Sunday, February 3, 2008

Dos fills de puta

Today I would like to teach you a little bit of Catalan. I will start with the expression "fill de puta" or its plural "fills de puta". The translation is son(s) of a bitch, or as DJ Salinger would write, sonuvabitch. It is used as synonim of idiot, moron or asshole and not in reference to its literal meaning. In general, son of a bitch's mothers are nice women who do not deserve the kind of kids they raised.
As you all know, there are sons of a bitch everywhere, but the percentage seems to be much higher among Catalan journalists. The biggest dickheads are Enric Vila and Salvador Sostres.
With the false pretext to defend the Catalan language, these misguided individuals have developed a strategy to continuously insult immigrants who do not speak Catalan using a xenofobic and racist language which I find unacceptable.
As an example, Enric Vila recently recommended to those people (immigrants who do not speak Catalan) "to go back to their shitty countries with their shitty people, who have not been able to create or defend a minimum level of harmony". Three of four years ago, Salvador Sostres said in an article published in Avui referring to those who spoke Spanish: "only poor people, rednecks and analphabets speak a language which sounds so horrendously when pronouncing the letter j".
However, this kind of language is not exclusive of Catalonia. I have heard similar things in USA and Germany, and actually I once left a meeting when I suggested to hire some Spanish speaking people to deal with Mexican customers and someone said, Spanish is only useful to talk to my cleaning woman and my gardener.
Maybe I am too sensitive, because I am also an immigrant. When I went to Singapore, I only spoke English, but not Mandarin, Malay or Tamil (I learnt Malay while there) and in China, I did not speak Mandarin or Suzhouese when I arrived (while there, I learnt Mandarin and I was able to understand Suzhouese when I left), but I can assure you that I would have not lasted much as a waiter if I had had to wait in any of those languages. Despite this, I made great contributions to those countries and I continuously promote them and their culture. And no one ever told me to go back to my shitty country with my shitty people, much to the contrary.

However, I also want to promote my language, but with respect and education. Only Catalans are to blame for the decline in our language and we could turn things around if we wanted. These are the reasons why Catalan does not make progress:

  • Catalan business owners do not want to spend a cent to satisfy customers. They should make sure that there is always Catalan speaking personnel to attend to customers who want to be waited in Catalan. However, the only thing they want is to make money and they hire those who are willing to work for less and in addition to that, they do not provide them with training to improve their language and job skills

  • We, Catalan consumers are lazy and do not fight for our rights. If we want service in Catalan and it is not available, we should demand it to the manager or the owner and leave the restaurant if it is not available. But we should always treat the staff with education, they were hired as they are, and it is not their responsibility if they cannot meet the customer needs. If Catalans would only patronize stores or restaurants where service is offered in Catalan, very soon, all businesses would offer it, but we are, in general and including myself, a bunch of sheep. Remember my post “zom una nazió”

  • Many Catalan people do not want to work hard. In USA, many waiters and waitresses in restaurants or hotels are college or high school students who work part time to pay for school, car, or vacation. In Catalonia, there are hardly any students who work, they prefer to get allowance from their parents until they are 30 years old. If all university students would work evenings, weekends or summers, the need of foreign labor for service activities would decline and most of the businesses would be able to offer service in Catalan.

But let me tell you that people like Vila and Sostres are a minority. There's sons of bitch everywhere and Catalonia is no exception. Unfortunately people like them cause a lot of damage to the Catalan national cause. We should not blame the weak and the needy. We should only blame ourselves for where we are.


Garci said...

Wise words, Ian. I also find those guys, rather than fills de puta, simply ignorant or with a tremendous lack of cultural values. Unfortunately they are very popular, and exploit a kind of journalism that should be erradicated by law. Populists claims are always cheap and very effective, and lots of people (for example, in the AVUI forums), follow those exasperating proofs of ignorance.

Plou i fa sol said...

Hola, sóc l'Enric Vila. Has llegit l'article o només saps llegir l'anglès i castellà? Segurament és inútil fer-te veure la importància de distingir les frases en condicional de les afirmatives i la diferència que hi ha entre exigir a un dependent que parli el teu idioma i que simplement faci l'esforç d'entendre't parlant el que li plagui (català, castellà, anglès, francès i si va poc a poc, alemany). Tota manera, t'hi convido. I recorda: A stupid man's report of what a clever man says can never be accurate, because he unconconsciously translates what he hears into something he can understand. Au, maco.

ian llorens said...

