Never lost in translation
AT THE height of nationalistic fervour about four decades ago, a smart alec from Kuala Lumpur City Hall thought he would have been left out of the hierarchy if he did not contribute to the cause.
Putting on his thinking cap, he decided that the name of the road that runs behind the Sultan Abdul Samad Building parallel to the river be changed. So, from Holland Road, it became Jalan Belanda. He must have patted himself on the back for his achievement and would have expected a raise for his valued chip-in.
But then, an eagle-eyed senior lawyer pointed out a serious flaw. The word “Holland” in the street name, he told the authorities, was not a reference to the Netherlands or any other country. It was named after one Holland, who used to be a senior official in the Malayan AttorneyGeneral’s office in the pre-independence days. Quietly, without fanfare, the road name was changed to Jalan Mahkamah Persekutuan.
With all the recent hype over an animal whose name shall not be mentioned, it would have been easily said that we should let the sleeping sausages lie because barking sausages seldom bite. But then it was felt that all Malaysians should be cool to the dogmatic term, “every sausage has its day”.
But then, talking to those with doggedthoughts cannot be compared with those with elephants’ memories. So, we can only conclude that you can’t teach old sausages new tricks. On a wet day, it becomes even more difficult as you have to stay indoors as it would be raining cats and sausages outside. If someone questions why there is so much incessant noise and activity under the pouring water, what else can be said except asking: Who let the sausages out?
Talking about rainy days, how do kids save their little change? Do they put them in a sausage bank because that damned word is no longer acceptable? Can anyone put a muzzle on words that have been adopted and accepted in everyday communication?
Would they ban their brethren from partaking in the spoils of an excellent flamecooked or roasted beef, lamb and chicken slaughtered by an authorised person? Why shouldn’t they? Its name resounds something which is not acceptable – barbecue. It would cause perplexity, bewilderment and uncertainty among the already confused population as it is claimed. When that word is pronounced, it sounds like – Babi – Q! So, will all outdoor cooking over a grill be banned in your houses or will we be barred from consuming barbecued chicken wings?
Are the comfortable pair of expensive shoes which have a name sounding like the junior acceptable? Since senior has (for the wrong reasons) found trouble with being hot, there seems to be a hush on the footwear which is popular with the populace.
Would our television stations be banned from showing matches involving Tottenham Hotspur, Fulham, Nottingham or West Ham? Would they wipe out Hamburg from future local productions of the atlas?
Someone not in drunken stupor even suggested that our mutual friend Jasbeer Singh has to keep in line with the latest announcement. Since ginger beer is no longer acceptable and it has become ginger ade, (as in lemonade) shouldn’t our turbaned friend be called Jasade?
Talking about turbaned friends, advertising doyen Harmander Singh had shortened his name for convenience and pronunciation by his many friends – both local and foreign. He is affectionately known as Ham to everyone. However, in view of the ban on the use of certain words, should we all start calling him “Harm” in a harmless way so as not to offend those who don’t even know him?
No one wants to embroil themselves with the bird-brainers because we could end up fighting like cats and sausages too. But then, there’s a smaller species of the small furredanimals which are often used for experiments and tests. Do we start calling them guinea-pussies?
But then, would they ban Walt Disney cartoons on TV. After all, Goofy is a funnyanimal cartoon character created in 1932 and typically wears a turtle neck and vest, with pants, shoes, white gloves, and a tall hat originally designed as a rumpled fedora hat.
Various dictionaries describe “goof off” as trying to avoid doing any work. So, when a teacher tells the pupils to stop goofing off and get back to work, will the guardians of our morals and platitude cry foul and ask for his or her sacking just because the word “goof” is associated with a member of the animal kingdom? Lest they go gaga (not to be mistaken with the black creature of the feathered kind), and make yet more accusations, we offer some solutions. For the correct interpretation, go to: http:// www.thesaurus.com/browse/goofy for a list of synonyms and antonyms.
Finally, our authorities will certainly upset the remaining members of the Beatles and EMI for changing the lyrics of the top single – Hard Day’s Night. It will now be sung: It’s been a hard day’s night, and I’d been working like a sausage; It’s been a hard day’s night, I should be sleeping like a log
German aristocrat and statesman Otto Eduard von Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg and the first chancellor of Germany nicknamed the Iron Chancellor is noted for his laconic remarks. And he gave quite an accurate similarity: To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making.
Is someone going to ostracise him for these remarks? Or was it that we never saw this diktat nor did we expect it to come like a lightning bolt from nowhere?
All these years, no one got confused; no one was misled; no one was coerced; and no one was deceived. We all enjoyed the diversity of everything – culture, religion, thoughts, values and even food. Today, the prophets of doom are trying to impose their nonsensical beliefs and conviction on others.
Like ostriches, if these do-gooders bury their heads in the sand or like frogs living under the coconut shell, they will see nothing and hear nothing. Yet, they will be willing to put their feet in their mouths without worrying that their deeds would be the laughing stock of the whole world.
This is the result of having highly paid bureaucrats who have little to do and goof off from their given duties and act for their own selfish interests and agendas.
R. Nadeswaran says that like lambs led to the slaughter and horses with blinkers, a portion of our citizenry is being led the wrong way by self-appointed guardians of faith and supposed devotion. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org