EARLY MEMORIES: A smorgasbord of characters (3)

Ranked high in this collection is my Indian drinking mate. Tall, erudite, and wearing a cracked lens in his glasses, he was a natural leader. My other drinking mate was the gentle-giant mountain-climbing Austrian. We had some interesting discussions.

I remember standing up to the Austrian at about 2 am at the International Conference set in a small township. He had advised me to keep away from his mountaineering girl friend. With my nose at about his chest level, I threatened to hit him, as she was a friend of mine too. His advice came after he had seen me protecting the girl’s right breast during a post-prandial talk-fest. The next morning, as he left to do some shopping, he agreed to buy me a bottle of brandy for the evening – a true friend. Youth can be forgiving.

Back in town, at about 10pm one night, a Malayan friend rang me in great consternation. During an encounter of joy with his landlady, his sheath had become torn. “How” I asked. A “corkscrew manoeuvre” he replied. “Run for the hills” was the only advice I could offer.

In the guest-house I lived in there arrived a young Dutchman from Indonesia, which had just gained independence. He always wore a cravat. I noted that he sought my company. Indeed, I seemed to attract European immigrants. Did they somehow feel my interest in their background, and in what they might have to say?

Amongst these was a sad Yugoslav ex-soldier who had been separated from his family by the war, and never heard of them again. An educated Greek, who had escaped the takeover of his nation by the ‘colonels’ (I believe that is how they were described) and the Yugoslav were employed as filing clerks where I worked.

An escapee from Col.Nasser in Egypt (I came to know well a number of these escapees) cleverly became wealthy in Australia; but was then jailed. When in jail, he was reliably described to me as “living like a king.” On release, he then joined his wife in the UK “in her castle” (so reported the media).

Then, once a week for about a year, I spent an hour absorbing the knowledge of a learned anthropologist, who had escaped the Nazis in time. He couldn’t get a university position (so it was said) because he had not studied the Aborigines. He was an erudite man, who widened my perspective on psychology to take in anthropology.

My interest in physiological psychology was raised by a lecturer who seemed to spend all his spare time writing political letters to the press – which kept him in the public eye. I disliked him because he denied me an honours pass that year “because you are only a pass student.” I was studying full-time (at the expense of my sleep) while also working full-time; and the head of the psychology department was encouraging me to work for an academic career in his discipline.

 

EARLY MEMORIES: A smorgasbord of characters (2)

On board a small ship travelling from Singapore to Fremantle, my second-class fellow-passengers included ex-servicemen from 3 nations. The oldest was an Australian, one of the British Commonwealth Occupation Forces sent to Japan after its surrender. He had remained in Japan after the withdrawal of these Forces because he had married a Japanese woman. As he was not allowed to take his wife back with him, he stayed – working on the family farm.

One of his stories was how the locals came to admire his chest of greying hairs when he worked shirt-less. He was a big man. Since a number of Japanese wives had settled successfully in Australia (indeed, reportedly they had been readily accepted), the Aussie was returning home to plead his case. We wished him success.

He confirmed to me what I had read earlier; that some Aussie troops, on arrival in Japan with the BCOF, had raped women and otherwise attacked other civilians. They, reportedly, saw themselves as retaliating for the deaths in battle of their relatives!

Two of my fellow-passengers were ex-National Servicemen from France. They had fought in the war of independence in Algeria; and had not liked being shot at. They were of my age, and looking forward to a peaceful life (as I was) in Australia. They were terribly jealous of the Englishman, also of comparable vintage; and were not amused at his claim that Malay women are more attractive than white women.

The Englishman, also an ex-National Serviceman, had been based in Malaya. He had not fought anyone, in spite of the attrition provided by communist Chinese terrorists. Subsequently, it was (General?) Templar who had driven these communists out of Malaya (to Thailand?).

What irked the Frenchmen was that the Englishman had been allowed to spend each night with his Malay girl friend in the adjacent kampong; provided he hopped back over the fence in time in the morning. Naturally, he left the Malay girl behind, then claimed that he missed her. However, by the time we reached Fremantle, he was changing his mind about white women. He may have been just a randy youth.

What I saw of the British troops guarding the train that my Aussie wife and I were on, going north from Singapore, was not encouraging. By about 10 pm, some of the soldiers were clearly drunk, and staggering about. That was in spite of the reality that, a week or so before, the communists had blown up the main track. While our train was apparently protected by some sort of vehicle preceding it, we wondered what would happen were the communists to shoot at the train after it had been stopped.

It was time for the British to protect their own troops by sending them home. They were notable characters in their own right.

