Monthly Archives: February 2019

Tim Walker’s Kids

If baby sheep are called lambs and baby cattle are calves, if baby horses are called foals and baby cats are kittens, if baby dogs are pups and a doe is a deer a baby deer, what are we supposed to call a baby goat?

Pretty sure a baby goat is a kid, son.

That can’t be right, thought a ‘kid’ was what you called a baby…?

That is correct, it is what you call a baby goat.

Right, a baby goat is called, what?

A kid.

Yeah, so what’s a kid goat?

A baby.

Right, yes, alright, so what is a baby goat called then?

For the record, technically, a baby person is called a child, not a kid.

What, you mean when parents talk about their ‘kids’, they’re actually talking about goats?

Yeah, probably not, no.

So why do people call their children ‘kids’?

Good question, I’ll check into that…

Did you check?

Still checking.

Which would make you a chequer.

I am a little square, yes – have been that way since I was a kid.

Yeah, about that…?

Well, according to my infinitely knowledgeable Collins dictionary, a ‘kid’ is a baby goat.

Interesting, dictionary – why didn’t you just ask Google?

I don’t ask Google, as I have found that much of the so-called factual content on Google is written by people who in fact have no idea about the topic at hand and are simply rewriting an existing ‘factual’ article to produce words known as ‘web-filler’.

People like you, you mean?

In fairness, all my work is one hundred percent original, thank you very much.

No, I was talking about years ago, when you were a copywriter – isn’t that what you did?

Oh, yes, right, yes, that is the modern definition of copywriting – effectively copying somebody else’s writing for another source.

You never copied anything about baby goats then?

Ah, right, not the colloquial definition of ‘kid’ anyway, no, although according to Collin, the term ‘kid’ meaning ‘child’ was first recognised in the nineteenth century but, other than to say, ‘a kid is a baby goat and the word comes from Scandinavian origin’, he was unable to tell me much more than that.

You should ask Google then.


Did you ask?


What did he say?

Confirmed, ‘kid’ meaning ‘child’ recognised in eighteen forty, which does constitute the nineteenth century –

Why do you do that?

Do what?

Write the whole number like that…?

Oh, it’s because technically we’re speaking and people don’t speak numbers, they speak words.

Makes sense, I suppose – what else did Google say?

Yes, Scandinavian origin, yes, it’s all basically the same, and no one appears to know the term’s colloquial origin.

‘Colloquial’, meaning slang, like, for ‘child’?

That is correct.

Wonder what Google says about ‘colloquial’…?

You are aware there are other search engines besides Google?

Yes, but why would anyone want to upgrade to an inferior counterpart?

I’ve taught you well, kid.

Yeah, so why not ‘lamb’, ‘pup’, ‘cub’ or something, instead, why a goat – why ‘kid’?

Would you prefer I referred to you as ‘lamb’?

Not so much, I’d rather be ‘shitkicker’ – are they the baby of something?

Gee, I don’t know, I guess, I mean, it might be a, what, the incontinent hermaphrodite offspring of a, I don’t know, zebu…?

Nah, what about the babies of crocodiles – what are they called?

Really, hah, you want to be called a ‘hatchling’?

Well, suppose, it’s still better than ‘pup’, or, what’s a baby eel called?

An ‘elver’.

Yeah, still better than an elf.

A kid elf, you mean.

Thought a kid elf would be an ‘elfling’, or something like that.

You know, I think a baby elf is just called a ‘baby elf’ – hard to say, given their nonexistence.

Cool story … What’s a baby ox called?

Pretty sure it’s a calf.

Thought that was a baby cow.

It is, they’re basically the same beast.

So what’s a baby buffalo?

I guess that would also be a calf – zebu too.

Even a hermaphrodite one?

I don’t see it should make a difference, particularly in this modern era, it’s still a calf.

Alright, what’s a baby whale then?

Are you trying to be clever?

I don’t need to try.

A baby whale, kid, is also a calf.

So why don’t they call kids that, instead – calves?

Couldn’t tell you, children have just always been ‘kids’.

No kidding, so what are baby goats called again?

