, though. One of the men at the door was literally so pressed for space that he had to turn his face to one side or risk having his nose slimmed by the closing train doors. With no way to read my Bible, given the space constraints, I found myself examining the three women surrounding me.
The moment I decided to check them out (do you realize how many meanings this phrase has? You can check out someone you want to date, check out your groceries, check out an interesting specimen…), I thought: “SHINY!!!” Turned out to be Woman #1’s huge and gaudy ring. At first glance, I thought it was diamond. But, having been dragged by my mother on a diamond shopping spree (she didn’t actually buy any diamonds in the end), and having been the one to pay full attention to the salesman’s talk on the different cuts of diamond, I realized, using my insanely high-tech biological diamond detector (hint hint: they’re called eyeballs), that those were NOT the mother of all shiny stones. Cue inward giggle.
Meanwhile, on my right, Woman #2 finally decided she was sick of having her chest pressed against my arm and repositioned her shield of protection (a handbag I didn’t care to see on the cover of Vogue) between my offending limb and herself. I just wonder why she didn’t do so earlier.
Woman #3 was much less interesting, and I only looked at her because a) I had nothing better to do, and b) she looked vaguely like my grandfather’s domestic helper. Turns out she wasn’t. Oh well. And that concludes my metamorphosis into a sardine.
Since I’m fairly interested in remaining human for the rest of my life—being a squished fish is no fun, people—I’ve decided to cycle to work when I grow up. Save the trees and save humanity.
How to Survive the Hell Driver
Marvel brand of Wunderwear.
(Note: my Junior College blog is called Maniac.)
If you’re rich, don’t read this post, cos you won’t be able to identify with what I’m about to write.
Nah. Just kidding. I’m sure you’ve taken the bus at some point of time in your money-filled life. Heck. Maybe you used to be poor. Anyway, cutting my mindless discrimination short, I’m here to regale you with my tales on… THE HELL DRIVER.
You know the type. He drives like a maniac but doesn’t write for us. Spins the steering wheel like he’s about to win a million dollars.
You may wonder why I’m writing this. Besides writing this to contribute to the growing heap of useless writing on the web, I’m also trying to save your life. Or, at any rate, maximize it. I hope that by sharing my own survival tips, you won’t find yourself on the next bus to the hospital. So here goes:
1. Spideyfy yourself.
Anyone who knows anything about Marvel comics superheroes knows Spiderman. He’s red and blue, like a bloody bruise, and shoots web from his wrists. I’ve always thought it should come from his fingers, but I digress. The point is not to attach string ejectors to your wrist, although that would be mighty cool. It’s to learn from your friendly neighbourhood humano arachnid’s superhero reflexes. Now, I may not be ready to save any dudes in distress yet, but I did manage to save my BFFAL (Best Friend For the ‘A’ Levels) from certain destruction. Don’t know who my BFFAL is? Here’s a hint: he’s a little on the square side, slightly heavier than desirable, and a very sexy shade of black. Did I mention he’s Texan? That’s right, peeps, I saved my Texas Instrument Graphing Calculator from flying to the floor and smashing into pieces when the Hell Driver wildly rounded a usually tame bend in the road. (Shout-out to my Math lecturer!)
2. Borrow Wonderwoman’s Wunderwear.
I’ve always hated Wonderwoman’s outfit. It’s garish, tacky, and way too revealing. But I think there’s a lesson to learn here. Any woman who dares to walk around without her pants on has got to have amazingly shapely legs. And you don’t get amazingly shapely legs without muscle. Basically, muscular legs are astonishingly important when it comes to staying in your seat on a Hell Bus. Here’s an example: when the Hell Driver was rounding that same bend, I too was thrown about like a Graphing Calculator. In order to prevent myself from meeting an early demise, I was forced to flex my hamstrings while bracing myself against the bus floor. Who knew PE lessons would come in useful?
My list of tips is a little on the short side, but don’t discount its helpfulness just yet. Emphasising that train of thought, don’t underestimate these fledgling superheroes:
Living in an HDB apartment on the fifteenth storey has its advantages. First of all, we get fewer roaches. The ants, however, are a different matter. I pretty much own a colony. Feel free to approach me for a glass of scrumptious, protein-rich ant kacang. The next advantage is the hair-raising caterwauling I hear every midnight when the stray cats wage tribal wars. When I say "hair-raising", though, I really mean awe-inspiring. I'm serious. My family can't stand the feline high-pitched yowling, but to me, who needs the Esplanade when I get a free symphony every night? Maybe I just identify with them since I'm a high-pitched soprano myself. xD Don't be surprised if a world-famous composer writes a Meow Meow Wars for standard orchestra and the cast of Cats one day. That would be me.
