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Marc Wandschneider is a professional software developer with well over fifteen years of industry experience (yes, he really is that old). He travels the globe working on interesting projects and gives talks at conferences and trade shows whenever possible.

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Mar 10, 2009 | 03:15:56
Chinese Signs, Slogans, and even some Chinglish
By marcwan

While I’m not particularly keen on spending much time posting or talking about Chinglish and bad slogans and signs here in China – there are already plenty of sites on the Internet that do this much better than I – on a recent walk home from having some business cards made, I ran into a number of particularly comical signs, all in the span of a few hundred metres, and all quite chuckle-worthy.

The day started off somewhat surreally as I walked past a local Chinese restaurant, only to have the restaurant name supplemented by “MYSQL”. Buy one bowl of noodles, get an ACID-compliant transactional engine for free?

It turns out that the name of the restaurant is 明月三千里, or míng yuè sān qiān lǐ. Hence, the MYSQL. Still, good fun:

Next, I walked past a massage parlour that advertised “Cupping and scrape measles”. Cupping, or báhǔoguàn (拔火罐), is a reasonably common treatment here in China, which provides topical relief on the skin for various ailments. Scraping, or gūashā (刮痧), is another frequently used treatment for heatstroke and other discomforts involving scraping the back of the neck or upper back. Unfortunately, there is no direct translation like cupping, so when you take the two characters separately, the first gives you scraping, the second gives you “acute ailment”, such as measles or some other virus. Hence, some great sign fun.

Not that it’s a hugely common problem here in China, but I guess the maintainers of this little garden next to a scrool, across the road from the parlour, wanted to make sure that nobody would use their cute little park as a public toilet (there is actually a public toilet about 20m away). Hence this sign asking exactly that:

With the huge fire of the Mandarin Hotel building next to the new CCTV complex on the east Third Ring Road due to unauthorised fireworks, construction sites all around the city are now being extra careful to point out that fireworks are illegal in the city now that Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) is over. This one reminds readers that fireworks are illegal inside the 5th ring road:

And finally, I went to meet a friend for some lunch, and walked past a DVD store with this gem in the window:

Evidence suggests they meant to use the word “painting”, which would also be incorrect. The sign asks you not to write any graffiti on their windows. This is in Sanlitun, a big party area on Friday and Saturday evenings, with huge crowds of drunken foreign kids from 10pm until late.

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