I have been under a cyber attack for the past twenty-four hours. A quite old post of mine appeared on the Facebook Page of ‘Russians in Singapore’ and Russians from all around the world have been launching into me.
It is brilliant.
The post was written quite some time ago and it was very unimaginatively titled ‘The Russians’. I had all but forgotten about it and it was a very simple piece describing a night out with some Russian friends of mine. There was much vodka and mirth - and vodka – on this night out – and there was no malice at all in the article. No harm or insult was intended. There has however been a Revolution of sorts.
A Russian revolution.
Let me say now that I did not put the post ‘The Russians’ on the ‘Russians in Singapore’ Facebook page. Some Russian did and he – or she – said they thought it was funny.
Others did not.
I was alerted to the viral state of the Post as my Inbox suddenly swelled with messages.
I was quite surprised.
When I went to the ‘Russians in Singapore’ Facebook page I saw that I was also under attack there – not by everyone mind you - but a few Russians were revolting. I had to re-read my article to make sure that I had not directly insulted anyone – as I sometimes do – but in this instance I had not.
Not in my opinion anyway.
I was a bit concerned so I rang some of my Russian friends here in Singapore and they all seemed to be aware of the post. All of them laughed and told me not to worry. They told me that most Russians had a sense of humour but some did not.
I told them that it was the same for Australians.
Some comments on the post were directly derogatory, a few others were supportive -and some were just plain cryptic. Some were also Cyrillic – which is the written Russian language – so they were both cryptic and Cyrillic. One lady asked me whether all Australians abbreviated Russian names and she cited the name Pav by example. Pav is the shortened name for Pavel – and I replied that this was indeed a common thing for we Australians.
I rang my friend Vlad – which is a shortened version of the name Vladimir – not to get his opinion but to see if he would be prepared to protect me. A Russian man named Viktor seemed to take great affront at my post ‘The Russians’ and he wrote me an email saying he was going to do unspeakable and violent things to me when he next came to Singapore. I met Vlad a while ago in Singapore and discovered that he was once an assassin and he was proficient in killing people with an icepick.
Vlad answered his phone on the second ring.
“This is Pyotr”
Pyotr is my name in Russian.
“Pyotr” I repeated.
“The Australian” I added.
“Da Pyotr” he roared into the phone.
Such was the volume of his voice that I had to hold the receiver away from my ear.
Vlad is a very big and extremely hairy unit. I had a huge night out with him and his Russian mates down at Marina Bay a couple of months ago and we got on very well. I have had lunch with him and his colleague Alexei a couple of times since our first encounter and they are both very funny and likable men. I like them a lot. I sometimes refer to Vlad as ‘misha’ – which is the Russian name for Bear.
It suits him well and he likes it.
I explained the cyber attack that I was under to Vlad and I expressed concern at the threats that I had received from the man named Viktor.
“Do not vorry Pyotr I vill keel dis peeg eef he tries to harm you”
“I don’t think killing will be necessary thanks Vlad but perhaps if he manages to track me down then you could either explain that I meant no harm – or at worst scare him off”.
“Nyet Pyotr I vill keel him”
“Jaysus Vlad nyet” I replied.
We chatted idly for a while and I think I managed to convince Vlad that I did not want the blood of Viktor on my hands. I explained that I did not really want the blood of Viktor on his icepick either.
Vlad asked me if I wanted to come to the Marina Bay Sands Casino with him and some of his mates for a night of gambling and drinking and I thanked him but explained that I could not as I had a wedding to attend. I then asked Vlad whether he planned on playing Russian roulette at the casino and he roared so loudly again in laughter that I had to once more hold the phone away from my ear.
Russian roulette is a lethal form of gambling that will not be found in the Marina Bay Sands casino. It is played by putting a single bullet into the cylinder of a pistol – then spinning the pistol and putting it to one’s head. There is a one in six – or a one in eight chance of shooting yourself in the head when playing this game - depending on the size of the cylinder. The term first arose in 1937 in a story written by a Swiss writer named Georges Surdez,
Surdez invented the term – but I have no idea why he deemed the deadly game to be Russian.
I have no idea at all.
I got a reassuring email about my article ‘The Russians’ this morning from one of my other Russian friends here in Singapore – who is exceptionally cultured and charming. I will not name her, as I do not wish for her to be embroiled in any scandal – nor do I want her to be threatened by the madman Viktor. I will use the code name Tasha – which is an abbreviation of the name Natasha. Neither Natasha nor Tasha are her real name – but she knows who she is.
Viktor does not.
Tasha told me that she had read my post called ‘The Russians” and the various responses that were posted on the Facebook Page of ‘Russians in Singapore’ - and like Vlad she told me not to be worried about the Revolution.
I told Tasha that one of the revolting Russians was a woman named Ox who had written, “I didn’t like it at all. Bullshit” and Tasha told me that the woman was Estonian. Tasha told me that Estonia was once part of the Soviet Union but it had been occupied by Germans and Danes and it was not a particularly cultured country at all.
Nor was it Russian.
I told Tasha that another of the revolting Russians was someone named Denis who lived in Moscow and he had written, “Terrible. The old guy need to meet some cultured and educated Russian group of people. He will be surprised” Tasha told me that she had seen this comment and she had then looked at this guy Denis’ Facebook profile. She informed me that Denis lived in Moscow and that he declared on his Facebook profile that he was ‘Chief Executive Officer of Never Worked a Day in His Life’. I asked her whether this was true and she told me that it was - and we both laughed and questioned how cultured and educated such a person must be.
I explained to Tasha that I didn’t think that there was anything offensive at all in my article ‘The Russians’ and she agreed that there wasn’t. She told me that my explanation of this that I put on the Facebook Page of ‘Russians in Singapore’ was more than enough and I should not worry about the comments of a minority.
When I told Tasha of the threat of violent and unspeakable things that I had received from the bloke called Viktor - she asked me whether I had informed Vlad.
I told her that I had.
“Don’t vorry then Pyotr darlink” Tasha informed me.
“Misha vill protect you vith hees icepeek”
We both laughed again.