Thursday, December 02, 2010

Lakminichaturi Ashanesinthuja Madakalapuwa

A minor incident had occurred in front of the Wayside Tavern. Police attended.

A young Constable stood on the footpath, interviewing the witness. With notebook open he condensed the witness' observations into the pertinent details, these he wrote down.

In such situation the police will always write in their notebook the details of the witness:
Full name, date of birth, address and telephone number.

The witness, one of the Wayside Tavern staff, was a Sri Lankan national. Who despite sharing our national sport, are an ethnic group previously unknown in this part of the world. His full name was rather an alphabet soup. The name above, though not his actual name, isn't much different.

If one hears the name "Peter Jackson" spoken aloud only once, it can be written down correctly, due to a lifetime of conditioning to Anglo names.

This is not so easy when as an adult, one encounters a set of foreign names for the first time. (Anybody who on their first ever trip to New Zealand has recieved over the telephone a barrage of directions down various farm roads will know what I mean).

Painstakingly the witness repeated his name & slowly spelled it for the officer.

After several attempts at the name, and with the effort of concentration causing the tip of his tongue to protrude from the corner of his mouth, the Constable plaintively looked around, then haltingly spoke:

"Erm... did anybody else happen to witness what just happened?"