Kids, I don’t know.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Noah I Deer

Photography by Bay B Animal





Tim Walker’s Vietnam XXXI

To witness a hard-shelled creature of around 70 millimetres long by 15 wide scuttling rapidly across the floor, invariably tracking a linear path, possibly over your foot, maybe up your trousers and even onto your table, to Vietnamese folk, is an everyday sight.

Cockroaches plaguing a building does not mean those premises are unclean or (come on, we’re talking about Vietnam here…?) unhygienic, it simply means a structure is providing adequate shelter from direct sunlight or, particularly, rainfall. Vietnamese are not at all bothered by the sight of these ghastly creatures and in fact, seem to respect them as though they belong or, unbelievably, as though are entitled to occupy whatever habitat they choose to infest…

Final morning at the Pink Tulip hotel, having enjoyed my last complimentary breakfast followed by another revealing chat with Oobit and now running perilously close to my midday checkout time, I tentatively peered through the gap in my open hotel room door. My heart skipped; my breath caught in my throat.

…A few nights before in Crazy Girls, during another Ho Chi Minh deluge, as I had watched numerous roaches appear, darting over the floor in front of me like little armoured soldiers, I had treated the situation no differently to the way I would any other unwanted pest; when one of these unsightly vermin had made its way onto my table I had naturally brushed it off, watched it scamper away a half-metre then stepped forward with a dancing-soled Vietnam boot, relishing the feel, also the sound, of it crushing under my foot (in fact the first time a cockroach had made its ungainly way onto my table I had picked it up by a leg to further study the, reportedly, potentially nuclear-surviving critter, in the hope of seeing what made the species so damned remarkable; at this point Noobie had reached forward and slapped my hand, causing me to drop my subject, where it had hit the floor with a ‘crack’, bounced to its feet, then scuttled away, seemingly unperturbed with being dropped onto a marble floor from over 100 times its own height – nuclear-surviving indeed – because apparently the first thing a cockroach does after being touched by a human, is run away to clean itself)…

In my room a figure was huddled up on the bed, pushed right back to the head, swaddled head to toe in sheets. I made my approach, reaching out and touching the raggedly breathing cocoon. It jerked back in surprise. “Noobie,” I whispered, “what’s wrong – what happened?”

Slowly, from amid the bundled sheets a head emerged; two distraught black eyes stared at me, unblinking, for what felt like minutes, then, “You leave me alone … I scared,” she breathed.

As much from relief as from the nature of her response, I almost laughed. “What – why are you scared?” I asked, sitting on the bed and wrapping my arms around the diminutive bundle.

“I scared of dark,” she glanced down ashamedly, speaking quietly, “I scared of alone.”

“Oh, shit … I’m sorry about that,” I tightened my embrace. “You should have come downstairs and found me – I was just having breakfast.”

“Oh,” she looked up, those beautiful big eyes wet with tears, “I didn’t know … I thought you leave me.”

“Come on, I would never leave you, Noobie, never.”

“But you are.”

“Oh … Well, at least for as long as I am in Vietnam, I promise, Noobie, I will not leave you.”

“But you go home – when?”

“Yes,” I sighed, “in two weeks, I will go home, that is correct.”

“So, in two weeks, you leave me.”

“No,” I sighed again, “in two weeks, I will go home, but I don’t want to leave you – I want you to come with me, Noobie.”


“So you say.”

“My family in Vietnam.”

“I know that, and I’ve told you we could take care of them from New Zealand.”

“I stay Vietnam,” through the tears she flashed me one of her scintillating grins, “you go back New Zealand…” her smile beamed up at me as she ran her dextrous fingers over places that didn’t need reminding, I was in bed with an exquisite Vietnamese woman “…You take care me there?”

“What if I just take care of you now and we’ll work out the rest after?”

…Suddenly I was under attack from a barrage of death-stares from every crazy girl in Crazy Girls bar.

One such, Linh (Ling), started beating my chest in anger, staring up at me with a menacing (adorable) glare, “Why you do that – why you hurt creature?”

