An extraordinary story appeared yesterday morning concerning a minor dispute between the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority, and the owner of the personalised numberplate ‘Kiki’.
Kirsten Perry, whose nickname is ‘Kiki’, was required to show ‘just cause’ for keeping her beloved plates on account of the fact that the word is apparently used to describe “part of a woman’s genitals” in Tagalog, a language of the Philippines.
Of course, the whole thing was an absurdity and by 5pm the ABC was reporting that the RTA had backed down having conceded that a “common sense approach to the complaint was not adopted”.
A visitor to the Facebook page of 105.7 ABC Darwin demonstrated more common sense when she pointed out that obscene bumper stickers written in English are tolerated but not regulated in the same way. Meanwhile, the hapless Kiki herself commented, “Quite frankly it’s a bit of a funny thing, but at the same time quite a bit scary that we’ve got people that can just report a number plate that seems seems quite inoffensive to 99 per cent of us out there, but one per cent have an issue with it.”
In fact, it’s unlikely that anyone had an issue with it. According to my Tagalog-speaking friends, kiki does mean ‘vagina’ but it’s neither offensive or particularly vulgar. The word kiki is a kind of kid-speak along the lines of ‘doodle’ or ‘front bottom’. It’s faintly ridiculous but you can’t really use it to insult anyone. The same innocuous meaning holds for other languages of the Philippines which include the word kiki. If the RTA’s decision was the result of a complaint, as was reported by the SMH by the late afternoon, then it could hardly have been a justifiable one. My theory is that this is more a case of Bureaucracy Gone Mad than Political Correctness Gone Mad and that kiki was caught in a shoddy automated filth-filter.
Fully (sic) asked the RTA for a list of banned words, should such a thing exist, and will share this with readers if and when it becomes available.
In the meantime, I urge you to go ahead and test the RTA’s multilingual smut filter by typing supposed ‘taboo’ words into the testing space at their ‘design a plate‘ page.
Send screenshots, like the one above, to fullysicblog @ gmail.com, and please provide meanings for non-English words!
[Update: Find responses at No pimping this ride, continued…]