International: Sing-out-Sorri

In the U.S. a piano's a piano, a haircut's a haircut and organized charity is a vast, competitive business. To a million or more natives of Melanesia in the South Pacific, a piano is a big-fellow-bockiss-you-fight- him-teeth-belong-im-now-bockiss-he-cry. A Melanesian haircut is cut-im-grass-belong-head-belong-me. The only way most Melanesians can communicate with each other or with white men is by a bastard mixture of French, German, English, tribal dialects and baby-talk called pidgin. But when trouble strikes in Melanesia, pidgin is all that's necessary. "Sing-out-Sorri" goes the cry from village to village, and money and...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!