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Archive for the 'China-isms' Category

London Bridge…

Falling carpark

How's this for a sterling piece of Chinese construction? We spotted this whilst out for a walk one day. In Australia, I can't think of any buildings constructed on flat ground that have collapsed of their own accord. 

The dumping ground

I am no longer surprised by some of the more unusual sights and sounds here in China, but this one rates a mention.

We boarded the KCR rail at the Luo Hu border crossing to go into Hong Kong last night. As we walked through the carriages, vainly hoping for a seat, we came across two vacant seats. As I sat down I noticed a very bad smell and Gail pointed at something on the floor, like footprints that had trodden in something they shouldn't have. I turned around and on the floor behind this seat was a horrid pile of yellow industrial waste poo all over the floor. Needless to say, we changed to another carriage, carefully dodging the mess on the floor.

The most probable cause would be a Chinese toddler with split pants (the Chinese don't use nappies) who simply couldn't hold it any longer. 

This begs the question, how does the KCR deal with this sort of thing? The trains simply run back and forth, back and forth. At the terminal stations a few cleaners with a broom and dustpan sweep the train but they don't have the capabilities to deal with this sort of mess. Every time the trains are stopped there are passengers getting on and off and then the trains are off again. The schedules are so tight there's no room to delay a train whilst a mess is cleaned up. The only thing I can think of is to pull the train out of the system at a terminal station and replace it with another train.

As it was, passengers riding in that car had to put up with this steaming pile the full length of the journey. 

Seeing Double

Fake Fifty Yuan note

Take a close look at the two pictures above. One of them is a fake, can you guess which one?

We were slipped this fake 50 in some change on Sunday night. I've had a few fake 1 Yuan coins before but never a note, even though fake 50's and 100's are common. The most obvious difference is in the type of paper. It feels thicker and harder than the real money paper. The second most obvious difference is that there's less texture on the printed areas, as the ink on the fake is obviously thinner. Thirdly, the silver thread that is sewn into the real note is merely printed onto the fake note and the alignment is wrong anyway. Fourthly, there are a number of areas where the text on the fake lacks the clarity on the real note. Fifthly, the font size for each character in the note serial number varies (on the reverse side) . On the fake they haven't got this quite right. Sixthly, the water mark looks a bit wishy-washy on the fake. Seventhly, some of the colouring is slightly off.

The money used here in China is all still paper-based, not plastic like ours. Combine that with the locals' desire to get ahead whatever the cost and you can see why fake money is common in China. I think it's tied in with why many people see no problems with fake watches, handbags, golf clubs, etc. Legitimacy is a fair way down on the Chinese priority list. Honour and shame hold much more sway than truth and lies.

No day out in Shenzhen would be complete without a few Engrish experiences. This seems to be a more common occurrence in the more tourist-oriented places. I think this is because these are the sorts of places where they try really hard to label things in English. Inevitably, the increase in the use of English also increases the opportunity for error. Here are some examples from our recent trip to Splendid China. They're all text-driven so you'll probably need to click on the images to make them nice and big so that you can read them clearly.

Fire hadrant Toilet sign

A Fire Hadrant? Spell check please! The next one doesn't contain any spelling errors but it was located on the side of the path. I'd like to know exactly where they want you to go to the toilet. Does one simply squat at the base of the sign, Chinese style?

Read the sign for Mazu's memorial temple closely. I'm not sure I even know what 'adoally' was supposed to be. A little later the word 'posthumously' is used, in a correct but nevertheless funny way. Look closely at the 'C' at the start of the sign under the golden horse. Do you recognise it from somewhere?

Chinese paper cut

This was my favourite from the day. I didn't realise Chinese paper could be so lethal! Get your Chinese paper from here at your own risk!

Double the fun

My table tennis bat

Take a close look at this photo (click to enlarge). Every once in a while I go for a hit of P?ng P?ng Qìu (table tennis) with a foreign colleague. We've done so often enough now that I decided to buy my own bat. After just about breaking the bank (RMB 90 ) ) I'm now the owner of this DHS brand bat. According to the manufacturer I should now be very, very happy.

Crusty ones

Crusty 1 Yuan note

Because the Chinese money is still paper-based money it tends to deteriorate with time. This is most true of the 1 Yuan notes, the foundational single element of the Chinese economy. Either the 1 Yuan notes are very old or they deteriorate really fast. Chinese money is grubby and the smaller notes seem to go soft and tear easily. I received this particularly manky example as change at a restaurant. I've had worse.

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