3rd April, 2014
Simplified Chinese Characters
In many public places in Hong Kong, from the airport to international hotels, signs are written in Simplified Chinese. The decision makers of these companies gave a laughable reason for such decision: (Mainland) Chinese do not understand Traditional Chinese characters, in Communist’s term it is called “Complicated Characters”.
Years ago, an executive level chap told me told me that Chinese do not understand Traditional Chinese characters, companies should include Simplified characters in signs and other materials to show respect (to Chinese customers).
I giggled and said, “Let’s have a bet since you said that (Mainland) Chinese do not understand Traditional Chinese characters!” I took a piece of paper, and wrote six characters in Traditional Chinese with a marker pen: Communist Party – Son of a Bitch (共產黨龜兒子: the original characters mean “Communist Party – Son of Turtle”, the first three characters 共產黨 means Communist Party, but breaking it down they mean “Common/Together” “Asset” “Party”; the last three characters: 龜 means “Turtle” and兒子is a term which means “Son”). I then said, “Look! In these six characters, the four most important ones are the so-called Complicated Characters. Would you dare to go to four cities in China, cities of your choice, may it be (tier one cities) Peking, Shanghai, Canton, Chengdu, or Qiqihar, Guiyang, Yantai, Haikou, and hold this piece of paper up in the middle of the trains stations in these four cities for one hour? If you can return safely, I would give you USD56,000. However, if you disappear, I will not pay you anything and you have to bear all the consequences. Would you dare to take this challenge?”
This elite immediately lost his words.
I said, “Don’t worry! In China, nobody understands Traditional Chinese characters. The four characters in the middle (i.e. 產黨龜 which means “Asset”, “Party” and “Turtle” respectively) are “Complicated” Characters. If anyone asks, you could tell them the phrase means “Together (we) have a son” or “Together (we) worship Confusion”. No matter what, they should not be able to understand. Nothing for you to worry about!”
The face of this elite who works in Central turned grey.
I then said it in a serious tone, “You Hong Kong-nationalist dare to look down on our Chinese cousins and treat them as if they are illiterates! They do not understand Traditional Characters is BS! You do not understand them and think they are all fools! They see you all right through as if their eyes are X-rays! This is exactly why Hong Kong cannot compete with China and Communist Party on the political level!”
Today, another international hotel* used the excuse that Chinese tourists not being able to read Traditional Characters and put up signs written in Simplified Characters is an insult to Chinese, which makes people angry. My offer remains valid (the USD56,000 bet), and would extend this challenge to everyone in Hong Kong who wants to add Simplified Characters to signs. There is nothing for them to worry about, Chinese cannot read Traditional Characters! Write down the above six characters clearly on a cardboard and stand in the middle of a train station in China for an hour, make sure you film the whole hour. People passing by will start whispering and pointing at you very soon. If you can return to Hong Kong safely, I will pay up. If I do not pay up, I will happily be called “a son of a turtle (a bitch)”
By Chip Tsao
This article is ironic, meant to demonstrate the fact that Chinese (or Mainlanders) do understand Traditional Chinese Characters, but they insist on the world to follow their “official language” to show their superiority.
* The international hotel here refers to Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong – after pictures of the hotel’s Simplified Characters signs were circulated online, within 24 hours, the hotel took the signs down.