Borat Sagdiyev wakes up Melbourne
A bridge was built between two great nations on Wednesday morning when a roomful of Australian journalists came together in the Melbourne Town Hall to welcome a very special international guest – Borat Sagdiyev.
Once a humble television reporter from Kazakhstan, Borat has become a worldwide phenomenon and movie star thanks to the release of his film, “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan”.
The movie follows Borat as he’s dispatched to the United States to make a documentary about American life. As he travels from coast to coast, he finds that his somewhat unenlightened views when it comes to race relations, gender politics and appropriate behaviour are shunned by some and embraced by others.
Oh, and he also tries to marry Pamela Anderson by abducting the Baywatch babe and stuffing her into his traditional ‘bride bag’.
Despite his new-found stardom, Borat remains the same rough diamond he always was. In fact, he remains so unpolished that a fair few of his comments can’t really be printed in a newspaper the kids might read. Still, we will try to retain the essence of Borat for this article.
“Good morning, gentlemen and prostitutes!” he said as he entered the room, turning to compliment the press conference’s host, Channel Ten reporter Angela Bishop, with a heartfelt “Very nice! How much?”
Eager to immerse himself in the Australian way of life, Borat did try his hand at the local vernacular, offering a spirited “Giddar, mart!” (you can probably gather what he was saying) to all and sundry before suggesting we all “put another crustacean on barbecue”.
That wasn’t the only immersion he was involved in during his time Down Under. “I was in Sydney in a swimming pool and all the childrens and mothers were staring at me because I famous,” said Borat. “In the end I felt so self-conscious I got out of the swimming pool and put my trunks on. I did not even have time to finish shampooing my pubis.”
Yes, it’s clear that the ways of the west still hold some mystery for our Kazakh friend. Still, he is using his position as a public figure to make some connections. For instance, he is looking forward to an opportunity to meet Prime Minister John Howard.
“I am very excite to meet him,” said Borat. “We in Kazakhstan are very big fannies of him. I have been instructed to bring him some Kazakh gifts of potassium and two small gypsy boys. The gypsy boys are not strictly gifts – he actually bought them on something called eBay.”
Borat actually insists that Australia and Kazakhstan are quite similar. “We treat people with equal respect, no matter what their problems,” he claimed, citing the recent opening of Kazakhstan’s latest “retard centre” as proof.
For a small fee, visitors to this facility can throw potatoes at the “strange ones” as they sit in their cages. “They remember nothing!” he said.
“Our countries very similar,” said Borat. “I hope you will come and visit us in Kazakhstan. Now we have luxury resort – there is something for everyone in family. For wives, there are very nice cages. For men, there is a buffet of regularly cleaned prostitutes. And for children, there is hunting opportunities of dogs and gypsies.”
The meeting between Borat and the local press contingent wasn’t a one-way exchange, however. For as much as he taught us about life in Kazakhstan, we believe he also discovered a little something about equality between genders, races and creeds.
“I will not accept any questions for a woman,” he initially muttered when a female journalist posed a query. But when asked if he had a problem with women, Borat was quick to reply.
“I have no problem with womans. I like womans very much and womans like me – I have had syphilis 15 times!” he replied with obvious pride.
And then there is Borat’s flagrant dislike of the Jewish race. According to Borat, it’s more than justified. “We like very much anti-Jew warrior Melvin Gibson,” he said. “We agree with Melvin Gibson in his statement that it was the Jews that started all the wars. We also have proof that it was the Jew who is responsible for the end of the dinosaur period.”
International diplomat. Globe-trotting journalist. Ladies’ man (come on, you must have seen him in that infamous lime-green swimsuit: “When I wear it, it looks like there are two monkeys fighting in a hammock”). Borat fits all these roles and many more besides. But he still has the common touch.
“I am still regular guy in Kazakhstan,” he said. “I do what every other man does. I shoot dogs, I throw rocks on gypsies, I drink fermented horse urine.”
And as a man of the people, he was quick to offer an invitation to the people of Australia. “When you come to Kazakhstan,” he said, “you are all invited to stay my house, eat my food and use my sister.”
A tough offer to refuse, that’s for sure. But before you jet off to Kazakhstan and use Borat’s sister, maybe you should check out “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” at your local cinema. There are preview screenings this weekend before its release next Thursday.
– GUY DAVIS