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American drama series on MBC-TV – dubbed in…
24 Hr Chrono
Les Frères Scott
Les Experts – Miami
Commander In Chief
New York District
Mauritius is the only Commonwealth country where the English language has regressed. All 14 languages used by MBC are important to varying degrees, but lest we forget the only official language of Mauritius is English.
Nobody wants drama series from France/India fiendishly dubbed into English, so why should the MBC go for French-dubbed series? Isn’t English taught in this country’s schools? How will the standard of spoken and written English improve when the exposure of Mauritian students to European languages is almost entirely French? Little France, zindabad, indeed. Courtesy MBC!
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Apropos ‘Mind your language’
I enjoy reading the humorous anecdotes of Dr B. Foogooa under the caption ‘Mind your language’ of your esteemed paper. I have also had the opportunity of coming across situations similar to his. I want to share one with the readers. It is one that happened in Long Mountain, the birthplace of Dr B. Foogooa.
The year was 1972. I was a young police constable posted at Long Mountain Police station. One Sunday morning, at around 10 am I was the station orderly sitting behind the counter. I saw a middle aged lady clad in an old saree, bare-foot and with a sickle hanging from her left shoulder, pacing the road in front of the station. On and off she was casting a glance inside as if looking for someone. I guessed that she intended to register a complaint but was scared of stepping inside. From behind the counter I called: ‘Mawsi, do you need any help’. My move boosted her a bit and she shyly entered the station.
On entering she said ‘Bozour missie.’ I replied back ‘bonjour’.
In those days villagers had the perception that policemen did not understand Bhojpuri and therefore had to be addressed in the Creole dialect only. So she started, ‘To kone Basdewa.’
‘Who is Basdewa?’ I enquired.
‘Basdewa, mo boizin,’ she replied.
I asked what complaint she had against Basdewa.
‘To kone Sobas,’ she continued.
To my mind I thought she was referring to someone known by the name of Subash, and who perhaps was related to Basdewa.
I again asked who that Subash was. When I insisted she got irritated and said, ‘Haii mama, to pa kone Sobas…’
I was a bit confused and sought clarification about that famous Sobas.
She again said, ‘Sobas, mo pe dire toi.’
To be more clear she said, ‘Sobas… bef so madame.’
It was then that I realized she was referring to the cow owned by Basdeo, her neighbour. I then questioned her as to what happened to the cow to which she replied, ‘Basdewa sobas fine rente dan mo train’ (terrain, i.e. field). It also became apparent that her main problem was the Creole language; to set her at ease, I thought it would be better to put her mind at rest by letting her know that even police officers could speak Bhojpuri – the days when such people only spoke Creole were gone. I begged her to speak in Bhojpuri.
* * *
The Glory of a Winter’s Night
Away, away, in the winter’s clammy cold,
The ice most richly arrayed
And the leafless trees dancing with the wind,
The old woman, thin, pale and almost bony,
Her part happily played,
Was rushing past with might untold.
There glimmered before her sombre eyes,
Unglassed and wholly shrunken,
The light — the light that had brought utter joy
To travellers many a night when lost they were;
When after a battle beaten,
Were they in great hope of a new sun to rise.
“O incomparable thought, happiness, beauty!”
The dame mused within herself.
“I’ll soon be with you, in your sweet embrace,
To kiss you with my unsoft lips and in you.
To drown all of mine old self.
Oh my love, my saviour, my Almighty!”
Thus lost in wild fancy of great pleasure,
She toiled along her way.
Many a lifeless bird, with its gloomy eyes,
Suggested to her the glory of a winter’s night.
Yet she found in display
Her slim limbs that had lately begun to wither.
But, afore she could reach her vision’s love,
Her legs turned traitor.
She resisted for some moment on all fours.
But soon her parts betrayed her thoughts
And making a hundred sighs after,
She collapsed on the ground like a sickly dove.
TD Fuego II
(This came out after reading a UK newspaper headline last week:
“Two OAPs freeze to death in snow chaos”. One was 80 years old.)
Where has English gone ?
* Published in print edition on 17 December 2010
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