Thursday, August 30, 2012


I read RPK's post titled Touché and must admit I wasn't aware his use of the word touché went beyond what I had in mind all along about the meaning of this word - goes to show I get to learn something new everyday.

To me, touché was a one-word admittance of one's error or absurd logic when countered by one's opponent's right-on-target sarcasm against one's statement, or perhaps a polite reminder for one to first look into the mirror before making such a statement. It's almost, though not quite, like a 'stone thrower' confessing to the proverb 'Yes, you right, those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones'.

Thus it's a word to be said by the person who has the table turned against his/her statement.

Okay, maybe the above explanation of my impression of touché is too much of a mouthful so let me instead provide a few examples, starting from the general to the particular, to wit, episodes in our Malaysian lives.

If an American bloke says to you "Your English is damn good for a Malaysian", and you cheekily (or sarcastically) reply "And yours too for an American", he would, if he has a sense of humour or appreciation for witty conversation, say touché - meaning he admits he has been far too presumptuous in believing only he an American (and not an Englishman) could speak good English.

Incidentally on the description 'American', if I may digress here a wee bit (being t'ng k'ooi or chong hei), I have an Argentinean friend who one day lamented that most people automatically assume that word points to a person-citizen of the United States of America (USA) when the term 'America' refers to two continents which have within them several countries.

He cried out that he too would be an American, and so too the Bolivians, Mexicans, Canadians, Ecuadorians, Cubans, etc. Why must the USA seize the word as a label for only its people? After all, the word 'America' was derived from the name of an Italian, Amerigo Vespucci (Latinised as Americus Vespucius), after he proved that Brazil and West Indies belonged to a new massive land mass totally separated from Asia, hence the term New World.

It was a German cartographer, Martin Waldseemüller, who first used the term 'America' to describe the new continent when he published a world map, stating:

"I do not see what right any one would have to object to calling this part, after Americus who discovered it and who is a man of intelligence, Amerige, that is, the Land of Americus, or America: since both Europa and Asia got their names from women".

In other words, the word 'America' was first used to name the southern continent mass, today known to us as South America.

I suggested to my matey that it might be a bit of a mouthful for the USA to call its people ... er .... United-States-ians, and when he rejected that as a poor excuse, offered a new description for citizens of the USA, namely, gringos wakakaka. My mate was finally mollified with that appellation for those Yankee gringos.

Okay, back to touché.

Suppose a Chinese friend of Aneh who sells Indian mee-rebus in Ayer Itam, says, "Aisehman Maniam, for an Indian hoe liao lah, you sure know how to use Chinese mee noodles for your speciality", and he replies with a twinkle in his eyes, "You know Ah Chong, I just love your mum's curry", it would be appropriately gracious for Ah Chong to smile and  admit touché to the clever banter.

Hmmm, I wonder whether you've got this one? Never mind, one more.

But this one may not please anwaristas wakakaka. Recall that Perak debacle when the state government changed hands after 3 PKR and one DAP ADUNs defected to the BN. Let us say Anwar condemned Najib for dabbling in underhanded political defections, and Najib responded, "Don't Nasarudin Hashim, Jamaluddin Radzi and Osman Jailu ... reflect the sentiments of their voters, namely the Malays in their constituencies ... as the beginning of a new wave?"

That would have been a situation where Anwar Ibrahim could, if politically gracious, acknowledge touché wakakaka. But alas, the tussle was too bitter to be gracious because the political consequence of the mirrored actions of Anwar and Najib was far too traumatic.

Still don't get it? Wakakaka. Never mind, another one ler.

This story of the bigoted 'kong kali kong' insult may be sensitive but nonetheless needs to be narrated. We all know the gene-denier Dr Ridhuan Abdullah Tee, but do you know he has a twin (twin in denying his genes wakakaka) by the name of Ann Wan Seng. Ann was (is?) an ustaz and a member of Perkim national council.

Somehow, like his better known gene denying twin, instead of doing his work for Islam and Perkim without insulting other races or religions, he just had to insult the Chinese Buddhists, and in a pitifully ill-informed way at that, testifying to his abysmal ignorance on a topic he set out to insult, a typically dubious hallmark of his BTN-ized Boleh-ness.

