Category: Engrish

Everiday Shanghai Engrish

A correction collection of Engrish spotted during my last trip to Shanghai.
Outside Xiang Yang Market:

Golf equipment specialty store

At the Maglev train station:

Entrance To Train Rides

They obviously don’t like you here. Good riddance!

I’m supposed to walk through the wall?
Who do you think I am? The Incredible Hulk?

Shanghai train stations are not like Singapore MRT stations. You are allowed to take photos here, as long as you are shot in good manner.

Outside a restaurant serving western food:

Tan Ah Beng went to Shanghai and opened a Westerngstyle restaurant


They also serve special food for special people like you and me!

Carrefour Shanghai’s Price Guarantee:

Let’s go Carrefour buy some bang products!
(The word ‘bang’ in this case is the direct translation of the Chinese word °ô (bang4), which means ‘good quality’)

This Mr Brown dunno how to zhng his car, so he became a coffee milk mascot instead.

Mobile phone charging station:

Shanghai people don’t charge their phones. They electrify it.

And my personal favourite:

Third Annual Liang Yang Community Friendly Soccer Match.

Dunno why suddenly got antithetical couplet ocean coming up.

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Finish Your Food

When I was younger, maybe about 4-5 years old, my superstitious grandmother had a hard time trying to get me to finish my food. She’d use all sorts of excuses trying to convince me to swallow every single leftover dish there is on the table.
Grandma: “Quick, finish your food. Don’t you know? Having leftover rice on your plate means next time your wife’s face will have lots of pimples.”
Kenny: “Really?”
Grandma: “Ya. If you leave one grain of rice, she’ll have one pimple. If you leave three grains of rice, she’ll have three pimples.”
Kenny: “Then if I don’t finish the whole plate of rice, her head would become like brocolli is it?”

Come to think of it, I’ve encountered a lot of these dinner-time Chinese superstitions.

– Do not leave the dinner table and wander around doing other things, else you’ll grow up to have a bad attention span.
– Do not stab chopsticks on your bowl of rice as if they’re joss sticks.
– Do not kneel whilst having dinner. I see kids sometimes doing this when they’re eating on the coffee table in front of the TV. To their elders, it means their kids are worshipping the TV, which unfortunately is quite true.
– Do not tap your plate deliberately with your utensils.
– Do not shake your legs while having dinner. It means all your good fortune will be shaken away.

I’m guilty of the last one. I’m born with legs are shaky like a polaroid picture. It’s very bad habit I’m still trying to shake off (no pun intended).
Anyway, I reckon I have pretty good fortune so that superstition must obviously be false. I never believe those superstitious bullshit. If my grandmother were to tell me that shaking your legs would make your legs go hairy, maybe I’d actually listen to her.

My mother is not as superstitious. She has her own way trying to get me to finish my food – by making me feel guilty.
“Finish your food, Kenny. Think of all the malnutritioned children in Bosnia / Nigeria / Ethiopia / [insert name of random poor African nation] who are starving right now if you don’t eat.”
It works everytime. My stomach may be exploding, but I’d still be forcing that last piece of chicken down my throat because dammit, I’m privileged to swallow that piece of chicken, OKAY?!
That probably explains why I’m such a chubby little boy today.
Its only when I grow older that I noticed what a flawed argument my mother had.
Look. Whether I eat that last piece of chicken or let it go to waste, what the hell does it have ANYTHING to do with starving kids in Africa? Why do they even come into the equation? Even if I don’t finish my food, its not like KFC is gonna ship that piece of unfinished chicken all the way to Africa, right?
If you’re already full, stop eating. Why suffer? Don’t feel too guilty about letting half-eaten food go to waste, because anything you swallow after the point of satiation is likely to be stored as fat anyway. (This principle does not apply to anorexic and underweight people btw.)
Which one would make you feel more guilty? Half-eaten food going to waste because you’re full, or an extra inch on your waist because you’re eating more calories than you need? Go to waste, or go to waist?

You think this is a normal RC car. You are so wrong.

If I really want to help those kids, I’d contribute to charity. Join, donate to DoctorsWithoutBorders or something, which I did, and you should.
Why the heck should I let those malnutritioned kids come between me, my chicken, and my path to weight loss?

Its a malnutritioned car!

My mother’s strategy certainly worked on me. Instead of letting good food go the bin, I gorged. Even as my waistline expanded, I gluttonized myself as I ate whatever leftover food there is on the table because dammit… THOSE KIDS IN AFRICA ARE SUFFERING!
Absurdity to the max plus one, I tell you.
There you go. Another myth adults tell children debunked, thanks very much to πŸ™‚

Cannibalism In A Kuching Kopitiam

Take a look at this seemingly innocent picture.

Cannibals discussing recipes.

If you think this is just another one of those kopitiams you can find in Kuching, you couldn’t be more wrong.
Its true that Kuching is a city famous for its cheap and delicious kopitiam food. But I do wonder how many people would be willing to sample this latest addition to the menu.

