Category Archives: Language

Happy Year of the Snake: Beware of the Bite

A slithery snake in China

Year of the Water Snake: A slithery snake in China – Watch out for the bite!

A slithery snake moving in a way where its body undulates making it difficult to tell the direction it is actually moving in. Luckily the snake above, pictured in Du’an, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Southern China, was slithering away hence the daring photo.

My Chinese friends tell me this is what we can anticipate in the Year of the Water Snake:

“When something seems to go in one direction, and then, suddenly, veers off in a completely different direction”.

So even after a turbulent Year of the Dragon, it would seem we’re not yet out of the woods. However, if you have the natural agility of the snake, with an ability to negotiate the unexpected, then this may well be your year!

A very Happy Year of the Snake to you. 祝您新春快乐, 蛇年大吉 / 祝您新春快樂, 蛇年大吉, which for the uninitiated reads “”Zhù Nín XīnChūn KuàiLè, Shé Nián DàJí”

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Accurate China Insight: Preparing for Marriage – Ireland to use EU Presidency to lay groundwork for negotiating landmark EU-China Free Trade Agreement?

…..Or at least that’s what reading between the lines would appear to reveal as being the over-riding objective. Today in an address to the European Parliament’s International Trade Committee Richard Bruton TD, Ireland’s Minister of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation,  stated:

“..It was evident at the last Summit that there is considerable richness and potential in our relationship with China. We would like to prepare the ground for the next summit so that the conditions would be ripe to launch negotiations for a landmark investment agreement with market access..”

[Source / read more: http://www.4-traders.com/news/Department-of-Jobs-Enterprise-and-Innovation-of-I-Opening-Remarks-by-Minister-Richard-Bruton-TD–15961031/]

The paragraph immediately preceding this statement refers to FTA [Free Trade Agreement] negotiations with Japan and India, while further down in his speech the Minister speaks of FTAs with individual ASEAN members. 

While the specific language used in relation to China talks about “…a landmark investment agreement with market access..”, given the overall context in which the speech was made, the implication is clear – an FTA between the EU (European Union), China’s largest trading partner, and China is the ultimate goal. Such an objective marks a hugely significant turning point in the development of the EU’s China engagement strategy: Marriage is on the cards.

The visit to Ireland in February 2012 by paramount leader General Secretary Xi Jinping, which was hastily followed up by Irish Prime Minister, Taoiseach Enda Kenny‘s return trip to Beijing the following month, not only demonstrates that China, the EU’s second largest trading partner, would make for an eager marriage companion, but it also signifies China backing for Ireland’s unilateral embracement of the role of EUChina marriage maker as a key feature of its Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

Given Minister Bruton’s speech to European Parliament’s International Trade Committee, the acknowledgement by General Secretary Xi Jinping at his March 2012 reunion with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Beijing that …

“… The development of China-Ireland relations can serve as a driving force in boosting China-Europe ties..”

[Source / read more: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2012/0326/breaking59.html]

…would appear to be prophetic indeed.

Going forward, Ireland’s eager and unilateral adoption of the role of ‘marriage maker’ would seem to indicate a future political relationship with Beijing deriving far more economic benefit to the country than its trading relationship.

Meanwhile, as mentioned in the Accurate China Insight dated 21 November 2013 http://www.accuratelimited.com/blog.view.php?id=ITvZZdNpXFs= all augurs well for Chinese President-designate Xi Jinping‘s return to Ireland in June 2013.

As noted in the Accurate China Insight dated 20th November :

“…Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of The European Union provides a fantastic opportunity for Ireland to yet again punch above its weight in the eyes of China’s leaders and media……. Moreover, EU-China -related summits in Ireland will provide Europeans with their first real chance to measure the mind-set of China‘s new leadership towards its biggest trading partner…”

[Source / read more: http://www.accuratelimited.com/blog.view.php?id=+8G9kXqGg28=]

Accurate China Insight: Ireland to use EU Presidency to lay groundwork for negotiating landmark EU-China Free Trade Agreement?

