So, this is a short, vulgar post. I’m sorry, Mommy. I hope you believe me when I say that, as a 30-something-year-old, respectful child of yours, I have never spoken the following curse out loud.
In a San Diego gift shop, not far from my hotel, I came across a book called How to Swear Around the World. It did not take me long to flip to the page containing THE WORST Lao epithet, EVER.
I gasped. I looked around the shop like I expected my mother to be standing right behind me, arms folded across her chest. My shock lasted longer than it should have but I honestly felt like I had walked in on the most offensive scene. And now I’m sharing it with you.
I thought of all the times kids in school prodded me to teach them how to swear in Lao. Really? Of all the useful foreign phrases you could possibly wish to know? Not, Where is the bathroom? or even, How much does this cost? You’d rather know how to insult someone’s mother? My response was always, “Oh, my mom told me never to say that.”
I can see how, living in a city as linguistically and culturally diverse as San Diego, this book might come in handy. It might service you better as a friendly reference guide for the conversation around you and to help you steer clear of trouble. I can tell you that the English translation in this book is actually deceivingly mild and doesn’t prepare you for the wrath incurred upon iterating it to a Lao person.