Tag Archives: misunderstandings

Slik Insults: Lost in Translation

1 Sep

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As a language, Bahasa Indonesia, the lingua franca of Indonesia’s many different peoples, is famously easy to learn.

It is not tonal, has sweet FA by way of grammar and syntax, a generally regular stress pattern and a word order and pronunciation not wildly dissimilar to English.

So, having bought a dictionary in Makassar, I figured I’d cope OK as we head east across this vast nation. At our cheap hotel in the little silk town of Sengkang, however, it became abundantly clear that not all dictionaries are created equal. Continue reading

Age-Appropriate Reading (Again)

17 Mar

Z is scrutinising Lonely Planet South-East Asia with an expression I can only describe as panic.

“Mum,” he says. “I really don’t think it’s a good idea to go to Vang Vieng.”

Vang Vieng, Laos, is a destination I’ve been to-ing and fro-ing over, as it happens. On balance, I reckon that an other-worldly landscape, white water tubing and caves will more than compensate for the prevalence of happy pizza joints, Western teenagers revelling in reefer-fuelled freedom from the parental home, and 21-year-old Israelis obliterating the memory of their military service. Plus someone has recommended a good guesthouse that’s out of town.

Furthermore, nine-year-old boys and 18-30s on mushroom shakes have rather more in common than either side might care to think. On balance, folk of an age to have children, nephews, nieces etc. think Z will love the tubing, as do I. Folk closer in age to Z than me think that witnessing such decadent scenes of canage will be traumatic for the pair of us. Continue reading