The final, and most important, advantage I'd like to bring to your attention is getting to hear a random dude yell "shut up" at least 20 times. This may not strike you as very interesting. Let me assure that it is. It's like the Black Eyed Peas' Shut Up, only TEN TIMES BETTER. After all, the BEP sang the same refrain (consisting of two favourite words) to the same melody, rhythm and chords repeatedly. Random Dude was far more creative.
Although I couldn't hear the guy he was yelling at, he single-handedly kept my attention on him by varying the pitch, intonation, volume and accent of this short but sweet phrase. It sounded something like: Shuddup. Shuddup! SHAR-DUPP! Shar-dup. SHAA-dup! Shaar-DUP!!! Equally fascinating was how loud he was, and how well sound travels from the neighbourhood park to my fifteenth floor apartment. I wonder how everyone in the cluster of HDB blocks will react if I decide to sing Italian opera and German art songs at the playground. After all, no one complains when Chinese girls warble during the Hungry Ghost Festival. And that would be a fine publicity stunt, don’t you think?
The only complaint I have about that afternoon’s entertainment is the lack of vocabulary. By the time he had repeated this two-word phrase for the tenth time, I was starting to doubt he had any. I was also tempted to buy him a thesaurus. Upon reflection, however, I realized that… I too have a dubious amount of vocabulary when it comes to this all-important phrase! Dubious because any synonymous phrases in mind may not have been entirely correct. So I’ve decided to compile a list of alternatives.
1. Keep mum!
2. Zip it!
3. Button your lip!
4. Cut the cackle!
5. Hold your tongue.
6. Keep your trap shut.
7. Put a sock in it!
Now, I’m not condoning being rude. I really want to make that clear. But if we’re going to shush each other, we can at least be more imaginative about it. It’s not like these are even in another language; they’re part of the language we speak. So why aren’t they in more common use? Come on, Singapore, let’s widen our vocabulary! (And I’m not just talking about hushing everyone but yourself.)
For the uninformed non-ELLers, there is a difference between language variation and language change. Simply put, change is more widespread than variation (i.e. more users).
Ohmygawd, she’s at it again!
Muahaha… Yes, I’m promoting the best dang subject to ever grace this earth. Again.
Okay, no, not really. Not entirely. I’ve actually never quite promoted ELL, if you think about it. All I’ve done is been inspired by it and told you to go take the subject. None of that this is why you should take it stuff. Evidently, I’m not cut out to be a salesperson. Oh well. So anyway, ELL’s been pretty boring lately (dodges bullets from the lecturer), mostly cos it’s all revision. I mean, come on, I know all that CONTACT, POWER and SEMANTIC stuff by heart now. I barely need to revise. Which, again, is all we’re doing in class now. Of course, if I’m going to be really nitty gritty about the details, it’s Paper 1 I’m 100% unflummoxed by. (Go, go, morphology! It births non-existent words all the time.) Paper 2… is a different matter. But whatever. Where was I?
Ah yes. Boring lectures. Of course, they aren’t quite so boring when the lecturer cracks hilarious jokes—and by jokes, I don’t mean A man walked into a bar…—or is just plain funny. (I know. It’s amazing. The ELL lecturer can actually make English funny. I still don’t know how she does it. Someone write a book!) And then, during the lectures, she sometimes says important ELL stuff she’s never mentioned before, like how language variation and change happen to be like the chicken and the egg. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Go to a chicken farm.
Here’s the summary (for the uninformed non-ELLers): there are two types of language variation, the first of which can be completely original. For instance, if I make up a word, like mumpfalump, my choice of language is varying from others’. If this variation becomes widespread, eg. all Singaporeans start using the word mumpfalump, language change has occurred. So you can now see that language variation leads to change. Like chickens lay eggs. But what about when eggs lay chickens? (Whoops! I mean hatch.) That is, what about when language change leads to variation instead? Sounded like mumbo-jumbo to me, but when the lecturer explained it, it kinda made sense. Say we Singaporeans used to speak French but now speak English. That was language change right there. From French to English. But if someone starts using a word based on English, like ‘oldie’ from the word ‘old’ to mean ‘elderly’, when no one else is using it, that’s variation. Which could, in turn, lead to language change, i.e. EVERYONE starts using the word ‘oldie’.
Still don’t get it? You’d better start scheduling in some chicken farm visits.
Now, this revelation (variation A leads to change, which leads to variation B, which leads to change) has inspired me to make my own variation. The original kind (see above: variation A). I’m going to call my personal variety of English Funky Random English (FRE), or Fringlish, for funk. Statistics show that Fringlish has, of this very moment, one user—me. It also seems to be a telepathic sort of language, since its sole user has not voiced it so far. In the spirit of ELLness, the cause of Fringlish is new communications technology (this blog) as well as a desire to entertain; none of the usual functionality stuff. Although, it’s cause is usual in the sense that FRE has been invented in order to deviate. That said, I shall now introduce the top 10 Fringlish words of the century: (note that the apostrophes precede accented syllables)
For some strange reason, this word makes me think of elephants. No, I take that back. It actually makes me think of Horton in Horton Hears a Who and that Dr. Seuss animal that harrumphs. Because of its elephantine affiliations, the word mumpfalump quite literally means ‘long-nosed’. Due to Pinocchio’s influence, it is used in place of liar.
