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Friday, July 3, 2009

老外哈上台灣,問我為何叫他阿兜仔?My friend is asking me why he is called A-DO-AH by Taiwanese

我跟布倫兄說:為什不 (Why not)

Writer Dan Bloom sent me 2 e-mails wanting me to comment on his article about the Taiwanese word “A-do-ah”. At the end of his article, he said that the real judges would be the Taiwanese themselves.

Since the real judge will be the Taiwanese, I have written in the language that most Taiwanese will understand.

I am surprised to find that my friend Dan hates to be called “A-do-ah” (not told but I have found Dan’s comment here). Sure, if Dan doesn’t like it, I will defend his rights, but I will continue to call others who don’t mind this word because I believe that the invention behind this Taiwanese word not only has no bad intentions, but also carries the spirit of admiring of what we Taiwanese wish to have but don’t have in their facial feature, a nice-looking higher pointing nose. I have been trying to hold my glasses in its place, but it keeps slipping down, I wish I were a “a-do-ah”, but I am a Taiwanese.

My first response to Dan

Hi Dan:

Nice to communicate again. I like to call the westerners the traditional Taiwanese way "A-do-ah" because it is not only humorous but also the way Taiwanese people admire what they don't have - a beautiful sharp nose, and since for long the Taiwanese people have been using this description without any bad intentions, why should we change this "terminology" which forms part of the traditional Taiwanese language culture.

But to be fair, I am asking around some foreigners that I know living in TW, and M. Turton had replied publicly and privately that he does not mind at all. I am waiting for the others to tell me how they feel.

Άλισον

p.s. I didn't have time to read your Chinese version of the article, I will when I have time much later.

My response to Taiwanese readers and Dan

我離台時没有“哈上”這個用語,但是叫西方人“阿兜仔”可說是已經代代相傳的說法,我想可能因為台灣人羨慕西方人又高挺又英俊或美麗的鼻樑,嚮往西方人有、而自己没有的鼻子,才會發明出這種詞語。

這跟一般笑人胖廋、或中國人看輕台灣人、而稱我們“台巴子”、可不能拿來相提並論。

台灣人心地善良、用“阿兜仔”來形容西方人、不但幽默也有 稱讚的意思。

布倫兄的文章一出來、我只好檢討一下,我怕被我們的希臘台灣人部落格翻譯成“看透台灣的阿兜仔”的特登先生、會不會也不喜歡被叫做“阿兜仔”、所以 趕緊向他請叫一下他的看法,他說他一點也不介意,大概他的鼻子很好看吧?

我想如果他不介意的話、我會繼續用代代相傳的說法稱讚他,因為“阿兜仔”已經是難改口的台語文化的一部份。

但是如果我看到一個西方人、鼻子像這樣 ( link, I have seen the movie Roxanne, it’s a funny and entertaining movie)、我話說出口前、會三思而後行。

我先生笑我說、打死我叫我改口不講“阿兜仔”可能比較困難、現在醫學發達、不喜歡的話、他可以去找整形外科比較容易。

布倫兄、你的二封電子郵件我收到了,你要我作個評論、我在此回答了、希望你會看懂我的文章,否則 阿牛 (link) 弟可能可以幫你翻一下。

It’s my friend Dan again

Thanks, Άλισον, all this feedback is good........I am glad M Turton doesn't mind being called a BIG NOSE ('Αλισον's note: No it does not mean “big nose”, it means “high and pointy”, by the way, “big nose" will be translated into Taiwanese as "Dua-pi-nga" where the very last syllable is to pronounce the letter "A" thru nasal passage )

me, too, I don't mind at all ('Αλισον’s note: I am glad Dan has gradually changed his mind after my first reply).....I just want to do some research on the meaning of the word....DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA when it first started being used in Taiwan.....maybe in 1920? Maybe in 1860,,,,,maybe in 1945 after war....? is there any way to find out?

Dan

Cultural research is not my best field, maybe when I am bored of the political research one day. Taiwanese readers, do you want to solve my friend Dan’s curiosity?

‘Αλισον

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes, Taiwanese readers, please help solve Dan's curiosity. I am all ears. I am neither in favor of the word ADOAH or against it, I just want to know how Taiwanese people FEEL about the word, its origins and history and meaning, TO YOU, and if you can think of a better word that might SOMEDAY in the fuTure replace it. Like "WAH GO AH" or WAH GOH LANG". since the shape or size of our noses should not be what we are called in public, whether we have flat noses or high noses, adoah noses or wax apples noses. Do you know that one? Calling someone in Taiwan as having a wax apple nose?

http://pcofftherails101.blogspot.com/2009/06/is-this-good-word-or-bad-word.html

and

http://pcofftherails101.blogspot.com

dan said...

Today, a college student at Chung Cheng University told me:

"Dear Dan,

No, I don't think the Taiwanese readers will be angry about what you
wrote about adoah, if you publish that article in Apple Daily or the
Liberty Times or UDN or the China Times in Chinese.....

There are always some misunderstandings between two different
cultures, and if we never clearify these things, there might be more
people who agitate others and never understand why people seems angry
about that........

Thus I think it will be good if you publish it on the newspaper........

But, I think you still need to notice the way you wrote, make sure the
readers won't misunderstand what you want to say.

Especially the following paragraph,

雖然許多台灣人被批評郭冠英,前行政院新聞局派駐多倫多台北經濟文化代表處新聞組長,

在他以匿名所寫的文章中提到 “台巴子”及”倭寇”兩詞.

多數台灣人仍然認為使用”阿兜仔”這個詞語來形容西方人並無不妥.

in this part, 倭寇 means "short Japanese pirates" and 巴子 means foreigners who come from
rural area and wear or talk "improperly"(like a country bumpkin or
yokel, like a redneck),
both of these words are used with really bad attempt to humiliate
people.

So if you are trying to make an analogy between 倭寇,台巴子 and ADOAH,
be careful...--

[DAN NOTES: No I am not making this analogy, I am glad you are clearing this point up!] --

because..Some people might not agree with this.
Especially you are mentioning thing about politics, it is a sensitive
issue for Taiwanese people.

Hope these suggestions are helpful."

Άλισον said...

I just used the Google Translation Tool to check the accuracy of the translation from Chinese to English of my Chinese text and I discovered that this article is totally unsuitable to be translated by the Tool. So, readers better check with a friend who is fluent in Chinese and English to help you.

Also, if you have further comments about the A-do-ah, please write to Dan directly.

Thanks!

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