“It was a cockroach,” I said in disbelief, “cockroaches are filthy creatures.”

“You filthy creature!” she chirruped and with that, Linh turned and stormed away.

I peered sideways at Noobie; she too, looked as though she didn’t want to know me. I glanced downwards, to a dozen or-so of these scuttling critters on the smooth floor on which the pool table was situated, sharing the space with an additional dozen or-so pairs of feet walking drunkenly around that part of the bar floor.

I couldn’t imagine that all those filthy cockroaches would make it home tonight; nevertheless, in Vietnam, apparently, to kill one deliberately, is a cardinal sin.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Karla Durty

Photography by Caca Rosh

Tim Walker’s Pedantic

Once upon a time I had trouble grasping its nuanced applications but still, and hypocritical as it may seem, misuse of the possessive apostrophe frustrates the shit out of me.

Recently I stumbled upon a Facebook excerpt: love you’s both endlessly

At first I smiled, then I choked; after that I think I tasted bile.

For a start, yous, is not a word – it’s not a pronoun, it’s not a noun, it’s not multiple nouns, it’s not anything (and for the record, those just back there, they were regular apostrophes to denote the missing of a letter – in the case of it’s, it’s the letter ‘i’ – as in, it is). Slipping in, what I can only imagine, is a possessive apostrophe, certainly makes ‘yous’ no more of a word, anyway…

Also, back up there, right on that first line; ‘Once upon a time’, what the hell is that? I mean, pretty sure I recognise each word individually but, in a sentence, they scarcely seem to make sense. Look at this, we’ll break it down: ‘Once’ is an adverb, it adds to a verb – he (pronoun) vomited (verb) once (adverb) – it’s one, sole, singular. ‘Upon’ is a preposition, a pre-position – also it’s a compound word – up on. ‘A’ is a pronoun, denoting something, and don’t you Facebook fiends dare try using it with a possessive either (because as you’ll see there ain’t no room – as there is additionally none for my ghastly double negative). ‘Time’ is an abstract noun (‘abstract’ because it’s not tangible), it’s ultimately indicative of when that something (Once upon a time) occurred.

…Possessive apostrophes, admittedly, can be difficult. They denote ownership, for example, Tim Walker’s Pedantic, which in this case means it is my article because I wrote it; it definitely does not mean ‘Tim Walker(is) Pedantic’, because that would just be silly and wholly outrageous…

Once Upon a Time there was a hackneyed way to start children’s storybooks (possessive in children’s, because it is the children who own the books) that was so widely used it became practically the only way to begin one of these old stories (no apostrophe, it’s a simple plural, hence the ‘y’ in ‘story’, along with the ‘s’ to indicate the plural, become ‘ies’); this despite the phrase ‘Once Upon a Time’ (and, although they might look the same as possessive apostrophes, those were actually inverted commas – see, ‘inverted commas’ – used to isolate and/or denote/differentiate a term’s meaning).

…That’s all reasonably straightforward stuff though, isn’t it – a possessive is used to denote ownership – it’s when you start getting into plurals of possessives that things can become complicated. Most people, seemingly, either don’t understand the ‘plural possessive’ rule or they simply can’t be bothered with it although, whatever side you choose to take, here it is…

Once Upon a Time there was a silly little boy named Tim Walker. He liked cats a lot. He had a lot of cats. Yet none of Tim Walker’s cats (possessive, as the cats are owned by Tim Walker) liked him very much. Tim Walker’s family (possessive, again singular, there is still only one of him) were all Walkers too (no possessive at all, nothing here is being owned, it’s just a regular plural), and they didn’t much care for Tim’s cats (possessive, singular, only one Tim). In fact, they liked Tim’s (possessive, singular) cats (none) about the same amount as those cats (again, basic plural, no need for possessive) disliked Tim. One day Tim was feeding his cats (again, no possessive). He reached down and picked up the cats’ bowl (possessive, plural; apostrophe this time coming after the ‘s’, indicating the bowl is owned by multiple cats), then carefully opened the cat-food tin’s lid (possessive, singular, there is only one cat-food tin). The rest of the Walkers then appeared (no possessive, nothing is owned), riding in the Walkers’ big station wagon (possessive, plural, as the car is owned by all the Walkers), with Mr Walker’s big voice (possessive, singular, as it’s his voice only) booming over the land.

