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I made a very impolite joke tonight – a Turkish lady explained to another student that the dish he was about to consume was called “Sarma“. I immediately interjected with what poor knowledge I had of Turkey and Greece that it depends where you’re from; if your Greek, you would probably call it “Dolmades“.*

A VERY bad joke. Especially if you’re speaking to someone from Greece or Turkey that you’ve just met. **

Nevertheless, I was redeemed by the good grace of the two Turks present. In fact, my potentially explosive joke was turned into a discussion on culture and international relations between the two lands in question (and of course, their cuisine). At some stage, if I had to label the discussion, my conversational partner stated that food should rather be classified as “regional” rather than belonging to a specific country’s culture. I was stunned; to me, cultural property (so to speak) was very black and white; it is what defines you as a culture! Almost instantly, I was answered: the fact that one thing exists in one culture does not exclude it from existing in another; it is something which defines both.

I felt rather silly, since that is quite obvious. But is it, after all, that obvious? These are two culture who … well, don’t always see eye to eye. (Of course, my conversational partners were quite enlightened in this regard, so no blame to them!) The point is – one can still celebrate one’s uniqueness and one’s cultural property without comprising another culture or having to claim something. There is room for co-existence in this world!!

*I learned, too, that although Sarma and Dolmades*** look the same from the outside, they differ in what is inside. As far as I know, both dishes are delicious.

** It’s a history thing. Should you want to investigate, there is a Greek movie called (in English) A Touch of Spice. Try and find this movie anyway, I heartily recommend it.

*** The Turks have a dish called “Dolma”. In Turkish, Sarma is related to the verb for folding and Dolma to the verb for stuffing. I believe the same type of dish, though no doubt with it’s own twist, one can find in Iraq. Dolma is basically stuffed peppers; Sarma is a dish with wrapped grape leaves:


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Wow! It’s been a while. Haven’t scribbled down anything here since January, I see … well, well. That is, I’m sure, about to change.

See, I’ve decided to take the stick out … oh wait, that’s not a nice thing to say. On a more morally responsible tone, I’ve decided two things.

  1. I’ll stop being so pompous and academic on this blog. I’ll get enough exercise writing academic stuff somewhere else. Besides, it all sounded a little holier-than-thou, anyway.
  2. I’ll mainly be blogging in English from now on. Although I feel “safer” in Afrikaans, I realize that if I want a bigger, more global discussion – as I have stated before – I’ll have to suck it up and start expressing myself in English. In other words, quit hiding information from other people. Although I’ll still blog on my Afrikaans blog from time to time, the main discussion will be on this blog.

Of course, academic parlance will seep into my crazed, from now on more understandable utterings. (Yes, that was intentional.) Just bear with it. Everyone has to indulgence in something.

So, without further ado, I herewith pronounce this blog pompous-free to a high degree. (Yes, all of that was intentional, too.)

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