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During my corporate days, I developed a unique set of phrases which my team understood. I referred to these as the “Elephant Syndrome”, the “Fried Chicken Syndrome”, and so forth. Though I spoke three languages, mutilated German and swore in seven, sometimes a special code was necessary when conversing within earshot of people not in my circle.

The result: We could be at a negotiating table, a seminar or any other gathering and to express an opinion, all I had to do was lean close and whisper, for example, “Leap Frog Syndrome”. And my team members would know my sentiments regarding the unfolding situation, expressed opinion or the tabled proposal.

The genesis for the idea took root when I was growing up in rural Singapore – 1950s through 1970s. Those were great nostalgic days when one would receive a mail and a meal via carrier pigeons. 😉 But some animal activist came along and replaced the pigeons with postmen and we had to switch to chicken.


Then, I noticed how the chicken would dash across the path – right in front of my on-coming bicycle. Quite often, when the chicken was a few feet away, I would press on, expecting it to stop until I’ve zoomed past. Instead, it would dash right under my wheels.

Taken by shock, I would swerve and crash in a clatter of metal and tangled limbs on the dirt track – or worse – into rose bushes.  The first time it happened, I had an epiphany and could suddenly speak in tongues – all seven of them! German came later – viel später – much later.

I refer to this behaviour as the Chicken Syndrome. I refer of course to the chicken’s behaviour, not mine.

But, some humans behave in a similar manner – instead of waiting, they dash across, metres from your car.

Red is not my favourite colour – certainly not for cars – and therefore I slam the brakes and come to a drunken stop. It also happens when riding a bicycle and even when walking – people cut across my path with centimetres to spare.

I think it has to do with – you are what you eat – too much chicken ala KFC.

Chicken was one of my favourite meat dishes, but not anymore.

Poor fish!