Monday 21 September 2015

On Speaking Properly

Isn't it embarrassing how you can live your whole life immersed in your culture, only to one day be told that you were doing it wrong the whole time? Truly mortifying! Thank God for those charitable outsiders who never miss an opportunity to enlighten us mere natives.

Clem Thomas: not your standard parochial nationalist
It is hard to believe that here I am in Llanelli in Wales in 2015 and people will actually try to tell me how to speak and write my own language in my own country. Unfortunately these sentiments are all too common particularly amongst a certain type of English person; they feel they can go anywhere in the world and tell anybody what their cultures are and how they should behave.

Here are two anecdotes to illustrate what I mean: I was once trapped in a formal dinner next to an Englishman who spent the best part of an hour telling me where in Wales the best Welsh was spoken. He did not speak a word of Welsh but had worked for about two years in Bangor. I was so glad to meet a world authority on my native culture. Then, while working in the West Indies I heard on at least two occasions, English people telling Indians from India what constituted a 'proper' curry! Amazing arrogance.

It is a funny old world where to stand up for one's own country and culture is considered parochial nationalism but where it is OK to invade and destroy other countries and cultures thereby bringing them Hope and Glory under the tender wing of the 'Mother of the Free'. Don't make me laugh.

Is this post anti-English? No it is not! It is pro truth and common sense, that's all.

Clem Thomas

Clem lives in Dafen, Llanelli. A former Llanelli Rural Councillor, school teacher and factory manager. He returned to Wales with his wife and family from Trinidad after spending much of his working life in the Caribbean. One of the founder members of People First, he writes novels, does most of our welsh translation, and still finds time to be our treasurer.

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