From engagement to marriage: Ireland takes on the role of EU-China marriage maker

Sources: Accurate China Business Services:  http://www.accuratelimited.com/blog.view.php?id=dOanRm3VH+U=

https://nialljoreilly.wordpress.com/2011/10/14/should-the-ireland-propose-a-free-trade-agreement-with-china/

Niall O’Reilly

Managing Director, Accurate Group – Ireland China Product & Business Development (Export Sourcing Import) Consultancy

Accurate China Insight (1) http://www.accuratelimited.com/blog.php  

Accurate China Insight (2)  

Tel:  Dublin, Ireland +353 1271 1830 /  Hangzhou, China +86 152 5719 4468   

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Filed under Accurate China Business Services, Accurate China Insight, Business, China, China Ireland, Chinese, Economy, European Union (EU), Fortune telling, Ireland, Language, Politics, trade, Wedding, writing, Xiamen

My multilingual Chinese friend

I asked a Hong Kong Chinese friend if she spoke French:

Yes!“, she replied “Louis Vuitton, Hermes, and croissant

and “so how’s your Irish?” I ask

Heineken” she replies.

My multilingual Chinese friend

As Confucius put it:

“Real knowedge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance”

知之为知之,不知为不知,是知也

(Zhīzhī wéi zhīzhī bùzhī wéi bùzhī shì zhīyě)

Analects of Confucius (551 BC – 479 BC)

While gregarious Irishman Oscar Wilde declared:

“There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating; people who know absolutely everything,

and people who know absolutely nothing”

-Oscar Wilde, Irish dramatist, novelist, & poet (1854 – 1900)

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China – Under The Hood: Chinglish – The Written Word

The very worst chinglishButt Head Against The Wall - China - Under The Hood -Bu Hao Yisi - The animated joys of everyday living in ChinaChina Under the hood - condoms -The written word Chinglish

Strenuous efforts by China’s masses to learn English have generated a new language: English words with Chinese sentence structure:

  • “..i know the name of our company will be a littler strange but in the fact , our boss is very rich…
    -Mr. Ou, Export Manager, IVI Bathroom Sensations Co., Ltd, — a water pump supplier (27th January 2011)  ……… which, at the end of the day, says everything about doing business in China in 2011! 
  • Each colleague, eachfriend: Very the developmenthistory that our website, 5 more tha  ten years of welcome debarkation tell we, at we are together to creates for the society wealth of process inside, supported mutually to closed to shine on, realizes the doubled to win mutually. But development today largerly the space, we will still whole heartedly support you!
    company with virtuous for the foundation, virtuous regarding way as the “.We insist operate the business enterprise theconduct and actions to make stronger with develop the socialcivilization to purpose, and take orders the “ top well if water, thick and virtuous carry the thing” of ancient , use our effort to mine to take for you it not the exhausted “ roll to roll wealth”!Investment limited company MOHAMED Sir Come the company to investigate to choose Buy the equipment”
    – The President Address, Hebei Nanpi Machinery Manufacture Co., (http://www.cnnpm.com/english/). Maybe Shakespere started the same way “Friends, Romans Countrymen lend me your ears… Powerful stuff Mr. President
  • You may know that China is of potent government administration system, however many “individualistic  promise” will be offered from some top officials in wine table in some cities, for which it is intoxicating  for most new investors, but the fact has been proved as unreliable and untraceable in past decade. Because the officials position tenure is as short as meteor in China and the PROMISE will be only effective when he is in incumbent position”
    – Clive Zhu, — -Assistant Manager, Business Development Department, SIP Science & Technology -Development Co., Ltd (20th May, 2008)
  • “I thought that we can more direct-viewing carry on the quoted price”
    – Bailey Dong, Assistant Manager, Haiyan Jindi Fastener Co., Ltd (29th February, 2008)
  • Thank you for welcoming, and welcome to goodbye”.
    – Succinctly spoken by a friendly Xiao Fei Yang waitress as she bid me farewell (30th October, 2007)
  • Tell us your favor and give me your image, we must do our best to follow you. tks!”.
    – Caesar Tsu, Kingsun (Nanjing) Co., Ltd  (7th August, 2007)

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China – Under The Hood: Chinese tongue twisters

I‘m not the only person in China who finds the Chinese language mystifying. So do millions and millions of Chinese people. Since many words sound the same or confusingly similar, it is quite common to see people make considerable efforts explaining to others, they’ve only met, the meaning of a Chinese character, such as that contained in a surname.

