I Not Fool – Yu Fule

I have just been to see my pusher and purchased another little nickel bag.

In my case it is not exciting chemistry – it is a a tool for making model airplanes. A small sandpaper and metal plate set that allows me to file bits off plastic kits with the sort of precision that none of you care about. It was inexpensive and well-built. The firm that made it are a respectable company somewhere in Taiwan or Guangzhou who produce dozens of useful items. I value their products and seek them for preference whenever I need to add another tool to the workshop. Never been disappointed yet.

But, Oh Good Lord…their packaging instructions…

I can read them, but with a tongue in a cheek full of fried rice. I dare not reproduce the text or paraphrase it lest I be accused of racist slander or vaudevillian excess. It has errors of spelling, punctuation, spacing, concept, and grammar on every line…and these are repeated multiple times. The Chinese language portions of the package may be flawless – I do not have the honour of speaking their language – but I do have the honour of speaking my own, and this version is either gross ignorance or equally gross insult.

We do not need to converse with each other in pidgin – either pidgin English or pidgin Mandarin. There are skilled speakers and writers of each language that can translate whatever you wish to convey smoothly. Yu not need write bad…me not read bad.

I suspect this is a cultural thing. The writers in the Taiwanese or Chinese factory do not wish to lose face by accepting criticism or by making changes based upon other people’s knowledge. It begs the question whether they make equally horrid fists of it when they write packaging or websites for other languages; French, German, Spanish, or Afrikaans come to mind.

And that mind is currently boggling as hard as it can.

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