Πέμπτη, Ιουνίου 8

Poblem Engrish

Announcing (albeit much belatedly) a new group blog I'm working on:

Poblem Engrish


Armed with naught but camera-enabled mobile telephones and our wits, our gang of four highlight examples of bad English in Singapore, from people and organisations that really ought to know better. As our introduction puts it:

This Blog is here to show you examples of BAD ENGLISH in Singapore, accompanied by pictures and details of where they occur. Why do we do this? Primarily in order to provide merriment, but also as an running example of how appallingly bad the standard of English in Singapore is, thus combining Education with Entertainment. If the culprits may be thus shamed into improving their English, so much the better, but we're not holding our collective breath.

Τρίτη, Ιουνίου 6

Biggest Cat I've Ever Seen



WOW.

More here.

Greek Roll

The Greek posts just keep coming, don't they?

First, observe this brand of Nordic crispbread, Kavli:



Kavli is dairy-free, oil-free, making it an ideal Lenten fasting food. However, do NOT tell a Greek you just ate Kavli - either in or out of Lenten periods, for Kavli (το καυλί) happens to be Modern Greek slang for the Latin mentula, matching it both in force and rudeness. Reference here. Amusing then that Kavli should be Lenten...

Next, the venerable old city of Malacca, in Western Malaysia, which St Francis Xavier visited, and a Portuguese, Dutch and British colony in turn:



Greek tourists love sending postcards from this city to Greek-speaking relatives as the name Malacca sounds almost identical to the Greek μάλακα (malaka), which literally means 'wanker'. Reference here.

Axion Estin!



Axion estin indeed! αξιον εστιν ως αληθως...

(Explanation: This is a tub of dishwashing gel in Malaysia. As it happens, 'Axion' is Greek for 'it is worthy', and typically refers to a certain hymn to the Mother of God sung at Divine Liturgy, whose first words are 'axion estin os alithos makarizin se tin theotokon', meaning 'it is truly worthy/meet to bless thee the Mother of God'...)

Δευτέρα, Ιουνίου 5

U-Carmen eKhayelitsha

Soundtrack: Various bits from Bizet's Carmen.



Watched an interesting film this evening!

U-Carmen eKhayelitsha.



Bizet's immortal Spanish-flavoured opera, set in a poor black township in Capetown, South Africa, in the present day. in Xhosa. Let me repeat that - in Xhosa. Yes, with all the lovely clicks and clacks.



The orchestra's good. The visuals take a bit of getting used to - a horde of fat black men in South African police uniforms singing Bizet in harmony is a sight to see.

The Tavern scene (originally Lilas Pastia's) has an energy that matches any of the best opera productions of Carmen I've seen anywhere.

I have a soft spot in my heart for Carmen, having been part of the Children's Chorus (the street urchins) in a production of the opera in Singapore when I was 13. At the beginning of the film, the street children make a brief appearance, but their chorus is omitted. Aw!

There are amusing references to the original, which may not be immediately obvious to those not familiar with Bizet's opera.

1) Escamillo the Toreador, becomes an Opera Singer. There's a scene of his success, and guess what role he's singing on stage? Yup. Escamillo the Toreador.

2) The Escamillo character (I can't for the life of me remember his Xhosa name) sacrifices a bull to his ancestors with a spear. An obvious reference to Escamillo being an Toreador (yes, yes, I know, that's a Matador's job).

3) The brand of cigarettes for which Carmen and the girls work as cigarette-rolling girls, is "Gypsy". Yes. Hence they are Gypsy Cigarette Factory Girls.

The film opens in Singapore at the Picturehouse this Thursday and isn't going to have a long run, judging by how cultured Singaporeans are! If you're in Singapore, please, please go catch it. If you're not - find the nearest arthouse cinema showing it and watch it!

Need a trailer to convince you? Here!

Official Site.

Παρασκευή, Ιουνίου 2

It Could Only Happen To Me

Today, at a book fair, at Suntec City. At the Popular Book Shop stall, I picked up a random book on Ghost Stories Of WWI & WWII. Flipped it open, and the first thing I see is a page about Nazis occupying Romania in W2, trying to take a big valuable gold+silver+bronze bell from an Orthodox saint's shrine, and how the bell started ringing on its own, scaring the Germans away. Trust me to find that kind of thing at random.

Constantine thinks it's the same sort of thing that causes me to bump into Greek Orthodox Priest + Coptic Orthodox Priest + Coptic Orthodox Bishop at dinner in Singapore, Ethiopian Orthodox monks on the streets of London, an Irish Cardinal in a quiet Dublin suburb on street corner.

He thinks I'm a mutant... ability to detect and attract ecclesiastical stuff. Ha.