LINGUISTIC TWISTS II

It’s seems fair enough. After all, we both mangle each other’s language in our attempt to communicate with each other. I mangle their language, Bahasa Indonesia, in my attempt to converse with the locals. For instance, one time I kept on saying I wanted to try the dish nasi duduk when I should have been saying nasi uduk all along. Nasi is Bahasa Indonesia for rice while duduk means to sit in English so it’s really hilarious to hear about someone wanting to taste “sitting rice”, as there’s no such dish. Nasi uduk, or Coconut Milk Rice, is a rice dish traditionally served with fried shallots and Indonesian chili sauce called sambal. In one of the food kiosks at the cafeteria of Global Prestasi School, nasi uduk is served with meat of choice (chicken or beef), shredded scrambled egg and krupok (Indonesian crackers), and drizzled with kecap manis (it’s like soya sauce but thicker and sweeter).

I’ve sorted out my nasi uduk terminologies as well as goblok, the Indonesian word for stupid or idiot. I first heard goblok from my sister who learnt it when she stayed for several months in Yogjakarta years ago in connection with the Artist-in-Residency program of the Cemeti Art Foundation.  When she uttered it I thought she was referring to a friend – I just automatically assumed the person who entered the room was a friend. Apparently, they weren’t friends and his name wasn’t goblok.

The results are equally rib-tickling amusement when the residents of Indonesia twist the English language.

Tough Tail

I have this habit of reading menus from first to the last page. I find it amusing how the food items are named and described in an attempt to make them sound absolutely delectable even though you know, for example, that a drink called Blue Mountain is just soda mixed in with blue syrup or that Chocolate of a Thousand Leaves is really just chocolate cake.

In one menu, I was snickering at one item under Local Favorites, which got me thinking of two things. One, people who love Sop Buntut (Oxtail Soup) must have a taste for the unusual. Two, the chef has gone completely batty. The menu read: Sop Buntut lovers have a choice of the oxtail steamed, fried or drilled.

When the S goes Missing

Having a dish named after an animal will make you think twice about digging into it. And learning that it uses certain animal parts – my mind always reels back to that infamous Scottish dish called Haggis, which is made with sheep’s heart, liver and lungs – would definitely make someone turn vegetarian over night.  But desserts are quite an exception. Chocolate Mousse is a favorite dessert of mine. I’ve long gotten over the image of a moose and its huge antlers popping out of the cup. Similarly, I’ve gotten pass the idea that the pastry chef might have been too experimental and decided to mix in a bit of hair styling gel.

However, I’m far from erasing the idea of a small rodent mixed in with my favorite dessert. At this café at CyberPark Bekasi Mall, part of the menu is Chocolate Mouse priced at Rupiah17, 000 per order. I think I’m better off sticking to my Dindi roti cokelat (chocolate bread) selling for Rupiah5, 000 a bun.

One Too Many

Mathematics has always been my waterloo but I do know my basic sums.  It’s not like I intentionally  set out to hate Mathematics , In fact, it’s the other way around – numbers don’t like me, they run away from me particularly the fractions, percentages,  and their cohorts. I thought I was the worse example of a Mathematics student until I attended this “concert” – a friend was singing so I lent moral support.

Someone had a jolly good time with Power Point presentation and flashed the program on screen inside the hall. Every number was a special song – no one bothered to find out the titles of the songs. My attention was held completely by two slides.

One slide read “Special Song”, single by Rainer Remuba. Impressive – one of the participants already had a single out in the market. Apparently, I was mistaken, as I learnt that the singer hadn’t released any single at all. He was simply going to do a solo number.

Next slide read “Special Song”, duet by Kezia and friend. Great – I get to listen to wonderful blending of two voices (Indonesians have beautiful voices). One singer went up on stage and started to sing. Wait a minute, I said to myself. What happened to the other? There was no second singer.

Is it a case of last-minute change in the program, merry mix-up or of one too many? I wondered.

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by i_am_aoisoba on December 11, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    i remember the Happy Good Friday banner

    Reply

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