February 19th, 2012 at 05:24pm
By now you have probably seen, or at the very least heard about, this video of Kevin Rudd swearing in frustration after he failed, multiple times, to read a script in Mandarin off a teleprompter.
(Warning: Language Alert. This video is NOT censored)
To put the situation in a bit of context, Kevin Rudd is not quite the master of Mandarin that some believe he is. He can speak the language to a passable extent and would be able to get by in most day-to-day conversations on normal, mundane topics, but he can not read the language. As such, when he was attempting to record this video for a Mandarin-speaking audience, the sound of the Mandarin had to be converted to English letters for him to be able to read it on the teleprompter. Unfortunately it seems that the people responsible for the speech have written the sentences in a more convoluted way than was absolutely necessary (in much the same way that it would have been simpler for me to write “Sadly the speech writers used more difficult language than they had to” in the sentence before this interjection) and this tripped Kevin up quite a bit.
As happens with most people who struggle to read a script for a recording, be it video or audio, Kevin got annoyed with himself.
I have to say that, the video as released, seems to work in Kevin Rudd’s favour. It elicits a sympathy vote as everyone has known for ages and ages that he has a temper, and the release of the video appears to be a malicious attempt to smear him by showing him to be even more prone to temper tantrums that was previously thought. I don’t think it was a malicious release though…I think it was made to look that way, but I think a Kevin Rudd supporter has released it to elicit a sympathy vote for the reason listed above, and for sympathy with his plight in struggling to read a foreign language aloud.
If this was truly a malicious leak, the bits of the video where Kevin Rudd appears to be declaring Mandarin to be a stupid and overly-complicated language would be more heavily emphasised, and the bits which clarify this to be about the way it has been written by the speech writers, and not about the Mandarin language itself, would have been removed.
Just the way it has been edited, and the interesting timing when the Labor Party leadership rumours and tensions are reaching fever pitch, makes it seem to me as if this is a concerted effort by someone, possibly with Kevin’s knowledge, but not necessarily with it, to boost Kevin Rudd’s popularity.
If polling is released later this week which shows that Kevin Rudd is immensely more popular than Julia Gillard, I will not be surprised; and if that happens then I fully expect a leadership challenge and an election to be called a short time thereafter in the hopes that a “honeymoon period” will carry Labor across the line without the need for tenuous support from Greens and independents. It does seem to be about the only hope Labor have right now based on recent polling trends.