I was browsing through the newspapers earlier today and I certainly would not say that I was amused or anything of the sort. As a matter of fact, I was quite pissed off when I saw this advertisement inserted by the Tourism Ministry, Malaysia…
Now what on earth is MEAT BONE TEA? If they feel that there is a need to translate everything into English, then why didn’t they translate NASI LEMAK as well? Now what will that become? Fatty Rice? After all, lemak is fat, as in lemak babi which is pig’s fat or lard. It can’t be called Oily Rice as in that case, the Malay name would be Nasi Minyak or Nasi Berminyak. And for heaven’s sake, please do not ask me to translate LAKSA as I must confess that I would be completely and utterly stumped!
Every race in the world may have their own special delicacies with their own names. Why would we need to translate them into some loosely-relevant English equivalent or as in this case, a glaringly ridiculous term? The Japanese have their sushi and all that…and don’t we ALL know their names? Don’t we ALL know what tom yam is and which country it is originally from? The Indians have their naan, chapatti and murtabak and in English, at best, they are referred to as Indian breads. In western countries, they will tell you that they are going for dim sum or yam cha…and they are going to feast on the (meat) dumplings. Well, that’s the name they use to call our pao of different varieties, our siew mai and even our chang. To them, they are all….dumplings!
Really! I simply fail to fathom why they simply HAD to translate the name of that special delicacy into English. After all, there is no reference at all to the type of meat used, in which case some people from certain quarters might take offence. Why, I’m not even sure that it is authentically a Malaysian dish and if it is causing so much discomfort, perhaps they should remove it from the list completely.
Otherwise, let’s call a spade a spade…and let it be called by its original authentic name – BAK KUT TEH!!!