Friday, March 09, 2007

Language Barrier: Why Stephen Spielberg George Lucas Didn't Cast Asians for Star Wars

Last month, I attended an annual, international symposium. Its theme wasn't important. Not in this blog, anyway. Because the official theme was actually twenty words long. I quickly concocted my own theme, "To stay awake for eight hours straight, three days in a row."

I almost failed.

Because these guys were professional Power Point Troopers. One speaker had only opened a single slide full of bulleted points, and I could almost hear the sound of a few heads hitting their desks. Those were the new guys. A veteran participant sitting next to me was actually sleeping while sitting straight up, as if he just swallowed a coat hanger. And--I'm not kidding--he turned out to be the next speaker.

Later, during a coffee break, I spoke to a Vietnamese speaker. His presentation had some information that I was interested in, yet I had trouble understanding what he said. "Yes," he nodded on my inquiry. "I'm the vader of the organization."

"Excuse me?" I frowned.

"I'm the vahnter," he insisted with a straight face.

It took about three seconds before it finally sank in. "You're the founder?"

"Yes," he nodded vigorously.

I would love to see Stephen SpielbergGeorge Lucas cast this guy for Star Wars. One of the most memorable scenes would've become legendary.

"Luke," said Darth Vader after trading lightsaber blows. "I'm your founder."

"What?" Skywalker frowned.

Vader snarled, "I'm your bother!"

"Can't agree more," groaned Luke.

One of the crew would've been bound to voice his protest, "StephenGeorge, why don't you ditch this guy?"

"Don't tell me what to do!" growled SpielbergLucas. "You're not my father!"
This kind of imagination was the only thing that helped me stay awake.


enda said...


we have a lot of asian on the campus where we live, the similar conversation happen to me once at a bus stop

Vietnamese guy: So do you have any sindrun?

me: What? khuldun?

VG: No, no sildun

me: What? sindrome?

VG: baby! baby

me: oooo CHILDREN


I even did the same thing:

me: Do you stil want the tshirt with robot on it

buleguy: what?

me: robot, robot

buleguy: aw you mean, robats heheed

the fool said...

I feel for you, Nda.

BTW, when the speaker from Thailand took the stage, at first I thought he had been speaking Indonesian.

"We faced several challenges," he said, "Layak government, for instance."

My eyebrows practically met. For those not familiar with Bahasa, "layak" literally means "worthy."

"The government, layak, didn't support us in terms of regulatory," he continued.

"Ah!" I finally got it. He meant "like".

Wicak said...

did you mean George Lucas?

the fool said...

Ack. My bad.

hardono said...

Hehe.. i remember my Lecturer from China. He meant to say "Java Virtual Machine", but none of us understand what he said. After quick fact-gathering, all of us actually heard it as "Java Washing Machine" :P
Bless us Indonesians with a smooth tounge for any language :D

the fool said...

Java Washing Machine sounds like a good band name, hardono.

hardono said...

So the band's genre will be between "Java Jive" and "Rage Against The Machine" ? :D

the fool said...

Yes. With their hit single, "Who The #@@$ Debugged My Code?"