02 June 2015

Kolombians are defined by the F-Word, Comrade Vasu please take note

Kolombians are a distinct people from Colombo who know much. They have things to say.  A lot of things to say.  The entire country can learn from them. This is the twenty ninth in a series published in 'The Nation' under the title 'Notes of an Unrepentant Kolombian'.  Scroll down for other articles in this series. 

Comrade Vasu is an unrepentant Socialist.  I think he still considers himself a Marxist and perhaps even a Trotskyite. He’s an unrepentant kind of guy.  That’s why he is refusing to say sorry for using the P Word on Ranil.  Bandula Gunawardena in trying to save Vasu the blushes has made things worse but that’s another story.  Let’s  focus instead on Vasu, the P Word and its inherent poverty.

Vasu defined himself in a non-Marxist or rather out-of-Marx kind of way when he used the P Word.   No, he didn’t define himself to be a crude kind of person for cuss words are used by one and all, gentlemen and otherwise, Kolombians and non-Kolombians.  He defined himself as someone who is not and will never be a Kolombian.  It’s simple.  The P Word is never used by us.  We are F-Word people.  Not P****** but F******.  

Just imagine a Kolombian gathering, let’s say at a corporate board meeting.  People get upset sometimes.  They lose their tempers.  They vent out their frustrations. They spew out cuss words.  They will toss out four letter words left and right.  You might hear F-off, F-them, F-it, F-you Mother-effer etc., etc.  All that is OKAY.  But if someone wants to use the P-Word or the H-Word for that matter he or she would immediately be censured with an audible ‘Shhhhhhh’, disapproving frowns from the more polite and eventually lose standing in the K-Community.  

That’s a fundamental difference between Us and Them.  We think it’s ok to swear but the swearing must in in English.  English cuss words are somehow not as vulgar-sounding as Sinhala cuss words.  That’s probably indicative of cultural superiority, I am convinced.  We can eff things up anyway we want and therefore we can say it too.  That’s culture. That’s civilization.  That’s class.  No disjuncture between word and deed, no contradiction.  

Non-Kolombians of the P-Word using kind do it when they are really, really angry or when they are drunk.  They don’t use the P-Word as verb (transitive and intransitive), noun, adjective etc., etc.  The P-Word, in short, lacks the linguistic versatility of the F-Word.  If you want to check out the power of the F-Word, google ‘Osho + F***’.  He spells it out beautifully.  The word can describe pain, pleasure, hatred and love, Osho points out.  Effing-beautifully, I might add.  But if you are too effing-lazy to do that just think of all the ways in which the adjective form can be used: It’s effing fantastic, he (Vasu) is effing crazy, they are so effing innocent.  You get the effing point, right?

The P-word just doesn’t do it.  The F-Word empowers.  The P-Word is ungainly, it is crude and indicative of a primitive mind set.  The F-Word is the last word on culture.  We are Effing-Kolombians.  That should say it all.   Comrade Vasu, please take note.

Other articles in the series:


Michael Mendis said...

Haha, Malinda, I recall lots of conversations I've had with my fellow Kolombian friends about the discrepancies between Sinhala swearing and English swearing. One thing we came to realise, almost uniformly, was how the word fuck I far more normalised through the entertainment we consume: music, film etc. I am not sure if this gives way to the great chicken and egg question: which came first, overfamiliarity or the discrepancy?

But, either way, you probably hazard too much in Vasu's case when you assume that he would have got away with it had he said fucker instead of pakaya. Unfairly, too, at that. I think he deserved the vilification he got because it indicated people weren't willing to tolerate the further degradation of the Parliament. The language he used is irrelevant. But I wonder if it isn't a coincidence that the politicians more prone to the use of words like fuck etc., as opposed to those like pakaya, have not been seen in parliament using them (at least to my knowledge -- admittedly, I'm wont to be very ignorant). This is not to say anything about class, but to say something about political persona-creation, the chosen language in that context, and the degree of the licence that inheres to each kind of those personas.

Malinda Seneviratne said...

in satire, a bit of exaggeration is allowed i think. i am in agreement here. :)