Sometime in 2010, he delivered a speech to deliberately insult the Chinese, perhaps to ingratiate himself with the Malay-Muslims by suggesting he wasn't a Chinese. His speech went as follows:

Bukan sekadar orang Cina menyembah agama Buddha. Mereka juga sembah berbagai dewa dan juga dewi. Mereka sembah Tua Pek Kong, mereka sembah Pau Kong, mereka sembah Datuk Kong dan barangkali mereka juga sembah King Kong.

Maka jadilah agama dia agama Kong Kali Kong.

Dan inilah keadaan yang sedia wujud itu di mana orang Cina sembah patung-patung ini kerana mereka yakin dan juga mereka percaya bahawa patung ini boleh mendatangkan kebaikan kepada mereka, boleh mendatangkan kesejahteraan kepada mereka, boleh memberikan keselamatan malahan boleh menjadikan mereka ini kaya-raya.

Needless to say, his ill-informed religious bigotry drew laughter, sniggers, giggles from his rapt audience who weren't aware of the religious fact that Buddhists have no god. The ustaz in his ignorance had mistakenly conflated Chinese folklore religion with Buddhism. Shallow superficial snake, but then why should we be surprised!

Just suppose for an instant that Ustaz Ann Wan Seng had been right about Chinese Buddhists worshipping patung (idols), and I then asked him about the black stone in the eastern corner stone of the Ka'aba?


Alas, unlike benevolent smiles and laughter for the bigoted mischief of the gene-denier, based on his shameful ignorance, I'd probably be hauled up by the police for inciting religious ill-feelings or/and insulting Islam [gulp]. Thus, I didn't dare bring that up to him.

Final example, though I am quite reluctant to raise the following one because the end result of its airing (in a Malaysiakini letter in October 2010) had effectively destroyed an erstwhile lovely friendship with Helen Ang. Perhaps I'll just mention it in its most basic outline.

Two years ago, when dearest Helen went on her unexpected and shocking anti DAP crusade (though I know the reason why, wakakaka), she blasted sweetie Teo Nie Ching, DAP MP for Serdang.

In a letter to Malaysiakini, she excoriated Teo for wearing a selendang (shawl) not long after Teo was vilified by UMNO for her surau visit to talk with members of her constituency, purportedly because she had not cover her head when she entered the prayer house, but in reality because of UMNO's political fears of her growing popularity.

Sweetie Helen accused Teo of being overeager (in wearing a selendang) in order to 'hop, skip and jump to her next surau visit'.

When I pointed out in a letter, also to MKINI, that sweetie Helen, then under threat of a police callup instigated by an UMNO Youth report for her alleged seditious writing against Malays-Muslims, had prior to reporting to the police posted an article in MKINI titled ‘Education and fragmented kin’ in which she described herself as having worn a baju kurung, to extol her affinity with the Malay community and culture so as to repudiate allegations of her anti Melayu writing.

So there we were, Helen chewing up Teo Nie Ching for adopting Malay headgear dress for political visits and yours truly cheekily pointing out to sweetie Helen that she too adopted a Malay dress as proof she wasn't anti-Melayu.

It was an exchange of barbs between anti-DAP Helen and pro-DAP kaytee that, had it been conducted in more friendly and congenial circumstances, should have sweetie Helen responding touché sweetly to me, wakakaka. But [sob] it wasn't.

Hah, the fun of the word touché, but alas, not used frequently enough.


  1. Helen Ang was actually devastatingly accurate in her critique of those DAPs lassies (and odd guy) overly earger to show their affinity towards Malay culture.
    Their forced arficiality is almost too painful to watch.

    My feedback, standing on the other side, is that it looks hypocritical and insincere.
    Coming on top of regular utterances from DAP leaders and members which sound like barely disguised insults against Malays and their culture and religion.

  2. The gentlemanly (and gentlewomanly) political culture that is part of the "Touche" is widely practiced in more established democracies.

    In the UK, the Leader of the Opposition is often accorded VIP status right alongside the Prime Minister at non-political national events.
    In the US, the Leader of the House of Representatives, who happens to be a Republican is regularly invited to the White House for policy consultations, even if those consultations usually end in disagreement.

    We are a long, long way from that kind of mutual respect in Malaysia. What you get is the Federal Ruling party UMNO, even the PM himself has arguably been involved in a conspiracy to incarcerate the Leader of the Opposition using tainted so-called evidence.

