Knackered and a Brownie-A A +A
Friday, February 15, 2013
IT STILL amazes me to know that finding useful information or inspiration about anything and everything can be found even in the most unlikely places, mostly hidden in plain sight; such as mall comfort rooms, candy wrappers and the backs of cereal cartons.
Mall comfort rooms claiming that their urinals save about 120,000 liters of water annually. Candy wrappers containing inspirational phrases and messages like, “Say no to drugs,”“I’m yours” and “Be my love” and the like.
One of the best unlikely encounters of bumping into these types of unsolicited tidbits of information and trivia was when my family and I ate at an Australian themed restaurant. Printed on their paper placemats was a collection of Australian slangs or simply Aussie slangs. I had a blast reading through that placemat; it was like my new found Aussie slang bible. A wellspring of information about Aussie culture was re introduced to me through that plain paper placemat.
I certainly couldn’t have surmised that “Amber Fluid” in Aussie means beer and that an Automated Teller Machine is referred to in Australia as the “Hole in the Wall (which actually makes sense, come to think of it!),”and a whole lot of more of Aussie slang that most of which you would only probably hear from Crocodile Dundee and not from Hugh Jackman or Chris Hemsworth.
But of the 66 Aussie slang words printed on that paper placemat two words caught my fancy – “Knackered” and “Brownie” the former meaning tired (or exhausted) and the latter meaning a bottle of beer.
For some Filipinos this would be the perfect combination. After a long hard – day’s work especially for the working class, (including young professionals such as myself) and with all the things big or small happening around us in the city and in the country every day, grabbing a bottle of beer to release a little tension or stress wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
Knackered then became my proverbial word for the week, a rhetorical impulse playing out in my head, describing my exhaustion and being fed up with issues that seem to afflict the common man every day. From the seemingly mundane problematic issue to that of the most nationalistic and controversial concerns that stare me most of us in the face...KNACKERED was my go to word! Let me elucidate...
To unnervingly riding a jitney with only a total passenger capacity of seven on each row while the driver and the barker insists to sit nine on each...KNACKERED!
To frequently being late for work even though you woke up early but got caught in traffic because newly paved roads are once again being carved up under the preventive maintenance argument...KNACKERED!
To some pedestrians who outright defy traffic rules, crossing pedestrian lanes when the traffic light is clearly lit up with red, leaving me to explain to my 5 year old son why do they cross the street when I told him that red means stop and green means go...KNACKERED!
To most littered streets, prevalent garbage issues, and air pollution faced by the city, a city that once held the title of the cleanest and greenest city in the Philippines...KNACKERED!
To the constant doomsday – end of the world hype... seriously KNACKERED people!
To the incessant blurring of the line between showbiz and politics, it is only here that we vote for a showbiz personality for public office and ask later how he/she can be both a public servant and an entertainer at the same time when his/her movie comes out...KNACKERED!
To implausible prioritizing and approving of house bills that are counter – productive to Article 3 section 4 of the Bill of Rights, than that of house bills that effect transparency in the government...KNACKERED!
And to everyone that acknowledges all of these facts but chooses to just laugh about it and accept the cruel and spiteful reality...KNACKERED! If you somehow agree or could relate with the above stated instances then we truly have enough reasons to be KNACKERED.
A virtue very true to a Filipino is the ability to always keep a smile even though faced with adversity, for a few a cold serving of a BROWNIE or two usually helps. But in this case, not even a case of BROWNIE would be enough to keep a smile on your face, we need to do something about this issues that cause us to be KNACKERED! Trite and cliché as it may sound, but in order for change to happen in society change has to happen first to the individual.
Let us do our part. Be mindful of others. Speak out your mind and do not just be a passive critic. Let your voices be heard. Do not stand out for the sake of being different but rather be outstanding. Be proactive. Follow rules even if others break them, it has been said that one of the most difficult choices to be made is to do the right thing when no one is looking. Use common sense, which we know is a sense not common to all. And lastly, let our words be backed up with actions. Idealistic as it may sound but change does begin with you MATE (which is by the way the Aussie slang for friend)!
Till the next environmental mall toilet and the informative restaurant paper placemat, let us keep an eye out for the next unlikely source of inspiration, I say TA – which by the way is the Aussie slang for Thanks! (Johnny Rambo)
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 15, 2013.