Write a short narrative exploring, explaining the issues of cultural tension and language that you are faced with in your own personal situation. Maybe the writers we have studied will have released some new understanding? Maybe you might even find a poetic voice to express your new understanding. You could even use Marlene Philip’s poem as a model to follow.
Got a bunga there mate
Nah, don’t smoke
Carn, pay ya back double on the next buy up
Know a mate that does? Get me a bunga and I will look after ya
Don’t need lookin’ after, can do it meself.
This poem I have written is an actual conversation that I had with a fellow when I was at a place where I didn’t want to be. Perhaps you can guess where. I will not disclose at this stage. But you can bet I was right out of my element. I was transported to a culture that I was not familiar with, against my will. Like refugees and other displaced persons, I was forced to adapt or die. To learn the language, or risk isolation or harm.
There were one or two to help a bloke through the transistion period, but I was forever tense, not knowing that the meaning of a word in English was not the same in this particular culture. A wrong word, a playful insult could find you with red liquid oozing from your belly and people walking away.
no one saw nothin gov,
musta falled over
you right mate?
back ta work
I also remember an incident when I was in high school. Being a fair fellow, I was asked to referee a football match. The trouble was, the boys who were playing, were previously told not to play there. They all scampered when the deputy head came out. He managed to catch one or two and direct them to his office for a caning. I was standing there dumbfounded because I didn’t know what was going on. Then he pointed to me and said “You come too, you’re stupid”.
There was a lack of communication. We were both speaking English, but I had no idea what he was talking about. I was being punished because I didn’t know the culture of that place. So I can somewhat empathise with the Jamaican writer whom I paraphrase here… English, I am speaking English, Its you that doesn’t understand…
This is my last post in this subject. Anyone got a bugle?