‘Light on the darkness of the mind’ (fiction by RAR)

The phone rings.  It is in a largely empty office.  Downsising is now an art form.  Insurance is, after all, very expensive.  Eventually, the phone is answered.  ‘Hopalong Insurance Company’ says a high-pitched female voice.  Before she could say anything else, the caller asks ‘Is that you, Tripalong?’

‘Pardon?’  queries the female.  ‘Never mind’ says the caller.  ‘I want to speak to Mr. Ali.’  ‘We do not have a Mr. Ali here’ says the female.  ‘Has he left the company?’ asks the caller.  ‘We have never had a Mr. Ali .  But, my boss is named Ellie.’  Before the caller can respond, female voice no. 1 is replaced by a deeper female voice.    ‘Ellie speaking’ she says, with an inviting voice.

‘I don’t want to speak with you, Ellie.  I want Mr. Ali.  He wrote to me about my policies’ says the caller.  He sounds quite testy.  ‘I wrote to you.  I am Ellie.’  Female voice no. 2 sounds testy too.  ‘If your name is Ellie, why do you sign your name as Ali?’   ‘That is my name.’  She feels quite cross.  Her voice has risen an octave.  It is almost squeaky with indignation.

An angry voice at the other end of the phone shouts.  ’Why do you, a woman, use a good Muslim man’s name?  Have you no shame?  You insult the Prophet!’  At that point Ellie becomes mindful of the company’s future.  An image of a fire-bomb fills her mind.  She calms down a little.  She now says ‘Could I have your name please?’  ‘No!’ roars the caller.  ‘I want Ali.  He will be more sensible.’  ‘Please, mister, there is no Ali here.’  Since the caller obviously doesn’t believe her, she continues.  ‘I am in charge of the policy renewal section.  I wrote to all our customers last week.  How can I help you?’

‘Listen dumdum Ellie, …’   Before he could say further, Ellie shouts.  ‘Don’t you dumdum me, you Islamist hoon.  Give me your name.  I will delete it from our files.’  At that, the caller remembers reality.  The reality of cash.  ‘Wait, wait!  Your company offered me a 20% discount if I placed all my insurance with you.  You know, house, contents, my life, car, boat.’

Even in the hot darkness of her mind, Ellie (written as Ali) realises what her boss will be saying to her were this customer to take his business elsewhere.  The cold light of reality dampens her anger.  She speaks sweetly.  ‘Could we meet in the coffee shop downstairs to discuss your policies please?’  The caller is now confused.  He thinks:  ‘I want that discount.  What do I care if she is Ellie or Ali?’  ‘O.K.’ he says.  He gives her his name and other identification.  They agree, with shared anger under control, on a date and a time for the policy renewal- with- coffee.

On the day, they approach each other warily.  When their eyes meet, that well-known spark lights the darkness of wariness in both of them.  The light of mutual attraction casts aside all preconceptions.  They sign the renewal policies amicably.  They arrange to meet for another coffee, very, very soon.  The hoon and the dumdum seem quite compatible.  Hopalong Insurance continues to operate successfully.

Some time into their marriage, she asks about Tripalong.  Who was she?  He explains.  She was the wife of a film actor.  He rode long distances on his horse, singing away merrily.  His name was Hopalong Cassidy.  Because she always accompanied him on his travels, his wife was referred to as Tripalong.    Thus, ‘Islamic  hoon’ and ‘dumdum Ellie’ (written as Ali) tripped along the path of life happily, but without any horses.

 

 

‘Pithy Perspectives’ – bicultural fiction

While I was writing my 4 non-fiction books, which were intended to ‘contribute to building a bridge from where I came to where I am’ (as suggested by the spirit world), I decided to learn to write fiction. After a time, I put together the best of my experimental writing which, unsurprisingly, turned out to be bi-cultural in approach. Two avid but critical readers, who had influenced my first memoir ‘Destiny Will Out,’ encouraged publication.

REVIEW in Writers Voice, June 2112

I recently had the chance to read ‘Pithy Perspectives’ by Raja Arasa Ratnam.

Raja has lived a most interesting life and proved to be a very valuable addition to Australia since he arrived here over six decades ago. His time here spans the period from White Australia to the Multicultural Australia of today. Raja is 82 years old and lived for four years under the Japanese Military. He has held a variety of leadership positions during his residence of more than 60 years in Australia, Raja has tried to impart some of the wisdom he has gathered over the years to you, the reader. Details for some of Raja’s work can be seen on our FAW Bookshelf.

This in an interesting book of 20 or more short stories to really engage the mind. Each story actually has a good opening and dramatic ending.  The stories have a wide ranging background; crazy, frightening, weird, some really lovely, some making fun of human ambitions, and cross-cultural issues.

