Humour: Mind your language, ang moh

Humour: Mind your language, ang moh
TNP illustration: Cel Gulapa

Younger readers may lose me on this one, but there was a British comedy called Mind Your Language.

The show's most popular character was a Spaniard called Juan. He understood nobody and could only say "por favour" and "it's all right".

I have become Juan from Mind Your Language. If my behaviour continues, I'll grow his afro and handlebar moustache, too.

I'm here in Brazil for the World Cup; to watch the football and be reminded at every opportunity that I am a monolingual moron.

Brazilians speak only Portuguese. A handful might understand Spanish. Even fewer can converse in English.

When I order food in a café, I peruse the menu, point and say: "Por favour… it's all right!"

When I take a taxi, I point to a tourist map and say: "Por favour… it's all right!"

When I asked for a replacement part for my selfie stick, I said, "Por favour… it's all right" - which didn't even make sense.

The Portuguese accent in Brazil is so thick and colloquial that I cannot even ask for directions to the train station. So how do you think I managed to ask for a replacement part for my selfie stick?

For the uninitiated, a selfie stick is a telescopic rod that you attach a camera phone to, before extending it so you can take selfie photos from up to a metre away.

I'd been using this monopod device to make videos for the TNP app. (Not seen them? Go download the app now.)

I needed to make a minor repair, but I couldn't explain a selfie stick in Portuguese. Frankly, I'd struggle even in English.

So I mimed the operation.

This was not a smart move.

Using non-verbal communication to pull out a long, straight object at waist height, repeatedly, whilst saying, "Por favour… it's all right" does not impress hotel staff.

Miming the extending and retracting of a selfie stick faster and more excitedly only made matters worse.

While performing my selfie stick mime routine, I tried to reassure the woman on reception by saying: "I like to take photos. Por favour? It's all right!"

Perverts have been arrested for less.

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