Yesterday I wrote about two post-Soviet expressions I find endearing in my former students’ essays. Today, I will write about two expressions that Americans use which are in the above title. The latter, “Have a good one” is one I have never gotten used to. I believe it started circulating in the 1980s, maybe earlier. Hearing “Have a good one” got on my nerves where I would want to ask the well-wisher, “one-what? Have a good evening? Have a good dinner? WHAT!?” To me it ranked up there with what seemed to irritate everyone when someone like a bank teller or a sales clerk might end the transaction with “Have a nice day!” I know it was intended to be chirpy nice but without any real feeling behind it. I think we have all moved away from THAT expression because it is empty of meaning.
This other expression that Americans have grown fond of using, myself included, has a different ring to it. “I’m just sayin’…” may have come from a t.v. show for all I know (having lived in other countries for as many years as I have, I readily admit that I don’t know the origin). In any case, this has the air of knowing something others may not be aware while adding a kind of “aw shucks” attitude of getting it out there without appearing like a know-it-all. It works something like this…
I recently read in an American’s blog about Kazakhstan that there was a fire at a brand, spanking new mosque in Astana on Jan. 13th of this year. I can picture the location close to the Pyramid in the new part of Astana. Apparently, Khazret Sultan was the largest mosque (able to fit 5,000 worshippers) in Central Asia and was not entirely completed yet. No fire alarms were activated and thus the fire trucks were a bit delayed to the blaze to help extinguish it. Unfortunately, one person died and I’m not sure how many were injured. From reports about how the fire originated, it was said to be welding equipment that burst into flames. Was it arson or was it REALLY an accident? (I’m just sayin’…)
Okay, let’s go back to Almaty when they were building a new airport there. From the prior airport where my husband and I flew in and out back in 1993 to 1995, they definitely needed an upgrade. Apparently, the contractors and builders of the new airport had it nearly completed and they wanted more money. Their demands were not met and presto, the airport all burned down. Supposedly, the combustion started from a kitchen fire, I’m thinking this was probably around 2005. Or maybe it was soon after “Air Force One,” the movie with Harrison Ford in 1997. At the beginning it was filmed where the hijackers had the big jet land in Kazakhstan. (That segment was probably filmed in Moscow, Russia)
An Iranian friend of mine in Almaty was telling me this story of the fire (which I had never heard about)and how she had to wait in people’s dachas near the airport for the flights coming in. Pretty dismal. Now Almaty has a newer airport to replace the old one and the other that burned down. Was it arson or was it an accident? “I’m just sayin’…”
One final and I think interesting note. The president of Kazakhstan was reportedly at the Russian Orthodox church during Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 6th. I heard this from a friend on Facebook who personally met him there. You see the power of social media these days? I would not have known about the fire at the new mosque in Astana and I would not have thought the president would actually celebrate Christmas with other foreigners. However, I do know that Kazakhstan wants to promote the idea that they are a nation of PEACE and can co-habit with many ethnic groups and different religions. Just take a tour to the top of the Pyramid and you will get the sense that THAT is what a HUGE table in the center is all about. Negotiations with people from all over the world with more than contrary viewpoints.
What I can’t get over is when I asked my Kazakh students about their ancestors, some were full of pride that they had ancestry going back to Amir Temur. This king was also known as “Timur, the Lame.” He was considered charismatic and never gave up. Also known as Tamerlane and he ruled by the strength of his army and with great unity. Or how about Zahiriddin Muhammed Babur. Supposedly his conquests were in India but my Kazakh students like to go back to the late 1400s where Babur supposedly won victories against India that had armies four times his own. You ask Kazakhs about their distant but glorious past and it will be mingled with bloodthirsty battles.
So fast forward to present day 2012, what is REALLY going on in Kazakhstan these days? What about those workers on the mosque and other new buildings all over Astana? Are they really in unity about the current president’s objective to make Kazakhstan look good and peaceful to Catholic, Jewish, Russian Orthodox and Muslim all alike? All faiths are peacefully represented with their own buildings in Astana, cathedral, synagogue, church and mosques.
I’m just sayin’…”Have a good one…with THAT!”