For instance, during a telephone conversation you might hear someone introduce herself as “I am Ms. Xu, that’s the ‘Xu bu’  (walk slowly) ‘Xu’ and not the ‘Xu duo’ (a lot of) ‘Xu’“. Without such a clarification it can be quite difficult using sound alone to clearly understand someone’s meaning.

And if your find all that bewildering then here’s a real tongue-twister that is perfect as a hangover cure (and which makes our English language “she sells seashells…” and “betty bought a bit of butter..” sequences absolutely painless).

Try reading the following (according to its pitch/tone) after a night on the town:

《施(shī)(shì)(shí)(shī)(shǐ)

(shí)(shì)(shī)(shì)(shī)(shì)

(shì)(shī)

(shì)(shí)(shí)(shī)

(shì)(shí)(shí)(shì)(shì)(shì)(shī)

(shí)(shí)

(shì)(shí)(shī)(shì)(shì)

(shì)(shí)

(shì)(shī)(shì)(shì)(shì)

(shì)(shì)(shì)(shí)(shī)

(shì)(shǐ)(shì)

使(shǐ)(shì)(shí)(shī)(shì)(shì)

(shì)(shí)(shì)(shí)(shī)(shī)

(shì)(shí)(shì)

(shí)(shì)湿(shī)

(shì)使(shǐ)(shì)(shì)(shí)(shì)

(shí)(shì)(shì)

(shì)(shǐ)(shì)(shí)(shì)(shí)(shī)

(shí)(shí)

(shǐ)(shí)(shì)(shí)(shī)(shī),实(shí)(shí)(shí)(shī)

(shì)(shì)(shì)(shì)

Which translated apparently means “a poet called Shi who lived in a stone house and became addicted to eating lions. He went in search of them and found ten in a market, but realized that they were all dead when he got home“. The last four “shi” encourage the reader to check the translation for him/herself.

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Two days in January: Guinness, drugs, bar brawls in China, the Gardai (Irish Police), and a roller-coaster

Saturday 10th / Sunday 11th January

Irish and Chinese pub scenes

Last Sunday appears a bit hazy, but now come to think of it, that’s probably due to the four pints of Plain (Guinness) I swallowed the previous Saturday evening with close friend and business partner P at the swank (for Dun Laoghaire at least) setting of Bordega’s Bar −well it used to be when it first opened as the 40 Foot Bar.

We didn’t mention the ‘A’ (Accurate) word once, except to remind ourselves not to mention the ‘A’ word (we’d our thinking caps on all week long planning our line of attack for 2009 and it was now time for a break, let the hair down). More to the point, there were far too many distractions in the Pub, and I’m not referring to the overly cosmeticized peroxide blondes, or the Chinese bar-tenders speaking in a Dublin dialect…. “How’r yah…what’ill yah ave” and the like. Dalian seemed another planet away.  No, the highlight was the barney (argument) between what appeared to be a Concerned Parents Against Drugs parent who over in the far corner of the bar had confronted a peddler of death and destruction, otherwise known as a drug dealer (like their European neighbours, Ireland’s towns and cities are blighted by the scourge of cocaine, heroin, and just about everything else that has caused indescribable misery for so many families). “They were having words”, as we’d say in Dublin, and things were getting a bit heated. Perhaps it was the drink, I initially thought. Nothing too unusual so far until the unremarkable looking parent, a man in his 50s, suddenly pounced on the à la mode dressed dealer, a man in his 20s. All hell broke loose, and fists were flying.

The pub’s brawny, bald and tattooed security people (we call them “bouncers”) excitedly swung into action, burying themselves in the mêlée to the point where it was difficult to make out who was who.  In due course, however, the well-practised bouncers emerged from the fray with three louts and the parent, all of whom were strong-armed from the bar.