Sample sentence: That mumpfalump told me he was broke before buying a Mercedes!
Tidbit: the verb form of mumpfalump is falump.
Sample sentence: Honesty is the best policy, so stop falumping.
This word means fickle-minded person. It came into being when a pendulum knocked into my head and I yelled it out in pain. Don’t ask me what I was doing with my head in my grandfather’s clock. So anyway, since fickle-minded people can’t make up their minds which way to go, like pendulums, they’re called onkaponkarels in Fringlish.
Sample sentence: The onkaponkarel at the food stall kept me waiting for FIFTEEN minutes.
Do note that the sexism that plagues this world has resulted in this gender unmarked term (you can borrow my ELL notes if you don’t know what that means) being used only for males. Fickle-minded females are called donkaponkarels, since Italian for ‘woman’ is donna. The more obnoxious males might shorten this to donkey.
Although this word looks like ‘metal roll a bus’, it does not refer to those alternatives to global warming cars. It actually refers to women… with silicon implants.
Sample sentence: The metarolabi at the beach attracted a lot of attention.
This word has more positive connotations than the one above. It means ‘beautiful in spirit, soul, mind and body’. Seeing as the word has so many definitions in one, it’s actually quite hard to find a melliflodious woman. Yes, it refers only to women beautiful in ALL the above aspects. If you find a man who possesses the same characteristics, you may describe him as smelliflodious.
Sample sentence: The melliflodious woman and her smelliflodious husband looked like models off the cover of Vogue and were known to be highly intelligent, extremely compassionate and wicked religious.*
*Note that ‘wicked’ translates into very in some varieties of English.
This one is one of my personal favourites. It’s used to describe vampire fan girls. And by fan girl, I mean the kinda girl who squeals at Robert Pattinson’s painted abs in Twilight and then eats raw steaks just to try and snag herself a sickly looking bloodsucker.
Sample sentence: Just the other day, I saw my ollimorphorous neighbor leave the house with blood smeared on her neck. I think she was trying to tempt my pet vampire into turning her.
As much as this word sounds like a turkey, it has nothing to do with the fowl of Thanksgiving. If Fringlish takes off, this will probably become as overused as the adjective nice. Infer its meaning from the following sentences:
I really enjoyed that goobstop roller coaster ride!
That girl is so goobstop! She can sing, dance, AND fart with her hands!
That exam was soo not goobstop. I’m going to fail!
If you still haven’t figured it out contextually, the word translates into a unique mix of fun and cool. Note that the noun that this adjective is fixed to MUST possess a blend of these attributes.
Technically, this word isn’t original. I suppose we could say this is variation type B: language variation based on an existing variety. But it’s still funky enough to make this list. The word does NOT refer to scary, poisonous Biology teachers. Nor lecturers with eight arms. It’s actually used for people who look disheveled, particularly people who have bad hair lives.
Sample sentence: She looks more and more like a tarantula each time I see her. Has she looked in the mirror lately?
This word might actually be on the market already. I’m not sure. But anyway, if you are a future linguist, you should have guessed by now that the word is a blend of cranky and cantankerous.
Make up your own sentence.
9. Rice cooker on counter
So this technically isn’t a word, which is why it’s near the bottom of this list. But, come on, you have to admit: you can’t get funkier than rice. Sushi? Nasi lemak? The staple food of the world’s two rising economies? So anyway, this one was actually coined by my funky mother. Here’s what happened: my mum was cooking funky white starch for dinner, and when she moved the rice cooker, it let out this chilling screech. My first thought was: ohmygawd, we have a possessed rice pot! Then my mum yelled, “That sounded like fingernails on blackboard!” So this Fringlish phrase came into being, meaning fingernails on blackboard.
Next time your Math teacher sings you a Math formula ditty, you can shout out, “You sound like rice cooker on counter!” and not get into any trouble at all. Cos I’m sure your Math teacher won’t be funky enough to know Fringlish.
Now, if this were in one of the Romance languages (i.e. European languages), I might translate it into ‘the Wikipedia… the fun go-kart-like thing at Sentosa’. However, it’s not. In actual fact, this word is Fringlish for blue lake. Don’t ask me why.
Do you really need a sample sentence for this one?
Now that you’ve come to the end of my long post, I… won’t give you a prize. No, seriously, I won’t. Go spend your own money. However, I do thank you for persevering through these 1000+ words. I seem to be on a roll! Must be all that Prelims stress getting to me head. Anyway…
Be cool, be Fringly. ;)