The last story is really quite intriguing – it is so different –  and will have you feeling really wonderful. I say no more.

It is a very clever book –  a real smorgasbord for the reader – one to sit back and really enjoy. Raja Ratnam is one writer who relishes his craft and has a special ability to impart his knowledge and experiences in written form in an enjoyable way.

The book is available as an EBook in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format.  Keep a lookout for Raja’s latest book also, ‘Musings at Death’s Door.’  Trevar Langlands, State President (NSW), Fellowship of Australian Writers Inc.

Review by US Review of Books

reviewed by Maria A. Hughes

“Memory is not a function of age but of significance.”

Ratnam conveys his insight into multiculturalism, human psychology, spirituality, what it means to be human, and the unknown in this collection of bite-sized, esoteric short stories. The reader is not bogged down by heavy-handed philosophical or religious quandaries. Ratnam’s stories are peppered with various forms of intelligent life, including djinns and sentient animals, lending a mythological bent to reality. They especially lend themselves to fans of science fiction, the fantastical, or even the odd.

There are stories that speak to the frailty and limitations of the human spirit while others are of curiosity and redemption. Some are full of hilarity as they jest over the human condition while others are frightening. The stories are whimsical, engaging, unpredictable, a little weird, highly imaginative, and will appeal to a wide audience. They often end on an unexpected, dramatic note, keeping the reader at guessing the outcome.

The last story, “Of Mice and Morality,” is perhaps Ratnam’s best piece. It is captivating, thought-provoking, poetic, and will leave the reader feeling inspired by the end of it. The author has truly written a smorgasbord of stories which will appeal to a wide array of people. Pithy Perspectives is perfect for the person who desires to read something that is intellectually stimulating but at the same time entertaining, easy to understand, and short enough that the book can be read and enjoyed in snippets.

Review of ‘Pithy Perspectives’ on YouTube

This truly is a smorgasbord of short stories. With 21 wonderful short stories to choose from, I decided to skip about and read in no particular order- simply because I could due to the way the author crafted this book.

‘Grounded’ quickly became an early favorite as I liked the interaction of the characters but dear Rueben in ‘The Boat People’ reminded me much of the delightfully browbeaten Richard in Keeping Up Appearances on PBS.

‘Nothing Fishy at the Seaside’ was another story that stood out as I liked the idea of the story and it made my brain work double time.

The last story, ‘Of Mice and Morality,’ was captivating, thought-provoking, poetic, and left me feeling inspired by the end of it.

After much debating, I find choosing a favorite from these delightful gems is a task that is far more difficult than it seems. While they are stand-alone stories, they flow nicely together when read one after the other.

The author managed to take an eclectic mix of stories and create a book that one can read a little at a time or in one sitting with the same outcome – a true pleasure to read. The stories are engaging, unpredictable, a little weird, highly imaginative, and will appeal to a wide audience.

If you appreciate exceptional short fiction like I do I’m sure you’ll enjoy this 5 star collection. It’s available on Kindle at a very affordable price.

Review by William Potter of Independent Author Network

 

 

 

 

Paraprosdokians (1)

Paraprosdokians: a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence is unexpected and often humorous.

**********************************

 

 

  • If I had a dollar for every girl who found me unattractive, they’d eventually find me attractive.

 

  • I find it ironic that the colors red, white, and blue stand for freedom, until they’re flashing behind you.

 

  • A man knocked on my door and asked for a small donation towards the local swimming pool, so I gave him a glass of water.

 

  • Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

 

  • I’m great at multi-tasking–I  can waste time, be unproductive, and procrastinate all at once.

 

  • If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame.

 

  • Take my advice — I’m not using it.

 

What makes up 100% in life?

What makes up 100% in life? 

Here’s a little mathematical formula that might help you answer these questions: 

If: 

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 

Is represented as: 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26. 

Then: 

H-A-R-D-W-O-R-K 

8+1+18+4+23+15+18+11 =98%

And 

K-N-O-W-L-E-D-G-E 

11+14+15+23+12+5+4+7+5 =96% 

But ,

A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E 

1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 =100% 

And, 

B-U-L-L-S-H-I-T 

2+21+12+12+19+8+9+20 =103% 

AND, look how far ass kissing will take you. 

A-S-S-K-I-S-S-I-N-G 

1+19+19+11+9+19+19+9+14+7 = 118% 

So, one can conclude with mathematical certainty, that while hard work and Knowledge will get you close, and Attitude will get you there. 

Its the Bullshit and Ass Kissing that will put you over the top. 

