Is it a ‘bancake’ or a ‘pancake’? Arabic speakers explain IHOP name change

File photo showing fresh IHOp pancakes at a Dubai restaurant. (Photo courtesy: IHOp Facebook page)
Updated 10 June 2018
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Is it a ‘bancake’ or a ‘pancake’? Arabic speakers explain IHOP name change

LONDON: It’s a puzzle. Or should that be “buzzle”? After 60 years, the International House of Pancakes restaurant chain is changing its acronym from IHOP to IHOb. But they haven’t yet said why.
Cue widespread consternation — and quite a few jokes — all over the Twittersphere… except among pancake-loving Arabic speakers.
For them, this is old news. Arabic has no “p” sound, and speakers of the language usually substitute a “b.” In the Arab world, IHOP has been IHOB ever since the first pancake — sorry, bancake — house opened in Dubai in 2012.
IHOP announced the change (they called it “flipping” the name) on Monday but will not reveal the reason for it until June 11. In the meantime, Twitter has gone into hyper-buzz with tweeters of Arab background supplying most of the wit.
“Did an Arab person take over IHOP?” asked Fatima Syed, a reporter on the Toronto Star newspaper. “I ask as someone who for years was known as the girl from ‘Bakistan.’’’
Ala’a Ibrahim pointed out that Arabs also love to eat in Bizza Hut and Bopeyes, no doubt washing down their food with cans of Bebsi.

 

 

“My beoble have taken over IHOB so much, they changed the name to something we can bronounce!” tweeted Mohamed El Dahshan.
Breakfast and brunch are among the suggestions for what the “b” might stand for, along with the more fanciful broccoli, biscuits and even barnacles. IHOP’s popularity in the Middle East led one Twitter user to suggest that since “hob” means “love” in Arabic, therefore “Ihob= I love (pancakes).”
Hob also means the top of a stove, the hub of a wheel or male ferret — none of which seems pertinent, or even bertinent.
IHOP also joined in the fun, tweeting: “The blot thickens.”
When a tweeter named Patrick asked for an explanation, IHOP replied, “Batience, Batrick, batience!” and tweeted an audio guide “to helb you bronounce it broberly.”
The first IHOP in Dubai in 2012 was followed a year later by restaurants in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, then Bahrain and Lebanon in 2014.
From a business perspective, the name change makes little sense. The brand is well established and very well-known, sales are doing well and shares in parent company Dine Brands are up nearly 25 percent.
Changing the signs and menus at nearly 1,800 IHOP restaurants is expensive and risky. Studies have shown that brands which change their names typically experience an immediate 5 to 20 percent drop in sales.
IHOP’s only comment is a statement from Stephanie Peterson, the company’s executive director of communications, which said: “We’re serious about the quality of food and our menu, and this name change really reflects that.”
A search for IHob.com domain name reveals it is “data protected” and registered by someone with 123 Data Protected, Toronto as an address, and the email address [email protected]protected.net. Emails sent there bounce back as undeliverable.
All of which could mean one of two things: IHOP have really flipped and this is either a blea for attention or a massive brank.

Decoder

Other words mispronounced in the Middle East

Lunch on the go at work might very well be a sandwich from ‘Bret-a-manger’. After a hard day, it is tempting to order in a ‘bizza’ and wash it down with a can of ‘Bebsi', and a ‘Benguin' chocolate bar for afters. If you overindulge, a couple of ‘Banadol' should ease any indigestion. Another reason for not going out is difficulty with ‘barking’ the car. Much nicer to stay home with a DVD and tub of ‘bobcorn’ and that is ‘berfect'. 


Dead whale in Philippines had 40 kg of plastic in stomach

In this photo taken on March 16, 2019, Darrell Blatchley, director of D' Bone Collector Museum Inc., shows plastic waste found in the stomach of a Cuvier's beaked whale in Compostela Valley, Davao on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao. (AFP)
Updated 29 min 55 sec ago
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Dead whale in Philippines had 40 kg of plastic in stomach

  • The animal died from starvation and was unable to eat because of the trash filling its stomach, said Darrell Blatchley, director of D’ Bone Collector Museum Inc.

MANILA: A starving whale with 40 kilos (88 pounds) of plastic trash in its stomach has died after being washed ashore in the Philippines, activists said Monday, calling it one of the worst cases of poisoning they have seen.
Environmental groups have tagged the Philippines as one of the world’s biggest ocean polluters due to its reliance on single-use plastic.
That sort of pollution, which is also widespread in other southeast Asian nations, regularly kills wildlife like whales and turtles that ingest the waste.
In the latest case, a Cuvier’s beaked whale died on Saturday in the southern province of Compostela Valley where it was stranded a day earlier, the government’s regional fisheries bureau said.
The agency and an environmental group performed a necropsy on the animal and found about 40 kilograms of plastic, including grocery bags and rice sacks.
The animal died from starvation and was unable to eat because of the trash filling its stomach, said Darrell Blatchley, director of D’ Bone Collector Museum Inc., which helped conduct the examination.
“It’s very disgusting and heartbreaking,” he told AFP. “We’ve done necropsies on 61 dolphins and whales in the last 10 years and this is one of the biggest (amounts of plastic) we’ve seen.”
The 15.4-foot (4.7-meter) long whale was stranded in Mabini town on Friday where local officials and fishermen tried to release it, only for the creature to return to shallow water, said the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
“It could not swim on its own, emaciated and weak,” regional bureau director Fatma Idris told AFP.
“(The) animal was dehydrated. On the second day it struggled and vomited blood.”
The death comes just weeks after the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternative released a report on the “shocking” amount of single-use plastic in the Philippines, including nearly 60 billion sachets a year.
The Philippines has strict laws on garbage disposal but environmentalists say these are poorly implemented.
The problem also plagues the archipelago’s neighbors, with a sperm whale dying in Indonesia last year with nearly six kilograms of plastic waste discovered in its stomach.
In Thailand, a whale also died last year after swallowing more than 80 plastic bags. A green turtle, a protected species, suffered the same fate there in 2018.