Sunday, September 04, 2011

On Your Bike, Malaysia = Get Lost, Malaysia?

Appalling ignorance

RECENTLY, I saw a sticker on the rear windscreen of a car ahead of me that read “On Your Bike, Malaysia!”

I was shocked and speechless. Looking carefully at the sticker I realised that it was some sort of campaign to get Malaysians to ride their bicycles. I searched for it online and discovered that there will be an event held soon and that is the name of the campaign. I don’t know whether to be appalled or just brush it aside and say, oh well, the locals don’t know what the phrase means.

Now, I cannot be the only person in the whole of Malaysia who knows what the phrase means. In Britain, when one says, “On your bike!” (usually, they say, “on yer bike, mate!”) it means “Get lost!” So, we simply copy it and what are we saying? “Get Lost, Malaysia!” We are telling Malaysia to get lost, just when we are celebrating our national day.

This may be a British phrase but surely the organisers could have come up with a more positive and persuasive tagline than that? People must be laughing at our stupidity and ignorance right now. Please, please do not embarrass the country. Word play is one thing, but this is just appalling. – A


Friday, September 02, 2011

Please Repeat Again...


One of the meanings of “repeat” is to say/write again. Does this mean it is wrong to say “repeat again” in a sentence?

If the answer is yes, then please explain the following sentence given on p.1,284 of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (7th edition) under the definition of “repeat”: She kept repeating his name softly over and over again.


Yes, we don’t usually say or write “repeat again”, because it would be redundant to do so. In the case of the sentence from the OALD, the idea of repetition is expressed three times: in the word “kept” (= did something repeatedly), in the word “repeating” and in the idiomatic phrase “over and over again” (= many times; repeatedly). Perhaps “She uttered his name softly over and over again.” would get rid of the redundancy, without losing the literary effect of the original.

Just because something is in print does not mean it cannot be questioned, and I am glad that you questioned the logic of that sentence.


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