Monday, December 13, 2010

Ruby Red/Rednesday: Banzai

This photo is new, but the latter part of this post is a repeat. I did it in 2009.

Those readers from Malaysia and Singapore will be familiar with this story. It is the story that is with the family. My brothers now live in Australia, but they are very passionate when they tell it to the younger generation. Of course, this story must not die out.



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My brothers, Charles, Joseph and Henry are going to have a field day when they read this post. As boys, they naturally have more interests in war, though I have listened first hand from my Dad.

Banzai in Japanese, or at least during the World War 2, aka as the Japanese invasion, means "Hail to the Emperor." The fierce Jap soldiers required anyone seeing them to prostrate 90 degrees, lift one hand out and say," Banzai!" Then the Jap soldiers will let you go. If you don't, you would be knocked by the gun, and beaten or forced with water into your stomach or thrown to jail.

Whereas, in Hokkien, a Chinese dialect, Banzai means "Go to Shit." So according to my brother Charles, the Chinese were very enthusiastic in saying ," Banzai! Banzai". The soldiers not knowing this, would let them go. The rest of the population like the Malays were beaten really badly.

My Dad, and later Henry related this story. Dad really needed to banzai/shit. When he was heading towards a toilet, he encountered some Jap solders. His quick thinking made him lift his hand to show them his toilet paper, and saying Banzai at the same time. Misunderstanding him, the Jap soldiers let him off. I teased Dad in his later years if he shat his pants, and he only laughed. He said, now we can all laugh, it was no laughing matter then.

This shop in Mt Eden is called Banzai, it sells Japanese snacks. I always snigger when I see it. You won't catch me going into that shop. Now it has become a restaurant.

***When the water engineer wears his Japanese cap, I scold him to be a ratbag, his Dad who was beaten up twice by the Japs would roll in his grave. The Japanese caps and uniform were Khaki in colour. The water engineer's hat is blue and made in China. I don't think China would make such a cap in Khaki colour.***

13 comments:

Kim, USA said...

When I read the word "banzai" it seems very familiar. Then I read your post and I knew why. Your Dad is right we can laugh it now but at that time they never care what they they think is to survive. Great post Ann, happy Tuesday!
Fried rice

J Bar said...

Interesting story.

Ginny said...

What a story!! It is good to hand down stories so that the family members never forget.

felisol said...

For sure the world war 2 was no laughing matter.
A good thing your father was able both to save his honor and is life.

M.Kate said...

Muahhhhahahahaha!!! This is a very funny post...Banzai ahead! well, we all need to do that daily..dont we? Though I escaped the wrath of the Japs, I think Malaysians and Sporeans...and many in China and Korea, will never forget what they did. Here's a Banzai (hokkien version) to them!

chubskulit said...

Hahahahah now I gotta banzai lol.. Interesting story Ann.

Snowy Rubies

Angie said...

Nice one! Thanks for your visit.

Buck said...

A very interesting story! A good lesson for those of us who don't speak another language well - just because a word sounds familiar it doesn't necessarily mean what we think it does!

Maria said...

Heh. Love the post.

Maria @ LSSe

Jama said...

The older generations never forget the sufferings under the Japanese occupancy! my late grandma used to tell me stories about the war.

Stephanie V said...

Great story! I can see why the family wants to keep telling it!

jijie said...

Hello! Visiting here

Happy Holidays!
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Titania said...

Hi Ann, it happens that certain words mean something different in an other language, like the word Banzai, this is funny, but as you say in an other time it was terror. I have seen the films, Tenko, A town like Alice, and seeing those films one could imagine how it was in Singapore, etc.
In Italian "burro" means butter; in Spanish,"burro" means donkey.
I wonder why the airfares are so high to Melbourne, we pay about 400A$ from Brisbane to Auckland.