Jan 16, 2008

Adding flavour to plagiarism?

I read with interest the allegations on Sharon Bakar's and Jannah's blogs about a local artiste plagiarizing Roger McGough's poem called Cake.

I decided to write something about this topic as I am a huge fan of McGough myself. I first stumbled upon his work in one of Penguin's pocket book series, The State of Poetry and I am amazed by his poems. They are short and yet witty.

What was Natasha Hudson thinking when she decided to write and publish Kek Coklat?
Saya mahu satu kehidupan,
Kamu mahu sesuatu yang lain,

Kita tidak dapat makan kek coklat,

Jadi kita makan sesama diri.

And this is Roger McGough's Cake:

i wanted one life
you wanted another

we couldn't have our cake

so we ate each other.

McGough's piece is genius and Natasha simply spoiled it with her direct translation plus the additional chocolate flavour. Hope Natasha understands that the cake in the original piece does not mean the 'real cake' but instead means a share in something (as in the idiom 'a piece of pie').

For an aspiring poet like her, plagiarism is simply not the smartest thing to do.

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