The Lava Trolley: Me no speak Engrish!

The Lava Trolley

Or is it the lavatory???

...Either case, this little nook on blogasphere is the natural dumping ground for the sort of crap that erupts
when you find a wee Chink in the Britworks...

But hey, I promise you this is steamingly hot shit...which is probably why it's all looking a bit brown!


03 June 2005

Me no speak Engrish!


I was in Boots collecting my medz a few days ago, and had the misfortune (and inconvenience!!!) of encountering a member of staff who's quite obviously in the wrong job...

Granted, she's new to it, but that's not what got me on edge...The woman could barely speak a word of English, which leads me to wonder how on earth she got through the interview process...

The conversation went something like this -

Me: Hi there, I'd like to collect my medication.
Her: jfdirgmn cvnej djgbkjf
Me: Sorry?
Her: kjdfbu hgbcxmc vnjd
Could you repeat that?
kjdfkvntk fjkhnmdl tohsloym

And so on...You get the picture...All the while, a massive queue was forming behind me...

I really had to struggle to make out what she was saying, and it wasn't just the accent. In the end, the pharmacist had to act as 'translator'.

The problem with large companies like Boots is that they have to satisfy a certain quota with regards to immigrants...Don't get me wrong...I am all in favour of employing people from other countries, most of whom probably contribute more than half of our citizens...Diversity is not just great for culture but for the economy as well...The UK is, after all, a mongrel nation. Where would we be without immigration? But what the policy-makers don't seem to realise is that this pre-occupation with controlling racial statistics in the employment industry will only fuel xenophobia even more...

Surely employing a person just because of his or her ethnic background is racism too?

It is only fair that someone is chosen for a job because he/she is the best person available to do it...and if the vacancy requires the ability to speak English coherently, then someone who can barely pronounce the most basic of words, let alone make herself understood, should not be selected...Perhaps the afore-mentioned checkout girl (not sure which country she was from...somewhere in Europe probably) at the dispensary isn't quite suitable for a job in customer service. And if she did want a job like this bad enough, surely it would be HER responsibility to improve her command of the language?

Let's put it this way, I wouldn't go to China and expect to get a job as an office receptionist because I don't speak Mandarin well enough...a position in a factory maybe, or anything that has less contact with the public...This has got nothing to do with the colour of my skin, but my capacity to perform when placed in a particular role.

Race is irrelevant, only knowledge and experience count...That's just common sense.

Come to think of it, if you're going through all the trouble of moving to another country, wouldn't it be prudent to learn the lingo anyway so you can adapt to your surroundings and be a part of that society? Otherwise, what would be the point?

In an ideal world, there would be no boundaries...and all cultures would integrate, living together in harmony (hopefully without losing their identity and individuality!), but in reality, ramming Utopia down everyone's throats will only spell trouble. Better to allow this multi-culturalism to occur naturally, over a length of time.

[Cue for Grolsch advert]

SHTOP!!!! This pot is not ready to melt yet!!!

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  • At 26/6/05 16:45, Anonymous eponine1971 said…


    Well, I thought I would check this out. Got through the first three blogs when I thought I just had to comment (as I often must).

    First, if beauty equals brains, does that mean 'ugly' equals stupidity? This is an over-generalization that makes no room for cultural influences. Isn't it more likely that someone who is beautiful is more likely to be conceded, more social and therefore less likely to put energies into education and books. Is this genitics or environment? If someone is less accepted by their peers, isn't it more likely for them to be introverted and throw themselves into books and such. Let's call it the 'bill gates' theory. Actually, I think incredibly intelligent people like gates, spealburg, richard bach, cummings, the bronte sisters... people who are obviously ahead of their peers are more likely to be the stereotypical bookworm. None of these people are stunning. I'm sure growing up, they were quite the outcasts. But perhaps that fueled their genius. Whereas models are raised to concentrate on their looks. Spend hours in front of the mirror and throw up what they eat. If they started out with great brains. I think those brains shrivelled up from non-use. Either that, or it certainly was not nourished the way it would have been if they had not been so conscerned with how they look.

    Yes, animals are wired to look for certain traits. We started out as animals. But we are intelligent beings, not animals. And there is more to beauty than meets the eye.

    Of course, I will concede that no one watches Miss Universe for the interviews or reads Playboy for the articles.

  • At 27/6/05 00:08, Anonymous eponine1971 said…

    Oops, I forgot to post a comment on THIS topic. Well, Charme, I certainly can understand why someone who speaks several (2 or 3?) languages would be annoyed at someone who can't speak english.

    I think it's different over there though. In the U.S., we have no national language. It would be rather obserd to have one. After all, we stole this country. We truly are a mixture of many nations. And we have tried to accomidate those other cultures. Mostly Spanish. But there is a way of thinking here by some. "if you're going to live here, learn to speak the language." Those people get very annoyed when I ask them if they are talking about Soix, Cherokee, or Cheyanne. English is from England. We don't live there. So I don't see how they can be speaking of that language as 'our' national language.

    First of all, I think Italian, Spanish, and other languages are beautiful. I use to go to this pizzaria just to hear them speak Italian. Don't understand a word, but it sounds good. Second, speaking the language of their 'homeland' helps people retain the culture. Third, children who grow up speaking more than one language are smarter than their classmates.

  • At 27/6/05 09:34, Blogger Charme said…

    Yes, it is likely that someone who isn't very attractive may spend more time on studies, and become a little more introvert...However, that in itself is generalisation and speculation as well. Besides, being knowledgeable and intelligent are two different things. Furthermore, I was referring more to beauty in relation to health...Bill Gates and Spielberg may not have supermodel good looks, but they are well-proportioned, physically attractive men...Personally, I think Gates is pretty cute. :-p He's got the sort of boy-next-door charm, though older.

  • At 27/6/05 18:26, Blogger Charme said…

    Hmmm...English may not have originated from America, but the US has now adopted a form of the language as its own, most commonly referred to as American English...It is the language of business and medium of instruction in your country.

    Another example: Singapore's national language is supposedly Malay (the anthem is in Malay as well...a token recognition of our past) since it used to be a Malay fishing village. But officially, the first language is English...There's even such a thing as Singapore English. As a multi-cultural country with as many different languages as the States, it was necessary to have one common tongue, and it seemed fitting that the English language took precedence. (However, it is interesting to note that English is not the most widely-spoken language in the world.) Most of the inhabitants of Singapore are bilingual at the very least.

    Anyhow, this isn't a comment on whether one language is better than the other, nor has it got to do with whether foreigners should allow their mother-tongue to fall into disuse. It is about fairness and compromise.

  • At 27/6/05 18:33, Blogger Charme said…

    Hey Stacey, just a thought...could it not be equally probable for someone good-looking to pull a Legally Blonde stunt just to prove he/she isn't dumb? Hmmm...guess that's just another moot point! Anyhow...where did you get the idea that models were 'raised' to concentrate on their looks, or that most of them have eating disorders? My sources in the industry tell me otherwise...Tsk tsk...You been reading those gossip mags again??

    "But we are intelligent beings, not animals. And there is more to beauty than meets the eye."

    Er...You didn't read the last paragraph of that blog, did you?


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