Throughout this Vilu Reef wedding saga we have maintained that Minivan was excessive in its exposé’ of the situation for the sole purpose of gaining more publicity. Now that the story is taken up by all the world’s media, big and small, there is enough material out there to back our assertion. Although there is no love lost between Minivan News and us (the resortworkers) officially, we have strong reservations at the use of words in the news article which broke the story of this wedding to the world. Lets now analyse and compare the headings of the original Minivan News story and that of the same story taken up by The Independent.
The minivan headline reads: “Foreign couple mocked as “infidels” and “swine” throughout resort’s ‘wedding ceremony’
”. The words infidel and swine are particularly hurtful and are NOT even the actual meanings of the words as understood by Maldivians. Translating languages from one another is tricky because frequently there arises valid ground for serious disagreement because of the context of the item in translation. In the case of the word “infidel” the supposed dhivehi word was “kaafarun” which does not adequately fit in with what is understood to be infidel in English language. The work “kaafaru” in dhivehi has one general meaning which pertains to the belief of others apart from the belief of the inhabitants of the country. Another meaning of the same word is much more common place among the worker-classes. That second meaning is sexy or being sexy or pertaining to issues around the context. So if one is said to be a “kaafaru” it could mean like “your are sexy” or “you are horny” etc. Being sexy and horny are very different concepts in English but the differences are subtle in dhivehi language. The word infidel is frequently associated the religious concept when it comes to issues in the middle east and marital warfare in everyday English elsewhere. Where used in describing or associated with sanctified rituals like marriage the word is effective in getting attention, which we believe was the theory of using that word in the minivan headline.
Another word “balhu” translated as swine is also a little bit off the mark where dhivehi language is concerned. For example the word “Balhu” is used with various qualifiers such as “rath” (meaning red), “nagoo”( meaning tail?) are frequently used in Universal Resorts management as if they are management slang. Translating this word to swine is stretching the translation a little bit far.
However adamant we maintain that Minivan went excessive spicing up the story and the situation, we understand that the ultimate goal of every publication is to reach maximum audience. So we congratulate minivan on the veritable journalistic Coup_d’état that has tarnished the reputation of the country.
Now lets look at the headline of the same story at the independent.
“Paradise wedding that was lost in translation”
The Independent has omitted the words swine and infidel in the headline. They are more resourceful than Minivan and have editors and writers as well but they chose a less offensive headline to report the same story. Of course we are aware there are styles of writing and reporting and that being tabloid-like and wiki-like and forbes-like are all different ways to dispense with news. But considering the damage that’s already being caused to the country, we believe Minivan is highly irresponsible and have rightly shot our collective feet. To back our belief, we have even the likes of Sim of MATATO (not tomato!) who is no friend of resort workers by any stretch of imagination.