    Organised briefing sessions paid for with Taxpayer funds have been used throughout the country to demonise the Opposition, among other things, portraying the Leader of the Opposition as Morally corrupt, that the DAP is anti-Malay.

    As far as UMNO is concerned, what kind of "binatang" is a "Touche" ?

  3. I really appreciate your effort to teach us about English Idiom but please dont waste our time with writting something which doesn't make any sense. Do your research and make it easy for us to understand. I could see you have a talent in writting but this piece is terrible.

  4. Seriously KT, does that Riduan fler really have a twin? Two of them denying their genes? Poor parents if they are dead would be turning in their graves. BTW I like your wacky tongue-in-cheek sense of humor KT.

  5. Wakakaka Linda, they are only twins in ethnic-cringe mentality, and not biologically - fortunately, because no parents could have survived that double-barrelled shame ;-)

  6. It is better to talk about the pretty lasses hannah,nurul and the rest of the gang.Let us not waste precious time and space to read and talk about this bald headed rpk.He is a rat and rats needed to be skinned.

  7. Does anyone get what exactly is that half educated Petra point after he wrote touché so many times? What is his propose solution beside talk idiotic, opps I mean idiom, Chinese educated, Chinese Chamber, Chinese this Chinese that? He knows something that we don’t?

    There is no absolute perfection, only to work toward a course that lead us to something rather perfect than what we currently have, the Chinese idiom “水至清则无鱼 (Water that is too clear has few fish)” is of course not about fish, it meant we can’t expect everyone to be squeaky clean, one cannot be too picky and critical, we must therefore weigh a matter carefully (权衡轻重 an idiom) and look at the pros and cons (权衡利弊 another idiom), and deliberate the reason (衡情酌理 one more idiom). Unless one close both eyes toward a regime that is riddled with gaping wounds (千疮百孔 of course an idiom) with an ingrained habits that are hard to overcome (积重难返 okay a final idiom), then one may continue with his touché, and pull along aficionado like kt.

  8. Mmmm....wonder what it is that made Helen Ang so virulently anti DAP all of a sudden.....this is a million times worse than a woman scorned.

    Hehehe.....she must have kicked herself for forgetting about her own baju kurung get-up to 'placate' the malays ! Padan muka lah.

  9. Kay Tee,

    Can you share with us what causes that joker Helen Ang to "tukar kiblat" into her anti PR mode?


  10. If you follow her writing right from the beginning, Helen Ang was and remains a person of strict principles.

    She became highly critical of PR , especially DAP watching their hypocritical maneuvers to attempt to appear to be what they are clearly not.

    Not that different from Raja Petra's stand, if you consider the issues. Like RPK, she has since been accused of being a sell-out to BN, even a "whore".

    Typical dumb "You are Either With Us or Against Us" mentality of PR supporters.

    Unfortunately, Ktemoc, being a DAP supporter, appears to have picked up the same bad habits when the criticism concerns the DAP, though he seems to be able to keep an open mind with RPK.

    Could be because RPK's focus is on Keadilan's perfidy.

    Nowadays PKR and DAP are little more than 2 sides of the same rotten coin.

  11. Happy Merdeka day to all
    55 years of prioritising the Rakyat's well being.

    Support Barisan Nasional for responsible and effective government.

  12. And I would add...
    Support Pakatan Rakyat for chaotic government and dysfunctional decision making.
    And don't forget...a vote for Pakatan Rakyat is a vote for Anwar Ibrahim Wakakakakaka... the Malays - a vote for Pakatan Rakyat is a vote for the reality of DAP power....

  13. I cannot and will not ever reveal why Helen Ang tukar kiblat (nice phrase) - there must be honour even among enemies.

    Kalai knows not the reason, but I don't blame him for attempting to turn it into a pro UMNO anti PR propaganda wakakaka.

    Ironical isn't it, when once UMNO was out to get Helen Ang but now considers here an asset, wakakaka.

  14. Its not necessary to be so coy about Helen Ang.

    The basic reasons for umm..switching affinities are as old as the hills.
    Biologists have even observed similar patterns of behaviour within chimpanzee social groups.

