How should we judge a government?

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no
responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Art of Retort

  1. Say something in answer to a remark or accusation, typically in a sharp, angry, or wittily incisive manner.
  2. Heat in a retort in order to separate or purify.
  1. A sharp, angry, or wittily incisive reply to a remark.
  2. A container or furnace for carrying out a chemical process on a large or industrial scale.
verb.  reply - return - answer
noun.  rejoinder - answer - repartee

Often, we try our best to retort when we feel offended by what was said by someone. The ability to do so depends on one's command of the language used. For the retort to be effective, the intended listener should be of the same level to be able to get the message. For example, it would be useless if an aristocrat said it in his usual stiff upper-lipped way to a working class chap, who is more used to swearing at him.

I like to watch the serial, Downtown Abbey because it is useful if I wish to learn more about how the British aristocrats speak. It reminds me of 'Upstairs, downstairs' where the people living above and those below were in sharp contrast. We can learn  how the British of different social levels speak, without having to moralize. Even in normal interaction with the locals, it takes time for a foreigner with an 'A' in English to be able to understand and be understood.

In Downtown Abbey, there was an episode in which the matriarch of the family asked the local pastor to conduct a wedding ceremony. Sensing the latter's reluctance, she said something to the effect that the house he lives in and the garden he enjoys, and a few other things, belong to them. "...The young man saved my son's heir in the can take your scruples elsewhere!"

We have to be careful with retorts, because they can lead to physical fights. Once, two sisters and their husbands were strolling in a street in Petaling Jaya. One of the sisters asked a durian seller about the price and she complained about it being too expensive. The seller said that she probably could not afford it. This led to the lady lawyer insulting him about his having to sell durians at the roadside!

There was another incidence when a Malaysian lady visited Hong Kong. She is known to be very quick in going through clothes on the racks while selecting (her actions had to be quick as her brain, she later became a Professor). In the '80s, HK sales assistants were known to be rude to customers who browsed with no intention of buying anything. Her retort was really incisive in Cantonese: 'Yan chi uh, ng hou wat chan ke sau' or 'Be careful, don't sprain your hands.'

The following joke inspired me on the above subject:

Taxi drivers
A woman and her ten-year-old son were riding in a taxi on Seymour Street in Vancouver .
It was raining and all the prostitutes were standing under the awnings. 
"Mom," said the boy, "what are all those women doing?" 
"They're waiting for their husbands to get off work," she replied.
The taxi driver turns around and says, "Geez lady, why don't you tell him the truth? They're hookers, boy! They have sex with men for money."
The little boy's eyes get wide and he says, "Is that true, Mom?" His mother, glaring hard at the driver, answers in the affirmative. 
After a few minutes, the kid asks, "Mom, what happens to the babies those women have?"
"Most of them become taxi drivers," she said.


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