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Neil Humphreys
Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014

Sports

Neil's nuggets from Brazil

The New Paper | Neil Humphreys | Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014

SPEEDY MANAUS EXIT

England were mostly booed by the Brazilian supporters during their 2-1 loss against Italy. Manaus residents still haven't forgiven Roy Hodgson for suggesting the Three Lions didn't want to play there, when the draw was made last December.

Clearly, they couldn't wait to get away. Unlike the charm offensive of the Italians, who spent an extra night in the tropical city, England headed straight to the airport. I was left to break the news to a handful of groupies hanging around the hotel that the Three Lions had, in fact, departed.

PELE IS THE WORD

Never take Singapore's multicultural and multilingualism for granted. There are only two languages spoken in Brazil: Portuguese and Pele.

When broken English, Portuguese and frantic hand gestures break down, we desperately resort to speaking in "Pele". Conversations between hotel and supermarket staff, Fifa volunteers and taxi drivers usually go this: "I'm England; Inglaterra."... "Brazil!"... "Ah, Brazil, Pele!"... "Sim (yes), Pele!"... "Yah, Pele, good!"... "Sim, Pele!"

Such conversations can go on for several minutes.

HAPPY HAMMER

A Sao Paulo taxi driver proudly stated that he grew up near Pele. Naturally, we spoke in fluent "Pele" and went through lots of pointing to learn this geographical fact.

In a desperate attempt to explain that I grew up in the same English town as fellow World Cup-winning great Bobby Moore, I used Google maps and photos to make the connection.

By the end, I think the cabbie had reached the conclusion that I had played for West Ham United in the 1970s. I didn't want to disappoint him.

AUNTIES ARE THE SAME

Brazilian aunties and Singaporean aunties share a unique characteristic that I've not witnessed anywhere else in the world.

Female cleaners will happily mop around a men's urinal while it's in use - usually by me. From Seng Kang to Sao Paulo, it's good to know some things don't change. You can't pee in peace.

Neil Humphreys is following England's campaign across Brazil and will be hosting daily Q&A videos for TNP readers. What do you want to know about the World Cup? Send your questions to npsports@sph.com.sg or to Neil on twitter @neilhumphreys using the hashtag #AskNeil. He'll answer the best ones in his daily videos

npsports@sph.com.sg


This article was first published June 16, 2014.
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