Monday, June 5, 2006

chinglish

Many people like to read butchered English translations which are usually good for a laugh. There was a great example in the hotel I stayed in last Thursday in Shanghai. It was a notice or warning from the Shanghai police to beware of a certain scam victimizing tourists. I mean, word usage was weird.

I was about to copy it so I could email it home when the Lord brought me under conviction with a question, "Why is this funny?”

Anyone with a little effort would be able to figure out what the sign meant. Why did this make me laugh? Could it be that the“humor” allowed me to feel superior? Was I putting down someone else so I could I felt better about myself? Why laugh and put down someone"s good faith effort to help?

Here I am in a country where all I can say in their language is“thank you" and much of the time, I do not get that right. My table manners were never the best, but here I eat with chopsticks as if I were 18 months old and a palsy victim. People have been nothing but gracious and understanding, desiring to help me while I make buffoonish hand gestures.

And I am making fun of their English?

So, what did the sign say? I do not remember but I know what it meant. I know on a couple of levels.

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