Tuesday, December 18

Thou shall speak Dutch

The headline on the MSNBC website the other day read "New Miss Belgium booed for not speaking Dutch". What piqued my interest wasn't necessarily what the Headline was saying, but more along the lines of "Had i missed the Miss Universe Pageant?". But wait! Isn't the Miss Universe Pageant in the month of May? (Yes i know this... I even remember it was NOT on High Definition. I was mildly annoyed...). Whew! It was just the Miss Belgium Pageant, evidently...

If you can get past the gist of the article, you'll find it to be very educational. Apparently there are two large regions in Belgium. The Dutch-speaking region Flanders in the North (58% of the population) and the French-speaking Southern region of Wallonia. This newly crowned Miss Belgium speaks several languages — including French, English and Czech — which apparently doesn't count for much because Dutch is considered predominant in Belgium (though not by much...). I guess the more interesting thing about the article was what i learned about Belgium itself... "After Belgium gained independence from the Netherlands in 1830, French dominated political and economic life. It is only since World War II that Dutch speakers from the north have started turning their demographic dominance into effective power. For the past three decades, all prime ministers have been Flemish, though all also spoke French". Yup, talk about an identity crisis! A whole Country! What's interesting is that before the article i knew nothing about Belgium but its capital Brussels and Tennis Professionals Justin Henin and Kim Clijsters. In fact if you had asked me what they spoke in Belgium, i would have confidently said "Belgian, dude!" with a straight face! You know i always wondered why Justin Henin spoke fluent French during her speech at the Open. Hah! I just figured she took classes ya know? lol

"The Brussels-Capital Region is an officially bilingual enclave within the Flemish and near the Walloon Region, and has 10% of the population. A small German-speaking Community exists in eastern Wallonia. Belgium's linguistic diversity and related political and cultural conflicts are reflected in the political history and a complex system of government". Wow! If the Philippines were an enclave as oppose to an Island or an Archipelago (or any enclave for that matter), I suppose we would have adopted more than a couple of languages as well. It seems to me a cool thing though, speaking many languages. Don't you think?

In her defense, newly crowned Miss Belgium Alizee Poulicek, "The daughter of a Czech father and a Belgian mother, she lives in the French-speaking city of Huy. She spent half her life in the Czech Republic, returning to Belgium just six years ago. Living in the south, she has had little need to speak Dutch.". So i don't necessarily condone that they booed her. But i'm pretty sure they weren't aware of her background...

Above all what really caught my attention about this peculiar report, and perhaps the most neglected aspect of it, was all the kissing (like a sandwich kiss). Is it only me that thinks this picture is somewhat erotic or a little lesbian? There were no mention of this in all of the articles i searched online either. Was there an omission? (lol) The video (which i saw on TV that evening after having read it online) was even more provocative than what the picture suggest. It was very interesting. The two girls held their kiss albeit only the cheeks (at the same time) perhaps just a little bit longer than you would expect. Okay sure pictures were being taken by the press— or maybe its just me but i don't ever remember in any beauty pageant i ever saw on TV where both runner-ups gave the winner a lingering kiss (and at the same time?)... Maybe it's just me?

Well in any case, this is a much more interesting beauty pageant headline than all the others as of late. No one sprayed pepper on another contestants nightgown or any awarding fiascoes of sorts. So what if she doesn't speak Dutch? Half the country does not!


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