Never lost in trans­la­tion

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SPEAK UP -

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: cit­i­zen-nades@the­sundaily.com

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.