[As an aside, I just had a rare ‘Niall deliberation’. At least three additional bar brawls and one street fight have been observed by myself over the years, and all in China…  :

  1. In 1989 I was drinking in a bar, one of those cosy diminutive bars typical of Beijing at the time, which was owned by a local Chinese friend and his English wife. Three sinister looking, thug-like, plain clothes policemen dressed in black leather jackets were seated in a dark corner apparently playing cards. They had been following my friend around for weeks. The Government didn’t like the fact he was becoming quite well-known outside China for expressing opinions they considered to be ‘counter revolutionary’, and they were taking every opportunity to harass him. Imbibing with me were  BW an Irish diplomat, and Didi, a Nigerian diplomat and Didi. Suddenly a full bottle of beer came hurtling through the air smashing against the wall within an inch of Didi’s head. One of the thugs pretending to be swaggered his way to our table: “Hei ren zou ba!” (black man get out!). We left abruptly.
  2. In 2000 I was drinking in a bar in Hangzhou with an Italian friend and two local female friends. A thug at the bar clearly very drunk was taking exception to two local ladies drinking with foreign men. He wobbled over to our table and asked the girls to leave, before cursing them in Chinese. The noisy bar Kana Bar turned eerily quiet. We ignored him, which made him even madder. Eventually, still full of bluster he turned around and headed back to his Russian and American friends gutlessly seated at the bar. We thought the intense stand-off was over, were congratulating ourselves when suddenly a wooden bar stool swished by us before crashing on to someone else’s table, whereupon all hell broke loose. Tables and chairs were flung everywhere… The four of us hide under the table before crawling out the door, untouched. Incidentally, the Russian guy at the bar is one of the most feared people mafia types in Hangzhou, while his American friend runs a bar and language school in Hangzhou.
  3. In 2002 was enjoying the Salsa at Hangzhou’s popular Night and Day when suddenly a large street-level window disintegrated from the force of a street sign post lobbed through it. A fight ensued, and there was a lot of blood… Within five minutes all was over. Apparently, the owner of the bar had fallen out with some local thugs.
  4. Oh and the fight on a street in Suzhou between two women, squealing like injured pigs, pulling hard at each other’s hair and scratching each other with their long nails, and a crowd of onlookers egging them on, nobody brave enough to intervene, least of all myself.

Curiously in all four incidents, not a uniformed policeman in sight. But I digress…]

Meanwhile back in Bordega’s a sense of normality had been restored, not that the tussle had really distracted us:  The pints and the crisps were going down well. We were having too much of craic (as in Irish for “fun” not to be confused with the Crack derivative of heroin) nattering on about our existence when about six members of An Garda Siochana  (the Irish Police) appeared from nowhere.

The Gardai have been a source of public dissatisfaction for years (some would say deservedly so, while others would say the Force shouldn’t be judged on the indiscretions of a few black sheep) on account of past recklessness including bribery, beatings (they were particularly partial to a good old-fashioned riot, especially the anti-Establishment anti-Globalisation protests run by a motley mix of Guevaraesque leftist students, anarchists,  greenies, students,  and other ‘new-age’ thinkers where they could swing their batons at will), doctoring evidence, being a little too close to certain politicians, and bumbling ineptitude.

How times have changed. After this particular Saturday night, no more will I paint all Gardai with the same villain brush, but rather they have earned my wholehearted admiration and respect. Watching them vigorously go about their work with a strong sense of purpose and duty it was clear to me this ‘new look’ Irish police force, dressed in their standard issue anti-stab vests (they don’t carry guns), has learned not only to be politely civil (they now speak clearly enunciated English, as opposed to heavily accented country-speak!!. In the 1980s a UK publication referred to them as akin to thick lumps of red meat from the mountains of Kerry, ape-like), but projects an appearance that is able-bodied, robust and confident, a clear force for the  thugs, who of late seem to gaining the advantage, to reckon with.

They courteously asked several men who they suspected of being involved in the fight to join them outside, while at the scene of the initial argument a Garda was down on all fours minutely searching the floor…. Hopefully, in his haste to defend himself from the irate parent, the ‘merchant of death’ had dropped enough traces of the misery he peddles for the Gardai to take him off the streets for a few years at least.

