Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Killem Tru

"Killem Pest, Simply the Best" proclaimed the T shirt. It was worn by a slight man on his way to work on the MRT.

The slogan reminded me of two things. Firstly the Papua New Guinea pidgin language that I was used to hearing in the Highland of that country where a similarly sounding word to "killem" is deployed, usually in the context of "kilim tru" i.e. make sure he, she or it is truly dead!

Not a very reassuring phrase if one is being chased by a kukakuka tribesman with the pig tusks through his nasal septum turned skywards.

The second thought that came to me is about the pests that one finds in the tropics - the cockroaches of various sizes and hues, ants of every scale and description and not forgetting the ever-present mosquitoes which carry a variety of nasty diseases.

Pest control is a growth business in Singapore and at certain times of the year 'fogging' is all the rage with large clouds of presumably noxious chemicals smoking out the hiding places of every creepy crawly.

I am not sure what the chemical make up of this 'fog' actually is, but what continues to surprise me is that very few of the operators wear protective masks as they apply the mixture.

Seeing the pest control man on the MRT yesterday was part of a final journey to Buena Vista MRT station and onwards on the 95 bus to my former place of work, the National University of Singapore. I will not miss this trip.

If I got to my Queenstown station by 7 am then the journey was reasonably comfortable. Afterwards the crowds packed the carriages especially in recent times where more and more people have been leaving their vehicles at home and turning to public transport. The wait for the 95 bus at the Buena Vista bus stop was the worst part of the journey - hot, sticky with little moving air, one often was left feeling in need of a second morning shower.

Now I am temporarily a man of leisure, with a couple of week's annual leave to use up before commencing my new job with the British Council, based in Singapore.

Quite apart from the new Director's post, I am looking forward to renewing my acquaintance with an old favourite - the 111 bus - which will transport me to the British Council in the Tanglin area.

But this is three weeks away and in the interim I have a holiday in Taipei to look forward to.

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