09 April 2005

Mind Your Language

Anyone remembered the TV show "Mind Your Language"? I believed that's where mr brown got his moniker (Yes? No?)

The show was brought to mind as I was reading the $traits Time$ today and it touched quite a bit on jokes pertaining to racial stereo-typing and the lot. One camp strongly objected to it as they find it offensive while the other camp thought that no harm is done as long as it is all in the name of a good chuckle and that we should all be able to laugh at each other.

Where do I stand on this one? I think I would find myself more likely to be in the latter camp but with certain boundaries in place.

First and foremost, I would like to define the "we" here. It refers to my circle of friends who are in all sorts of shape, size, colour, language, religion and even medical condition e.g. allergy. It must be known that we kachow, disturb, suan each other merely as harmless banter. Absolutely no malice at all but it is of utmost importance that the recipient of the jibe understands that. Otherwise, we would back off and stay behind the line.

I have come across many people who cannot "take jokes" or cannot understand the humour behind a certain jibe. For these folks, I keep my mouth shut as a respect to their comfort level. You cannot label them as "uptight", "self righteous" or "anal" simply because of that and neither should we ask that they loosen up more. They just operate on a different frequency. Period. We not only have to accept them but also to love them for that. Now that's how we get along.

Let's face it. We are all different and we shoudn't pretend that we can't see it. Imagine my friend Nathan and I were to stand face to face. He look at me. I look at him. Come on lah, he is Indian and I am Chinese. How to deny that we are not different? He called me Ah Seng and I called him Ah Neh, they are terms of endearment between us and more importantly, we understood that. We had this talk many years back in my previous job, during one of those sio-hoon-kee-sessions-in-the-painted-yellow-box-outside-the-office-building and he said, "I called you a bloody Ah Seng because I know you won't get angry with me for calling you that. You know lah, just chor chor you a bit lah. Had you been some other stranger that I need to address, it would be 'Hello, Mister So-and-so. '" I agreed wholeheartedly.

And as I recalled the Christmas' Eve that year when Nathan invited to me his place for dinner and I was one of the very few chinese blokes there among his pretty large family. Most of them, especially when talking to the elder folks in the family, conversed in Tamil which I absolutely catch no ball. However, I do noticed that they make it a point to speak in English as much as possible so as to be able to include me inside their conversations. Granted that they sometimes slipped back into Tamil, I am ok with that for I am very appreciative of the gesture. They made the effort to embrace me into their circle and so for that, I am perfectly fine to be The Ah Seng In Da House.

The bottomline here is that it all boils down to the heart. Was the joke/jibe meant to be nasty in nature or just light hearted banter? Just as important is that we need to make an effort to find out how the other party felt at the receiving end? All is well if it causes no harm, but slam on the brakes if a red light goes up.

I think we need to apply the same rules as crossing the street. "Stop, Look, Cross".

Before I get carried away sounding all holier-than-thou, I must confess that I too, am guilty of the occasional accident that blurted out of my mouth before it had a chance to be engaged in the brain. For that I apologise but as the old saying goes "Sorry, no cure". Once it is spoken, it cannot be retracted and we will have to live with the mistakes that we made. Our only penance is to learn from these mistakes and hope that they love us enough to forgive us.

- Voxeros

1. a reader left...
Sunday, 10 April 2005 2:59 pm
"Oh~ Blind me~"

wahahahahahah classic~!

9 []
2. JayWalk left...
Sunday, 10 April 2005 3:03 pm
Ah... you remembered!

Then you must also remember:

"Thousand apologies!"

3. a reader left...
Monday, 11 April 2005 7:01 pm
Hey, out of point for your post, but I took a look through your Flickr, and Faith is so darned super-duper adorable! I just love her! And I think I get what you meant when you said she's vain and loves to pose. ;p

I have a question though: How did you manage to create such a cute girl? =X

4. JayWalk left...
Monday, 11 April 2005 11:00 pm

Good genes from wifey and I. Good genes. heh heh... 8P

5. a reader left...
Tuesday, 12 April 2005 12:26 am
I remember "mind your language". It was hilarious! My favorite character is the Muslim guy. Can't remember his name.

6. JayWalk left...
Tuesday, 12 April 2005 12:30 am
Ahh... the muslim guy is the Pakistani lad named Ali.

He is the one with the "Oh, blind me!"

"Thousand apologies" is the catch phrase of Ranjeet Singh.
7. a reader left...
Tuesday, 12 April 2005 12:37 am
Don't bluff lah, it's only good genes from your wife. I saw your Sexyblogger pic, remember?

8. JayWalk left...
Tuesday, 12 April 2005 12:39 am
Dang...... Ok Ok, I confess. Faith's got the CHIJ girl genes. Phew Wheet!

No comments: