Monday, July 13, 2009

Liberty Times, letter to editor, ◎ 黃大河 re 翻譯官回應「阿凸仔」


The Liberty Times published a letter today from a reader about the ongoing "adoah" debate, pro and con:

http://www.libertytimes.com.tw/2009/new/jul/14/today-o6.htm

翻譯官回應「阿凸仔


◎ 黃大河


署名 Biko Lang 的西方人士,在自由廣場投書呼籲台灣人:請別叫我「阿凸仔」!其理由是因為許多住在台灣工作的西方人認為,那是一個侮辱和不尊敬的詞句,不應該出現在公眾場合。

筆者同意Biko的看法。打從少年時代開始接觸西方傳教士,到了成年在美軍駐台顧問團工作,筆者接觸過的西方人為數不少,但是我始終沒有使用過「阿凸仔」來稱呼西方人。當然,我承認目前在台灣還有許多人使用「阿凸仔」來稱呼西方人。在新加坡、馬來西亞等國家使用福建方言的華人族群裡,他們雖然不講出「阿凸仔」,卻使用另類獨特的稱呼。他們把西方白種人統稱為「紅毛仔」,看場合有時也叫「紅毛猴」,而且是現在進行式。在新加坡的地理中心地帶就有個大社區叫做紅毛橋(Ang Mo Kio)。新加坡政府早察覺到此語不妥,所以帶頭把華文的正式名稱改為「宏茂橋」,以期誘導新加坡人漸漸地淡忘「紅毛橋」。高明吧!比較之下,台灣的政府對此現象似乎很遲鈍,令「有品」的台灣人無語問蒼天。(作者早期曾任美軍駐台顧問團翻譯官,部落格http://www.goodweber.com/?4151)

-----------------------------------------

REFERRRING TO: RE:

http://www.libertytimes.com.tw/2009/new/jul/8/today-o7.htm

請別叫我「阿凸仔」!

◎ "Biko Lang" (pen name)


大多數的台灣人認為 :「阿凸仔」這個稱呼外國人的暱稱是熱情且友善的。但許多住在台灣工作的西方人卻認為,那是一個侮辱和不尊敬的詞句,不應該出現在公眾場合,電視節目和廣告應該要禁止使用這三個字。你同意嗎?

「阿凸仔」的意思是指「大鼻子的人」,無論你對這三個字的俚語詞有什麼感覺,請你用你的幽默感來閱讀此篇文章。

日本人、馬來西亞人、印尼人、印度人、非洲人、越南人或菲律賓人,都沒有使用類似「阿凸仔」的名詞來稱呼西方人。

郭冠英在他匿名所寫的文章中提到「台巴子」及「倭寇」,許多台灣人很生氣,但是多數台灣人卻認為「阿凸仔」沒有侮辱的意思,並無不妥。例如輔仁大學歷史系教授陳君愷在一封電子郵件中寫到:大多數的台灣人相信「阿凸仔」是幽默的詞語。但是如果大部分在台灣的西方人討厭這樣的形容,那麼台灣人就不應該再繼續使用這個詞語來形容西方人,特別是在公眾場合及電視媒體上。吳宗憲先生,請問您看到這篇文章了嗎?

那麼這是我給讀者的問題:「阿凸仔」是否是台灣人應該繼續使用的詞,或是應該捨棄不用呢?無論是否同意我的看法,我非常有興趣了解你的看法與回應。我的部落格是
http://pcofftherails101.blogspot.com
(作者本名 Dan Bloom,為美籍資深新聞從業人員;
翻譯者Shirley Tu)

5 comments:

dan said...

LETTER FROM A TAIWANESE BOOK EDITOR, MALE, IN TAIPEI:

Dear dear dear Dan,

I don't know how to resolve the problem you have -- or we have. About this adoah word. Let me explain:

As we know it, many (or, every, I don't know) words are not good or bad by themselves.

They are good or bad because how people use them, how the words are used in a context. The same word spoken by different people or in different contexts can mean differently.

I don't know how they used "a-tok-a" (adoah) in TV.

But I can imagine how they can distort many Taiwanese words in TV.

In fact, for many Taiwanese (or Chinese) people, many Taiwanese words are vulgar, though they will never admit that they think so.

Here is my problem: if one day, I introduce you to other friends, how should I say, if in Taiwanese?

"Hi, pals, here is my a-tok-a friend, Dan"?

Or, "here is my Bi-kok (American) friend"? Or "here is my Goa-kok (foreign) friend"? I think I won't use "Bi-kok" (unless the other friends ask me where you are from) or "Goa-kok", because they sound so "remote", like you are not really my friend. OK, maybe I should simply say "here is my friend', omitting any modifier. But, if I somehow would like to emphasize something, like, see, Dan is a friend, a friend from oversea.... then, how should I put it?

If I promise you that I will NEVER speak about you with "a-tok-a" BEHIND YOUR BACK, if I only say so in your face like in the case just mentioned--introducing you to other Taiwanese friends, will it be OK for you? No, I don't think so, because I still use it IN PUBLIC. But, hey, come on, if not in public, in front of other people, why do I need the word "a-tok-a"?

So, this is a real problem for me. Hmmm, OK, I should try to coin a new word and see if I can make it common....

As to the "distortion" mentioned above, you know--the letter from the woman who lives in Australia reminds me of this--how Taiwanese languages have been depreciated, distorted, and oppressed. That copies of bibles in Taiwanese languages were confiscated and forbidden is a real and live story. Friends from churches in Tainan can tell you about this. My college friend from Taitong, who is an Amis, told me that their bibles in Amis were taken away and burned. And you know once KMT ordered that all "poo-te-hi" (puppy theater) should be performed in Mandarin and the time slots you were ALLOWED to speak Taiwanese in TV or Radio were limited. And how Taiwanese have been used in the TV dramas....
How can a language survive and develop healthily under such a condition? How can the younger generation who grows up with TV speak Taiwanese in a proper way? And how will young people view Taiwanese?

CONTINUED BELOW

dan said...

CONTINUED FROM ABOVE:

The situation has changed since 1990s. Slowly, but it has changed. The problem is that the effect is here.

When I was a student, maybe in my sophomore year, we (a group of male classmates who came from the south and the east; none of us is Taipei native) found we had a beautiful girl in our department (she was, of course, in her first year). You can imagine how we loved to gather around her and spoke to her. We were used to talk in Taiwanese, not always, but usually, or were used to shift between Taiwanese and Mandarin. Somehow we knew the girl came from Taichung and could speak Taiwanese. Once, we suddenly found that, even we all talked to her in Taiwanese, she always answered in Mandarin, and we found it funny.

So we asked her if she knew Taiwanese to make sure which language we should use. She said: "Yes, I know. But it is a vulgar language."

She said so in our faces.

At that moment, we became speechless and knew we should draw away.

At that moment I also knew how I was undomesticated -- and I still am. A barbarian. (By the way, my teacher, how to say 學長、學弟、學妹 in English?)

Mandarin is the "official" language in our office. But I usually shift to Taiwanese, especially somehow I suddenly forget (or don't know) how to say a word or a sentence in Mandarin. One day, maybe in last year, a girl told me, "don't you think Taiwanese is only spoken by old people?" Oh, yes, I am an old man now. I usually forget that. So, an old barbarian.

I know that is not the case when I go back in Yunlin. Two or three years ago, one day I went to Yunlin County Hall for something, and I stood in an office to fill a form. A young lady drew a chair to me and said, in my mother tongue: "A-peh, li chia che." (Sir = Elder Uncle, please sit here.) That sounded so familiar and so friendly, though she also reminded me that I was an old man."

Signed

L.

[***Ed. note: L is joking when he calls himself a barbarian. He is hightly educated, renaissance man in Taipei, world trallever, editor of 100s of important books in Taiwan, one of a kind, and part of what Taiwan so special!]

Anonymous said...

A Western man living in Taipei says on a web posting:

"I don't mind beinbg called 老外 (''lao wai'') at all because of its affectionate nature. But I've heard 阿啄仔 (a-tok-a) or "adogah") used in derisive tones enough that I dislike the term."

To which another Western man responded, re the Lao Wai issue:

"I used to feel the same way about Lao Wai, it didn't bother me at all, but my Chinese teacher here in Taiwan tells me it's offensive. He's married to a New York woman, and he says he takes people to task if they refer to her as a 老外.

I don't much like the term 外國人 (wei guo ren),either. Sure, it's technically correct, but once again it's not universally used when referring to all foreigners. Only white people from the West, not Japanese or other Asians in Taiwan.

Uitlander, auschlander, foreigner or 外國人. It's all the same. Back home I wouldn't refer to some in any of those ways as I'd assume you were a Saffa. Once you opened your mouth or I found out otherwise I'd refer to you as Japanese, Taiwanese, American or Canadian.

IMHO, if nothing else it's just not polite."

Anonymous said...

In Response to “Adoah”

-By Terry Huang

Article in Liberty Times, July 14

translation

Dear Sir

Not long ago, a western Caucasian named Biko Lang wrote a letter to Liberty Times Forum, appealing to Taiwanese: “please do not call me Adoah”! Because, to his understanding, the word “Adoah” sounds humiliation if not insult. Thus, the term should be refrained at least from the public occasion.


I concur with Biko. I had opportunity for close contacts with western missionaries in my youth hood, and then worked for MAAG later as an interpreter. My encounters with western Caucasians are wide and stretched. During that tenure, I had never used “Adoah” to address any of them. Regretfully, “Adoah” is still commonly used by some sectors in Taiwan, mainly in Taiwanese speaking ethnic. But there is similar situation in Singapore too. The Hokkien dialect ethnic Singaporeans are accustomed to address western Caucasians “Ang-Mo**” or “Ang-Mo Kau” depends on occasions. There is a large community in the center of Singapore island which is called Ang-Mo Kio meaning Red-Hair’s Bridge. Singapore Government, knowing the sensitivity of the name, has since changed the official Chinese Name into Hong-Mau Chiao while retains Ang-Mo Kiao as official English Name. Brilliant!


In comparison, Taiwan Government is somehow insensitive to the issue. Using press freedom as a shield, just unleashing the medias and publics to enjoy shouting of “Adoah”. Two Chinese ethnic governments, one brilliant, the other dumb. Oh My God!


http://www.goodweber.com/?terry

Anonymous said...

黃先生, 您的原文並沒有提到保存紅毛橋喔.您說新國政府很用心的誘導當地人去淡忘喔.現在你在你的後繼英文版說新加坡政府認為這個詞不雅,所以把中文名改成”宏茂橋”但在官方洋文裡續用Ang-Mo Kiao. 您說這招絕頂高明.可是我不覺得哦.我以為這樣蠻”假仙”的.要嘛乾脆連英文名也改成”Hon-Mau-Bridge”比較相襯.好處是外國人不會東問西問Ang-Mo-Kiao是什麼碗糕,到時不是”教不來的老狗”市民洩露天机,就是” 誘導成功”的小夥子說不知道.而且一,兩代之後, 紅毛橋和Ang-Mo-Kiao就此永遠在新加坡絕跡.斬草除根這才高明嘛.

還有”Oh My God!”表現不出您的”品味”喔.這會誏那些開口閉口“Adoah”的台灣人誤以為他們很” 有品”哦.

還有, 還有,您甘脆好人做到底,連對岸的另一個遲鈍的華人國家也順便指導一下嘛.人家VHsan說他們叫洋人”鬼老”呢.

以下摘錄您的”有品”原文片斷:

“新加坡政府早察覺到此語不妥,所以帶頭把華文的正式名稱改為「宏茂橋」,以期誘導新加坡人漸漸地淡忘「紅毛橋」。高明吧!比較之下,台灣的政府對此現象似乎很遲鈍,令「有品」的台灣人無語問蒼天。