Monday, April 03, 2006

Say no to language ignorance

The NYTimes today has a funny article about westerners getting tattoos in Chinese or other Asian characters. You know, after i started studying Chinese and seeing the ridiculous characters brazenly emblazoned on clothing, pillows, and sheets, etc, without any concept of meaning I thought people were silly. But it's just beyond stupid to get a tattoo of words you don't even understand. Tian Tang, an engineering student born in China has an entire blog devoted to misuse of Chinese characters over at http://www.hanzismatter.com. My favorite has got to be the "ease of gas retention" and the Finnish racist who downloaded an "Asian font" and got "Say No to Niggers" tattooed on his back. Riiight. That's what you get for being a racist.

Oh, and is Chinese really the language of god? Tien Tang says, "I don't think so."

I don't agree with the Asian person quoted in the article that it's "insulting" to Asian culture (these people are too busy insulting themselves), but in fact, it's rather...sweet, in a wanting to be multicultural and open-minded kind of way. Though I guess it can also be seen as exoticizing a language system used by millions of people, and as a result, reinforces the idea of Asians as "other" rather than fellow human beings. Whatever. That's their stupidity; and by the way, I have great secret mystical Chinese characters that will touch your soul all for the low price of $99.99.

Of course Asians in Asia are also obsessed with how "cool" Western characters are. Just take a look at Engrish.com. See if you can find Elmo under the toy section

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