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Speak in Engrish

The Chinese have a way with the English language, not unlike the way we do, but certainly with more twists and turns, writes Vikram Sood.

india Updated: Aug 07, 2007 00:47 IST
Vikram Sood
Vikram Sood

The Chinese have a way with the English language, not unlike the way we do, but certainly with more twists and turns. Two weeks of travel across China and English took on a character that was distinctly Chinese. At the Kumbum monastery in Xining, we were repeatedly advised to “Kindly refrain from smoking to take photographs.” There was no time to visit the local entertainment joint in Xining which advertised itself as “No No” and promised “Forget Sadness” and urged its clients to “Fly Your Passions”.

The hotel in Lhasa helpfully suggested “In order to solve the problems which causes you uncomfortable of oxygen not enough at the plateau, except to offer the oxygen machine in your room and we also offer the oxygen bags rent.” Take a breath. Thankfully, oxygen cylinders were provided in each room, so the message was fairly clear. The pictorial book helpfully suggested that “It aims to guide and transmit Tibet Cultural disseminator industries by the manners of tour consumption and culture disseminator industries exploiting Tibet cultural geography resources to promote the cultural connotation of Tibet tour industries.” Or whatever. A computer print-out inside the book warned “Not for give as present.” I left it behind.

But the jewel in the crown was the one spotted in a hotel lobby in Diqing, Shangrila.

“Dear Friend,” it said, “Welcome to Di Quing Sightseeing Hotel. In order to enable you to check the thing and the baggage obtains safety control, and provides quickly the high quality service for you, please earnestly to read the matters needing attention: 1. The hotel provides the free baggage service to check the service, 2. The forbidden object strictly prohibits checking, 3. Brittle goods, when checking, please specially explained to the bellman, and takes out the checks; to the staff had not explained causes damage which occurs, the hotel will not to undertake the compensation responsibility, 4. To the cash, the jewellery, the camera and so on the valuables please going

to the ‘Cash Desk’ to transact the formalities, checks the safe deposit box.”

That is ‘Engrish’ as “she is spoke in China”, where ‘Hali Bota’ is good old Harry Porter with Chinese characteristics.

First Published: Aug 07, 2007 00:44 IST

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