Lost in the Translation December 2001

Shun—shun the Bowl! That fatal, facile drink Has ruined many geese who dipped their quills in it; Bribe, murder, marry, but steer clear of ink… -Rudyard Kipling, The Man Who Could Never Write

So fortunate we Americans are that English has become the world’s language. Wherever we travel, chances are that we can communicate at some level with a basic English vocabulary. English has become the most used language on Earth, but at the same time, it has become the most MISUSED language on Earth! Verbal inaccuracies pass quickly into the mist of the forgotten, but from time to time a printed piece will surface that demands special note. But you must be alert because they really do sneak up on you. Last month on a visit to northern China we passed through the airport in Shenyang.

In China, and in most countries there are military and civilian airports… but in Shenyang a shaky translator and a bold sign painter pooled their talents and created a masterpiece welcoming visitors to “SHENYANG, A CIVILIZED AIRPORT.” It is in a small park in the port city of Qingdao, China, however, that a masterpiece is to be found that will someday amaze and befuddle archeologists. As you enter the park a list of rules is presented that I would like to share with you.

In order to make the Zhanqiao garden in good order, and in order to offer a tidy, beautiful, civilized, and safe tourism environment for travelers, we constituted the administrative institution as follows:

1. Ticketing management model will be execated (trying) in the management time 7:00am- 20:00PM, soldiery, incapacity, old and home-born citizen are free with their valid identification. The other tourist must buy the ticket.

2. In China holiday, all of the people are free. Please take care of the flowers, grasses, trees and all of the other services consciously; please don’t spin spittum offhand, don’t throw off peeling, wastepaper and roach, don’t detoured junk to sea, don’t paste advertising printing offhand.

3. Please observe the public cosmos, please don’t brawl. Don’t lush, don’t play ball, go fishing, go swimming and etc. here.

4. Forbid gamble, divining and begging.

5. Forbid entering of any kind of vehicle (except for vehicle with baby and disability person.)

6. The merchants should merchandise reputably in the appointed area of the garden, forbid illegal running.

7. Forbid commercial consulting and propaganda unless the permission of the managing department of the garden.

8. The person who contravenes the institution will be prevented and punished by the managing department will punish the serious one.

9. The institution will apply from the publishing date.

~Garden Environment Sanitation Managing Department.

Have a Happy New Year and we’ll see you in Anaheim.

Richard Keldsen
San Francisco
December 2001