I was talking with a random guy on the street, somewhere in Asia. English was clearly his second language, though my Mandarin clearly had no comparison to his English. He didn’t speak Mandarin, though. Things got interesting when he used the word “oftenly”.
“I skate oftenly,” he said.
Technically, oftenly is not usually a word, but technically it is, but technically it’s the wrong word. The word he meant to use was “frequently”. If he wanted to say that he skated from time to time, specifically times that are so frequent that they “occur oftenly” (proper usage because the verb occur is about time), it would have been proper to say, “I skate often.”
What’s the difference and who cares, anyway!?
English speakers love to argue about grammatical distinctions that clearly provide no further clarity—and may even be right—or even wrong and right differently—and to make such arguments about these clearly unclear differences about right and wrong usage differently, even though they have nothing to do with the difference between right and wrong. · · · →
Sometimes in Asia, dogs have the run of the town. They don’t really have dog catchers like in the West. Many consider it cruel to neuter pets. I mean, lots of homeless cats and dogs, no animal control to catch them, let them roam the streets and starve, get hit, or get attacked by other stray animals—so much more “humane” than neutering pets, right?
That’s the world in which Bogo and I met. I named him “Bogo” for this article because, frankly, he didn’t have a name. “Bo” is a manly name for “love” and “go” sounds like the Mandarin word for “dog”. The name sounds right for an Asian pet. So, this is a story about Bogo, the black mutt who lived on the streets in Asia.
I first noticed him at local convenience shops. He was young and, for whatever reason, never got acquainted with the other dogs. He had no pack. · · · →
It was at the North-South Korean border. An American military official approached the line, accompanied by one or two South Korean officials. He held a megaphone. Stopping just before the line, he aimed the megaphone over the border and explained that South Korea had found the body of a dead North Korean soldier and wanted information on how to turn it over to North Korea officials. As he spoke North Korean soldiers looked at him through binoculars and scattered about like flies until they finally went inside their building and closed the door.
It is difficult to take it all in. Normally, when you try to talk to someone, they listen, receive your message, and pass the message on. But, the North Korean officials seemed to assume that South Korea had some other intentions, as if the South wasn’t saying what the South was saying. That’s not to mention that the South had to communicate with a megaphone because no one in the North would receive a simple message. · · · →
“Open the door, mate! Please, just open the door.”
Knocks continued as I took my shower at the hostel in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon. It’s not every day that your shower gets interrupted by a drunken Britt from Birmingham needing to, well, more kindly than he put it “relieve himself”.
I knew who the guy was. We had talked recently and I didn’t feel in any danger. In fact, danger hadn’t even crossed my mind. I have no problem letting a bro into the bathroom when nature calls. I mean, a man’s gotta’ do what a man’s gotta’ do when a man’s gotta’ do it.
“Well, I need a moment.” My body was covered in soap and I wasn’t about to trudge soap across the floor.
“Please! Just open the door. I just have to take a [leak]. I’m drunk and I gotta’ go!”
“Coming.” I wrapped my towel around my waist and opened the door. · · · →