But really, for what they have to deal with in a daily basis I say “hats off to the Gardai”…which reminds me of the time in my youth when a friend of mind, the worse for wear after a few post international rugby match drinks too many, grabbed the hat off the head of a Garda, and started sprinting down the road.. the Garda gave chase but after about thirty meters was huffing and puffing.  Not anymore.

Still what I actually did on Sunday is still a bit obscure (now blaming the void in my brain on the jet lag)… I remember the delicious dinner of stuffed pork cooked by Mum and the bottle of Romanian red wine.

Investing in an Investor and ‘Cast-iron guarantees”

Ah, another rare ‘Niall deliberation’ has occurred. The call from Tim S, the prospective investor in ‘A’, which brought me to my senses with a thud:

“I talked to three potential investors, and they won’t be putting their money into A unless you can provide them with a cast iron guarantee of a return of investment….  but I consider what you are doing in China to be the future for Ireland”… So says Tim S. who had recently lost his shirt to the tune of €300,000 from investments in AIB, a leading Irish bank tethering on the brink of collapse (I was quick to tell him I’d lost an additional part of my clothing in the hugely over-hyped Marrakech, a memory which still touches a raw-nerve, so we’ll leave that one there).

So the NSP team that is A have put together a solid investment proposal for a business which based on some of the exciting programs coming together at last will see investors being repaid with a nice big interest within 24 months.  I am told by the movers and shakers in Ireland’s investor community that 12 months ago, given the scope for two of the key projects we are working on, and the specific plan to build a strong, stable and well-branded business, we’d have had investors queuing up.

Now the buzz term used by the private investors, venture capitalists, and banks  when turning down an investment proposal or a loan request is there need for a “cast iron guarantee” of return on investment.  Of course this is pure nonsense. Nobody can give a 100% guarantee about anything these days.

The reality is the fear of much worse financial turmoil to come, and no person, company, or bank wants to part with money they already have.  With banks not lending and investors not investing, or, worse, tightening the screws on ordinary people and businesses, they have already loaned to or invested in, there is a burning need for Government to restore confidence by decisively taking the lead in stimulating demand. Alas the half-hearted Irish Government appears like a deer standing in the middle of a dark road dazed by the headlights of an oncoming juggernaut.

Like many people running a small business, Sunday’s sleep was troubling at best: the ‘A’ dream roller-coaster analogy trundles forward at full-speed: front seat passenger (the buck stops with me), white knuckles (hanging on for my dear life, trying to keep my eyes open), massive loop-the-loops (stomach churning highs and lows), followed by huge senses of elation and delight as the roller coaster flattens out and the expected calm returns. Yes, I am looking forward to looking back and telling myself “yes  the journey was hell, but the sense of achievement, having endured and succeeded are much more important than the pain and hardship, which we’ll eventually chalk down to experience”.

18412-desktop-wallpapers-change-your-world

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China – Under The Hood: “Bu Hao Yisi” – The animated joys of everyday living in China

Butt Head Against The Wall - China - Under The Hood -Bu Hao Yisi - The animated joys of everyday living in ChinaOh the mind-numbing exhilaration of everyday living in China, especially if you are a “laowai 老外 ” or foreigner. The longer I live in China the more I appreciate how listening Chinese style has potentially more health benefits than Yoga!
Appreciating …
  • that what’s not being said often hints at the true meaning
  • that Chinese will hear the same words but interpret things completely differently
  • that Chinese are not comfortable with being direct and confronting people with bad news

… is for China veterans one of the best ways for soothing mind, body, and spirit, as distinct from blood curdling angst.

 Here’s what happened yesterday within a 1 km radius of my place of abode in downtown Hangzhou:

Act  #1 —-  Provincial Headquarters of Bank of China (China’s largest State-owned bank)

Grrrr. Why do I need to provide five signatures to change a US$100 bill into local Chinese RMB? And why do I have to wait for the Bank of China teller assigned to the task of changing money to come back from her lunch when at least 5 other staff in front of me can do the same job? Why oh why?