You know I speak and write Catalan, since the link you used to come to my blog was included in the comment I left in your blog which was censored by you. In my blog, I do not censor anyone, you are free to comment.
This is the comment I left in your blog which you or your staff decided to eliminate (Sostres did the same thing with a similar one):

A tot el mon hi ha gent merdosa i fills de puta, però em sembla que entre els periodistes catalans, el percentatge és força més alt. L’Enric Vila i en Salvador Sostres són el més clar exemple d’ignorància i idiotesa de la nostre generació. Els dos malnats, es pensen que estan donant suport a la causa catalana, quan de fet, l’únic que fan es boicotejar-la i enfonsar-la.
Jo soc català i nacionalista, he viscut i treballat a mitja dotzena de països a 4 continents, parlo 9 idiomes, i em rebenta veure con uns provincians amb la intel•ligència d’un bròquil, es dediquen a insultar a gent que ha vingut al nostre país cercant feina i progrés.
Si es cambrers no parlen català o castellà, o no el parlen prou be com per a fer la seva feina eficientment, no és la seva culpa. Jo que parlo bastant be mandarí, dubto que pogués fer una feina acceptable com cambrer a Xangai, tenint en compte, endemés, que molta gent parla la llengua local, el Xangainès, de la qual només enganxo el 20%, amb prou feines.
La culpa de la situació del català és dels clients catalans, que no deixen clar que volen serveis en català, i si no està disponible, se’n van a un establiment on els atenguin en català, i dels empresaris catalans, que es volen estalviar “quartos” i per això no donen feina a gent que pugui atendre els clients en català.
En lloc de fer servir els mecanismes de mercat, es dediquen a insultar a gent que no té cap culpa, com si fóssim superiors, i t’asseguro que no ho som. Que preteneu, que tractin els catalans a l’estranger com tracteu vosaltres els immigrants?
El que és clar és que tant en Vila com en Sostres son uns desgraciats i que m’avergonyeixo de compartir nacionalitat amb ells.

Tom said...

Enric, you've been pwned! Heh heh

Plou i fa sol said...

Increïble, ja m'explicaràs de que et serveix saber tants idiomes. You look wise. Please, try correct that error.

Anonymous said...

Ja us ho fareu, però tio, per què no escrius en català? El teu anglès sona una mica macarrònic... És català, però en paraules en anglès.

Un paio de vacances, que avorrit, encara no sap com h arribat a aquest blog.

Anonymous said...

Que bo, juas, juas, has internacionalitzat aquests dos pallassos. És impressionant la cara que foten a la foto, tan l'un com l'altre. El que fan aquesta gent és periodisme del cor, son columnistes de la premsa rosa de la política, son la opinió de bar. Algu que entra al mon del cor està exposat a que li passin aquest tipus de coses. Els hauria de caure la cara de vergonya el que pot pensar un estranger desprès de llegir la traducció del que han escrit.

Henry Village said...

Hahaha, and the guy calls himself "a clever man". How conceited can you get? Of course, his claim that since the phrase was in conditional tense he wasn't really insulting anyone is absolutely preposterous.
Ian, I want to congratulate you on your blog and your open and humanistic view of Catalanism. We need more people like you here in the homeland. Keep up the good work!

Nuri said...

Hola Ian,
Gràcies per passar-te pel meu blog! Vull afegir un altre punt al no-progrés del català -
Let me add another point why Catalan does not progress:

Catalan people don't offer any incentive to immigrants who want to learn the language. And this is something I witnessed lots of times in the two years I lived in Catalonia. Catalans switch to Castillian when they address anyone who doesn't look European.

They don't help immigrants to learn the language. And when these same immigrants make an effort to speak catalan, they're often criticised because they don't speak it well. WTF?

Even I, bearing a very Catalan (full)name and speaking perfect Catalan with practically no accent, have had people switching to Castillian when they found out I was actually born in Argentina.

OTOH, just as there are fascists who would like to have Franco back and are deluded by the "España, Una, Grande y Libre", there are fascists on the Catalanist side too, the ones like these journalists you mention, who think everyone setting foot in Catalonia should come with the Fabra dictionary learnt by heart.

boynameduse said...

In general I have a lot of differences with you, but I just wanted to say how much I admire the way you massacred these two clowns for all the blogosphere to see.

Sestres particularly riles me, but seeing Enric reduced to the "conditional defence" was a treat. Very similar to OJ's non-confession.