Thursday, May 18, 2017


Humorous Speech on Singapore, Shoes and Shell

The first time I gave this speech at Harrovians Toastmasters on Monday May 15, 2017, I just clomped around pretending to be in men's shoes. The part of the speech people most enjoyed was my climbing about wearing imaginary men's shoes.

When I gave the speech the following Thursday, I thought, 'I should have brought with me a pair of men's shoes. Too late.'

On the other hand, there were men in the room wearing men's shoes. Several were unsuitable, white trainers, not what actually happened. I had been given a pair of men's large black rigid office shoes.

So I went up to the Toastmasters of the Evening in the middle of the speech and asked him, 'Can I wear your shoes?'

One person in the audience suggested on the feedback form the 'Evaluation Slip' that it would be better for me to have brought the shoes with me.

I thought that actually asking a man who was reluctant to help to take off his shoes and give them to me, would be more like the real situation. It was more realistic. More absurd. And funny.

The video doesn't show the positive reaction of the audience. Afterwards, the Table Topics master told me, "People were crying with laughter!"

Angela Lansbury, CL, ACG.

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Monday, May 15, 2017


Speech How To Catch A Taxi in England, America, Singapore, Japan and Cambodia - a humorous speech by Angela Lansbury

I'm going to tell you
how to hail a taxi in Japan and Singapore.
How to talk to a taxi driver in Singapore.
How to find a taxi in Cambodia.

I could sum it up:
1 I could say, you hail a taxi in Japan and Singapore like this:
2 I could say be positive, that you tell a taxi driver how much you admire Lee Kwan Yew, who is dead.
3 I could tell you just let your hotel order you a taxi in Cambodia.
But that would not be entertaining. So I'm going to tell you three, personal, entertaining stories.

In England you stop a car by standing in the road and raising your hand like this. Don't do that in Japan. they don't stop for pedestrians.

In Britain and the USA you beckon, with the back of your hand towards the approaching vehicle or person.

Not in Japan or in Singapore. You make a motion as if patting a dog.


The best taxi I had was at the airport in Cambodia. The taxi driver met us at the airport and insisted carrying both my wheeled bags across the car park, across a second car park, across a third car park and out into the street. I thought, he's going to hail a taxi. Or walk all the way because the taxi has broken down.

I demanded, "where's the taxi?"

He pointed down the road. "Here it is?" We walked towards a stretch limousine. I thought, I hope it's not that. It'll cost a fortune. We were met by one at Heathrow returning from our honeymoon. We thought it was a treat. It was a mistake. We spent weeks trying to prove we had not ordered a huge and hugely expensive car.

Behind it was past a big Mercedes. I thought, maybe.

Then a small rusting car with a missing wheel. No, it won't go.

Finally he stopped beside a motorbike pulling a cart; a rickety rickshaw big enough for two large midgets. It had a flapping canopy and open sides you could fall out of if you didn't cling on when it swerved around a corner, overtook at an angle, or did a quick U-turn across six lanes of traffic..

The tuk-tuk is old and traditional. It looks romantic from a distance of half a mile. Close up you can see that the paint has peeled off.

"My tuk-tuk," he said proudly.
(Show picture.)

He hoists four suitcases up onto the back ledge, unsecured. I now have to climb in. It's a bit like mounting a horse. A kind of running board like we had on cars in the nineteen fifties. A ledge you have to jump over. A narrow seat. A post to hang onto. No seat belt.

Inside, you can see that the interior of the roof it is romantically covered with advertisements for restaurants and tours in much smarter vehicles, such as air conditioned buses, a funeral carriage, and the airline to fly us back to where we came from.
He puts on his helmet. It's good to know he will be protected, if he falls off. Although we won't be.

We rev off. We have lift off. That's to say, my hat has lift off. I can either hold onto the pole, or hold onto the hat. I have to put the hat in my bag.

My husband's baseball cap from Italy rolls away under a nearby bus. after the bus passes the hat must have disappeared and done a runner, or a roll into a nearby ditch, because it is never seen again. My empty water bottle, goes the same way, adding to the litter left behind by tourists in Cambodia.

I thought this is a joke. It's about four miles. Towed along behind a motor bike. he is a very good driver. He manages to overtake two lanes of traffic and pull in second before we were about to be hit by an upcoming coaches going in both directions in the fast lane. He avoids other tuk-tuks doing you turns, women crossing the six lane highway with water buckets on their heads, groups of primary school children in pairs holding hands, a crawling baby, who mother is towing two more toddlers, and a posse of teenage goats zigging across the road, giggling, playing dare.

