When I was a young bloke in school the academics making all the decisions to help me become a worthwhile citizen decided it paramount that I learned to speak German. To me German was about as handy as an ashtray on a motorbike in a world where my granddad still knew them as the “bloody Jerries”. If I asked him to help me with my German homework he’d have me digging slit trenches and putting up concertina wire around the yard.
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All Herr Brinkworth ever taught me about double German on a Friday arvo was that it was a good time to focus on my favourite subject, waggin’. 12 o’clock Friday was lunch time and by 12:15 my mates and I would be down to our jocks, bomb diving and catching lobbies down the creek. What Herr Brinkworth and his fellow education providers never told me was that the skill of learning another language was one that I would now need. I am today struggling to become fluent in the new language that has begun to embed itself in our culture, Chinglish.
Don’t you just love getting an email or a set of instructions written by someone who can’t speak Strayan’, who has studied a Google-based course on English (a language I’m sure you all agree we colonials are not very good at), and is given the task of explaining, by the written word something to Aussies?
Strike me pink and stone the flamin’ crows, it’s all double Dutch to me and I’ll be buggered if I could put together flat pack when an Aussie wrote the mud map. It’s become my new hobby finding the best Chinglish phrases and instructions but the other day I reckon I found a pearler. I was in a camping shop looking at 12V lighting options when I stumbled across this little gem. It was printed on the side of a rechargeable LED light along with all the other features and their benefits. “When this light suddenly goes out it is to remind you to recharge the device”, holy snappin’ duck poo! “Hey Baz! The flamin’ light just went out! Oh yeah, that reminds me, I better charge it”.