Friday, May 25, 2007

The Generation Gap

I realised that I have been completely neglecting my Dutch news consumption. While I still know what's going on in SA, I had no idea that a gorilla made light work of his containing moat in the Rotterdam zoo and then strolled around the facilities for a few hours while zoo keepers tried to find a tranquilizer or three. How could I not know that? I live in the damn country!

While perusing a few Dutch websites, I came across a beauty - local news, in English. This site is geared towards expats and even has a handy list of terms that are likely to baffle new people in the country. I was scanning through when I got to a paragraph about hangjongeren, which also mentioned something about troublesome pensioners.

Double take. I'm not paying attention. That didn't just say what I think it said. Did it?

Hangjongeren - literally, youths who hang around - is the handy Dutch word to describe groups of teenagers who loiter on street corners and in shopping centres, often getting up to no good. The Netherlands has also had several incidents of nuisance caused by hangouderen - pensioners who hang around in shopping centres without buying anything and making annoying remarks to passers-by.
I'm sorry, let's revisit that last sentence.

Pensioners... who hang around in shopping centres without buying anything and making annoying remarks to passers-by.

It has been a while since I squeezed out tears of laughter.

This comment made me wonder about my Gran's trips to Cresta on a weekly basis. She hops on the bus from Sunset, I mean, Sunrise Estate with the other old ducks and they prowl the shops of Northern Joburg... intimidating youngsters and threatening toddlers.

What kind of annoying remarks?

"Oi, you! I saw you buying those condoms... and I don't see a ring on your finger. You... HO!"

"Hey fat arse! You gonna need a tin of prune juice with that Big Mac!"

Or perhaps my Crazy Dame Olga is one of these troublesome pensioners, prowling the Grote Markt in Den Haag.

Monty Python predicted this threat to society, years ago. They called them... Hell's Grannies.


Corporate Slave #45793 said...

A gorilla lose at the zoo. Thats like a bad cartoon. Infact I have seen that situation in a couple of cartoons. All the greats have done an escaped zoo creature. Porky, bugs, topcat, yogi, huckleberry, daffy, salvester, T&J, hong kong phoey.., the list goes own.

Its always a good day when reality imitates art (cartoons).

Also who remembers the crime fighting gorilla at JHB Zoo. He could/should have his own crime fighting show.

Koekie said...

Max, the Gorilla (SA version) vs Bokito, the Gorilla (NL version). Just judging by names, our gorilla sounds meanier. Bokito sounds like an entrant in a Latin dancing competition.