Friday, October 16, 2015

Defending Mr President

I find myself in a position of sympathy and wanting to defend our President. This is SUCH a foreign feeling since we all have an abundant of information at our fingertips that affirms that he has said and done MANY foolish things in the past that make us ashamed of him. (I am NOT defending his presidency, because we all know that he is an ongoing source of constant embarrassment to us as a nation).

However, this clip does not make me ashamed of him... my heart actually feels sympathy, and even empathy for the man.  Firstly  people, this has nothing to do counting, and everything to do with translating a language that is not his mother tongue!!  My guess is that the figure is in numbers for him to read out - and this is why I feel for him:
  • Can you read a number, written in digits, in Zulu (in the millions)?  I can't, not even in the tens. 
  • I am learning French and when we got to counting, it completely did my head in. I still am not able to give my year of birth without considering for about a minute what it is before I allow the words to tentatively escape my lips - and even then I make mistakes. Even worse in front of a class (or a crowd) when you make a mistake, and the nerves kick in....
So, in this instance - I want to be a little gracious to the man. I know there will be times again in the future when he will make me want to swear with frustration... but for now Mr President, I am sorry for your humiliation.




*Update:  A year later, and I just watched Trevor Noah back up this blogpost. Thank you Trevor.  


6 comments:

  1. I can't count in French but if I was in a responsible position as PRESIDENT of a country and earning and appropriating the hard earned tax money of my citizens I would damn well make sure I could count and practice my speeches!

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    1. Maybe I didn't make it clear... but to me it's not about counting. It's about having a big number and having to translate it into a language that is not your own. It doesn't matter how much I practice, I still make mistakes translating.

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  2. I cannot agree with you Lisa. He gets his speech at least 3 days earlier. It is his responsibility to read through it and get it right. Even if he has to read it 50 hundred and 32 times over.

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    1. Yes. He should be better prepared.
      Having said that... I sit every day with my French and could not be more prepared - some days it doesn't help. This is not about JZ. And I am not defending his presidency. He is an embarrassment to us, but I don't think that that should stop me feeling for him in the difficulty to translate to another language... no matter how much you practice.

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  3. Yes, To be fair to him, I have a feeling he was shown a row of digits, and not a sequence of words. If someone gave me a speech that said "our membership has fallen from 1,253,867 to 765,315" (or whatever), I think I would struggle under pressure in front of thousands. If it said "one million, two hundred and fifty three thousand, eight hundred and sixty seven" I would trust and read it out with confidence. I think a speech writer may need to be shot, actually.

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    1. Hi Jeremy!
      Yes, completely - and I further have a feeling that it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the digits in front of him probably had no commas! Even more difficult even IN one's home language. I am relieved that you got the intention behind my blog post. Thank you for the comment! :)

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So, what do you think?