Sending pigs into the living halls of Malaysians
Is it influenza A or is it swine flu?
This is a question of taste.
Just like the modern parents who will never call their kids “Doggie,” “Piggy” and the like. When people get educated and learn some basic etiquette, there will become more cultured and understand what “taste” is.
Similarly, a society with the right “taste” will not allow the use of lowly, despicable and provocative wordings in the mass media.
Besides, “swine flu” is an utter misnomer and unfounded scientifically.
Any among the hundred-odd flu cases in this country has been infected by pigs?
Whenever I turn on the TV, words such as “babi,” “kinzir” and “swine” are repeatedly blasted into my hears, and shock me into shutting off the TV immediately.
As a matter of fact, I do symphathise with these broadcasters. Being Muslims, they are naturally sensitive to pigs. However, the instructions from their superiors have forced them to repeat these few words on a daily basis.
As non-Muslims, even we find it extremely discordant to the ears hearing it, and I wonder whether our Muslim audience would feel comfortable being bombasted by “babi.”
This has inevitably raised a question what information minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim has in his mind that he must enforce that the media switch to the term “selsema babi” or “swine flu”!
Is the mission of the information ministry to arouse disgust among the public, or to create linguistic pollution, lower the country’s broadcasting standards or to smear the Malaysian society?
Of course, in this multicultural society of Malaysia, forcing the pigs into living halls of Malaysians of various ethnic groups could only accentuate the repulsion between the races.
I was thinking the obligation of the information ministry is to promote inter-racial unity.
Rais has his explanation. He said A(H1N1) was too tough on the mouth, and that “Influenza A” sounded awkward.
If a news broadcaster could not get the pronunciation right, I think they should go through renewed training.
As if that is not enough, no countries in the world could offer so ridiculous reasons to change A(H1N1) into swine flu.
I’m curious how Rais thinks, and is perplexed why he has a unique passion for this word. (By TAY TIAN YAN/Translated by DOMINIC LOH/Sin Chew Daily)