Author Topic: The Ultimate Decipher! Sumatra or Malaya maybe?  (Read 312 times)

Online Ray T

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The Ultimate Decipher! Sumatra or Malaya maybe?
« on: Tuesday 12 January 21 14:08 GMT (UK) »
Surely this isn't beyond rootschatters!

This poster more than likely came from Sumatra or Malaya in the second half of the 1940s. (I've no idea whether I've scanned it the right way round.) I suspect that it's some sort of anti-British troop propaganda.

Offline manukarik

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Re: The Ultimate Decipher!
« Reply #1 on: Tuesday 12 January 21 15:18 GMT (UK) »
Tried this with Google translate app where you hold your camera up to the image - translation kept changing! Good luck with this, I hope someone can help with a good translation for you!

Offline horselydown86

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Re: The Ultimate Decipher!
« Reply #2 on: Tuesday 12 January 21 15:56 GMT (UK) »
Ray, quite recently a poster with skills in asian languages answered a couple of old threads, such as this one:

https://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=705914.0

I suggest you change your Subject to something more descriptive.  With luck this poster might return.


Online Ray T

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Re: The Ultimate Decipher! Sumatra or Malaya maybe?
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 12 January 21 17:50 GMT (UK) »
Thanks to whoever changed the title!

Itís difficult knowing what to change it to as I canít be sure exactly where it came from or what language itís in. Itís something my late father, who was in Malaya and Sumatra during WW2, broght back and, going by other posters/graffiti which it came with, I believe itís Chinese (is that one language, Iím not sure?). Fortunately, the others were clearly put up by someone in a Chinese community but theyíre in English.

Hopefully, itís not simply a restaurant poster or a sign saying ďSlippery When WetĒ! If I can find something out about them, theyíre probably bound for a museum somewhere; I have too much stuff.

Online Ray T

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Re: The Ultimate Decipher!
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 12 January 21 18:33 GMT (UK) »
Ray, quite recently a poster with skills in asian languages answered a couple of old threads, such as this one:

https://www.rootschat.com/forum/index.php?topic=705914.0

I suggest you change your Subject to something more descriptive.  With luck this poster might return.

Thanks, Iíve PMd them.
R

Offline Mike in Cumbria

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Re: The Ultimate Decipher! Sumatra or Malaya maybe?
« Reply #5 on: Thursday 14 January 21 21:47 GMT (UK) »
Well, who could resist a challenge like that?

一寸待って言って
良い事悪い事

It is Japanese. Literally, it says "Wait a minute and tell me. Good things and bad things".
 
Edit: I now know this to be a type of motto - something like "Think for a moment before you speak"

Other interesting features are:
 It is written in red ink, which is unusual in Japanese, apart from warnings or angry communications. (Or name stamps!)
Apparently, it is written in very fine calligraphy.
Mike

Further edit:  When read out loud, the three lines have 5,7 and 5 syllables respectively - so it is the form of a haiku.
"No vegetable grows in vain.."

Offline Mike in Cumbria

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Re: The Ultimate Decipher! Sumatra or Malaya maybe?
« Reply #6 on: Yesterday at 09:00 »
Given the apparent significance of the red ink, and your suggestion that it might date back to WW2, I'm trying to find out whether it might be a warning to the local population. Something like the "Walls have ears", or "Loose lips sink ships" messages.
"No vegetable grows in vain.."

Online Ray T

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Re: The Ultimate Decipher! Sumatra or Malaya maybe?
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 10:28 »
Nice one Mike, thanks. So itís Japanese then; an interesting fact in itself. What the image I posted doesnít show is that the whole thing has a red border so thatís probably also of significatnce.

The trouble is that I donít (yet) know enough about his movements during WW2. I do know that he started off in India where he had a bout of dysentry, was left behind by his unit and I managed to trace his train journey to catch them up. After that, he went to Malaya, Sumatra and spent a short time in in Singapore. He claimed that they were on the boat ready to invade Japan when the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima so he must have picked up this and the other posters somewhere along the way.

There are 4 posters, two in English, this one and another (also possibly in Japanese) which wonít fit on the scanner - Iíll get the camera out!

Offline Mike in Cumbria

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Re: The Ultimate Decipher! Sumatra or Malaya maybe?
« Reply #8 on: Yesterday at 14:53 »
Another theory here about the origin of the poster, from a different Japanese contact. I'll copy and past his reply:

1) Literal translation of the text
"一寸(ちょっと)待て 言って良い事悪い事".
Wait a moment (and think, before you say something, whether it is) a good thing to say or a bad thing to say.

Japanese are vulnerable to the criticism of others. And such criticism sometimes causes serious and continuing discord, even if it is spoken only once. So, the above saying warns not to mention a bad thing to other people.

2) Significance of the red ink
I don't know.
What I know is, teachers use red ink to check and score students' exam answers, using "O"(correct) and "X"(incorrect).
Calligraphy(習字) teachers also use red ink.
I think the sign is shown to students, by a teacher.


As I was told by the first source that it was very fine calligraphy, the idea that it is a teaching aid sounds plausible.
"No vegetable grows in vain.."