Leggies - Lagi

      Anthea Beckett - I think "leggies" is a corruption of the Malay/Indonesian word "lagi", meaning "more" - remember Oliver Twist??

      Pretty well all Java POWs used "lagi" rather than leggies".

      Ron Taylor - Do you think I should alter 'Leggies' Anthea, or leave it as the troops interoperated it.

      Capt. George W. Duffy - Second, "Leggies" vs "lagi". There was an awful lot of language corruption out there. Some of the common Dutch words which have shown up in English writings are barely recognizable. Same goes for Anglicization of Japanese. On the other hand, Van Waterford, the Dutch writer, in his Glossary of Terms in "Prisoners of the Japanese in World War II" uses "leggies". I'll go with Anthea and vote for "lagi".

      Anthea Beckett - Well, as George Duffy says, there was a lot of corruption in POW-speak because of having to cope with foreign languages and place names.

      My own rule is not to make changes in the original text, but to add a note when I think a mistake has been made or a term needs clarifying. It's the reader's right to see the text as it was written, and the problem with making unmarked changes to the original text is credibility - how far can an editor safely go? So I feel it is okay to point out these differences, as long as the original version is not altered.

      In the case of "leggies", when the reader knows that the Indonesian/Malay "lagi" means "more", that goes a long way towards explaining how the word was often used by POWs - in the meaning of trading your next bowl of rice for something you needed now.

      I suspect "lagi" is quite common in institutions. When I was a young girl, I was sent from Java to boarding school in Perth, WA. We sat at tables for eight, and at dinner 12 servings of pudding were laid on each table. Amongst eight sugar-hungry mouths "lagi" was the rule (though we didn't call it that).

      Ron Taylor - Another pronounciation of ‘Lagi’ comes from Don Peacocks book ‘The Emperors Guest’ he calls it the Leggi Queue.

      Haruku officer prisoners wait in the Leggi Queue (Imperial War Museum)

      The corruption of the word Lagi, meaning ‘more’, is now falling into place:

      Lagi - Leggi - Leggies

      My understanding of it meaning ‘Standing in a queue for a long time for that extra’ has now gone out of the door, but at least it means ‘More’

      Harry Thorpe - A real treat was the caked rice around the sides of the Qually, just like toast, and queues used to form for these delicacies, they were called Legges, a Malaya name for second helpings.



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