Friday, March 29, 2013

An impertinent pertinent question

A happy family...such alert expressions!
I'm writing this post when I am in Kuala Lumpur but it is just a mere coincidence: I could be looking at similar scenes anywhere else. In any other big Asian city for sure.
Look at them, bent over their screens with a blank expression on their face. How many are they? A lot, too many, almost all of them actually. Gathered around cafe tables, in the subway, at the restaurant. Checking Facebook updates, playing games, chatting, even taking photos of themselves, smiling in front of their same outstretched arm. 
I won't add yet another criticism to an already long list, a new pedantic opinion on this absurd addiction. I'm just asking myself a question: what the fuck were these people doing when these devices didn't exist yet? I don't mean when there were no mobile phones at all, as most of them were still little children back then, but a few years ago, when the expression smart-phone would have sounded like some sort of oxymoron to most of us, when the screens used to be green or gray and the text plain black. When all you could do with a phone was calling or texting someone.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Funny signs/7

I often come across some funny signs, billboards, notices and labels. When it happens I always make sure that I don't leave the spot without a photo. I'll post them here a few at a time.
Unbelievable...he was not from Venice...he was Irish! (Kostanz, Germany)
It looks like ordinary filthy rubbish but actually it's...e-waste! (Pattaya, Thailand)
Prohibitions, tiresome...(Florence, Italy)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Italians in Thailand/7: the human sewage keeps flowing down

It looks like sewage but it actually is a stream
And it keeps flowing precisely from here...

Story 3) A third whoremonger was loafing around the dolphin square with a fancy new videocamera. A pretty girl approached him. After a brief conversation the two of them left together. His whore-monging colleagues looked at each other, amazed by what they had just seen. How come such a knockout left with a loser like him? (a personal note: I was not expecting that, but it seems that even to pick up a hooker you need to be cool and attractive) None of them saw him for a whole day. When he didn't show up for another night they suddenly remembered about the videocamera, put together the pieces of that puzzle, got worried and set out to look for him. Finding him was not such a difficult feat: he had been sedated and was still noisily snoring in one of the rooms where they all had been so often, with other women of the same kind. For a few days (!) they took care of him. As he was always half asleep they continuously tried to keep him awake, dragging him to take a breath of fresh air at regular intervals. Neither the victim nor anyone of his wretched friends had (or wanted to spend) money for a hospital. Besides his videocamera that moonlighter (whore and anesthetist) robbed him of all the money he had on him. Without needing to take even her shoes off. We can accuse her of a lot of wickednesses but not of been someone who sells her body for a song.

Story 4) Even S was drugged by a whore once (or maybe more).

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Italians in Thailand/6: the escalating squalor

As I've already explained you, even though I left Pattaya a few months ago I am not done telling you all the anecdotes I've learned when I was staying there. 

These are the latest stories S told me (we first met S here). I hope they also happen to be the last ones, as the escalation of their squalor doesn't seem to subside.
I jotted them down immediately after I listened to them, careful not to forget anything, using low level tone and terminology, sticking to what I had just heard. I meant to polish them all later on but then I thought that this kind of trash deserves expressive tools of a comparable quality. "Prostitutes" are therefore called "whores", "having a sexual intercourse" is "fucking" and...etcetera etcetera, we don't really need to open a vocabulary section here. If you cannot digest this hodgepodge (content and style) I really am sorry about it, I hope you can find other posts in this blog that you like better than this one. I had to write this one exactly the way I did though. Under certain circumstances you need to have an armored soul even to try to be politically correct. At the time of writing, mine is like a soap bubble that wavers and gets deformed while it glides downwards, bound to explode if it gets hit by just a gust of dusty air.

Story 1)
Mr. Gallina (a made up name that means "Hen" in Italian. Actually it's a different bird, but he's still Italian) got married with a whore and then bought a house where they went to live together.

Monday, March 18, 2013

The pope's lesson in style (in politics)

