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Give Me One Reason
Tracy Chapman & Eric Clapton

Saint 2.0

Sunday, June 8, 2008
ball-sense | 2:33 PM

Saint2 : This article on The Sunday Times is rather funny.

No swimming trunks or bare chests in the stadium, please
By Tay Yek Keak

'One must come clothed to the stadium, even on hot days. Arriving only in swimming trunks or bare-chested is not appropriate.'
I didn't make this up.

It is kind of official in an unofficial making-pearls-out-of-c**p way.

According to a report, Austria's etiquette guru, a guy named Thomas Schaefer-Elmayer, has laid down 10 rules for spectators about how to behave during Euro 2008.

He is the director of a prestigious dance school which prepares debutantes for the traditional Viennese Opera Ball.

That sounds snootier than Zouk on Aircrew Night, so he must be an expert who knows what he is saying, like Simon Cowell or the fussy runway coach in America's Next Top Model.

Mr Manners must be very concerned about Austria's Next Top Invaders, aka the hordes of uncouth, unwashed football louts converging upon his co-host country.

Clearly he is worried that his beloved Austria might be turned into a big trash can, a huge thrashed place or even worse, a giant, stinking toilet.

He's right, you know.

Statistically, out of every 100 football fans going to Euro 2008, I believe at least 87 of them would not think twice about peeing anywhere while sight-seeing at Urine 2008.

Hence, the seriously alarmed Schaefer-Elmayer's wine-before-swine recommendations.

To him and other like-minded citizens, it is a matter of national security and international emergency.

Perhaps up to United Nations humanitarian relief level. Austria, he would surely tell you, is not Australia.

The place is hopping with high culture, not tall kangaroos. It is the birthplace of Mozart, Haydn, Schubert, Klimt, Wittgenstein, Schwarzenegger - people he will proudly extol - except for one particular native son nobody is too crazy about called Hitler.

Schaefer-Elmayer - you know how refined a person is when the name comes with a hyphen, such as Catherine Zeta-Jones or Mary Tan-Lim, my neighbour two doors away from Alice Chan-Wong - also has other pertinent suggestions of courtesy.

At the subway, possibly filled with pent-up French, Italian, Dutch and Romanian manic fanatics from Group C's menacing Group Of Death, the purveyor of elegance proposes sublime order bordering on sweet music.

'One should remain patient and fall in step with the crowd,' he advises. 'Pushing and swearing will lead to nowhere and only spoil the fun,' he enlightens.

I totally agree.

Pushing and swearing will lead to nowhere. Pushing, swearing and a great war chant like 'Italy 10 France 0', however, will lead to somewhere, primarily to the hospital for some and the prison for others.

Now, you must be thinking that I'm sitting here sniggering at these hysterical gems of etiquette ordained by somebody who probably thinks that a hissy fit by a ballerina is barbarism at its worst.

Of course I am.

I'm laughing so hard I'm lying flat on the floor like Cristiano Ronaldo after a Swan Lake dive.

There are more.

The well-meaning Schaefer-Elmayer, as optimistic and idealistic about the goodness of man as Barack Obama, has further priceless instructions.

At the stadium, pressed against and touching buttocks with scary, hostile strangers whom one normally urgently calls 999 for, he advises: 'It's not the done thing to introduce yourself in the stadium. But, at first, one should address other adults formally.'

You know, in the entire history of football I'm pretty sure somebody once did that. Maybe a Polish fan to a German fan.

'Hi, Mr Germany, I'm Mr Poland,' that friendly fellow must have chirped.

Schaefer-Elmayer continues for the betterment of mankind: 'If a fellow fan, overcome by joy, was to spill his favourite drink on you, would urge him to be more careful and then keep my distance.'

Without being aggressive, he adds: 'I would give him a look to dampen his enthusiasm and put an end to all conversation.'

Once again, I could not agree more with the pristine Mr Schaefer-Elmayer.

He's absolutely correct. It is very difficult to converse, I tell you, when your teeth have just been knocked out of your mouth.


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