Es grünt so grün or The Color Of The Prophet

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This is the just finished assembly hall in the small town of Oddaimavadi in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka, about 20km north of Batticaloa. As this is a mainly Muslim village, the hall but also the superiors’ offices are painted and decorated green. Immediately the german translation of Liza’s lesson in ‘My Fair Lady’ came to my mind: In German, instead of ‘The Rain In Spain’ she has to rehearse ‘Es grünt so grün’, meaning ‘it greens so green’. Colorwise it’s almost overkill.


    1. Juha, it was indeed a strange feeling in that all new and superbly clean room. After a short while the eyes had adapted, so I remember the color as not so vivid as it shows up now in the image – but my presets are all for low to moderate saturation and my camera certainly is on the neutral side. So it must have been *that* green.

  1. Dear Markus,
    Thank you for the German lesson: “The Rain in Spain” translates to “It Greens so Green” (??) That’s outrageously funny. If there is anything that begs to remain in its original version, a movie/play/book about an English girl improving her English has got rank near the top of that list. It seems subtitles would have worked fine, with the rain staying in Spain. I saw the Germanized version of the musical “Oliver” in which all the songs were omitted. What’s with that?! Is this part of an effort to protect the German language and Germanic culture?

    Oh yes, eerie photos. Do people look like Martians in those rooms?

    1. Martha, maybe you are a bit hard: When this musical was brought to Germany 40+ years back, the task probably was to make it as easy to understand as possible, and so they translated it completely. I can reassure you that the feeling that gets transported during “Es grünt so grün” comes close to the original “Rain in Spain”.
      Of course meanwhile pop culture (an oxymoron?) has prepared a total acceptance of everything English or American, so today such a decision would not been taken any more. But I doubt that there were hidden nationalist motives active at that times – the majority of Germans have had positive experiences even with U.S. American soldiers, even more so in the situation of the cold war.

    1. Marcie, they certainly are, even more so as the east side of Sri Lanka, inhabited by Muslims and Tamils, was totally neglected by the Singhalese government during the civil war.

  2. I apologize. It was not my intention to be hard, only humorous and, upon re-reading my comment and seeing your reply, I see I have failed miserably. Please excuse me. I am certainly not proposing the expansion of English/American pop culture in German-speaking countries. In fact, I would love to see Americans adopt some other-culture ideas for living well. I’ve always rented foreign-language films and prefer subtitles to dubbing (and have thoroughly enjoyed Bollywood films without either). I apologize for not being more diplomatic and clearer in my original comment. I also should clarify my “Martian” reference. While the Parisians often use pink tablecloths to make ladies’ skin tones more beautiful, green paint on the walls (especially so much green) can make skin look a bit green…thus, the Martian (little green men) reference. Sorry. No offense intended. Marcie is right—it is, indeed, a clean, bright space.

    1. Martha, there’s certainly no need to apologize. I was a bit astonished, but then again, this also might be caused by my English skills which meet there limits when it comes to humor or irony. So rest assured – I didn’t take any offense.

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