Our Cantonese cooks are freshly imported from Hong Kong!

I heard that its very popular. Out of curiousity, I asked the ah moi there to show me how they prepare this yummy dish. She happily obliged and I was led to the kitchen at the back.
I wasn’t disappointed.

Best served with meatballs on the side.


I couldn’t verify the source myself, but thanks to reader kk for sending this in.

“My buddy in Shanghai recently sent me this poster he found at a posh Mexican restaurant/bar which I thought is really hilarious and a classic example of bad translation done by mainland cina. And I thought if the prostitutes can read the england, they won’t be prostituting liao leh as China is so in need of england speaking ppl. Anyway, hope you have a good laugh.
kk “

Zapata's Mexican Cantina

Excuse me, do you think I’m a whore?


African drums – vibrators without batteries.

Man. I just got back from the Rainforest Music Festival and I am so totally spent. I shall leave the update till tomorrow. In the meantime, here’s my lame joke attempt for the day.
Do you like this building name?

Well. If you don’t like it, Fook Off.

Reason For Sarawak’s Slow Development

Miri, Sarawak’s second largest town was recently conferred the city status on the 20th May in a milestone event that definitely deserves a place in the history books.

Miri’s own Sith lord… Darth Seahorse!

Whilst many people probably couldn’t care less about the elevation of Miri from town to city, I reckon its an achievement that I as a Sarawakian can and should be proud of. Those who’ve played Simcity before would know how cool it is to watch the sleepy little farming town you built turn into a small city, a big city, then a metropolis and finally a megalopolis.
The addition of Miri city means that Sarawak now officially has three cities. That’s three times more than any other states in Malaysia. In other words, our balls are three times bigger than the rest of Malaysia.

That’s the reason why we export Sarawakian white pepper – to remind you how smalls your balls really are.

I’m just kidding of course. πŸ˜‰ Please activate your sense of humour lah. I admit we kinda cheated by splitting Kuching into North and South cities. Heh, but still.
I like the fact that Sarawak is always distinctively unique compared to the rest of Malaysia. Of course, every state in Malaysia is special in its own right, but from my experiences living in the Australian melting pot, the Sarawakians in general come across as being friendlier, thriftier, more hardworking, more independent and adaptive.
*cough* But I’m just blowing my own horn. πŸ˜‰

Satok Markets – Kuching’s version of Petaling Street.
Despite the apparent growth having three cities, Sarawak is still lacking severely in the facilities, infrastructure and research & development opportunities that the West Malaysians seem to enjoy. So why is Sarawak growing so slowly compared to KL, Johor or Penang?
I’m not alone in thinking that Sarawak is often ignored as Malaysia grows rapidly. To date, a lot of emphasis on development was placed on West Malaysia that the rest of Malaysia sometimes suffer as a result. There’s a lot of potential for Sarawak to grow, but it cannot grow if Federal insists on looking West and not East, which unfortunately is the case.
Anyway, I was thinking the reasons for Sarawak’s apparent slow growth, until yesterday while driving down the road, like a sign from above, I found my answer when I encountered this road sign.


“Ehh…. let’s…… go….. to….. work…… liaw……!”

Note to construction companies: Dammit, stop hiring bloody retards to build your buildings!

Engrish: 99 Balls and 1 Gift

Some of you may have noticed that was down the whole night last night. That’s my fault. Apparently after upgrading my bandwidth allowance to 3GB last week, I managed to blow it once again. No worries, I’ll move my host soon.
To add insult to injury, I scratched the surface of my 2-week old LCD monitor just 5 minutes ago. Now my baby has an unsightly and permanent gash left on it. Good job, Kenny, good job.
In times like these, there’s only one thing that can cheer me up. Three words: Made in China.
I tell you, those products made in China are a gold mine for Engrish. I don’t know what these people are thinking hiring primary school dropouts to design their product packaging exported to the world. One thing for sure, their proficiency of the language makes mrkiasu look like an English teacher.
Take for example, this box of toy balls I spotted at a local supermarket. The name of the product is a creatively named Sunny Cat 99 Balls and 1 Gift.
Box of balls, front shot
On the back of the box, I learnt that the ‘Gift’ in question is actually a netted basket.
Box of balls, back shot
Somehow I get the feeling that they donÒ€ℒt know what ‘basket’ is in English. So they cleverly replaced it with the word ‘gift’ instead.
Box of balls, suggestion
My suspicion was confirmed when they call a ‘basket’ a ‘kid tent’.
Their suggestion seems quite useful. Considering what a shit day I’ve been having, I think I’m just gonna put colourful balls into a ‘kid tent’ just to cheer myself up.
Box of balls, not ice
The side of the box kindly informs me that this box is “not ice”. Like duh, of course I know its not ice, ‘cos otherwise you’d have to put it into a freezer.
Here’s the kicker.
Box of balls, the kicker
I don’t know about you, but I have a strong urge to buy a box of these balls just so that I can stuff them into the mouths of those annoying kids with Heely shoes.