I've never really been what you may call a devoted believer. Come to think about it, I might not have a religious side at all, in the most orthodox sense of the expression. Unfortunately the only aspect of my character that invades the sphere of mysticism is my bent for blasphemous outbursts, something that would make my mother, a rather sober-minded woman, quite sad.
However, there is a thought of a theological kind that has been gnawing at my attention in the last few days. It's about the recent pope's resignation and the relevant jokes I've heard and read about it. I honestly can't understand how come the thousands of Facebook and Twitter users who post daily indignant comments about greedy, corrupted and immoral politicians unwilling to give up their posts, inviting them to "go home", didn't celebrate in unison the news of the pontiff's resignation, opting for a pointless kind of pub-like humor instead.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The chicken choir - Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Look at those nice dresses
Just a few seconds after I've entered a clothing shop someone yells something that I don't understand, some other guy repeats the same thing, then it's a lady's turn and after that many other voices overlap. It seems that they are all shouting the same sentence: "Welcome to Uniqlo!". Yeah, sure, that's exactly what they are saying, and as I am the only one who's just entered the place they must necessarily be talking to me. Gosh, what a silly prank. In order to clear any doubt I turn towards the entrance and watch what happens next. Another customer gets in, an employee spots him and shouts: "Welcome to Uniqloooooo!" He's done it with a pseudo-nice tone which actually turns out to be irritating. It's as if he were focusing more on his performance than on the greeting itself, thus making the gesture not only insincere but ridiculous as well. His colleagues, who are all busy hanging shirts or folding t-shirts, hear him and repeat the sentence, parrot-like, without taking their eyes off what they are doing, using random techniques such as falsetto, trilling, rising and falling. They are using the old dazing-sales-technique, but it feels like being back at kindergarten again, or rather to have entered an tropical aviary.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

First they say "Welcome Sir"...and then they search you! - Manila, Philippines

An unlikely "iPost" at a shopping mall
There is an enormous mess of shopping malls around the Makati and Ayala Avenue crossroads, apparently evergrowing, like some kind of urban benign tumor. The inevitable SM and Parkson malls can be found there, while Glorietta and Green belt have five branches each. They are laid out one next to the other, forming an uninterrupted commercial island a few square kilometers big. Shops, restaurants, department stores, cinemas, alfresco cafes, discos: hundreds of business venues and thousands of customers every day. A gold mine for the rich investors and the usual salary-eating trap for the middle classes of Asia, that when it comes to advertising and the call of the ephemeral don't have any form of self-defense and fall for it like little kids.
This avidity of the storekeepers runs counter to the general paranoia induced by the increasing criminality rate and the permanent sensation of political instability. This conflict takes place mostly at the mall entrances, where the clientele is channeled through narrow passages patrolled by security guards equipped with metal detectors.

Monday, March 11, 2013

We gave up - Puerto Princesa, Philippines

The escape
Only a limited number of people are allowed to access the underground river each day, six or nine hundred, we're not sure about it. Anyway all the slots are booked out for a few days ahead. At the service center they let us know that if we go to Sabang by ourselves and stay at the "right" hotel there might be some available permits not yet assigned. We buy two seats on a minivan for the following day. Judging by the price we paid and what the travel agent said it should be a decent transport service. 
The next morning they come to pick us up at the hotel with a rather run-down minibus. There only are two other tourists on board besides us. They take us to the bus station, where they intend to pick up more passengers: no problem about that, we were not really counting on travelling sprawled across three seats each. The incoming procession is interminable though. There only are nine proper places available, plus two folding extra seats, but these guys are letting ten, fifteen, twenty passengers in, and there are some more lined up in front of the van door. Six or seven people are sharing four seats in the back row, more people are seated on wooden planks resting on the edges of the seats, the armrests or the doors. The luggage space has been taken up as well: our bags are being piled up on the roof.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The reverse sunflower technique

Maybe I'm the only unlucky bastard. I don't know about you, but to me it happens all the time. You've just caught a glimpse of a girl's face and you are under the impression that she might be very beautiful. Maybe it's been the gleam of a profile, the promise of two juicy lips, a pair of slide-shaped lashes, shiny and jet-black. The problem is that it only lasted a moment and you're not sure about it: how many times in the past they didn't pass the second-glance-test? Now she's turning her back on you and doubts remain. In order to dispel them you move along the arc of a circle having her as center, as short as possible of course, not to be noticed. It's a vain hope: you keep advancing and she rotates in sync, turning her back on you all along. Changing direction doesn't help, she is doing it as well, as if there were a magnet or rather an axle connecting you to her, forcing your bodies to move in an integral way. If you try a diversionary move some idiot will interpose his figure, nose up in the air, as if he was attracted by the smell of roast chicken coming from a shop nearby, unaware of your strife, therefore inculpable, nonetheless damned.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Yeah, I understand...actually, hold, I didn't get it! - Philippines

This message was written on a wall in Puerto Princesa. Not sure what that means.
We're watching a program on a Philippines TV channel: a beautiful and fast-speaking lady is interviewing two students at some event. She speaks English as if it was her mother tongue, with a heavy American accent, maybe too heavily American.
I'm not surprised, a lot of Filipinos, especially the well educated ones, speak English like this. Many of them might use the sound P instead of the F one, so that a coffee and a copy sound pretty much the same, but the level is still very good. 
Back to the TV program. The students answer the first question in English, with ease. The lady proceeds with a second question, and her accent sounds more and more nauseating. Surprisingly the two girls answer in Tagalog, the official language, or rather the other official language, as English is also widely used: in the airport announcements, ad signs, TV programs etc.