where the writers are
The Elephant likes poetry.

Don't worry broke to every!

Summer Chinglish

By Chelsea Girl in China

On my way home through the backstreets of Shanghai on my bike this evening, I passed four men on the street in their Y-fronts. I also passed a young boy being bathed in a tub on the pavement. This means August has definitely arrived. And with Chinese punctuality, the temperature has gone up at exactly the same time. Nothing confirms you are a long way from home more than a weather forecaster saying: “Tomorrow the temperature should drop to 37 degrees.” With the temperature increase, locals living in old homes with little to no air conditioning move onto the street, chatting in their underwear outside and even sleeping there if they feel like it.

It is also the start of T-shirt silly season. There is a trend to wear shirts bearing messages in English that don’t make sense. And they are not just worn by people who cannot understand English. I’ve seen many cryptic phrases worn by English speakers. The response when you try to read the message, is always: “I don’t know what it means. I just liked it.”

The words range from the snappy: “Dance with me Castaway Dream” to quasi-poetic philosophy, presumably written by a drunk Italian:

Thdt most important thing
laprortect naturdl from
envirnmentol disnplio
Don’t worry broke to every!
Life comes first

Most slogans attempt to carry an instructional message. This one gives fashion advice:

Must buy big accessories
Fashion plastic!
You can wear it to dancing, shopping
no matter,
What clothes trend you dressing
Wearing them to be a cool lady.

You might well think, “Surely there is someone who checks the slogans make sense before the production lines kick into action and produces 20,000″.

That person is known in China as a “polisher”, usually a native English speaker, who “polishes” words so that they make sense.  It makes the next example all the funnier.

The slogan apparently includes the message the quality control person left on top of the design, "Polished it"

I imagine someone checked the Benjamin Franklin quote, “Some are weatherwise, some are otherwise” and left a note to say they had “Polished it”. Whoops