Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Don't understand quite why, but for the past forty minutes I have been reviewing Inco Terms. Which, as thrilling reading matter goes, is right down there with "diagnosing parasitic ailments of the feet". Still. Forty minutes. Merchandise moving from point A (the seller's facilities) to point B (the buyer's specified location). While travelling via truck, handcart, intermodal container, or other means.

It's like a mystery novel. Who bears responsibility? Which entity owns the merchandise at what point, or has legal liabilities? Was insurance arranged? Free On Board? Ex Works? Delivery Ex Quay?

Carriage Paid?

From my point of view, these niggly details need to be hashed out in the logistics department, all I care about is that payment was received (收過了 'sau gwo le') by wire transfer (電匯 'din-wui') two weeks before delivery.

[Vocabulary: wire payment before delivery of goods 出貨前電匯 'chut fo chin din-wui'. Wire transfer two weeks before the delivery date 交貨日期兩星期之前電匯 'gaau-fo yat-gei leung sing-gei ji chin'. Irrevocable letter of credit 不可撤銷的即期信用狀付款 'pat-ho chit-siu dik jik-gei sun-yong jong fu fun'. Make payment 付款 'fu fun'. Unexpected circumstances 意外的情況 'yi-ngoi dik ching-fong'. Goods, commodities, merchandise 貨物 'fo mat'. Confirmation of goods 貨確認書 'fo-gwok ying-syu'. Date of shipment 裝運期 'chong-wan-gei'. Shipping documents against payment 裝運單據於付款後交 'chong-wan daan-keui yu fu-fun hau gaau'.]

But what set me off on this wild goose chase through dense contract terminology was the phrase 'waan-kau ngaan-hong gam yung din-sun hip-wui'.
The 'Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication'.

Which stuck in my head while still dreaming.

"International trade"

I do not know why that cropped up. Just before that moment, a young lady of college age asked me if I had any talent at trigonometry.
Which, not having gone to Lowell High School, I do not.
And why she should be sweating over that is a mystery.
Maybe remedial classes, necessitated by cut-backs.

Incoterms, negotiable instruments, commercial invoices -- perhaps more arcane, and possibly more useful.

Very likely the cause lies in hearing my apartment mate stumbling around breakfast-wise in the kitchen. She went to Lowell. She took trigonometry. And my bladder was full, so my subconscious probably grabbed the nearest thing in a hurry, and offered this instead.

Nope, can't remember beans about triginamo....., trilbigo....., turgy....., terragomono....., triginigo no monetry. So very sorry!
Can I lay some gibberish on you instead?
I promise you will be fascinated.
It's really good stuff.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:

All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


e-kvetcher said...

S.W.I.F.T headquarters in La Hulpe, Belgium
A rather impressive edifice...

e-kvetcher said...

All I remember from Trig is the punchline to this joke.

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