a bonecrusher

Renus

Member
Vietnamese
Hi,

I have a confusion with this sentence, from 'Conversation with Mahathir'

It went- at least in Washington's eyes- from political bonecrusher to Islamic-extremist lion-tamer.

What does polican bonecrusher here mean?
 
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  • lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    This is really hard to say, because you aren't giving us any way to guess what "it" refers to. Can you give a few leading sentences? (You should also give the full title and author of the work you're citing.)

    A "bonecrusher" is something that crushes bones. It could crush bones in the manner of a mace - a huge blunt instrument used for swinging at people - or a juggernaut/steamroller - in the sense of something unstoppable and general in its effects. But without knowing what "it" is, it's hard to tell.
     

    Renus

    Member
    Vietnamese
    This is really hard to say, because you aren't giving us any way to guess what "it" refers to. Can you give a few leading sentences? (You should also give the full title and author of the work you're citing.)

    A "bonecrusher" is something that crushes bones. It could crush bones in the manner of a mace - a huge blunt instrument used for swinging at people - or a juggernaut/steamroller - in the sense of something unstoppable and general in its effects. But without knowing what "it" is, it's hard to tell.

    It here is Malaysia. Or you can use this source to take a deeper look :
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    It here is Malaysia. Or you can use this source to take a deeper look :
    That's not correct; "it" refers to "Mahatir's image." (I peeked at the source, which isn't correctly cited in your first post. Tsk.) But you should provide more of the source material so that other people don't have to download documents just to do your work for you.
     

    Renus

    Member
    Vietnamese
    That's not correct; "it" refers to "Mahatir's image." (I peeked at the source, which isn't correctly cited in your first post. Tsk.) But you should provide more of the source material so that other people don't have to download documents just to do your work for you.
    So can you tell me the meaning of bone-crusher here?
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    It here is Malaysia. Or you can use this source to take a deeper look :
    From your source:
    The irony of course was the almost overnight change in
    Mahathir’s image. It went—at least in Washington’s eyes—from
    political bone-crusher to Islamic-extremist lion-tamer. Until then,
    Malaysia had been a perennial negative poster-boy in the Western
    human rights hall of shame.
    "It" is not Malaysia, but "(Washington's view of) Mahathir’s image".
     

    Egmont

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    It here is Malaysia. Or you can use this source to take a deeper look :
    There are a few problems with this:

    1. Links that are there when you post them may not be there when we try to look at them. This one will probably still be there tomorrow, but what about the person who finds this thread in 2015?

    2. The link asks us to download a Microsoft Word document. Not everyone has programs that can read it, especially if they visit this site on a smartphone or a tablet.

    3. More correctly, the link asks us to download something that looks like a Microsoft Word document. We don't know what it is, we don't know anything about the site nbxtre.com.vn that it's from, we don't know if it's free from viruses, and we would be insane to download and open it without better assurance of its safety. (You can assure us, but with all respect, this is an anonymous site so we also don't know who you are.)

    4. Not having the context in the thread itself makes it harder to search threads for useful information. That leads to duplication of threads on the same topic.

    Please give us enough context in this thread for us to understand how this word is used here. We are not trying to be difficult. We want to help, but this is really necessary.

    Added in edit: I see from a post that appeared while I was writing this that the source contained useful information. I still don't feel opening it was a wise move, though. It's too risky. It can be a Word document with valid content and also contain a virus.
     
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    Renus

    Member
    Vietnamese
    Okie, thank you all for your warnings, I keep it in my mind safely.

    So I make a brand-new start, by giving my confusion:

    The irony of course was the almost overnight change in
    Mahathir’s image. It went—at least in Washington’s eyes—from
    political bone-crusher to Islamic-extremist lion-tamer. Until then,
    Malaysia had been a perennial negative poster-boy in the Western
    human rights hall of shame.
    What does a political bone-crusher here mean?

    (I got this quote from "Conversation with Mahathir Mohamad" written by Tom Plate.)
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    I would say he was originally seen as someone who ruled with an iron fist, who had no regard for individual rights. Then, almost overnight, he was suddenly viewed as someone who was keeping a lid on Islamic extremists.
     

    Renus

    Member
    Vietnamese
    I would say he was originally seen as someone who ruled with an iron fist, who had no regard for individual rights. Then, almost overnight, he was suddenly viewed as someone who was keeping a lid on Islamic extremists.
    I still wonder a little bit, if Mahathir ruled with iron fist, so did he rule like this with extremists? Or only with civilians?
     

    Anglice

    Member
    Italian
    I still wonder a little bit, if Mahathir ruled with iron fist, so did he rule like this with extremists? Or only with civilians?
    Mahatir was a big bully in politics. After 911, he cooperated with the US to curry favor in hunting done terrorists.
     

    Renus

    Member
    Vietnamese
    Mahatir was a big bully in politics. After 911, he cooperated with the US to curry favor in hunting done terrorists.
    Yes, I know about this, but what is the difference between a political bone-crusher and a lion-tamer? Did his path toward extremists become more and more better, or he just curried favor after 9/11? I am still confused with bone-crusher here.
     

    Anglice

    Member
    Italian
    Yes, I know about this, but what is the difference between a political bone-crusher and a lion-tamer? Did his path toward extremists become more and more better, or he just curried favor after 9/11? I am still confused with bone-crusher here.
    Well, don't take me as an expert in English language. Others on this forum are professors. I said what I said because I am quite familiar with the politics of the region.

    It is very common that a bully would tell a little guy, "Do you want me to break your bone to shut you up?" To exaggerate it a bit he can also say, "Would you like me to crush your bone before you shut your mouth up?"

    To say that he is "a lion-tamer" is a bit over exaggerated. As far as I know, the man seems to have covertly used extremists to achieve his purpose. Perhaps, the writer would like the readers to believe that Mahathir had a good control of the extremists.
     

    Renus

    Member
    Vietnamese
    I think I got what you meant. Is that Mahathir, in the past was regarded as a man of iron fist, and all of a sudden, he became the man took responsibilities for all the extremist actions happenned, for instance 9/11, right? (Maybe he kept some extremists secretly, out of vision of US military)
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    Not quite. A "bone-crusher" would obliterate his enemies through brute force. A "lion-tamer" would convince his enemies to stop fighting him and get them to do what he wants through skill. (Lion tamers are the people in the circus who can get lions to do fancy tricks, even though lions mostly just like eating people.)

    The idea is that overnight the image of him changed. One day, people thought of him as a brute who crushed his political opponents through force. The next day, people thought of him as someone who was able to tame even the most savage of beasts, the Islamic extremists.

    Note how the perception of his methods changes (from force to subtlety), and the perception of his goals changes (from selfishly destroying his political opponents to a principled stand against Islamic extremism).
     

    Renus

    Member
    Vietnamese
    Did Tom Plate have any hints about the way Mahathir controlled Malaysia? With other political opponents, he used brutal methods, but with Islamic extremists was a way of subtlety. Is that right?
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    He's not talking about the way Mahatir controlled Malaysia. He's talking about the story that was told about how Mahattir controlled Malaysia. Mahattir's "image" changed; we have no idea whether the reality of Mahattir changed as well.
     
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