…Ultimately, the ruling, as suggested by Tim Walker – formally qualified to proofread, edit and, by implication but perhaps less-so, write stuff – if you don’t know how to properly use a possessive apostrophe, please, better you don’t use one at all.

It’s just that, for those people who do understand their usage, a sentence devoid of possessives is much less frustrating to see than the unnecessary inclusion of one.

Thank you.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Ana Nessy-Sari

Photography by Poe Zissa Sieve



Tim Walker’s Vietnam XXX

Given this week’s Triple-X rating I guess I should point out, content in the upcoming instalment may offend some readers; I mean, shit, it’s doubtful but, you know, it might happen.

It was while still checked into the Pink Tulip and, having just ended a wonderful discussion with a well-travelled British homosexual named Phil about his (delightfully camp display of) indignation at being mistreated when he had entered, and made himself comfortable at, a strictly Vietnamese restaurant (a street-food restaurant for Vietnamese, not for Westerners – in fact not unlike the one which, according to last year’s Chronicles, I stumbled into while in Hoi An, in the process of benevolently attempting to buy lunch for my boot-maker friend at ‘Ocean’ leather tailors – with very low, Vietnamese-low, prices), that I spoke again to the friendly Dutch expat, Oobit…

Perhaps surprisingly I had made it home the previous night with my body, face, and with my funds, intact; this despite encountering along the way numerous stragglers, loiterers, beggars and other undesirables – as well as multiple offers for a ‘sleepover’ with an utterly exquisite Vietnamese woman (also one or two, admittedly beautiful but probable, men, of a similar niche). I had staggered through the main doors and across the Pink Tulip foyer, then taken the stairs two at a time until reaching the fourth level (experiencing that chest congestion at this point worse than ever), located my room and collapsed into bed. What seemed like only a minute later I was jerked awake by my hotel room telephone; stretching my torso out of bed I made a casual swipe at the wall-mounted phone, knocking the handpiece from its cradle, before regathering and putting the receiver to my ear. “Yeah,” I rasped.

“Hello Sir,” said a hushed Vietnamese voice. “Just calling let you know a girl is on her way up.”

I hesitated, straining through the mental fug; initially I saw nothing then gradually, lucidity pushed through. “Awesome,” I drawled, “thank you Sir.”


The phone clicked. I lay there in bed, trembling. The shock of being torn awake by a phone call, coupled with the news that call had delivered, had left my adrenaline at an insanely high level. (I wasn’t unfamiliar with this kind of sensation, I knew I just needed to allow a moment or two for my heart to stop pumping so fiercely.) A moment later my meditation was broken by the distant audio of clip-clopping footsteps in the hall, therefore it was exactly three moments after hanging up the phone that I bounded out of bed and strode to the door, my head spinning. I yanked open the door to find Noobie standing there with raised hand, about to commence thumping (I recall wondering how long she’d been standing in that position because if it was only a few moments, then catching her like that was indeed a freakish coincidence). My apparently unsolicited appearance startled her; eyes wide she stumbled back from the threshold, a look of astonishment at her pretty face. I noticed she was swaying slightly; in fairness I noticed I was doing the same. “How you know I here?” she asked with an expression of curiosity cum accusation.

“Guy on the desk,” I nodded my head for some reason back in the direction of my room’s telephone, “gave me a call.”

A big cheesy grin took hold of her face as suddenly she lunged forward, throwing herself into me, sending me stumbling back into my room. “Wow,” I recall saying, “I am really drunk.”

Noobie’s face became one of indignation. “How you trunk?” she demanded, shoving me further backwards. My head at this point was so light, I stumbled over something at my feet and ended up sitting on the floor, a few metres in front of her. “You only have six rings,” she said angrily, “why you trunk?”

