Bi-Lingual Acrimonious Barkalalia (BLAB) is a toxic and destructive ailment afflicting thousands of expats in China and around the world. I am sure I have at least its more benign cousin: Foreign Itinerant Talkative Syndrom (FITS) where victims, in danger of BLAB, joining Yahoo! groups and chat about topics related to say, Republican Perspectives on Tolerance, Homosexuality and Social Change in Beowoelf while watching long hours of Prison Break/Lost re-runs and bootleg B-Movies that even China Southern Airlines has rejected for in-flight showing.
Diagnosis of the disease is tricky and should not be confused with Oral Blabbus Mundanus (OBM as we pros call it) a relatively benign affliction generally seen in American consular personnel. It is a syndrome wherein the expat, deprived of native discourse, can prattle on for hours without even a minimal encourager like a nod. This condition has been seen in POWs and people who over-identify with cast members of LOST. BLAB, usually carried by males, is potentially fatal. Carriers can literally suck the oxygen from a confined area or turn otherwise gentle foreign female companions into knife-wielding felons. It can also bring extreme or total isolation (Few therapists can even tolerate a BLABber) to the sufferer and the attending depression can be quite serious.
A simple twenty question test, devised by AA and used for many other compulsive/addictive disorders, can be taken quickly and is surprisingly accurate.
ARE YOU A BLABBER?
If you answer yes to one or more of the questions you, OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW may want to seek professional help
1. Do you turn to innocent non-native speakers or cabbies when you feel the urge to BLAB?
2. Do you crave a BLAB even when your friends say they have had enough?
3. Do you BLAB alone?
4. Do you BLAB at a definite time daily?
5. Do you lose time from work due to your BLABbing?
6. Is BLABbing making your home life unhappy?
7. Have you ever been in a hospital or institution on account of BLABbing?
8. Is BLABbing affecting your reputation?
9. Have you ever felt remorse after BLABing?
10. Have you gotten into financial dificulties as a result of your BLABing?
11. Does your BLABbing make you careless of your family’s welfare?
12. Has your ambition decreased since BLABbing?
13. Do you want to BLAB the next morning?
14. Does BLABbing cause you to have difficulty in sleeping?
15. Are you depressed that BLAB BLAB China is no longer on the air?
16. Is BLABbing jeopardizing your job or business?
17. Do you BLAB to escape from worries or troubles?
18. Have you ever had a complete loss of memory as a result of your BLABbing?
19. Has your physician ever treated you for BLABbing?
20. Do you BLAB to build up your self-confidence?
Treatment for BLAB can be tricky. Generally a one-way ticket to the BLABbers home country is in order. Alternately, there is a 28-day program developed by hearing and speech impaired caregivers that uses a behavior modification technique known as satiation. During the program the BLABber is allowed to talk freely because no one can hear or respond to him anyway and eventually the expat rants himself back to normalcy via satiation.
By Lonnie B. Hodge OMBW
Reprinted from November, 2007
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