Sunday, 17 May 2009

Don't Tell Mum I Work on the Rigs

This is a very compelling and funny book.

I don't sell books and have no affiliation with Amazon or the author - I just think it's a good read.

Paul Carter is an Anglo-German who was born in the U.K.

Christmas holidays consisted of watching the "Great Escape" war film on T.V.

His paternal English grandfather would cheer and clap and when it was over, would pull out his war medals. His maternal German grandfather would curse and cringe at every standard scene of the lone American G.I gunning down hordes of German soldiers without reloading.

Paul wanted to work on oil rigs and got his wish. His career took him all over the world including the Middle East, Borneo, Tunisia, Sumatra, Vietnam, Nigeria and Russia.

His book is full of his side-splitting anecdotes.

He also spent some time on the supply barge, Ismaya.

There is a 47-year old orangutan called Ah Meng who lives in Singapore Zoo.

If you check her out, the Zoo website will tell you:

"For many Singaporeans, the Singapore Zoo is synonymous with Ah Meng, the Sumatran orangutan. In 1971, Ah Meng was confiscated from a Chinese family which had illegally kept her as a pet. Subsequently, she found her home in the Singapore Zoo.

Ah Meng was the first to host our famous 'Breakfast With An Orang Utan' programme. She soon became a celebrity, both locally and internationally. She has been featured in over 30 travel films and 'interviewed' by more than 300 writers. In 1992, Ah Meng received a special award from the Singapore Tourism Promotion Board, in recognition of her contribution towards tourism in Singapore.

Ah Meng also contributed to the Singapore Zoo's captive breeding programme. She has had five children so far and became a grandmother in 1990".

Now, as far as I know from Paul, a Captain of a drillship called the "Ismaya" bought her in some South Asian seaport.

He let her live on the ship. That ship had a beautiful teak bar that was built by a skilled crew member who had nothing better to do in his spare time.

Ah Meng ran that bar for a number of years.

She made cocktails and there was never any trouble because the crew were scared of her - orangutans are much stronger than men.

The way I heard the story, she had her own bar stool.

NOBODY sat on her stool..

For fun, the crew would invite the new boy to sit on the empty stool of Ah Meng. She would then launch them across the room on to a soft couch on the opposite wall.

The lads used to take her on the town when the ship got into Singapore.

Eventually, the ship was sold and the new owners didn't want her - we dont have monkeys in our brave new world - no siree...

The old man on the ship phoned the zoo for advice and they asked if they could have her. The master reluctantly agreed - he could hardly take her home or back to the ship.

The way I heard the story and it may have just been bartalk, but the Zoo tried to send a van over to the ship for her, but she was already in a taxi with the Captain on their way over from the docks .

So, if you ever go to Singapore Zoo, now you know...

Read the book if you get a chance. The ISBN is ISBN-13:978-1-85788-376-3

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