Posts Tagged 'funny stuff'

Hang on!

You’ve been riding in your taxi cab over stretches of highway for about 20 minutes. Suddenly your driver, ever so nonchalantly, reaches for his seat belt and clicks it in.

Time to panic?


Seeking New Editwr

The DVD industry is huge in China. Nearly as soon as a new movie is released in theaters, a street copy will show up in a slick plastic sleeve complete with an official looking insert. On closer look, that insert tends to make wild assertions and errors that make it quite comical. (Did you know Julia Roberts starred in "The Sound of Music"?)

But the synopsis descriptions on the back of the sleeve are sometimes hilariously mistyped, as if the person copying them has never used English in their life! Here is the one for the Disney/Pixar movie called "Cars."

Disney/POCAR Cars. The high-cotame adwerture comedy from the croalors of Tey Story, The Cocredioles ["The Incredibles"] and Finding Dietro, new looks and sound beter then ever in the Blu-ray Disc Crested from the original Digitd souce the. Hoeshol race car Ligtring McOueen (Oween Wison) is Fring Life in the Fast lans – line he lits a detour and gels sorarced in Fadictr Springs, ["gets stranded in Radiator Springs"]. A torrxitten town in House EE. There he meets Sally. Liater, Doe Hudson (Paul Newiten) and a heap of Vilrious ["hilarious"] characters who help him discover theres more is mie than bophies and lame.

If anyone has the latest edition of the Chinglish dictionary, let us know if you can decipher any of this- but we suspect this may be a dialect!

Mei Mei Muller!

Naughty little Mei Mei!

Well, it’s happened. We named our daughter Rosaline, but her name seems to be Mei Mei. Mei Mei means little sister in Chinese, and it seems to have become her name here. So much so, that last night when she BIT her mama (pretty hard, I might add), I reacted by saying, “Mei Mei Muller, don’t bite mama!” without even thinking about it.

Watch out!

Not sure what to make of the Chinglish translation at the ATM machine:

"If the machine does not vomit cash, please speak to front desk manager"

The Riddle of the Belt

Here’s a real-life riddle: When driving in a car in China, two of the five occupants reach for and fasten their seat belts, while the other three do not. What could be one of the only explanations?

Answer: Three of the riders are Chinese. One is American, the other, Taiwanese!

Make it a Bud

Having an infant brings a fringe benefit along with the sleepless nights: late-night Chinese TV. Fewer things are more bizarre than regular Chinese programming, but the late-night shows certainly take the prize.

One interesting difference of cultural note, however: commercials and advertising strategy. For instance, they sell Budweiser beer here, probably brewed in a local plant on this side of the ocean. Beer gets plenty of ad space on TV, as well as hard liquor, both being standard fare at any Chinese celebration. It’s a little weird to see happy family gatherings on TV with everyone downing shots.

But watching the Bud beer commercial: gone are the sleek, seductive women, the burly weatherworn cowboys, the pickup trucks and ice chests. Instead, enter a parade of ants(!), large black ants, towing bottle upon bottle of Bud beer in perfect formation across national landmarks (including the Great Wall of course), and then showering them upon grateful citizens who are celebrating together, each bottle carefully wrapped in a red felt bag to hearken the coming Spring Festival gifts. Here the advertising currency trades on feelings of patriotism, group celebration, and gift exchange, absolute cornerstones of Chinese culture. They know what makes a sale, and push it for all it’s worth.

But the ants?? Here’s the element of the bizarre that permeates much of Chinese media and culture. With a country developing at rocket speed, the connections holding all the pieces together can seem rickety at times. But in a postmodern age, who’s to be the judge?

So grab your bud and celebrate as a national duty, and don’t forget your little crawly friends.

Flowers for the occasion

When the lady helping me buy flowers for our wedding anniversary gave me a look of shock, I knew I had crossed some sort of cultural boundary.

Similarly, when a streetside cook jested that I give one of the flowers to his female colleague, and she refused, I thought something was up.

Celebrating our wedding anniversary, I bought Liz a big bunch of bright yellow chrysanthemums. They looked so happy, I thought. But the lady at the flower stand chatting with me said “No! You can’t give your wife those!” The flower seller himself stepped in, “He’s a foreigner, it’s ok.”

Puzzled, I paid for the flowers, and gave them to a very happy wife on return home. A big burst of yellow still lightens our dining table.

Tutoring some students the next day, I took out a Chinese coin to talk about heads-or-tails. What’s on the tails side? “A flower,” the student replied. What kind of flower? “A mum.” Very impressive vocabulary!

“We give those to dead people.”

Wait- dead people?

“Yes, when people die, we always give this kind of flower. We never give it to friends.”

There I go again, displaying my ignorance of 5,000 years of culture. And I can’t say it will be the last time either.

Liz still loves the flowers.

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June 2018
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