Monday, November 21, 2011


The Gobshite

So you;re at a football match somewhere in Indonesia. You buy your ticket and you kind a place in the stand or on the terraces and you mind your own business. You don't bother reading a programme cos there ain't one. You don't bother going to the toilets 'cos they're disgusting. You don't do much in fact 'cos there ain't much to do. Except wait for the game to start.

Which is kind of dull the world over. I remember getting into see Arsenal play Aston Villa back in 1981, the year alone will explain the significance of the game to many, and with a large crowd expected fans were advised to get in early. Which I did. Like three hours early. Toilets were shit and there wasn't much to eat, even the roasted peanuts had difficulty moving round the packed terraces selling his stuff.

But I, as ever, digress.

Every once in a while a fan will look round the terraces and see a bule. This, in his mind, is absolutely fucking hilarious and he will make some absolutely fucking hilarious comment like 'look, a bule (white skinned foreigner in the local vernacular), and then other bored souls will look around and they to will point and say 'look a bule'. This learning by rotation comes from schooldays, no one ever learns how to paparphrase 'look, a bule!'

So you spend a few uncomfortable moments having dozens of people turning round, looking at you, pointing and parrotting what the other folks have said. You reach for your hand phone desperate for some tosser to spam you, asking for some credit just so you can look busy and ignore being the centre of attention.

What is funny is the voices. Across the country they are high pitched barks heavy with nicotene and puberty. The laughter as raucous as the voice.

Luckily it never happens for long. Soon even the sight of a buile at a football match becomes common place and they switch their attention to something, or someone else. You breath a sigh of relief and carry on sitting on the cold hard terrace in the humidity doing nothing.

I'm sure they do get other foreigners at football matches here. In fact I know they do. You would think that they would become used to the fact there are white skinned people who go to the football and are not actually professional footballers pr look like professional footballers.

I often get asked if I'm a coach. OK, so perhaps my shape is similar to Benny Dollo, former Persija and Indonesia coach, but do they think I would have queued up to buy a ticket if I was involved in the game professionally when I could probably get my hands on some freebies?

I remember at one game there was one particularly annoying indidvidual who wouldn't leave it alone. Once the first echos of mirth had died down he carried, 'bule, look, bule,' ad infinitum. White man, Indonesian footbal stadium, yeah, it's fucking hilarious fella. It was funny actually. 'Cos this particular this particular timewas wearing a very poor Liverpool replica shirt.

Picture the scene. Some provincial Indonesian town hundreds of kilometres from Jakarta. A local fan wearing a football shirt from a team thousands of miles away who he couldn't find on a map, who wouldn't know the words to 'You'll Never Walk Alone' looking at me as if I'm the odd one. Eh?

The best gobshite of al though actually ignored me totally. It was during the ASEAN Under 16s a few years back in Jakarta. This lad turned up to every game which I thought at the time was very dedicated of him. But then I noticed everytime Bahrain played he would hurl abuse at them in Arabic. Which wasn't very smart of him. Because the non playing members of the squad were sat very close to him and he didn't have any mates.

Of course one game it happened. In the empty stadium his voice carried along way. The Bahrainis jumped up and confronted the gobshite who puffed his chest out from behind a couple of more sensible fans. A few slaps were thrown, less landed, before the players on the field saw what was going on. One of the players charged down the tunnel and up the steps into the grandstand to have a pop while the gobshiite was escorted meekly from the stadium.

So it happens in Indonesia too! As you know, it's 'farang' instead of 'bule' in Thailand.
On the whole, I've not met with too many comments and stares at Thai football grounds. But there's sometimes one who has had a few drinks and wants to impress his mates by shouting out comments in 'English' all the while glancing and pointing at the farang in case anyone is in any doubt as to why he's doing it. Example, player goes down injured, crowd starts counting, funny bollocks starts counting in Tinglish: "wan, too, tree, for, fie, sik, sewen..." After each number he glances at farang to see if farang understands the joke and is laughing. Of course farang understands, but farang finds it difficult to laugh at something that's so childish my two-year-old would roll her eyes at it. Rant over!
there were a few thais at the malaysia game in the seag recently. they started the whole one two three thing and the police around just fell apart laughing
You should try being a Bule female. :)

Vietnam they are at least polite about it. They stare and point (and take photos).... then the vietnamese girls try to figure out if you are after one of their boyfriends. Hilarious. Not.
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