• U.S.

International: Sing-out-Sorri

3 minute read

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 food flow in to the destitute.

Last month the Melanesians were crying “Sing-out-Sorri” for the needy children of the whole world. “Palanti piki-nini,” wrote a reporter in the Rabaul (New Britain) News, were in trouble, sick, starving, and “nogat moo, papa na mama” “Yumi ologeta,” he wrote, “i halivim” (You me altogether we help ’em). In the U.S. some 25 private charities had half-heartedly joined with the U.N. to make the same sing-out in the United Nations Appeal for Children, but their unwieldy, badly organized campaign was a dud. Instead of a hoped-for $60 million it had turned up only a measly $7,000,000. Disheartened at this showing, the U.N.’s Economic and Social Council had voted to end the world drive. Rabaul’s reporter went right on pleading the cause of the Yunaited Neisans Sing-out-Sorri. “Orait,” he told his Melanesian neighbors, “nau is somting bilong yu. Sapos yu sorri long ol dispela pikinini na yu laik givim liklik moni bilong halivim ol, yu ken givim long kommitti bilong yu or biringim sitaret igo long Distrik officer long Kiap. Gudpela pasin olsem i noken haIt or lus long tingting bilong ol pipal long ol arapela peles, na olsem—oli ken save tingting wanem ol peles bilong yumi—oli get tingling long halivim ol pikinini.”*

*”All right, here is something that is up to you. If you are sorry for these children and you’d like to give some money you can spare, you can give it to your committee or bring it straight to the District Officer or ‘Captain.’ It’s a good thing either way; it can’t hurt to be thinking about the people in other fellow’s places or to have people in one of those places thinking about you and me—everyone gets to thinking about helping the children.”

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