Rambo - American Hero / Malaysian Fruit

on Monday, May 21, 2007

We all remember that lovable killing machine played by Sylvester Stallone which graced our silver screens in the 1980's, don't we? I refer of course to Rambo. This character almost but not quite won the war in Afghanistan and Vietnam singlehandedly. Too bad that America had only one Rambo cause surely if there were at least two of them, then the U.S. Army would be truly unstoppable. Canadians have reason to fear Rambo too. In the first movie, "First Blood", Rambo shoots up the entire town of Hope, British Columbia (the town was standing in for an American town in Washington State). It had something to do with the fact that Canadian towns were cheaper to destroy.

Of course, all this patriotic flag-waving, muscle flexing and bad guy bashing had a great influence on young adolescent males all over the world. Many even adopted the name Rambo to identify with their hero. Most of these were strangely 100 pound weaklings. In Malaysia though some combinations of Western names and Eastern names make poor or unfortunate matches.

Imagine a young underweight weakling trying to impress pretty girl. He says, "My name is Rambo....". So far so good. Then he continues, "Rambo Tan". And the girl is rolling on the floor in hysterics.

Tan is a common family name but Rambo Tan sounds unfortunately like "Rambutan". Rambutan does not conjure up the image of a "you don't want to mess with me" macho hero in Malaysia. Rather it is the name of a popular hairy fruit.

Yup, hairy fruit! I kid you not. Look at photos for proof. The rambutan fruit is the size of a chicken egg and has a hairy, fleshy skin which may be red or yellow in color. Peel off the skin to reveal a white fleshy fruit with a woody seed in the centre. The white flesh is best described as being translucent and similar to a firmer and sweeter lychee flesh. It is a very sweet and refreshing fruit. Unfortunately, it does not ship well and very often if it makes it to overseas supermarkets, the fruit looks black and dishevelled. The fruit grows in large bunches on a large tree about 30 feet tall.

There is one further unfortunate association with the name "rambutan". There used to be one main mental asylum in Malaysia and it was in a place called Tanjung Rambutan. The name was therefore synonymous with going nuts.

So Rambo just doesn't cut it as a macho name in Malaysia. Rambo Tan is even worse. You'd either be a fruit or a nutcase!


All photos by LGS

27 comments:

Janice Thomson said...

Although kind of scary looking I'd love to try that fruit since I like lychees too.
Was never into killing movies like Rambo so can't comment on that :)

evalinn said...

I like fruit! :-)

daysgoby said...

Beautiful picture - I love the rainbow-ness of the prickly fruit.

leslie said...

That's hilarious - a fruit or a nutcase!

Cheryl said...

Very interesting. I like how you got from Rambo to hairy fruit. Nice pictures.

Proxima said...

Very funny!

I haven't seen Rambo since the 80's but I think it was supposed to be Hope, ID. Cause Hope,Wa isn't really called that, it's all called Fox Island since it's not that big of an island.

Hope, Idaho is a very nice place for camping (and hunting). There are a lot of Elk, wild Rabbits and hummingbirds there. :>

CS said...

I'm glad you went on to explain about the name, because I was thinking it was one of those things I was just supposed to get! ALso, the idea of fruit arriving looing "disheveled" is funny - I picture it rolling out of bed with its hair all mussed.

CS said...

That's looKing, not looing. Which would also be funny.

Michael C said...

I shall now and forever consider myself the un-Rambo ;-)

Becky Wolfe said...

What a fun looking fruit. It looks like something from the sea.

Funny you should mention Hope. I just drove through that town this morning on my return from Vancouver. I had no idea Rambo was filmed there!

geewits said...

That's funny! Names can be interesting. When I was growing up I went to school with a Crystal Stone, a Carol Christmas and a Cole King (and he wasn't a merry old soul).

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

janice,
it may look scary but if you could touch it you'd feel differently. The hairs are not prickly, rather it is springy. I'm sure you'd like it. It is also often sold canned in syrup but watch out if it is from Thailand cause they sometimes add chilli in their canned rambutans.

evalinn,
Again we agree! Is this coincidence or some government conspiracy? Fruit is good. :)

daysgoby,
Oooo. Nice word "rainbowness". But fruit is not prickly - more like springy.

leslie,
I like that term. Do you remember Cadbury has a fruit and nut chocolate bar? Their advertising jingle used to be "Everyone's a Fruit and Nutcase".

Cheryl,
Anything you can do for the fruit? Highlights, crew cut etc? :)

proxima,
I am not sure what was the name of the Washington town but they made use of Hope, BC as the actual filming site. In the original book, I think the town was actually in Kentucky.

cs,
You are a very visual person. I like the image of a dishevelled fruit rollig out of bed with its hair in a mess. LoL.

michael c.
I am with you in the Un-Rambo brotherhood.

becky,
If you drove through the town of Hope, does that mean that you are now "beyond Hope"? hehe. A little pun.

geewits,
I like Crystal Stone.

evalinn said...

Government has nothing to do with it. Maybe it´s just fate! ; -)

Top cat said...

I'd be afraid to try that fruit cause it looks like it would bite me or grab my hand and swallow me whole.
tc

squirrel said...

Tou have such interesting foods over there! I wish I could visit and EAT!

mago said...

That's funny!
The name-game is an important thing when you name products, like cars for example. One wouldn't like to sit in a car called Rambotan.I remember that "pajero" had to be renamed in South America.

Jocelyn said...

It sounds very much like American thinking to destroy a Canadian town because it's cheaper and easier than to destroy one of our own.

Your Rambutan stories are very funny!

(oh, and you correctly guessed the lie on my blog, so go ahead and do pick your lottery numbers!)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

TC,
It's quite safe, I assure you. It's one of those things that may look strange but I've never met anyone who tried it that did not like it.

squirrel,
You see, that's my problem. I am here and I do eat .......too much!!

mago,
Names can be very strange in other cultures. Take the word "gross" or "grossen". I believe in German it means "great" but in English it can mean "disgusting".

jocelyn,
I am thrilled I guessed your lie correctly.

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