Sunday, September 18, 2005

Asian Translator Needed

As I was pulling this t-shirt our of my closet to wear this morning, it occurred to me that I've always wondered what the oriental characters on it mean. For all I know, it says, 'Fuck you and the horse you rode in on.'

Some Asian people did point and laugh at me one time when I had this shirt on but I was at Astroworld and I was soaking wet from some ride which was created for the sole purpose of getting people soaking wet. I was going to ask the Asian people what my shirt said but I was afraid they didn't speak English and I didn't want to start a whole international incident right there in the Wild West section of Astroworld.



If you know what my shirt says, please share with the class.

17 comments:

Greg Finnegan said...

It says, "No way, imperialist running dog of a capitalist lacky! That is NOT how you write an ess."

Lorna said...

Couldn't Wang chi tell you?

Popeye said...

It says, "How many fingers am I holding up?"

Laurie said...

Greg - They sure do say a lot with those little characters, don't they?

Lorna - Wang Chi says it's an ancient Chinese secret.

Popeye - And, the answer would be 5? That's a really good guess! I wonder if you're right.

Your Mom said...

I will take your shirt to my Chinese friend at (of course)my favorite Chinese Restaurant and find out for you. It probably says
"Joe Namate"

Les said...

Well, in Japanese, it would read "Zentsukuba", a place name. It's probably a school team.

Ed Abbey said...

For the first time, Google translator is stumped.

Anonymous said...

Umm... people are not Oriental. Rugs are Oriental. I wouldn't call a person Oriental around an Asian- you'll be called racist. It's kind of like the big N word. But, judging from the other comments, I guess that isn't a concern here.

Laurie said...

Mom - Thanks. I'm not sure if it's Chinese or Japanese.

Les - I bet you're right! Thanks!

Ed - I couldn't figure out how to do characters in the Google translator.

Anonymous - I had no idea. Sorry if I offended anyone but I just wasn't sure if the characters were Chinese or Japanese so I lumped them together. I can see where that could be considered racist. So sorry!

Jen T. (that's me) said...

Word history lesson. Pay careful attention to the USAGE NOTE at the bottom. Anonymous is kind of right, but probably one of those people that's upset easily. Uh-oh... I'm probably going to be called pretensious racist for that one.

info obtained from dictionary.com ...
o·ri·en·tal
adj.
1. Of or relating to the countries of the Orient or their peoples or cultures; eastern.
2. Oriental - Of or designating the biogeographic region that includes Asia south of the Himalaya Mountains and the islands of the Malay Archipelago.
Lustrous and valuable: oriental pearls.


n.
often Oriental Often Offensive. An Asian.

Usage Note: Asian is now strongly preferred in place of Oriental for persons native to Asia or descended from an Asian people. The usual objection to Oriental meaning “eastern” is that it identifies Asian countries and peoples in terms of their location relative to Europe. However, this objection is not generally made of other Eurocentric terms such as Near and Middle Eastern. The real problem with Oriental is more likely its connotations stemming from an earlier era when Europeans viewed the regions east of the Mediterranean as exotic lands full of romance and intrigue, the home of despotic empires and inscrutable customs. At the least these associations can give Oriental a dated feel, and as a noun in contemporary contexts (as in the first Oriental to be elected from the district) it is now widely taken to be offensive. However, Oriental should not be thought of as an ethnic slur to be avoided in all situations. As with Asiatic, its use other than as an ethnonym, in phrases such as Oriental cuisine or Oriental medicine, is not usually considered objectionable.

Laurie said...

Jen T. - Fabulous! Thanks for that. I feel better.

Fine Words Butter No Parsnips said...

the "o" word isn't nearly as dreadful as the "n" word, but fyi it is likely to cause offense. it's a matter of usage. for instance: as the note above from jen t. points out, it's not a slur at all if it's used to say, for instance, something like "oriental medicine" -- or "oriental rug" for that matter. but anonymous is correct, and he/she isn't being over-sentitive: it's likely to be considered a slur if you call a person an "oriental."

Fine Words Butter No Parsnips said...

ps the language is chinese. here is some info courtesy of a chinese speaker who sits nearby: the first character would be pronounced (more or less) "chen" in mandarin. (mandarin is the main dialect spoken in china.) the second character is tough to decipher. the third character is pronounced "po" and is usually part of a city or town name. (eg "it's the last character in "singapore," which is pronounced more like "sin-ga-po" in chinese. so your shirt's probably the name of a city or town...
enjoy your chinese language shirt!

zai jian (see you later)

Laurie said...

Fine Words Butter - Who says blogs aren't educational? Thanks for all the info!

Susan in St. Paul said...

I remember being at MIT and being asked if I spoke "foreign" because I was seeing a guy from Nepal, another one of those asian countries. The Nepali alphabet is sanskirt based so not like your shirt at all. At the time I did speak a bit of Nepali and understood even more.

Nameste!

Laurie said...

Susan - Nepali? Wow, that's pretty cool. Nameste back at ya. (I'm assuming it's something nice.)

Zina said...

I think it just says
Lee's Fighting Dragons or some other team name.

or maybe:
Lee's Bail Bonds?

you know the team sponsors?