Bush shows gift of gaffe at APEC summit
Fri Sept 7, 12:23 AM ET
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Even for someone as gaffe-prone as U.S. President George W. Bush, he was in rare form on Friday, confusing APEC with OPEC and transforming Australian troops into Austrians.
Bush's tongue started slipping almost as soon as he started talking at a business forum on the eve of an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Sydney.
"Mr. Prime Minister, thank you for your introduction," he told Prime Minister John Howard. "Thank you for being such a fine host for the OPEC summit."
As the audience of several hundred people erupted in laughter, Bush corrected himself and joked, "He invited me to the OPEC summit next year." Australia has never been a member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Later in his speech, Bush recounted how Howard had gone to visit "Austrian troops" last year in Iraq. There are, in fact, no Austrian troops there. But Australia has about 1,500 Australian military personnel in and around the country.
Upon finishing his speech, Bush took the wrong way off-stage and, looking slightly perplexed, had to be re-directed by Howard to a centre-stage exit.
But not before a veteran White House correspondent seized the opportunity to ask Bush whether there had been any new message in his speech. Apparently misunderstanding the question, he bristled and asked, "Haven't you been listening to my past speeches?" before turning away.
Bush is no stranger to the occasional faux pas, and often jokes about his habit of mangling the English language.
One of his highest-profile gaffes came in May when, at a welcoming ceremony for Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, he nearly placed her in the 18th century.
Then there was the famous incident at the G8 summit in St. Petersburg in 2006 when Bush, unaware he was on camera, greeted British Prime Minister Tony Blair with the words "Yo Blair."
Bush's sometimes muddled syntax and mispronunciation of words like nuclear ("nukular") have long been fodder for late-night TV comedians. But aides say his folksy style has helped endear him to Middle America.
As a therapy in recovering from an Appendicitis-cum-burst intestive operation recently, I received a package on The West Wing (SEAsons 1-7) from a considerate nephew.
In a Season 2 episode,a young upstart of a public affairs officer entered the White House to lend his expertise to the speech-writers thre/dare. His first copy went to the A-team led by Chief of Staff Leo MacGarry, and it was clear from the first minute, the copy could not pass first innings as spelling mistakes were spotted by the hawk-eyed wordsmiths within the first three seconds. (Okay, it might have beeen a few minutes -- I exaggerate a mite:)
Then Prez Bartlett was given the speech, and he read it aloud, as was allowed in the land of the free fight and flight. Desi was "amazed" in detecting the two instances of poor English -- and that guy walked into The White House full of pomposity wanting to teach the young cikgus some .... Finally, Bartlett remarked in a controlled teacher-like manner -- no, the diplomat in him means he did not look in the direction of the Guest Writer! -- "There is not such thing as 'very unique' and '...extremely historic'!"
I hope by now my ER know "very" and "extrenmely" are redundant (which means unnecessary or superfluous if you wish to expand thy vocab, which is short for vocabulary). In other words, you don't ever put qualifiers (like 'very' and 'extremely') to precede words in their "superlative" form, Okay? And that's a rhetorical Q! If you are still in doubt, write Desi a check for 20million and I promise I'll give thee English tuition and I guarantee that, within a month, you would know how to fill up that blardy Immigresen dan Kastam forma going into Queensland, Oz.Leave that bag of RM2.4million with Desi, OK!:(
Well, if you pick up a claimedthe people's paper any day, you'll be amazed at the number of grammar mistakes it proudly displays for some schools to use it as NIE tool! Comparaatively, I can live with the New Straits Times -- either the Sub-editors are better trained there, or the journalists themselves take more pride in their profession. Maybe the other paper thinks it can just dump on its readers the half-rubbish as news or feature-writing just because the advertiers' dollars keep rolling in by default.
Malaysian journalists too should enjoy Preez Bush's gaffes while they can! Before their own "ellors" of their Cin-Cai attitude in engaging using the English language catch up with them, with Desi helping the Discovery Channel A-long. BTW, the 'long' is part of my formal name. Ad no, I am not the King of Alongs -- that title was awarded to someone else quite some time ago. Desi's a slow climber.