I cleared out our mailbox earlier, and as usual, there was at least half a tree trunks worth of junk mail in there. The usual stuff. All of which went straight into the bin. The recycling bin that is.
There were coupons for Dominoes, offering $1 off the XXL super deluxe - if you order at least 5, collect them in person and consume them between the sociable hours of 3am and 6am.
There was an offer of a ‘Free house valuation’ from the local estate agent. Free? Free? I should bloody well hope so. With the housing market the way it is at the moment, agents should be so lucky to have a house on their books that they could actually sell.
There was an extremely tempting offer on some reduced rate security shutter blinds - if we have a large billboard outside our house advertising their services. Ermmm, lets think about that one for a minute. Nope. I don’t think prison chic really does that much for a house’s curbside appeal.
Then there was one from the Government health department, inviting me along for my free mammogram. Well strictly speaking the letter wasn’t exactly addressed to me, but someone who obviously lived here before and fell into the right age bracket. Not to be deterred and curious to see what I have in store for me in years to come, I thought I’d have a read through the literature.
Who knew I would have such a choice of languages – 30 in total, or 31 if you decided to read it in bog standard, boring old English. The other options were Amharic, Arabic, Bosnian, Burmese, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Croatian, Dari, Netherlandic, Farsi, French, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Japenese, Macedonian, Malay, Maltese, Khmer, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Serbian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Togalog, Thai, Tigrigna and Vietnamese.
Blimey, I’ve never even heard of some of those languages. Who knew that the northern suburbs of Perth were such a international melting pot of nationalities. The last time I took a look around, the only people living in the area were Australian’s, English, more English, even more English and a spattering of South Africans.
What I want to know is how do they even decide what languages to include on this type of bumpf?* Is it really based on the population of Perth, or do they just pick out the prettiest sounding languages and simply try to pad out the list to cover the entire alphabet?
Of course if you’re going to be really politically correct, then the literature should also have included Braille for the blind, a taped recording for the illiterate and a dictionary for the incredibly stupid. Then, when the whole lot is printed out on half a rainforest and delivered house to house, everyone at least has the option of either landing a job as a linguist in the UN, or using the 6″ wedge to stop their front door flying open in the storms.
* Incidentally, incase you’ve ever wondered about the history behind the word ‘bumpf’ - it orginated in England during WW2, when the soldiers, who were overwhelmed with unnecessary printed materials, decided to do a spot of recycling and use them as loo roll – or ‘bum fodder’.
So there you go, don’t accuse me of never writing anything educational on my blog!
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