Act #2 —-  China Mobile (China’s largest mobile phone service monopoly)

Finally, local money in hand I headed out onto Fengqi Road and up to Yan’an Road where China Mobile‘s main office is located.  As as a customer of 5 years standing – on my 3rd China Mobile number and having spent 10s of thousands of RMB (would consider myself to be a dream customer) I wanted to subscribe to China Mobile‘s roaming service so I could use my China mobile number during my Christmas vacation back home in Ireland. Perfectly straight-forward, so you would think.

Me: “I wish to apply for the roaming feature please.”
Customer Service agent: “You have to go to ICBC (Industrial and Commercial Bank of China) to pay a RMB 3,000 deposit.”
Me: “What?”
Customer Service agent: “Yes, that is the regulation.”
Me: “But, when I went home last August I only paid RMB 500 for roaming.”
Customer Service (CS) agent:  “Ah yes, but since October you have a new number so you have to pay RMB 3,000. If you have a number for 6 months or more then you pay only RMB 500”
Me (frustrated): “But I have been your VIP customer for 5 years. What is more important to you, the 5 year customer loyalty, or the new number? Surely the business relationship I give you is more important and I should only have to pay RMB 500”
CS agent: “Wo bu hao yisi” (I’m so embarrassed我不好意思),  which is the habitually spoken ‘crisis management reaction’ used by customer facing workers throughout China when asked to do something they can’t do or or not assigned to do.
CS Manager: “Women bu hao yisi (We’re so embarrassed我们不好意思), as the manager gets in on the act, simultaneously absolving himself and his team of all responsibility. 
CS Manager’s Manager: “Mei banfa (it can’t be done, no way out / 没办法 ). When these words are spoken my request becomes a lost cause. There is no solution since nobody has the power to agree to authorise a reduced roaming fee taking into account my 5 years of loyalty to their brand. 

Act #3 —– The Plumber

Scene #1 —  Floor of apartment is flooded (again)
Me: “Where is all the water coming from?”
Plumber #1: “Wo kan yi kan (Let’s take a look / 我看一看)
Scene #2 — 15 minutes later cigarette half way down his throat, mobile phone pinned to his ear, door bell rings, Plumber #2 arrives, not too happy to be woken up from his afternoon slumberThey both stare at the floor, press their feet up and down on the tiles water spurting everywhere, shake their heads, breath in (guttural sounds) deeply,  exhaling in unison, blowing out a thick cloud of smoke….
View from Hangzhou – Wild joys of everyday living in China

“Haven’t a clue”.

Plumber #1: “Bu xiao de (Local Hangzhou dialect for “I have no clue” / 不晓得).
Me: Baring teeth “Hey, no smoking in the apartment!”
Plumber #2: “Bu hao yisi.” (I’m embarrassed /不好意思) and proceeds to stub the cigarette out in the kitchen sink.
Me: “Where is the water coming from?” Crying
Plumbers: “Zhen de bu xiao de” (Really don’t know /真的不晓得 ).
Me: “Huh!! You are plumbers, right? What do you mean you don’t know?
Emotional State of Mind: Has been a long day, and my patience has been worn super thin, “angst” comes to mind but manifestly I am still projecting an air of calm.

Plumber #2 (Glancing at his watch): “Wu dian zheng. Xia ban!” (It’s 5 o’clock, we’re finished for the day / 五点钟.下班!).
Me: But, what about the water and leak?
Plumbers: “Women bu hao yisi” (We’re so embarrassed / 我们不好意思).

View from Hangzhou - Wild joys of everyday living in China - The Plumber

“We’re so embarrassed”

…and on that closing note they are gone for the day.

Act #4 —– The Cake Shop Attendent

Scene #1 —–  11.30 am – The Cake Shop, Sofitel Hangzhou West Lake Hotel 

Me: “I want you to send this cake and these chocolates on Christmas Day to these people, at this address, with this telephone number. It’s meant to be a surprise gift, so please don’t contact them until Christmas Day!”
Cake Shop Attendent (CSA): “Hao. Mei wenti.” (Yes. No problem /好.没问题)

Scene #2—–  5.00 pm – My Hangzhou apartment, having just received a text message from the Cake Shop notifying me that that the cake and chocolates have already been delivered. Immediately I telephone the Cake Shop. 