Honestly, other than to say they were six of the strongest scotches I had drunk while on this particular tour of duty, I had no answer, thus, I did not speak. What I did know was that I wasn’t right; my mental situation, my brain fug had become such, at that moment and for the next few hours, it felt as though I was outside looking in. I could control me, although I didn’t feel quite like I was me (mind you, this just made all that happened over the following while that much more spectacular).

“You go other bar, on way home?”

“No,” I shook my head meekly, “only your bar.” From my position on the carpet, just inside the door of my Pink Tulip hotel room, peering up at the woman of my dreams as she accused me of bar infidelity, it did strike me as odd that she would know precisely the number of drinks I’d consumed that night (of course an explanation to this would come later, and would be corroborated by ‘the book’ that I will read on my final day in Southeast Asia, from the Boss hotel courtyard, Singapore).

“You go to another bar, don’t you?”

No, I don’t go to another bar … I go straight home – straight here, to wait for you.”

I hung my head between my legs and shook it gently, in the hope of restoring clarity; by the time I looked up, to my mild frustration, Noobie had already stripped naked and was climbing into my bed.

“Hey, no,” I stood up quickly, bringing on vertigo, “you can’t do that, come on, get out of bed, put your stuff back on.” I smiled at my own stupidity, “Oh, come on, Noobie, get back here … Come on, I was going to do that – shit man, you’ve ruined the best bit.”

“Thought best bit starts now….?”

“Hm, not quite,” I stood at the bedside, looking upon the mesmerising beauty who was lying under a sheet, essentially in wait for me. “The best bit, for a guy – for me, anyway – is the build-up, the anticipation of what’s about to come,” I feigned consternation. “In this case it’s seeing, appreciating the miraculous beauty that is your body … It’s touching, tasting, it’s sampling the splendour -”

“Too … Many … Words!” Seemingly Noobie had had enough of talking; missed opportunities notwithstanding I was inclined to agree with her.

…Once again sitting on the Pink Tulip porch, again over glasses of café sua da, Oobit was again imparting more of his wisdom.

“My wife, you know, give birth many years ago, but without husband by her side,” Oobit spoke particularly steadily, “my wife, she is what they call, prostitute.”

Before drawing any hasty conclusions about Oobit’s life choices, I had a feeling something here was being lost in translation. I looked at Oobit’s deep eyes, and clarified, “You’re saying, they called her a prostitute because she gave birth without a husband?”

“Yes, my friend, you see, woman without husband, with baby, they call, prostitute.”

“I see,” I said, desperately wanting to see more but wary of any offence this might cause the gentle Hollander, “she wasn’t a prostitute per se, though, before you met her – in that she didn’t receive money for sex – it was just that, when she had her baby out of wedlock, people called her a prostitute … Is that what you’re saying?”

“Yes,” Oobit chuckled, “that is basically what I’m telling you … Not prostitute per se, but of course, in Vietnam, almost every beautiful woman, ‘receive money for sex’, at some time.”

I nodded, indicating my increasing interest, willing him to continue.

“When the war started, do you know, my wife’s grandmother is just a girl, you see, and like most girls in that time, the American soldiers are good source of income.”

“You say ‘girl’ – and I’m assuming you’re meaning she prostituted herself to US soldiers – so how old was she?”

“My wife doesn’t like to talk much about it, but oh, I can do math … She was born in the end of fifties, the war went through sixties and finished in seventies, so you tell me, how old she was…?”

I simply nodded soberly, while in my head I churned over figures.

“My friend, you see, it doesn’t matter how old a Vietnamese girl … The soldiers take their pick and do as they please.”

“That’s horrific,” I shook my head.

“That’s Vietnam … That was Vietnam in the war and, more or less, my friend, that is Vietnam today.”


“Yes … In the war, you see, my wife’s Grandma, either she take soldiers’ money, and have sex, or they rape her, and have sex anyway … It was a choice.”

“That’s shocking … Also, interesting – now I think of it – how many US tourists I’m seeing around here, and moreover, I guess, how well embraced they appear to be by the locals.”

“You see many Vietnam women have American husband, yes?”


