Mmistah Speakah…

Nothing really to report other than that me and Louise spent much of the weekend laid up with stomach complaints. So, no new photos of us climbing active volcanoes or befriending lost tribes etc. That’s next weekend. Actually I’m currently loading up a video of the kids onto Cody’s Myspace site…so stay tuned sweetness fans.

Anyway in the meantime I thought I’d tell you about the voice that the politicians use to address Parliament over here. It (the Parliament, not the voice) finished sitting a while ago, but while it was in progress, lots of people listened avidly on the radio so I got to hear a fair bit of it. 

The Solomon’s Parliament voice is a kind of lagubrious, pompous drawl, deep yet nasal, and filled with pregnant pauses followed by slightly rushed clauses, meaning that it is always difficult to tell when the sentence has finally finished. It is slightly reminiscent of Churchill, and I suspect it is an echo of English colonial governors of the Solomons in the fifties and sixties who in turn were apeing his kind of political speech.

The actual content is highly rhetorical (so, nothing like the members of the Australian Parliament of course) and the speakers have a habit of making very worthy yet ultimately pretty obvious statements, such as the following: “MNever must our country…mistahspeakah…be allowed to return…to the dark days of lawlessnessm…of the turn ofthemilleniummistakspeakah! Therefore I ask…the Primeministahmistahspeakah…for the sake of the countrym…to put aside…hisplanstorearmthe policefocemistahspeakah!”

At first I thought that what I was listening to was all different speeches by Sogovare, until I realised they all talk this way. It was around this time I also realised this way of speaking is quite a target for parody among local people. I caught several taxi drivers giggling at different speeches, who then explained to me they were just laughing at the ‘Big Man’ voice.  Further, a friend told me she has several times overheard one of her guards imitating ‘the Parliament voice’ to the amusement of his companions as they listened in. I wonder if Sogovare and Co. know how silly people think they sound. I doubt it.    

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