over these past days/weeks/moons, when reading british blogs, i realised that the british legacies left behind on the wee isle are so numerous that i even used up all my toes while counting them.

surely it's more than the english language - standard deteriorates faster than one can say 'boo!' these days - the GCE 'O' and 'A', and the judiciary system that's been passed on to us.

so what are they?

:: the time-honoured children's game scissors-paper-stone to resolve deadlocks.

:: the word "oi!"

:: the use of "is it?" to express sceptism. or sarcasm. however it's been evolved into "iszeeeet?" ever since.

:: stiff upper lipsm. the average wee islander would rather bear with the circumstance - some would also glare till their eyeballs give way - instead of throttling slagging the offending mong off right there and then.

but such attitude is usually excused as asian. eg: "we all asians don't like to offend people, wot". read: positive, chink. ack, i'm feeling sick already.

:: the word "la" which wee islanders spell as "lah". also used as an emphasis. really if asked what its origin is, they can't exactly tell you.

it's also used widely in malaysia and hongkong. too much of a coincidence innit?

:: the words "skive", "skiving", "skiver" are used amongst armed forces personnel.

:: the wwII POWs' tune "pack up your troubles in your old kitbag, and smile smile smile" is a favourite school assembly song. or used to be.

:: school ties were put on during school assemblies.

:: and we used to say school "tuckshop" before "canteen" became fashionable.

:: judges at the high court used to wear those wigs and cumbersome gowns until a few years ago. reason for ditching them? due to the suffocating heat and humidity on this island, them judges went woozy hours into the hearings.

the last bit is a fib.

:: the art of haggling.

:: the anglican diocese.

:: the use of "shilling" as an alternative to "coins".

:: the word "bugger" which me mum ticked me off for uttering it while at primary school - !!! - honestly i'd no clue it was rude until recently.


:: footy is still the favouritest sport amongst boys. of all ages.

:: most of 'em wee islanders inevitably support england during international footy matches. regardless of form. or fortune.

:: wee islanders still spell "colour", "favourite", and every other known word with the 'u' intact.

:: english is the medium of instruction in all schools over here. the wee island accent used to be unique and beautiful sounding once upon a time.

:: GCE 'O' and 'A' levels exam scripts are still set and marked by the collectively-known Cambridge University. Cambridge is also one of the must-see spots for the holidaying wee islander.

and yes, we still call it the 'O' levels.

:: and i found out lately while reading some local blogs, younger wee islanders also wont to use "wee", "shite", "arse" and such like.

heh. there's some hope then. and no, i'm not being sarcy.

:: England is the top choice for overseas-bound undergraduates. if not for the exchange rate, there'd be many more heading there.

:: manyoooooo being the footy club of choice for bandwagoners. it used to be Liverpool throughout the eighties.

:: family members' favourite words, even my late greatgran who didn't speak english used them - "boneshaker", "longshank", "chingchong", "loafer", "i say!", "crackpot", among others.

:: wee islanders drive on the right. of the car that is.

:: terraced-houses. certain older housing estates are similar to suburbs in the UK. and i thought my blinkers were playing tricks on me when i first arrived in london.

:: so many brits i talked to at one time or other were either born on the wee isle; or whose parents/grans were born here; or their parents were based with the royal forces here; or pensioners themselves serving in the forces.

i chanced upon one who was a POW at changi while in York. one of those wee tourist shops, the shambles. it certainly was my most poignant memory 'cos i thanked him for helping us fight against the japs.

and my newcastle-upon-tyne b&b host formerly served with the forces in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in the 50's. he did drop by the wee isle a few times - the wee isle and Malaysia back then were collectively known as Malaya.

:: teachers at school encouraged us to listen to the bbc world service to improve our spoken english. and i still do at home.

:: enid blyton's stories enthrall generations of primary school children. or used to 'cos i hardly come across her books these days.

:: the art of snacking while at work.

:: afternoon tea.

:: ribena. couldn't imagine my surprise when i first saw it at a birmingham newsagent's.

:: cadet corps - land, air, sea, police. the latter branched out into a separate unit altogther in 1970, renamed national police cadet corp.

:: marks & spencer. but they came here in 1987 and are part of the larger robinsons group which have their beginnings in the 19th century. which were founded by an aussie.

:: the wee island air force were set up just before the brits were asked to leave left. RAF's legacies were the Shackleton, Lightning, and Hawker Hunter.

it was at my first air show in 1977, which my parents took my bro and i along to; and i recall hearing over the tannoy announcing that massive warplane flying overhead.

yeah, that was the beginning of my fascination with things military.

== par whinger à 1 mai 2004 ==