Thursday, May 21, 2009

Tot-mom, Octomom and now the Beer Mat Mum

Americans are so creative when it comes to English; they don't have the British hang-ups of grammar and accepted usage. Personally I find it refreshing.

If there isn't an existing single word for something, they just make one up. Take the relatively recent '-mom' suffix for example.

With recent spate of newsworthy mothers or 'moms', the media has taken to circumvent describing the mother in question by her name (too forgettable) or by a clause (too hard), by suffixing "mom" to the object of her notoriety.

So instead of 'Casey Anthony, mother of murdered toddler Caylee', we have "tot-mom". See the Google results for tot mom and Nancy Grace who I think coined the term.

Then there's "Octomom" for Nadia Suleman who recently gave birth to octuplets, giving her a total of 14 children to raise single-handedly.

To have the suffix "-mom" applied is obviously a BAD THING. And until this week it was an AMERICAN BAD THING.

But now Australians have their own suffix of -mom, or -mum to give the Australian spelling.

Suddenly I am a proud Aussie! Australia, land of (and what other country could lay claim to such fame?) the Beer-Mat-Mum.

Crickey! And yes Crickey has hit the nail on the head when it describes Beer-Mat-Mum - Annice Smoel's - publicity seeking over an incident in Thailand. As Crickey put it, the Australian media had a field day with the story of Annice Smoel's arrest in Thailand for allegedly stealing a beer mat in a bar in the tourist resort of Phuket. After she was caught red-handed she tried to bribe the policeman and later verbally abused the local police chief. Or so the story goes ...

Suddenly Ms Smoel was everyone's idea of an Aussie mum. One could almost see her in a Meadow Lea margarine ad, giving her four cute Aussie kids a wholesome after school snack. An innocent abroad, a traumatized Ms Smoel - now identifies with drug-runner Schapelle Corby. I suppose she has a point. After all, they both claimed that the items in question (in Corby's case, Marijuana) were placed in their bags by others.

Ms. Smoel is out of jail now. She ended up getting a $40 fine and has left Thailand. But that's not enough. She intends to get her revenge. She'll not be eating Thai food at her homecoming dinner. That'll show those nasty Thais. How dare they have their own laws and refuse bribes!

Beer-Mat-Mum obviously thinks it's just fine to travel abroad to a sovereign nation, to disrespect its laws and to attempt to bribe it's police. That the Australian media encourages such bad manners is lamentable.

Does Beer-Mat-Mum really think she behaved well? Would the press have been so sympathetic had she not been white blond and reasonably attractive? Would the Prime Minister of Australia offered comments if the misdemeanor had occurred in the United States?

I've seen ugly Australians abroad in Asian counties. I've seen Australian women boast about going into Balinese temples when they are menstruating. I've seen how Australian oafs treat Asian women. I've also seen ugly Americans and ugly French. And no doubt, ugly Thais. But the fact is that I am Australian and I can't help feeling in some way accountable.

Shame on you Beer-Mat-Mum. You have disgraced your country. Yep Ms Beer Mat, you certainly f*cked up in Phuket.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love the story but some points you have incorrect.

1) She pushed the police officer and tried to run (while been fairly drunk)
after they got her she
2) abused them
when they got her to the station she did not bribe them, the only bribe was offered when Phuket Wan had reported on it, thus no bribe could be taken.

I live in Sydney, but spend half the year in Phuket and speak to the owner of Aussie Bar often. This was all her fault, although some points in your report are incorrect.

Example: Thai Police love bribes.

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