Friday, 7 March 2014

Ultra-Mess

Before I went to bed yesterday, news came that the Malaysian government banned Ultraman.

I'm too tired for this right now.

It was also 11:45pm and I wasn't exactly lucid.

Things became clearer today. The ban, slapped on one comic book, came about thanks to some shoddy editing by the publisher of the Malay-language version of an Ultraman comic, which included a word that was recently prohibited to non-Muslims in the country.

But first: Ultraman was a familiar figure in my childhood. So the news is kind of shocking, but not surprising. Kids these days have other icons to look up to.

Since its debut, the franchise has introduced other Ultramen. Lore says there's a whole planet full of these silver-skinned giants, mutated thus by an artificial source of light they created to replace their dead sun. The Ultraman described as a "god" in the offending passage is Ultraman King, said to be the oldest and strongest member of that civilisation.

Later, I consulted the Google on the history of Ultraman King. From the looks of it, somebody pulled a Houellebecq.

Curious, I ran the web page through Google Translate. Though not exactly a word-for-word match, the results are, well...




So.

Seems the publisher - a dodgy one, from the looks of it - is guilty of lazy translation and plagiarism.

And it seems the local media didn't pick that up soon enough or chose not to highlight it, to the chagrin of at least one Netizen.

The religious angle here is beside the point. If only the piece had been properly translated and reworded...

However, releasing eye-catching soundbites like "Ultraman banned due to public safety concerns" before following up with the real reason and more details later was probably not a good idea. To much of the civilised world, that statement - taken at face value - makes no freaking sense.

So, once again, we've given the world something else to talk about.

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