    They are almost always related to a. Money or some other kind of material gain
    b. Position or status
    c. Sex (but I can't imagine how to link this to Helen Ang wakakakaka)
    d. (Sometimes) Coercion or threats.
    e. (Sometime) Revenge

    Of course, the overt explanations are always couched in the highest principles and ethical stands.

  15. leave us in suspense about Helen, but I will respect your decision and your "honour even among thieves".
    Kalai, the lady has gone bonkers and is now a pro-umno blogger trying to create suspicion and distrust between christians and muslims by linking christianity to DAP and Anwar. Where no malay blogger dared to tread (without stepping on christians' toes, they have this lady to do their dirty work for them. A feminine version of Ridhuan Tee.

  16. Helen Ang...Ktemoc...kong kali kong.
    One has gone bonkers remorselessly attacking the DAP.
    The other has gone bananas incessantly attacking PKR.
    Both disavow being allied to Barisan Najib.

    But both are effectively serving the BN agenda.

  17. KAYTEE,instead of writing articles after articles about PKR and DAP,why not write some about UMNO,MCA,MIC and Gerakan.

  18. Happy Merdeka everyone

    KT, I have been using the word touche so many times in your blog.
    And I never bother with whatever RPK has to say from the start. Not only now like some people.

  19. KT, just loved the twin thingy and this idle piece of genetic meat that just need to be fried and cooked good and proper at this given timing ~ touché!

  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. So was the phrase("A boaster and a liar are cousins-Germans) that sounds too unfamiliar to the extent it sounded too...ahem...offensive perhaps, also to the extent of being misrepresented or I would agree if that had been misread and misunderstood by him for using the phrase which was actually( an idiom - Chinese, I read in article). I posted that comment and was reprimanded but did not have or rather not given a chance to to rebuke because I could no longer post i wanted to say.

    In the article it was not about any German per se but was about this Chinese idiom I read translated in the English language. Therefore my next posting was actually to explain about the Great German Dictator and similarly our country we had our fair share of dictator of two over decades(still around) and crying 'atas pentas'. Before I could do to post to elaborate I was axed and buried ~ touché! (Was misread/misunderstood, google that idiom)

    Somehow democracy did not get around to have it rebuked!

  23. Kay Tee....I am a young voter, the first time for GE 13. Me and my friends already know how rotten Umno and its partner-in-crimes are.

    So no need to susah susah write more of the bad they have done. Other bloggers have and will continue to do that. If you also join in, then it became overkill and we will get bored to death.

    You are doing fine the way you have been doing....hantam the rotten BN when you see fit and also scrutinize more indepth into the coalition that promises to give us a better life if we elect them into power.

    By criticising appropriately the alternative coalition that promised us a much better life, they will take heed and will correct whatever mistakes or bad attitudes they have. Umno becomes bad because nobody point out its mistakes during those times when internet is not available. Let us not make the same mistake.

    Thank u.

  24. Sorry typo error, it should be a "rebuttal"(instead of rebuked)that I did not get to do!

  25. "A boaster and a liar are cousins"

    Is this really a German idiom ? But why is this considered offensive ? There is a truth in that saying.....a liar tells lies, a boaster will exaggerate on the actual fact, so that sort of make the liar and the boaster close cousins. Hehehehehe.

  26. 'Anonymous',"There is truth in that saying..." Thanks for sharing my point of the idiom which actually was a Chinese idiom(not German) whereas the word or rather the idiom using the phrase 'cousins-Germans' meant two related German cousins, may in fact sounds racist if it seen as a race thingy but that is a Chinese idiom which I read in the English language translation.

    So when I posted the idiom I got whacked for being rubbish, that I can understand if the idiom was misunderstood( not being an English or German idiom). But I did not get to rebut it or rather explain the meaning of the the idiom posted.

    It was simply about 'cousins-Germans', orang Melayu kata - 'sama sama je, tak beza antara dua itu' that the German great dictator and Malaysia's own dictator of 22 years, only difference was ours was crying atas pentas. So is not what a 'misunderstood' idiom(Chinese) that apart from being characterized as a race thing, " A boaster and a liar are cousins-Germans' denotes what I was posting about?

    Or perhaps it was really a German idiom and used by Chinese and translated in the English language. Well, it does not really matter much where it really derived from, the crux of the matter is I didn't get to explain what the idiom was about that I just got axed!

    Thanks 'Anonymous', you got it right between what a boaster and a liar in essence being cousin!