A Change In Profession

This week, I started my new job.
I apologise I can’t say too much about the company I’m working for (no, its not the FBI). Suffice to say that I’m now on the company payroll, working for my father, wearing suit-and-tie to work instead of Tshirt-and-shorts, and addressing my workmates by Mister and Madam instead of by their first name. Still, the working environment here is very different to what I am used to at Spectra Engineering.
What I used to wear Vs What I now wear
Oh, to those who are related to me, much appreciated if you keep the existence of this blog to yourself. To others, I hate the fact that I can’t just say it here. My apologies for being so secretive. My job is not that much of big deal to be honest. But Kuching is a small place, many Kuching people whom I don’t know read this blog and I rather them not know. Anyway, if we ever do meet in real life ask me again ok?
I hate it when the forms you fill ask you redundant questions.
I visited the newest gym in town today, a government-owned gymnasium called Gym Masyarakat. I was ready to give them my RM250 to sign up for an annual membership, but instead they asked me to fill in the application form and wait 2 weeks for approval.
I wave RM250 cold hard cash in my hands, and they want to wait for approval. So I ask them.
“Why would you need approval for going to the gym and staying healthy? Have you ever rejected any applications?”
“Yes we have many rejections!”
“Mainly because they didn’t submit their photos.”

Go figure.
Stupid Gym
So fine. I was presented with the stupidest application form I ever had to fill.
Full Name: Kenny xxx xxx xxx
IC Number: 821127-13-xxxx
Date of Birth: 27-11-1982 (What the fish? Can’t you read my IC number?)
Age: 23 (Can’t you bloody deduce my age from my birthdate?!)
Nationality: Mongolian (OF COURSE MALAYSIAN LAH! I just gave you my Identity Card number didn’t I?! Bloody!)
Damn angry. I had to pay RM10 for a single visit because they need TWO BLOODY WEEKS to have my formal membership approved.
The gym itself was pretty crap. Its nice to see familiar faces though. There’s the heavily tattooed guy who spent all night doing bench presses, the steroid-induced muscle dude helping a scrawny kid spot as he yell profanities at him as a form of encouragement, and that la-la girl who wore hip-hugging jeans and stiletto heels to the gym just to use the threadmill. Nice.
Does anyone know of any good gyms in Kuching?
Fitness First is the only gym I know that seems to get everything right. I’m struggling to find another fitness center here that can deliver a similar quality of service.
Went to Red Tea Road for bubble tea this morning when I noticed this sign.
To Run Business

Bad Engrish at the Education Expo

Bad English spelling and grammar never fail to humour me.
I still recall a story my father told me. Once, he was driving around the rural area of Kuching when he saw a big vacant land. In front of it is big sign board proudly proclaiming “LANG FOR SALE.”
Lang for Sale

‘Lang’ = ‘People’ in Hokkien

I have nothing against bad English. has never been good in English. In fact, I think its very much a Malaysian culture to speak/write English in a less than perfect manner.
That’s not to discount the efforts of education institutions highlighting the importance of the language. Yes, good English is important in a formal setting. But ultimately, the purpose of language is to communicate. We are Malaysians. So long as we understand each other, that’s good enough. No need to speak with the accuracy of BBC grammar, using words Kim would be proud of, complete with an accent to be able to use a language effectively, right?
*cough* Wellll…. now that I’ve say all the nice nice things I wanted to say, let’s all laugh at the people at πŸ˜‰
Kuching Civic Center

The Civic Center building, a proud landmark of Kuching… no more.

Well, last week I went to the Kuching Civic Center because I wanted to take photos of the Kuching cityscape from the top of the building. I was about to take the lift when I realised that the lift was broken.
Lift wants to break it down

The only thing that’s broken is the English

WHAT ‘LIFT BREAK DOWN’ LAH! Either ‘Lift is Broken’ or ‘Lift is Out of Order’! What the fish is ‘Lift Break Down’?! The lift wanna break dance issit?
Actually it doesn’t look too bad if you put MC Hammer in front of it.
MC Hammer 'break it down'
Coincidentally, the Sarawak Education Exhibition was going on at the time so I popped in for a visit. After all, I am planning to pursue an MBA degree when the time is right. I got the information I needed off the Curtin Sarawak booth, which unfortunately was the only education institution I recognised there.
Curtin Sarawak Booth
I actually hated education exhibitions like this due to the fact that they shameless show the money-grubbing side of higher learning. I know its something I have to accept, that universities are businesses and students are customers. But education fairs like this are no different to, say, a computer fair where midriff-baring teenage girls shove pamphlets to your face and the main motivation is to sell, sell and SELL. It really is commercial exploitation of tertiary education at its worst.
Stamford College

The Stamford College booth is as empty as the head of their students.

Apologies for going off topic.
Anyway, there’s not much else to look at at the University Education Fair, so I decided to leave the place… after I filled out a quiz form.
I mean, QUIZ-ZE form! Must be a new word the big shot Universities at the education fair there invented. My bad. πŸ™‚