Flash Frontier

Feature Story: E ngaro taku ringa – Vaughan Rapatahana

Interviews and Features

An Aswang (or Asuwang) is a shape-shifting monster usually possessing a combination of the traits of either a vampire, a ghoul, a warlock/witch, or different species of werebeast in Filipino folklore or even all of them together. It is the subject of a wide variety of myths and stories.

E ngaro taku ringa


Original text

Taku hoa hou ki te ingoa o Rosanna kua haramai ki taku whare i nanahi pō. Mō he toro tohutohu. Pea.

[Ko tēnei atapō ināianei.]

‘Gutóm ako ngayóng araw, aking kaibigan. Gusto kong kumain.’

‘Ko te matekai koe te taima katoa e hoa, eh. He aha tōu raruraru?’

‘Oo. Palagi akong gutóm. Násaán ang pagkain?’

‘Ki te kihini. Haere koe kia titiro i roto i te pouaka whakamātao…’

E haere Rosanna ki tērā ruma. E hokinga taku hoa kei muri i rima ngā meneti, ki he kanohi tino pouri. E mitimitia tana ngutu mātotoru.

‘Walang pagkain doon ngayón.’

E titiro Rosanna i ahau ki he waha tino whānui. Ki ngā mata pango me kino. E kite ana ahau tana niho koikoi hoki.

‘Násaán pagkain?’

‘Kāore he kai kei konei ināianei e hoa. Kua mutu katoa. Haere koe ki te toa kia hokitia koe he kai mō tōu puku tino nui.’

‘Pero, ayaw kong umalis ngayón aking kaibigan. Násaán pagkain dito?’

‘Kua kōrero ana ahau ki a koe tonu e hoa. Kāore he kai ki tēnei whare ināianei. Kua kai katoa koe tonu.Whakarongo!’

I tata e rongo ana ahau he mamae tino kino i taku ringaringa. Ki te toto nui hoki.

‘Aaargh. He aha tōu āwangawanga Rosanna? He aha tōu pīrangi?’

‘Gusto kong masaráp na pagkain aking kaibigan. Dahil gutóm ako.’

E pīrangi ana ahau mō tēnei whakakata kia memeha, engari kāore he angitu. Ko tētahi atu he mamae ki tēnei ringa.

‘Aaargh. Whanatu koe. He aha tōu tākaro tino rorirori?’

Engari ko te tino tōmuri ahau, nō te mea kua ngaua tēnei nauhea i taku ringa ano.

‘Auē! E mōhio ana ahau ināianei. Ko he aswáng koe nē rā? Auē!’

‘Oo ito ay totoó. Aswáng ako. Palagi akong gutóm. Gusto kitang kainin. Ang saráp!’

E haramai ano Rosanna ki ahau, ki tēnā waha nui…

Literal translation

My lost hand
My new friend with the name of Rosanna had come to my house last night. For a brief visit. Maybe.

[This is now early morning.]
‘I am hungry today, my friend. I want to eat.’

‘You are always hungry, mate, eh. What’s your problem?’

‘Yes. I am always hungry. Where’s the food?’

‘In the kitchen. Go and have a look inside the fridge…’

Rosanna went to that room. After five minutes my mate came back, with a very sad face. Licking her thick lips.

‘No food there now.’

Rosanna looked at me with a wide-open mouth. With dark and evil eyes. I also saw her sharp teeth.

‘Where’s the food?’

‘There’s no food here now, mate. It’s all finished. You go to the store and you buy food for your very fat stomach.’

‘But I don’t want to go now, my friend. Where is the food here?’

‘I have already told you, mate. No food in this house now. You have eaten it all already. Listen!’

Suddenly I felt a very bad pain in my hand. With a lot of blood also.

‘Aaargh. What’s your problem, Rosanna? What do you want?’

‘I want delicious food, my friend. Because I am hungry.’

I wanted this clown to vanish, but no luck. Another pain in my hand.

‘Aaargh. Go away you. What is your stupid game?’

But I was too late, because this monster had bitten my hand again.

‘Oh! I know now. You are an aswang, right? Oh!’

‘Yes, true. I am aswang. Always hungry. I want to eat you. Delicious!’

Rosanna came towards me again, with that big mouth…

Author commentary

Aotearoa New Zealand is increasingly made up of several ethnic groups and their associated cultures and languages. It is increasingly, then, not a mainstream monolingual/monocultural society and the piece is an attempt to show this, given, of course, that the translation into English often loses something in the process. These expanding cultural groupings are increasingly Asian/Pasifika and the Tagalog input is both, in that Philippines is in the western Pacific and yet is accorded Asian status. Indeed there are so many similarities between Māori and Tagalog, to the extent that several words are identical in spelling and meaning…In this very real sense, then, both are Pasifika languages. 

(Of course, the DNA of Māori and many Pasifika populations is traced back to the indigenous people of Taiwan – on the matriarchal side – so that the picture of the subsequent historical migration throughout the Pacific is quite clear.)

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