    Thanks and cheers whoever you are!

    KT, sorry for using your blog to explain what I could not post there and my intention is just to explain it - Thanks to you! ~ Panca.

  27. There is no racist connotation to the word "Cousin German".

    If you look up the full version of the Oxford English Dictionary (I have anonline subscription from my employer haha) it explains the origin of the word in the 13th centure CE, which is really "cousin germain" meaning most closely related cousins.
    Over the last 7 centuries, it has somehow evolved into "cousin German"

    "cousin german" means first cousin, which are the children of your parent's brothers or sisters.
    This differentiates them from less closely related cousins e.g. children of your parent's first cousins

  28. Panca, my sympathy to you with regards to your latest 'tussle' with RPK over what is racist or what is not.

    In this case of the idiom about the cousin german, you are clearly NOT posting a racist statement. In fact there is one commentator at RPK's blog using the nick "10rd" whose blatant racist comments are passed through.....the latest examples being :

    "there is no such word "sincerity" in the chinese dictionary"

    "the chinese people have no soul, as I have thusly inform"

    However, RPK did remove some of the racist comments if they are pointed out to him.......and if you have such grouses, surely he is reasonable enough to 'cater' to you. But many of us think RPK is going through some sort of turbulent mood now and being the passionate, emotional guy that he is, he tends to lash out, using that "Sweeping Everyone Down With A Single Bamboo Pole"....[ a chinese idiom :) ] And his current ironic sarcastic mood is not making things any clearer to many of those very 'literal-minded' readers of his blog.

    But for whatever complains many now had had against RPK ( and some are truly very abusive ), he had done real great stuff to bring us to where we are now, such is his contribution to our country. Hope there is no avalanche of bricks coming my way for even daring to sort of speak up for RPK.

  29. if one is happy being called the 10 most influential malaysian or asian or freedom fighter or whatever fighter, then he must be prepare of being lable the top 10 most hypocrite malaysian, the most cakap tak serupa begin, a joker host that delete at his whim and fancy, a funny blogger that dont dare to publish contrarian and criticism view that is against him particularly.....the world and the reader is fair in our judgment, or some cant dont even know the our discourse is as of now and current.

    i can oso claim u read us literally, in fact our critical writing toward petra is misunderstood, and we oso habitually stereotyping, not our fault, really, u half educated dun know how to read, can huh?

    1. Lately I have seen many of my cookies or comments being missing in din's blog. Do I get agitated over it? No, that's his right though it may reflect badly on him because I am sure however provacative my comments is, I don't find it offensive. If I would have written to straits times, it may be accepted with changes so as to fit into the columns.
      Our lives do not revolve around these people. You don't get any reward if your message is right. So what if the bloghost admire your powderful yingeland or mandarin

  30. RPK ?
    As far as I'm concerned he has "tukar kiblat" , to use Ktemoc's term, otherwise known as a brain transplant.

  31. loose, not to win and not to get reward and never claim we r right, so no worry about the agitating, but we did strive for something, and work toward it, thus our speaking up is just to expose the stupidity / leap of logic some represent, and hope they could find the nearest mirror to take a good look at themselves. we as readesr n commentators shall do the same from time to time. isn’t it fair?

    u think the host or writer or blogger when being cheer as people hero, a warrior of fos, a progress n liberal thinker or whatever, will we get a share of his pride and honor, or being reward 100 ringgit? everyone choose his own course of action, no one is forcing anyone. if this people cant stand the reader criticism, quit and dun write in public sphere.

    u know my style, i can be very personal but rarely touch on race n religion, perhaps this is where we depart, i think some stress too much on self n pride.

    but dun u find it ironic those that talk fos the most is one that censor and delete?

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. Monsterbaby, your info about how the phrase  'cousin-German' which you have explained certainly is most appreciated, meaning first cousins and how it evolved from germain to be come german. Thanks.

    And 'Anonymous' thanks for the sympathy and your understanding expressed too is worthed tons. I have no personal issue at all with him, I have certain respect for him and acknowledged his contribution to what we are today and no doubt about him being the best ever then happened before the last GE. I have been a registered reader for as long as I can remember but I just wish to express my reasons why the posting was such - why I did what I did. It is ok now. I have stated my reason here even not on his site(blocked) at least I have already tried!