The lighter side of China: March 2013

I don’t think I’ve ever actually fallen asleep at work.  Certain meetings or training courses have taken me to the brink, but I’m sure that I’ve never drifted off. A friend who taught in Hong Kong told me how the Chinese are capable of taking a kip anywhere at any time, even for just a few minutes. I would love to be able to do that, and am quietly envious whenever  we come across anyone sleeping on the job, like these guys:

On Guard at the Summer Palace, Beijing

On Guard at the Summer Palace, Beijing

Catching some z's in Yangshuo

Catching some zzzzz’s in Yangshuo

The end of a long day...

The end of a long day…

We are constantly coming across mannerisms that seem to be typically Chinese – the ubiquitous peace signs when posing for photos, or the squat – when leaning or standing would be just as comfortable. It’s encouraged from an early age and is great practice for ablutions in the local facilities.  Sound technique here is vital.

We notice a complete lack of respect for authority in certain situations.  The Shanghai metro uses a somewhat random security system.  There are scanners for bags and passengers, but these are not at every station, and when they do exist, they are voluntary. Occasionally a very timid officer in uniform asks a commuter to scan their bags, but this is generally ignored by locals. Only foreigners unsure of the consequences seem ready to comply.

We also see many examples of bikes carrying precarious loads, but nothing ever seems to spill. Often the family are squeezed in – the younger and smaller they are, the easier they are to pack.

Always room for more

Always room for more

Chinglish is an easy target, but still a damn funny one.  I mentioned the “no striding” rule in an earlier post.  I’ve included it here again, just as a reminder if you find yourself in Guilin and about to stride. Here it is, along with some other fond memories:

No Striding!

No Striding!

Yes, I wanna!

Yes, I wanna!

I have no idea what I should do next.

Yes, always be careful for squeeze.

Ah the other this way!

And I was.

And it was great!

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41 Responses to The lighter side of China: March 2013

  1. Expat Eye says:

    Ha ha, I love those signs! And I also envy people able to sleep anywhere – I have a friend like that and it’s so frustrating travelling with her. Watching her peacefully snoring while I get more exhausted, more uncomfortable and crankier has put our friendship to the test!!

  2. Ms.Z. says:

    OMG, hahahahaha! That got me seriously laughing out loud! Crazy!

  3. Funny stuff. I’ve thought about doing a slide show of guards sleeping on the job. That always makes me chuckle.


  4. drnatalieoak says:

    I want to see these signs live!! Thanks for posting : – )

  5. This is excellent! I am still smiling! I love the weird translated signs you get all over Asia and its only in Asia that I have seen people actually sit and sleep at their jobs!

  6. lightfellow says:

    I am one of those who can get a wink while standing on a busy public metro!

  7. Oh, and I thought Polish English was funny… so thank you for clearing that up, the ‘summer gardens’ that are actually just tables outside of a restaurant are nowhere near as funny as the signs you included. I’d be so very lost in China…

    • westiedad says:

      Hi Kasia, I think the only communication problems I found in Poland were when I tried to speak Polish. That didn’t help. China was actually really easy to get around. I recommend it!

  8. Zooey says:

    Oh boy! I really needed something to make me laugh today and this was it. I could never actually sleep while I was travelling – too scared that I would miss something interesting, but I could always nod off if something caused a delay. We had a lot of those in Mongolia and you’ve made me think that I really must get the scanner out soon 🙂

  9. I agree! I would LOVE to be able to just take a nap like that 😉

  10. Jill London says:

    So funny, and amazing, and unique! Thanks for sharing (love those signs)

  11. One of my fave topics here! I once bought my brother a book called ‘The Joys of Engrish’, funniest thing ever, and I have been dying to get to China so I could make my own version. Funny post and great writing BTW 🙂

    • westiedad says:

      Hi Laura – thanks for the nice feedback :). There’s no shortage of Chinglish over there either! Looks like you’re still in Greece. Look forward to seeing the next installment. Cheers, Mo

  12. I really love these signs… how creative English can be :-)))

  13. Loved it! Takes me back to our 2006 trip. I remember one sign over a particularly steep,cliff read something like ‘no falling over’. GG

    • westiedad says:

      Ha! Great advice. One sign that I left out says “Beware. Perilous rocks”. The peril was a rockery, which I guess would hurt if you look a running jump at it, but it wasn’t exactly perilous!

  14. The sign translations are great – thanks for making me laugh!

  15. Ninik Becker says:

    Well..couldn’t help myself to smile….a lot !

  16. Brenda Addie says:

    Love the signs, they always make me laugh except when I’m in a foreign country and want to know Where to go! Thanks for visiting my blog….All the worlds a stage uncovered.

  17. Loved it! Made me laugh out loud.

  18. petrosyanv says:

    Love the signs! I have seen my share of similar signs in non-English speaking countries, including my own (Armenia), but some of these Chinglish signs are totally incomprehensible! 🙂

  19. stephglaser says:

    So funny! Love the signs. Thanks for stopping by Travel Oops, by the way. Cheers!

  20. gingamusings says:

    We just visited Thailand and Vietnam – Their understanding of English grammar certainly was note worthy :).
    Love the photos !

  21. jacquelinemhadell says:

    Cool pictorial!

  22. leahlarkin says:

    I loved it — interesting and amusing and super photos. Thanks for sharing and fro following by blog.

  23. The signs are brilliant and amusing! Even after so many years it can be startling to see people sleeping in the middle of highways!

  24. Ben says:

    Haha, those signs are fantastic! I’m visiting Asia for the first time this year and I’m really looking forward to spotting some of these myself.

    • westiedad says:

      Hi Ben – thanks for that. I’d seen a few photos of similar signs before going to China, and I was suspicious that they were fake. But no – they’re everywhere. You’ll have many to choose from. Have a great trip!

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