Chinglish, knockoffs, & packaging

The Chinese are fascinated by all things Western.  They want to be western.  They are very familiar with McDonalds, KFC, Coke, Pepsi, etc.  The western influence is everywhere here with a smattering of English to go with it. We have been gathering tidbits of “Chinglish”…a combination of English from a Chinese perspective…it comes out sounding a little funny when we read it, we’re sure English translations to Chinese would sound funny to Chinese people.  We bought a couple of folding canvas chairs for our balcony deck that are made here and exported to the US…they were a bit more expensive here than they would be in the US, maybe because they weren’t exportable because of the labeling?  One chair is green and is labeled “GreenLife” in big letters, and underneath it it says, “GreenLife wishes many people to freshness in their daily lives.”  It sounds like it might be a label for an environmentally made deodorant!  The other chair is labeled “MoLife.”  So maybe you can get “mo” out of “life with this chair!  Labels aside they are both good chairs.

Chinese Hotel Instructions

We have found in places that cater to expatriates like ourselves, there are often instructions written in Chinglish to help us.  For example, we stayed in a hotel on the third floor and there was a sign that read,  “Warm Suggestion…please don’t climbe the window…” which we interpreted to mean “For your safety, please do not climb out the window!”

English names abound in stores here such as Mister Pizza, Franco Papa, Hot Chic, Simon’s Cafe, Decathlon Sporting Goods.
Some Chinglish comes out of spelling and literal translation.  Last night we went to a very good restaurant and had dumplings.  The menu was written in Chinese and had the English translation.  Some of the translations are a bit too literal to be appealing…such as “gultinous” rice (spelling should be “glutinous”) instead of “sticky” rice…  or “cow stomach” instead of “tripe”… we will be looking for more examples.
We saw a sports enthusiast wearing a number sports shirt with the name “Alivn.” on the back, which should have read “Alvin.”  This leads us to Chinese “knock-offs,” copies of products with regular copyrighted labels…China has no such laws…anything can be copied.  We looked at some items with labels like Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Converse, Adidas…and can’t tell it they are real or “knock-offs.”  They are very good copies.
We have found the Chinese to be experts at packaging.  Things are shrink-wrapped, taped, stapled,…to the point where you need a very sharp knife to get in. We bought some peanut brittle cookies packaged in a plastic box with silver tape around that.  We used a knife to cut the tape, but when we removed it, there was a thick glue substance still on the package.  We got through that to the cookies, but every time we got near the box, we would get stuck to the glue.  We put the box into the cupboard and the next time we opened the cupboard the box flew out as it had stuck to the door!  Efficiency seems to be the focus of packaging.  Bread comes with the little “twisties” enclosure, however, the Chinese only use a short length of “twistie” so it is very difficult to close back up again.
The Chinese continue to amaze and fascinate us.  Each day is a new discovery while living in China.

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