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The art of playing with swear words

By Taipan
13 Sep 2018

As an old-school, retired banker, I never had to face too much pressure from technology or compliance, both of which seem to be taking over the lives of young bankers.

With all phone lines at banks recorded and emails monitored, some of the more ‘expressive’ bankers have been forced to take things down by many a notch. The usual banter in the chat rooms is gone, and swearing, cursing and calling people names could now make you a victim of human resources’ wrath.

Had I still been in the game, they would have had a field day, as my impressive swearing skills have transcended to my personal life too, as Tai Tai reminds me umpteen times.

But maybe there is something I can learn from today’s generation. Last week over drinks at the Captain’s Bar with a few bright, up-and-coming capital market lads, one chap managed to bring a heated debate on Donald Trump to a grinding halt with three words — “what the fish”.

Before I even understood what happened, everybody burst out laughing. It turned out the chap, who had received multiple warnings from HR for using strong language, has rebelled brilliantly by replacing the F-word with another F-word that is even child-friendly.

He has also seemingly figured out a way to get around the firewall of his internal email system by adding “-ing” after every rude verb so it is not detected. (Apparently, his firm's firewall designers seem to have forgotten about tenses).

So next time, you’ll know what I mean if you hear me say something like “fish off”, “oh crab” or “no sheep”. I am making a choice. You know what they say: happy wife, happy life.

By Taipan
13 Sep 2018