austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,
austin_dern
austin_dern

Shake hands with your uncle Mike, me boy

It's Singapore Heritage Festival '06, a set of events and informational panels starting from DNA and working up to live performances of Malay street music of the 1960s. It asks people what makes them identify themselves as Singaporeans. One panel humorously suggests, ``The workaholism? Your compliant personality? The 'kiasuism'? You work hard and play as hard? Your love affair with the longest buffet in town?''

Main sponsors are the Singapore Turf Club, the horse racing association; Philip Morris Singapore, Lung Cancer With A Heart; and the Singapore Totaliser Board, about which I know nothing and into which I won't pry because a Totaliser Board sounds like the sort of thing the relentlessly average protagonist of any Galaxy Science Fiction story from the 1950s is threatened to be reported to if he doesn't send his monthly quota of rocket-mail telegrams or whatever. I have enough problems with reality. I don't need trouble with a Totaliser Board.

As I considered the Totaliser Board a woman handed me a flyer and explained the Heritage Festival was encouraging people to put together online family trees. They had a panel describing symptoms of the unnamed disease of people who compulsively make family trees:

  • Makes secret calls at night. (That's not much indication of anything, I'd say. If you insist on calling you may as well do it at night, so you can talk to the voice mail boxes of the wrong numbers you've dialed.)
  • Swears at the mailman when he leaves no mail. (So far he mostly sounds unpleasant.)
  • Continual complaints for names, dates, and places. (He's getting harder to like.)
  • Hides phone bill from spouse. (That's simply juvenile.)
  • Mumbles to self. (I find something suspicious in people who don't ever need to mumble to themselves.)
  • Has strange far-away look in eyes. (I have that too, but just because I don't know what's going on.)
  • Always includes a check in those letters. (What letters?)
  • Has strong compulsion to write letters. (Oh.)
  • Has no taste for work of any kind, except feverishly looking through records at libraries and courthouses. (I think most of us can sympathize with this one. A good library has fascinating and weird niches you don't notice unless you search.)
  • Has compulsions to frequently visit strange places, such as cemeteries, ruins, and remote desolate country areas. (Doesn't anybody come from the city anymore? Why don't people come from places where there already were a lot of people?)

It warns that someone who gets too much into the hobby may end up withdrawing from family or friends, but can be brought around by asking about his great-grandmother. I know they want it to convey a chipper we're-all-nerds-here attitude, but I think they're overdoing it.

Trivia: Another designation for Apollo 11, besides SA-506, CSM-107 and LM-5, was Eastern Test Range Number 5307. Source: Apollo By The Numbers, Ricahrd W Orloff. NASA SP-2000-4029.

Currently Reading: The Suiciders, J T McIntosh.

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