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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Bob the Malaysian Builder

My daughter loves to watch the cartoon 'Bob the Builder’ on cable TV. Its quite entertaining, kinda reminds me of the stop motion claymation of the old days, although this one probably uses far more advanced techniques.

If you’re not familiar with this show, it’s about a construction guy called Bob with his blue cat, talking machinery (cement mixer, forklift, excavator, you get the picture) and a young girl named Wendy. Each episode usually features the gang facing a ‘construction’ problem and how they work together to solve it. Together with the talking and moving machinery.

Having worked in the construction line for many years, I would like to point out a few differences between what is portrayed in the show and with real life for the benefit of you and your children, in case they grow up having a warped view of our local construction industry:

  • In the show, the 'building' work is done by Bob and Wendy the teenage girl, and sometimes with the help of the talking machinery. In real life, the actual work is done by chain-smoking & swearing Chinese sub-sub-sub-contractors. Actually, they seldom do the work. That job is for the Indonesian/Burmese/Pakistani labourers. The Chinese bosses usually drink tea and swear loudly on the phone.
  • Bob’s machinery talk, dance, sing and move by themselves. They are brightly coloured, clean and new all the time. Whereas in real life, the machinery don’t talk, they just snarl and scream, leak hydraulic fluid and engine oil, look like they survived the Second World War and are usually coloured yellow and caked in mud. The smoke emission from these machinery can kill birds.
  • There’s a live scarecrow on the show. I’m not really sure exactly what he does. In our construction world, the stink from the portable toilets and temporary labourer camps scare away the birds and attract health inspectors.
  • At the end of each episode, there’s always a neat lesson to be learnt, usually about teamwork, friendship or something goody-two-shoes issue. In real life, the only lessons I’ve heard so far are: “Wah, that day this supervisor got killed by a falling bricks, lah”; “DBKL coming! DBKL coming!”; “Next time, tell your children all don’t work in construction-lah”; “Today got overtime, aah?” etc…

    Despite the shocking inaccuracies, I still enjoy the show. But I just wonder when is someone going to make a kiddie show featuring these real life elements…


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