Thursday, May 14, 2009

Words of wisdom from my mattress

Vietnam is fascinated by English. Not correct English mind you, just English in general. String together a couple of English words, form a nonsensical sentence, and voila, you've got the makings of a T-shirt that unsuspecting Vietnamese might buy in Binh Thanh Market. As a Vietnamese teenager, wearing a shirt with English scribbled all over it is a one-day all inclusive pass to the "cool club." Of course it doesn't have to make sense or be comprehensible to anyone -- that's English baby, and yes, it's all over my body. You know you've been here quite a while when you can discern some kind of meaning from T-shirt slogans such as these:

I found this picture on the Internet, but it captures nicely the English we see here daily. But you say, "yeah, Patrick, of course we're going to see mistakes on T-shirts. Nothing new here." But as anyone who has lived in a foreign country can tell you, these mistakes are not limited to cheap products such as souvenirs and T-shirts. Take this as an example, our TV in the upstairs bar room:

Japanese Darling Executive: Well, we had the technical expertise to design, build, and manufacture en masse a kick-ass TV...If only we had the extra resources to understand simple past in English, argh!!!!

At my job, the water cooler (which I love by the way) has the option of not only ice-cold water, but scalding hot as well. It even has lights on the front to indicate what the machine is doing! When you put in fresh, room-temperature water, the red light for "heating" shines brightly. Nice, no English problems there. A quick glance to the right, however, one will notice that the machine is also, quite proudly, "colding" the water.

The problem isn't solely confined to Vietnam. A dumpster in Korea with some labeling issues:

There are many more examples. I will keep an eye for some really good ones and snap some photos as well. To close out this blog entry, I offer some insightful words from my very own mattress, because, you just never quite know when you will need advice from the thing you sleep on:

PS - Yes, that's a Tom and Jerry themed mattress. Happy to you!


  1. The Philippines is the same way. It's all really sad, if you think about it.

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  3. silly man, you've found mistakes in countries that use English as a second language. Definitely, the more mistakes you've tried to find, the more mistakes you will get. Everything has two sides.