Me: You said you would deliver the cake on Christmas Day. It was meant to be a surprise
CSA: “Bu hao yisi.” (I’m  embarrassed /不好意思), “but the receiver of the chocolates and cake was very surprised!

And so ended Friday 19th December, an otherwise uneventful day living in Hangzhou.
China - Under The Hood - Bu Hao Yisi - The animated joys of everyday living in China - keep calm and take a deep breath

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China – Under the Hood: Poles apart – Chinese to English wordplay

  1. When the expression “da pen ti” is used it means to answer, yet the literal translation is “to sneeze“.
  2. nao xin” means to be restless / agitated, yet the literal translation is “noisy heart
  3. shao bao” refers to a shopping fanatic, yet the literal translation is “to burn the bag
  4. xian ke ya” means to chat, yet the literal translation is “the idle knocking of teeth
  5. chi cu” means jealousy, yet the literal translation is “eat vinegar
  6. chou mei” means something akin to vanity, yet the literal translation is”stinking beauty
  7. xiu chang cheng” means to play mahjong, a strategy game people over here like to kill their time by playing. The literal translation is: “fix the Great Wall“!
  8. mai dan” means to pay the bill, yet the literal translation is “bury the bill

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Gerry Thornley – Credit where credit is due

If someone makes a huge difference in your life it certainly doesn’t hurt anyone to show your appreciation for their hard work, especially if you have never met that person face-to-face: Credit where credit is due.

It’s the middle of the rugby union Six Nations 2008 Championships back home, my favourite time of the sporting year, with Ireland once again battling it out for glory against France, Italy, Wales, England and Scotland, and I know  back home in Ireland everyone is glued to their televisions in anticipation of triumph.  Great craic to be had by all especially when, with two rouds to go, any one of four teams can still claim the Six Nations title.

Wisdom in the shape of a rugby ball

Wisdom in the shape of a rugby ball

And here I am in China… no rugby, let alone Six Nations rugby is broadcast on State-run CCTV television, and the games on the Star Sports/ESPN satellite channels –if you can find a bar that uses the Philippines as opposed to Hong Kong signal to broadcast the rugby matches – are on so friggin late!

Well all is not lost… cue Gerry Thornley, the Rugby correspondent for the Irish Times, who in my humble opinion is the divine being of sports journalism. The way his words illustrate the protagonists, the villains, and set the scenes before, during and after each match is mind-boggling… he really is a master craftsman when it comes to writing and I’d be truly fecked if I couldn’t read his prose in the build up to each game.

So credit where credit is due….

 

From: Gerry Thornley [mailto:gxxx@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, 27 February, 2008 10:16 PM
To: niall_xxx@xxx.com
Subject: Re: ireland .com:All Black blue blood steeped in red

 

Cheers Niall,

 

Much appreciated.

 

Gerry
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Sat, Feb 16, 2008 at 11:45 PM

From: Niall
To:  
gthornley@irish-times.ie
Re: “All Black blue blood steeped in red” [ http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/sport/2008/0216/1203093377123.html }
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Comments:
Hi Gerry
As a diehard Irish rugby fan living in China, where the State television monopoly makes it almost impossible to view any of the games Live, the manner of your writing talent only adds to my sense of frustration. Keep it up… I consider you the very best sports writer around.
All the best
Niall

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Filed under 2008, Inspirational, Ireland, Language, Niallism, Rugby, Sport, writing

The written word: Business Vietlish “Our big customer is…. DisneyLand”

Email from prospective Vietnamese supplier dated 24th October 2007:
“...So I decide to writting with you. I was hopping that we can make it get together. Please give me your very detail of plans, products or designs, destination ports…and everythink else. We will offer you , if you accept our offers then we will make the samples for you and go to the everythink plans.I was wondering why I do not tell you about ourseft: Vinh thang is a commercial thing specializing in producing and exporting everythink. …… With staff of skillful, experienced and creative painters, artisans over 200 years oldthat was recognized by the Vietnamese history, at present. Our big customer is …. Disney Land
Tien – Vice Director of Vinh Thang Ceramic
"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place"-George Bernard Shaw

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”
-George Bernard Shaw

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Filed under Culture, Language, Vietnam