The roads signs are all in Cambodian. We have no idea whether we are going to out hotel or being kidnapped because when we call to him he can't hear. He can't hear because of the hooting traffic, music from the restaurants we pass, the braying animals, the creaking of the tuk-tuk, the helmet. In any case he doesn't speak much English.

By the way, I spell tok tuts T U K T U K. Spell checker keeps turning it into T U T  T UTS.

There are hundreds of tuk-tuks in Cambodia. In Siem Reap there are no public buses. We presume that is to preserve the jobs of the tuk-tuk drivers. If you want to be a taxi driver, go to Cambodia. You do not need the knowledge. You can probably find a tok-tuk on its side in a ditch. All it needs is a couple of wheel, buy yourself a helmet and you are in business.

You might think I would be glad to lose my tuk-tuk driver. We told out driver we wanted to meet him at the Ankor Wat temple gate where he left us.

He said he wasn't allowed to wait an hour. The police would move him on and sending him to a car park. He points to a car park. We exchange phone numbers. But our phone won't connect to the local phone network.He tell us we an ask any other tok-tuk driver to phone his number because tok-tuks are always losing their passengers. It happens several times a day.

The first time we came back, he was not in the car park. Even if he was, when we left him there were about twenty tuk-tuks. We could have walked along the line. When we came back an hour later, there were about two hundred tuk-tuks. They weren't even still. They kept moving around. Our driver, about five foot with a moustache and a black tee shirt. two hundred other drives with about five foot with a moustache, many with black tee shirts, disappointing, not hours, and others with different colour tee shirts, discouraging, can't be ours, unless he has changed clothing.

The next time I lose a driver is near a Buddha. I say that I'll meet him near the Buddha. I go into entrance A. But it is a one way system. I come out of entrance B. Where is the Buddha. Round th road to the right. After tone minutes of running I read the buddha. No a tok tok to be seen. It is a different Buddha.  I ask if there is another Buddha. Yes, they enthuse, many Buddhas.

If you can sell a tracking service for a tuk-tuk, you'll be in business.
Tracking already exists for saloon car taxis in Singapore. In Singapore there's an ap. When you call an uber driver, the ap shows you the progress of your taxi along the nearby streets on its way to collect you.

The morals are:
1 Keep track of your taxi.
2 Photograph the vehicle and driver.
3 Establish the time when you will meet and the name of your meeting place.

Angela Lansbury, member of Harrovians and HOD in London, England and Braddell Heights Advanced in Singapore.

Another Taxi speech
How to plan the perfect taxi trip to the airport.
Allow extra time for potential delays
Taxi / Airport Transfer Disasters
    On the way to Heathrow airport we were stuck behind a funeral procession, the hearse and two more stretch black limousines, all doing under 20 miles an hour. In front was a marching band, a brass band, the Salvation Army. Their headquarters was just around the corner.

Taxi Success
   Luckily our driver was able to turn right into a handy slip road and zoom up parallel, then cut back into the road ahead of them.
   I imagined trying to explain why we had missed our flight, "We were stuck behind a hearse!" No need.

Some countries' airports have fixed rate shuttles and taxis where you pay in advance and get a ticket. Look for these in Singapore and KL.

London - Heathrow and step free
What is the alternative to an expensive taxi?
From London Heathrow there are underground trains but you need luggage you can pull along the walk to the station, along corridors and up and down steps. London also has some all night buses but limited routes. If you plan on using these, either definitely or only in case of emergency or delay, find a hotel on the route.

Money change for taxis at Heathrow is expensive. It may be cheaper to get money from a machine or from your bank, but you may need to order money from your bank a week in advance.

In Singapore when drivers change over (twice a day) the new driver often has no change.

You do not tip drivers in Singapore nor in China. In fact it is frowned upon. Locals think you are queue jumping or bribing, being condescending, or in China they might lose their jobs for taking bribes. Australia also has a no tipping culture. People are paid a proper wage and do no expect tips.

You don't tip a bus driver or bus ticket collector in London.

In some countries drivers will be pleased to have American dollars. Some taxis take credit cards.

Could you be an uber driver? If you think it's not worth the money, the hassle, the stress, you might appreciate your taxi more.

Sorry, I have to go, my taxi's waiting.

To sum up, plan routes, payment, cash, tips and alternatives. Have a great taxi, or non-taxi trip.

Angela Lansbury B A Hons is a travel writer, photojournalist.

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