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15 яну 2017, 15:12, 975 прочитания

Bai Hui, where are your basic manners?

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This article is part of K Quarterly # Issue 1 / November-January 2017. Contact us for subscription options on kq@economedia.bg
What? What was that?
Yanevagate, Bai Hui and KTBfiles

You have probably heard idioms and proverbs in Bulgarian that read like "The horse went into the river" or "A united company moves a mountain". when translated to English word-for-word They cause chuckle among your Bulgarian friends, but the only thing you can do is to raise politely your eyebrows. Many more similar meaningless phrases can be found in various websites which make fun of the habit (typical not only for Bulgarians) to translate literally idiomatic expressions and proverbs into English.
The current section of KQ has the ambition to explain the jargon of Bulgarian politics and economy which sometimes is as inexplicable if literally translated as in the above mentioned phrases. Who’s Cecoron? Or what "Tsvetan thoughts" means and what for the love of god ladybirds have to do with management?
An emotional slip of the tongue made by reformist-turned-oppositionist Radan Kanev revived a pop culture reference from the early 2000s in a new light. And it shows how the last barriers before impolite and improper public speaking are simply gone.

Prime Minister Boyko Borissov is not known for his placid temper, yet very few things annoy him as much as tongue-in-cheek comments by his ex-ally Radan Kanev that mock him. Mr Kanev is the leader of the Democrats for Strong Bulgaria (DSB) party, still part of the half-governing, half-oppositionist Reformist Bloc (RB). He withdrew his and his party’s support for the government last December when GERB passed a watered-down version of the crucial judicial reform bill, yet his critique of Mr Borissov dates way back. But after the Prime Minister summarily humiliated the Reformist Bloc ministers by warning them how easily they can get out of their ministerial chairs, Mr Kanev’s lost his temper and called Mr Borissov "Bai Hui" in a TV show.

The phrase means little to non-Bulgarians, unless you are from China, where it means "the place where everything meets", a symbol of Buddha (as well as the name of a photo model). And it would have been nice if Mr Kanev used the expression in its Chinese meaning. Yet in Bulgarian it literally means "Uncle D*ck", a reference to a famous refrain by the popular rap trio Upsurt that goes: "Bai Hui, you have no basic manners". The phrase has almost been forgotten by the general public, as it was popular more than a decade ago. Yet, its mentioning with reference to the Prime Minister sparked interest - and outrage - in the Bulgarian online society.

Many supporters of Mr Kanev, who see in him a rare modern politician, bashed him for sinking to the level of Mr Borissov, who doesn’t shy away from using unsophisticated language (to put it mildly). Others, though, saw his words as a genuine expression of his exacerbation with the ways Mr Borissov treats his colleagues, especially after Mr Kanev apologized to the TV viewers. How did the Prime Minister respond? He simply called Radan Kanev a "snot".

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