Monday, December 04, 2006


Nobody panic! If you’ve already wept your way through today’s column in the Tufts Daily, my intimations therein that it would be my last are fictitious. I was informed this morning that, by virtue of Tufts’ strange but perennial decision to hold a single day of classes on the Monday of reading period, I have one last column coming next Monday. I’ll be taking requests.

I’d like to share with you all a perfectly brilliant incidence of Chinglish that has really turned my world upside-down since I first saw it. In the men’s room at a nearby teahouse, there are a pair of what appear to be advertisements, one over each urinal. The first, which is otherwise blank except for a tiny picture of a giant squid, reads thusly:

The thief begin to criticize his prentice. “We spend the whole night to open all the strongbox, but every one is empty. Until we open the last strongbox, and you say they are stolen from the strongbox factory!

The second features a poor drawing of a car’s interior, and the caption: Your car is not a strongbox.

If anybody knows what a strongbox is and where I can buy one, please let me know— I’m in the market.

EDIT: According to Noah Webster, 'strongbox' is a perfectly legitimate synonym for 'safe' or 'cash box.' Not that that clarifies the meaning of the advertisements in the least.

While you ponder, pictured below is Beida's famous pagoda tower.
How very Chinese.


Anonymous sai said...

so the first time i read this it was very late at night (or early in the morning) and i read it as "a car's interior" and "your cat is not a strongbox" and i was so confused but wrote it off as chinglish being chinglish.

but car makes so much more sense. sort of. also i'm glad there aren' t drawings of cat interiors floating around in china.

5/12/06 10:17 PM  
Anonymous sai said...

i read it as "a cat's interior"*
i type real good.

5/12/06 10:18 PM  

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