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Side stories from Mandela memorial

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A fake sign language interpreter and a world leader "selfie" were two of the stories that distracted from the Nelson Mandela memorial ceremony in Johannesburg Wednesday 

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Everyone assumed that the man standing next to President Obama was interpreting the speech for the deaf. He wasn't. AFP

Side stories from Mandela memorial

World leaders braved heavy rain on Wednesday to attend the Nelson Mandela memorial ceremony in the national stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Much was written about the ceremony itself, but two rather unusual side stories got almost as much attention.

First, Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama were sitting next to each other and during a break in the ceremony, they did what hundreds of others in the crowd had probably done before them. They took a selfie.

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron (left), Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, and US President Barack Obama take their infamous selfie at the Nelson Mandela memorial ceremony in the national stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa. AFP

That may be fine for ordinary people, but not so fine for world leaders it appears, and the three leaders were immediately the target of severe criticism.

A much more bizarre incident occurred while President Obama made his speech. Next to him a man was standing and apparently interpreting the speech in sign language for the deaf.

But the deaf people who saw him recognised immediately that the man did not know what he was doing.

"He wasn't even doing anything, There was not one sign there. Nothing. He was literally flapping his arms around, " said an angry Cara Loening, director of Sign Language Education and Development in Cape Town

"He looked like he was trying to swat a few flies away from his face and his head".

None of the apparent signs were meaningful, sign language experts say. AFP

Exactly how he was able to stand only a metre or two away from the president is not clear.

He was later identified as Thamsanqa Jantjie who had a simple explanation for his actions. He is mentally ill, he said.

He explained that he had a sudden attack of schizophrenia

He told the Johannesburg daily newspaper, The Star, that he lost concentration, started hearing voices and hallucinating.

"There was nothing I could do. I was alone in a very dangerous situation," he said.

"I tried to control myself and not show the world what was going on. I am very sorry. It's the situation I found myself in," he added.

Adapted from agency stories

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apparently: based only on what you have heard or think, not on what you are certain is true; seemingly - ตามที่ได้รู้มา

assume: to accept something to be true without question or proof - ทึกทักเอา, คิดว่าเป็นจริง,

attention: interest, especially interest that the public has in a person, event, situation etc - ความสนใจ

bizarre: very strange and unusual - แปลกประหลาด,วิตถาร,ผิดปกติ

brave: to deal with an unpleasant or difficult situation in order to achieve something - กล้าที่จะเผชิญกับ

concentration: the process of giving all your attention to something - ความตั้งอกตั้งใจ,ความเอาใจใส่

criticism: comments that show that you think something is wrong or bad - การวิจารณ์

deaf: unable to hear - หูหนวก

exactly: precisely - อย่างเที่ยงตรง,อย่างถูกต้อง,อย่างแม่นยำ,อย่างแน่นอน,อย่างละเอียด

flap: (usually of wings) to move quickly up and down - กระพือปีก, ตีปีก, โบกปีกขึ้นลง

hallucination: something that you think you can see or hear that is not really there, especially because of an illness or the effect of drugs - อาการประสาทหลอน, การเห็นภาพหลอน

identified: named, said to be - ระบุ, ระบุชื่อ

immediately: happening right after something else with no delay; right away - ทันที

incident: something that happens, usually something bad - เหตุการณ์

infamous: well known for something bad - เสียชื่อ, น่าอับอาย, น่าขายหน้

interpret: to translate one language into another as you hear it - แปล, แปลความหมาย

literally: really true; exactly as what was said - อย่างแท้จริง, อย่างตามตัวอักษร

memorial: of something that will continue to remind people of somebody/something after they die - ให้ระลึกถึ

mentally ill: suffering from an illness that affects your mind - โรคทางจิตใจที่มีความผิดปรกติของความรู้สึก ความคิด อารมณ์ หรือพฤติกรรมอย่างแรงถึงขนาดคุมสติไม่อยู่

ordinary: not unusual or different in any way - ธรรมดา, ปกติ

recognise: to know who somebody is or what something is when you see or hear them, because you have seen or heard them or it before - รู้จัก, สำนึก, จำได้

schizophrenia: a mental illness in which a person becomes unable to link thought, emotion and behaviour, leading to withdrawal from reality and personal relationships - โรคจิตเภท, โรคจิตที่สำคัญที่สุด มีอาการขาดการติดต่อกับสิ่งแวดล้อมหรือมีบุคลิกภาพที่แตกแยก

selfie: a photo that you take of yourself, usually using a smartphone or a small camera -

severe: very serious and unpleasant - รุนแรง

side story: a short, often unrelated story, that takes place during the telling of a longer, more important story -

simple: easy to understand; not complicated - ง่าย,ไม่ยุ่งยาก, ไม่ซับซ้อน

situation: all the circumstances and things that are happening at a particular time and in a particular place - สถานการณ์

sudden: happening quickly and unexpectedly กะทันหัน - กะทันหัน

swat: to hit something, especially an insect, using your hand or a flat object - ตีอย่างแรง, ตบอย่างแรง

target: a person, business, building, area, etc., that someone intends to attack or deal with - เป้าหมาย

Related search: Nelson Mandela memorial, fake sign language, Obama, selfie

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