In the year 2008, more than 500,000 foreigners will arrive in Beijing for the Summer Olympic Games. Those who speak English may be greeted by signs which reflect a certain difficulty in translation. Frodo has previewed the following samples of actual menu items and public signs which caused some consternation for the intended: a plate of fish on a bed of seaweed is translated as "Crap in the Grass;" and a spicy Sushi dish was identified as "Hot Crap." It seems that the inversion of 'a' and 'r' is a rather frequent occurence in China.
A sign warning of a wet floor in a shopping center subtly stated that "The Slippery are very Crafty." A public service sign for the public WC clearly identified the "Deformed Man Toilet." Frodo was quite concerned when he saw a road sign pointing to the entrance to "Racist Park," an amusement park that celebrates Chinese diversity (or does it?).
Brand names may also suffer, as does "Grandma Chen's Pockmarked Tofu," the "Christmas Bland" latte available at Starbuck's, and, of course, "Swallowing the Clouds," which probably has something to do with marshmallows.
300 English phrases are being taught to 48,000 taxi drivers who are being extolled as the introducers of "Chinglish." This valiant attempt at linguistic detente has its' own problems, such as the instructions on a Chinese-made candle which will warn the purchaser to "keep this candle out of children." Frodo has absolutely no problem with the literal aspect of said instruction.
All comedy aside, there is a greater problem here and it impacts directly on American Foreign Policy. Frodo believes that there is at least one resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue who would never notice. Unfortunately, his name is not Barney.