Now you know why some people are where they are! 

 

Unclassified jokes (1)

Paddy and Murphy are havin’ a pint in the pub, when some scuba divers come on the TV. Paddy says, “Murphy, why is it them deep sea divers always sit on the side of the boat with them air tanks on their backs, and fall backwards out of the boat?” Murphy thinks for a minute then says, “That’s easy. It’s ‘cos if they fell forwards, they’d still be in the friggin boat!”

 

There’s a blond and a brunette in a car. The brunette is driving while the blonde is in the passenger seat. They’re going down a steep hill when the brunette realizes that the brakes don’t work. The brunette tells the blonde that the brakes don’t work and they will drive off the side of the cliff because they failed to stop. The blonde then replies, “Don’t worry! There’s a stop sign ahead.”

 

There were two cannibals who captured a man. They decided it would be fair if they started eating from opposite ends. After a few minutes, the one who started at the head asked the other one, “How’s it going down there?” And the other one replies, “I’m having a ball!”

Eskimo jokes

A tourist goes to the pole, and meets an Eskimo.
“During the summer you don’t have any nights, and during the winter
you don’t have any days… What do you do during that endless summer
day?” he asks.
“We go fishing, and make love to our women,” the Eskimo replies.
The tourist thinks a while, and asks another question:
“Then, what do you do during that endless winter night?”
Eskimo grins:
“We don’t go fishing…”

 

An eskimo was riding his snowmobile when it quit running. He took it to the local mechanic and had him look at it. The mechanic told the Eskimo to give him about 3-4 hours and he would have it diagnosed. So the Eskimo went into town to do some shopping.  When he returned to the mechanic shop he saw his snow mobile in pieces.  The mechanic turned and looked at the Eskimo and said ‘Looks like you have blown a seal.’  The Eskimo replies ‘No that is just frost on my moustache.’

 

 

What’s the difference between a eunuch and an Eskimo?

A eunuch is a massive vassal with a passive tassel,
while an Eskimo is a rigid midget with a frigid digit.

 

 

An Eskimo was tapping on some ice looking for some fish when a voice said; “You won’t find any fish under there!” The Eskimo just ignored it and carried on tapping. Again, the voice echoed saying “You won’t find any fish under there!” The Eskimo shouted up “Who are you… God?” and the voice replied, “No, the ice-rink manager!”

 

 

One day, an Eskimo family arrived in New York City. This was the first time out of their native village, and it didn’t take long before the wife got lost. The Eskimo husband asked a passerby for help and was told to go to the police and report it. When he got there, a police officer asked him for the wife’s description.
“What’s that?” asked Eskimo.
“Well, you see a description is telling what something looks like. For example, my wife is 25-years-old, 5’11”, 140 lbs, 38-25-36 measurements. Now, what can you tell me about your wife?”
“The heck with my wife”, said the Eskimo, “lets go look for yours!”

 

 

Hear about the Eskimo girl who spent the night with her boyfriend

and next morning found she was six months pregnant.

 

 

 

Hear about the Eskimo who was stabbed with an icicle?

He died of cold cuts

 

 

 

Truth Will Out (Part 6)

The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin.
Mark Twain

What this country needs are more unemployed politicians.
Edward Langley,  Artist (1928-1995)

A  government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have.
Thomas Jefferson

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
Aesop

Indomitable laws – Part 2

  1. Law of the Theaters and Sports Arenas
    At any event, the people whose seats are furthest from the aisle, always arrive last. They are the ones who will leave their seats several times to go for food, beer, or the toilet and who leave early before the end of the performance or the game is over. The folks in the aisle seats come early, never move once, have long gangly legs or big bellies and stay to the bitter end of the performance. The aisle people also are very surly folk.
  2. The Coffee Law
    As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.
  3. Murphy’s Law of Lockers
    If there are only two people in a locker room, they will have adjacent lockers.
  4. Law of Physical Surfaces
    The chances of an open-faced jelly sandwich landing face down on a floor are directly correlated to the newness and cost of the carpet or rug.
  5. Law of Logical Argument
    Anything is possible IF you don’t know what you are talking about.
  6. Law of Physical Appearance
    If the clothes fit, they’re ugly.
  7. Law of Public Speaking

A CLOSED MOUTH GATHERS NO FEET!

  1. Law of Commercial Marketing Strategy
    As soon as you find a product that you really like, they will stop making it OR the store will stop selling it!
  2. Doctors’ Law
    If you don’t feel well, make an appointment to go to the doctor; by the time you get there, you’ll feel better. But don’t make an appointment and you’ll stay sick.