look like a Malay pirate

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RORSCHACH

Senior Member
Farsi-persian
Hi,
I'm reading the screenplay of the film The Departed, by the screenwriter William Monahan. In a scene, Castello, the mob boss, is trading something with some chinese gangsters. there is translator who tells Castello that at least two of Chinese gangsters have Machine guns and then:

COSTELLO takes it all in. The CHINESE GANGSTER looks like a Malay pirate. Costello’s gunmen are perched above, automatic weapons trained on the Triad.

What does "looks like a Malay pirate" mean here. I searched it but I could not understand it. Is it an idiom when we say somebody looks like a Malay pirate? please help me.
 
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    It is not an idiom. I don't know what a Malay pirate looks like.

    But apparently the person writing the screenplay knows, and says that this character should look like that.
     

    entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    The immediate image of 'pirate' is 18th-century Europeans with big beards and cutlasses. But for much of the 20th century the real pirate problem was in the Straits of Malacca, one of the busiest seaways in the world. They were as in the picture above - modern weapons, and dressed for the heat. It's not an idiom, but when a screenwriter writes it, they can expect the people working on a realistic crime picture to know that sort of image.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    That brings up a good question: what year does this play take place?

    EDIT: I found it -- the movie takes place in the 1970s.

    So the correct outfit for a Malay pirate is the modern one. Like in the picture.
     
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