Excerpts from The New Paper on Sunday, October 10 2004
Lewd? Crude? But we all respond differently, what. – Edwin Yeo
By now, you’ll have read about Taiwanese foreigner minster Mark Chen’s comparison of Sg to pi sai (Hokkien for snot, or dried nasal mucus, if you’re The Straits Times, or booger, if you’re my 4-year-old).
This is not necessarily a bad thing.
As you know, our elders in SG have often equated pi sai to gold (“Why you keep digging your nose? Looking for gold ah?), so perhaps Mr Chen was actually saying SG was a gold nugget.
In addition to that, he also said that SG was trying to “por tiong kok eh lan pa“, which literally means “carry China’s testicles”.
What Mr Chen suggested, of course, is not possible. I took A level biology and I can tell you that a booger cannot possibly take the weight of testicles, especially if they’re as big as China’s. Our Foreign Affairs Ministry’s very measured response was: “This is not the first time SG has stated outr concerns about Taiwan. Many other countries also believe Taiwan is pursuing a dangerous course towards independence. Resorting to intemperate language cannot assuage these concerns.”
Assistants to Mr Chen were last seen trying to find out what “intemperate” and “assuage” means.
Now if I were the foreign minister, my response would have been as follows: “Lu kong si mi? Buay song, si boh? Mai kong an ne chuay. Lim beh kar lee kee war kow kong.” For those who didn’t watch Royston Tan’s 15, allow me to translate. It means ” You say what? Not happy, is it? Don’t talk so much. Your father and you go outside and talk.”
Our Foreign Affairs Ministry believes in showing our graceful SG nature, but I’m the kind of guy who believes that when in Rome, talk like the Mafia.
I love reading Edwin’s articles. Though I may not agree with him sometimes, it’s still a joy to read. This is another one of my favourites. I was just thinking about writing a post on this incident, but looks like he’s done me a favour. I don’t have editorial limits though, so allow me to be more candid.
Together with the burning of my country’s flag in Kaoshiung, I’m abit alarmed by the lack of professionalism and class in Taiwan’s political scene. To think Mark Chen was in US for 30 years when he was in exile. I would think he learnt some decorum. Or has he been infected by Bush’s concept of war? But then again, Taiwan is infamous for riots pertaining to politics. I guess the shock came from the fact that my country is now at the receiving end of this nonsense.
Maybe if Japan wanted to conquer Taiwan, the latter would be less resistant? It happened once, and they haven’t snapped out of it. So they want to boycott SG? What if SGreans stopped going to Taiwan, stopped trading with Taiwan, stopped supporting performing artistes and boybands from Taiwan, and chased every one of their people out of our country? I wonder who would suffer more. Of course, Mark Chen was probably not the voice of the entire Taiwan population. Most people with their minds in place can see that they’re not only digging their own grave, but also pulling the entire Asia Pacific down with it.
SG may be as small as a piece of pi sai but at least we have class and maturity. Showing your passion in such an undignified manner at such a crtical stage is like slapping yourself in the face. Maybe he can accuse us of sucking up to China’s balls, but at least we’re sucking up to Sugar Daddy, and not some self-proclaimed Foreign Affairs Minister. If I had my way, I’d send Kaoshiung a huge package of their thick bubble tea straws and ask them to open up their eyes and see who’s lan jiao they should be blowing.
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