KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 6 — Teemu Pukki, the Finn making waves in the English Premier League (EPL) right now, is quite hot with Malaysians right now.
The Norwich striker’s soaring popularity here — notwithstanding his smashing goal against Chelsea in last month’s EPL match — can be attributed in part to his last name, which is spelt similar to and pronounced exactly like a colloquial cuss word that is a vulgar reference to the vagina.
While sportscasters in Europe like Peter Drury have no qualms shouting out the 29-year-old’s name in broadcasts, his name is proving a headache for their local counterparts, as shared by former Liverpool FC player Stan Collymore who is now a commentator with Stadium Astro in a recent tweet.
So, I'm in Kuala Lumpur having a production meeting with the team.— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) August 23, 2019
"Stan, you know about the Pukki situation in Malaysia?"
"No, what is it?"
"Err, Pukki trends weekly now on Malaysia...."
"It means c**t in Malay slang "
However, Malaysian EPL fans — as well as some others in South-east Asia — appear to be having the time of their lives on social media, making #Pukki one of the most trending hashtags on Twitter last week.
Collymore’s tweet has since been re-tweeted 355 times, and liked more than 700 times by not so bashful users.
“Pukki! I wondered why so many people looked at my Norwich shirt funny when I went holiday there,” read a tweet by @humanmale1984.
PUKKI!— Shane McGeary (@humanmale1984) August 23, 2019
I wondered why so many people looked at my Norwich shirt funny when I went on holiday there... pic.twitter.com/21sRJLlXlV
“Load of Pukkis on here abusing you regularly Great posts from a top player,” said another by @kellybrian71.
Load of Pukkis on here abusing you regularly... Great posts from a top player...— Brian Kelly (@kellybrian71) August 23, 2019
“Lets hope he leaves Chelsea looking like a bunch of Pukki’s today like he did Newcastle,” tweeted @mark_hurren, referring to a hat trick of goals Pukki scored against The Magpies in a fixture last month.
Let’s hope he leaves Chelsea looking like a bunch of Pukki’s today like he did Newcastle 🤞— Mark Hurren (@mark_hurren) August 24, 2019
Filipino Twitter users were also quick to point out that the striker’s last name carries a similarly vulgar meaning in Tagalog.
“Ya bro, it means Vagina also. FYI, Tagalog and Bahasa Melayu there is a lot same in the meaning,” @abarwea posted.
Ya bro, it mean Vagina also. Fyi, tagalog and bahasa melayu there is a lot same in meaning.— Abe Wea (@abearwea) August 23, 2019
In all fairness, Pukki rightfully deserves attention.
It has only been a month into the European footballing calendar year, and Pukki already has nine goals for club and country to his name, most recently scoring a penalty this morning against Greece in Finlands’ Euro 2020 qualifier match.