Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Is that a Jumbuck on the Xebec?

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe.
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome rath outgrabe.

If you read Alice in Wonderland, you would recognise these lines from the nimble and riveting Jabberwocky tale. I loved it, the nonsensical words roll so well off the tongue, and if you chant it in your head, you can summon superhuman strength.. no kidding; I used it a few times on particularly difficult track workouts (back when I did those); the last curve of the last 300m where vision is blurred and the temptation to stop and puke is real... recite the bits that start with Beware --- BEWARE the Jabberwock my son! The jaws the bite, the claws that catch.. BEWARE the jubjub bird and shun.. the frumious bandersnatch.. !! ... the Jabberwocky sure helped me through many a mimsy borogove...

Fast forward to 2009; I wander through a toy store with no aim, except to feed my curiosity at the volume and variety of toys for kids. I spot something that takes me back through the Looking Glass. It is one of those supposedly educational props that associate English words with the alphabets that they begin with; you know.... A for Apple, B for Boy... I am sure you who have wandered through a local toystore, have seen one or more variations of this prop:

Er.. I am not a boating expert, but I *think* that is a hovercraft...

.. and that Xebec ... is that the word for 'badly drawn spanish galleon with cheesy smile in yellow sail' ... ?

A 'Jumbuck' is a scary clown mutating into a sheep... or might it be the other way around..

It used to be that mass market sub-standard products were locally-made. However that has now gone global. This toy is made in China. That global production giant can now ciplak everything from toddler milk powder to iPhones.... and walahh, it can ciplak English words too. Lewis Carroll, you may have met your match...