21 October 2008

Try my breast

Here is an interesting case of the politicization of language... This is Saturday's Apple Daily having great fun at the expense of Gary Chan Hak Kan. At 32, Gary is the youngest member of the HK Legislative Council elected in September on the pro-China Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB) ticket. And what better way to start his Legco career than tell the world that he will 'try his breast'. In fact, that is an easy enough mistake to make under pressure. There is no 'r' sound in Cantonese (a word like 'friend' becomes 'fen' in Cantonese), so Cantonese speakers tend to put them into English words where they are not really needed. But because Gary Chan is an irritating young upstart pro-China politician, who was eased into an almost guaranteed Legco seat ahead of his elders and betters, Apple Daily can still get some milk out of his English more than a month later. As a native speaker of English, I really shouldn't join in the fun. The adventurous hedgehog, on the other hand, says he deserves everything he gets.

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