Michael Clarke’s Arabic Tattoo

There has been a lot of discussion for some time around Australian cricketer Michael Clarke’s Arabic-language tattoo.

Abu Eesa explains what it means:

After looking at a few pictures it is clear that both lines say:

ألم الإنضباط هو شيء مثل الألم من خيبة الأمل

This can be translated as:

The pain of discipline is something similar to the pain of disappointment

Now it’s pretty obvious that this is a poor statement because as we all know there is simply no comparison between the two with disappointment being far worse; a quick google search shows that quite a few people have been trying to work this out over the last year or two and all of them have been puzzled over its exact meaning, with the majority of them actually translating it as:

“The pain of discipline is nothing like the pain of disappointment.”

Now this makes sense, fits the sport, fits his profile, fits the Aussie maxim in cricket. The only problem is that the Arabic doesn’t translate to this i.e. the Arab who wrote it has clearly completely messed it up and left out the negating word “laysa“!

This is absolutely hilarious, especially considering that Clarke is a big tattoo fan, thinks it was really stylish of him to stick his motto in an exotic language, and thinks that he’s got a good job done.


#1 Sam G on 08.24.09 at 1:22 am

The pain of getting tattooed is nothing like the pain of pwnage.

#2 Ishaq on 08.24.09 at 10:17 pm


Tweet him and let him know.

#3 Professor Hale on 08.27.09 at 12:06 am

Add to the fact that it is usually a bad idea to get a tat, it is always a bad idea to get a tat in a language you do not speak.

#4 Andrew Reynolds on 08.31.09 at 11:49 am

Remind me to check with you guys before I get a tatt. :)

#5 you know bloody who on 11.01.09 at 9:28 am

The pain of discipline is nothing like the pain of getting a ridiculous tattoo in a foreign language – especially when it doesn’t mean what you think it does and you tell all your bogan mates about it.

#6 dr me on 11.01.09 at 7:05 pm

I just put the text in the google translator and it says “The pain of discipline is nothing like the pain of disappointment.” So you are wrong.

#7 Andrew Reynolds on 11.02.09 at 1:54 pm

dr me is right – see here.

#8 arabic tatoos 'r' us on 11.02.09 at 2:06 pm

That’s funny I put in the Arabic characters from his arm and got this: see link


#9 AU on 11.02.09 at 5:32 pm

Google Translate is wrong.

هو شيء مثل means “it is something like”

Try this:

#10 Charley on 02.03.10 at 12:39 pm

I speak arabic and it’s something personal to him.

It’s translated as: “Everyone has their own pain, but the biggest pain (to me) is to break trust”.

#11 abbs on 05.17.10 at 3:40 am

This translation (The pain of discipline is something similar to the pain of disappointment) is correct but it is not a pain of disappointment it is pain of Despair .

#12 Yobbo on 06.22.10 at 3:28 am

Oh well, it’s better than having it say something like #14, Special Fried Rice, which is what a lot of people with Chinese characters end up getting.

#13 Mohammad Salim on 11.22.10 at 10:34 pm

Do not make such silly and ridiculous comments. Clark is a man of great things.What ever he does, does it perfectly beautifully.Meaning of the Arabic sentence is clear. Had Andrew Symond understood this reality he could not have been thrown out of the team.Well done Clark.

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