“My friend, as I said the other day, don’t believe everything you see in Vietnam … It’s not always what it seems.”

I smiled, not knowing quite how to perceive Oobit’s comment.

He smiled broadly also, then, as if to conclude, said, “You know, to these women, American man, still, very good source of income.”

“Right,” I laughed, “but surely, the same could be said for any Viet woman who takes a White husband…?”

Oobit’s smile similarly became laughter, “You’re a wise man, Tim, and this is true, but it is usually only the American husbands, who are being truly screwed.”

My look of confusion could not be overlooked.

“Ah … Vietnamese woman with husband, usually, totally faithful … Vietnamese woman with American husband, not so much.”

My confusion became revelation.

“It is in the Vietnam culture, my friend, to despise all Whites, you see.”

I returned to nodding, but with a half-smile, “Does your wife ‘despise’ you, Oobit?”

He chuckled, “Probably, but still we love each other.”

“Hm, you also implied that Viet women tend to be unfaithful to their White husbands – do you believe your wife is unfaithful towards you?”

A response this time wasn’t so quick; I thought perhaps I had pushed too hard – maybe my personal inquisition had offended the man. He turned away and sipped his café sua da then inhaled deeply on his Marlboro. Just as I was about to backtrack Oobit spoke up, with greater sentimentality than I had heard from the man. “I hope she is, my friend … I hope my wife finds other men to make her happy, but you know, is not so easy for her, with child.”

I was shocked. “I’m sorry, Oobit, I meant no disrespect.”

“It’s no problem, my friend,” he smiled. “I hope she does when I’m away … Because that’s what I do when I’m away.”

“You said you loved each other though…?”

“We do, love each other, and I help to give her everything she needs … We’re just not that much, how you say, attracted, to each other, anymore.”

I remained silent.

“My wife, beautiful … Vietnamese beautiful … But my friend, I am just man.”

I nodded, understanding. “You are man, you want more.”

“I want more, I want different, I want new.” Suddenly Oobit was back to his old excitable self, “My friend, do you realise, this is my point … This is why Vietnam women mostly prostitute, do you see?”

“I guess I do…” I said, honestly, not all that sure that I did – then it came to me. “Right, yes,” I continued more confidently, “as this influx of tourists arrive from around the world – mainly European, American, or Australasian, and largely men on the hunt for just that ‘something new’ – the Vietnamese woman simply provide the service that these men desire.”

“Yes!” (I think that was the first time I heard Oobit use inflection in his voice) “Oh my God, that is exactly it, Tim, I could not have put it better – they are ‘providing a service that Western men desire’ – and so you see, even over thirty years after the war, Vietnam women still get rich off White man.”

“Brilliant,” I smiled and shook my head slowly, in a display of disbelieving admiration.


According to my phone the time was 10:27 a.m.; I had to hurry. Checkout was not until midday, sure, but the Pink Tulip reception stopped taking breakfast orders – their amazing complimentary breakfast menu which is undoubtedly the reason I consider my stay at the Pink Tulip hotel the best value of any – at 11 a.m.

I had promised Noobie she could sleep until midday so, with a gentle kiss on her cheek, I ducked out the door quietly then dashed downstairs to place my order – ‘bread and jam’ (other options included ‘omelette’ or ‘oats with milk or yoghurt’) with the regulation glass of café sua da.

Upon finishing the meal (complete with little packets of New Zealand’s very own Mainland butter, no less), I sauntered out to the porch to finish my drink in the sun and of course, to speak to Oobit.

When I next checked the time, it was almost midday. I quickly excused myself, dashed through the foyer then just about sprinted up four flights of stairs. Arriving at my room I saw the door ajar. I was certain I had locked it when I left earlier. Hesitantly I approached and ducked my head through the opening. It was too dark inside to make out anything unusual, although the bathroom light was illuminating the far corner of the room; that was new. Outside in the corridor there was utter silence; inside my room I could hear muffled breathing. I pushed open the door and stared.

What I saw made my heart skip.



Article by Tim Walker

Edited by Gloria S Woman

Photography by R Fray/T Darke