A NSW woman says she is being relentlessly pursued by state road authorities because her personalized number plate means "vagina" in another language, news.com.au reported Wednesday.
The Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) says the number plate bearing the name - "Kiki" - is the same word used for vagina in the Filipino language, Tagalog, and wanted them removed.
Kristen Perry, a lawyer from Newcastle, said she was informed of her "offensive" nickname after first receiving her personalized plates five years ago as a gift from her husband, the Newcastle Herald reports.
"At first I thought it was a joke, but then I realized it was actually quite serious and that my number plates would be taken off me if I didn't respond appropriately," Perry told ABC."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 quite inoffensive to 99 percent of us out there, but one percent have an issue with it."
The RTA has said it received a complaint from a Tagalog speaker who found the number plate offensive. The Tagalog people is an ethnic group in the Philippines, making up 28.1 per cent of the Filipino population.
Perry said that Kiki has been her nickname since childhood. ''I rang my father last night and said, 'Do you know you have been calling me vagina all my life?'''
This afternoon the RTA relented.
"The RTA has a responsibility to investigate complaints about personalised plate content, but we recognise that in doing this we must take a common sense approach,’’ a spokeswoman said today. "We recognise in this case a common sense approach was not adopted and Ms Perry will retain the content of her plates."
In fact, years ago, I was watching TV with my girlfriend of the time, who was Filipino, and she started laughing at a cat food ad that featured a cat named "Pookie", which also sounds like puki, another Tagalog word for vagina. (It strikes me that Filipinos have a lot of words for vagina.) She certainly didn't ring the TV station to complain, and I'm sure no one else did either.
But all it takes is one busybody to spur the RTA into action. Thank goodness common sense prevailed. Although with the number of people dying from crashes on our roads, I'm rather concerned that anyone at the RTA has the time and resources to moonlight as the Tagalog manners police as well.
This sort of story inevitably gets into the papers, and witness the responses it engenders:
Jim diGris of Dungog Posted at 6:01 PM April 20, 2011
1 person complains and causes a stink. This country has gone mad with political correctness and pandering to minorities
Comment 2 of 21
MB of Cairns Posted at 7:24 PM April 20, 2011
Another case of the minority trying to dictate to the generally silent and sensible majority. So relieved Kiki took the mindless bureaucrats to task over this.
Comment 7 of 21
TCK Posted at 8:05 PM April 20, 2011
It might surprise them but this isn't the Philipines, it's Australia and Kiki is not offensive here. how many other cultures, nations etc are we expected to cowtow to? The old story, if you don't like something about Australia or Aussies...GO HOME, don't expect us to change to suit you.
Comment 10 of 21
RichardC Posted at 8:31 PM April 20, 2011
The RTA is staffed by arrogant fools. This is Australia, we speak English and KIKI is not an offensive word in Australia. In fact my daughter, whose name is Kristianne was called KIKI when she was small because that's how her brother pronounced it. If some foreigner doesn't like life in Australia then they are welcome to go somewhere else. SOON!
Comment 11 of 21
So by all means, fight for your rights, people. But when it comes to the insignificant stuff, just get a life and move on. You're making us all look bad.
And to the companies and government departments that indulge this nonsense - you're part of the problem. Grow some balls.