Awkwardly Phrased Passive Aggressive Note

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親愛的鄰居,
此處 禁止
蹓狗時,狗狗
在此隨地大便
~感謝您的留意~
Dear neighbours,
In this place it is forbidden
When walking a dog, for the dog
To shit anywhere here
~Thanks for your attention

The text I’ve marked in bold (thinner characters on the note in the photo) as if it was added on later, which suggests the person who wrote it was inadvertently accusing his or her neighbours of having a sneaky No. 2 in the alley while walking their dogs before realizing their mistake. They do not seem to have been arsed to redo the whole thing after putting a bit of effort into the ornate characters only to realize their mistake, which resulted in the sign being posted with rather odd grammatical structures. The “此處” (this place) makes the “在此” (here) a little unnecessary and the juxtaposition of “在此” (here) and “隨地” (anyplace/wherever one pleases) is a little odd too, as if the author thought that people might not realize that “anyplace” is inclusive of “here”.

There’s also a pseudo-typo, in that 「遛狗」 is the more accepted way of saying “to walk a dog”, as opposed to the 「蹓狗」 written here. The character 「蹓」 comes from 「蹓躂」, a variant of 「遛達」 meaning to stroll, or to walk. Technically 「蹓」 can be seen as a variant, but doesn’t seem to be accepted as correct. When you type 「蹓狗」 into Google for example, you get the following prompt:

LIu

The search results that are currently displayed are from: 「遛狗」

You can change back to search for: 「蹓狗」

「遛狗」 fetches 1,060,000 results, whereas 「蹓狗」 only fetches 181,000, which suggests it’s not in standard use. I think these little idiosyncrasies are what make handwritten notes like this so interesting, as they inadvertently reveal certain characteristics of their authors.

After receiving some complaints about my previous post being more “openly aggressive” rather than “passive aggressive”, I think the 「新愛的 (scatological) 鄰居」 line makes this more of a passive aggressive post.

Let me know if you see any passive aggressive (or openly aggressive) notes in your area and feel free to submit anything you want featured!

 

 

Comfort Women and Post Election Thoughts

Spotted this sign recently just beside the Zhongzheng Bridge between Yonghe and Taipei:

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It reads:

The Japanese government should apologize and provide reparations for coercing comfort women during World War II

Created by Wei-Shyue Chang

The subtext of this sign is the recent Taiwanese history textbook controversy over proposed changes to the high school curriculum which pushed for a (slightly) less rosy view of the period of Japanese colonial rule in Taiwan, including using the term coercion when it came to the comfort women issue, Continue reading

Smear before bedtime in Taipei’s 8th electoral district 台北8號選區立委選舉抹黑戰爭

As the legislative and presidential elections draws near in Taiwan, politics is in the air… and on buses and on every street corner.

If anyone missed the first part of the presidential candidate debate on Dec. 27, you can view Part 1 here:

The next one is on Jan. 2 at 2pm.

Meanwhile, in District 8, independent Lee Ching-yuan (whose KMT membership was revoked in July due to his opposition to then KMT presidential candidate Hung Hsiu-chu) is gunning for incumbent legislator Lai Shih-bao. He’s released two leaflets with the intention of smearing Lai, both on the basis of whether he’s actually living in the district and his alleged incompetence in dealing with food-safety issues surrounding the Ting Hsin oil scandal.

The first leaflet attacking Lai on the Ting Hsin scandal is below:

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The first page of the Continue reading

Passive Aggressive Notes: The Politics of Trash 消極抵抗的紙條:垃圾政治

Following on from my past post on the passive aggression that results from the limited parking spaces in Taipei, I thought I’d follow up with a similar post about rubbish, after seeing this sign, on a street in the Daan district of Taipei:

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If you live in Taipei you’ve probably seen a whole heap of signs similar to this, but the hysterical tone and the interesting use of punctuation of this particular one made it stand out for me. It reads:

Can’t you have the least shred of decency? Don’t pile rubbish up here!!?? Dogs come here to eat it every day and there is shit everywhere.

If you don’t live in Taiwan you may be unfamiliar with the system. Basically you have to buy special bags at convenience stores to put rubbish in, then at a certain time  every day the rubbish trucks will come to the end of your street. Unlike in the UK, you Continue reading

Smearing political rivals in Taipei: Freddie Lim take-down! 林昶佐被林郁方「抺黑」了

Have you been enjoying the flood of campaign leaflets flowing through your letterbox? I’m living near the boundary between the 5th and 8th electoral districts, so have been getting a range. One particular leaflet released by KMT candidate Lin Yu-fang (林郁方) caught my eye, as the entire thing was dedicated to smearing Lin’s rival for the 5th electoral district of Taipei, Freddy Lim (founding leader of the New Power Party (時代力量) and lead singer of heavy-metal band Chthonic):

whyyouburnflag The front side of the leaflet poses a question to Lim:

I want to ask Freddy Lim: “Why did you burn our national flag?”

Continue reading

Plant-related idioms at Taipei Botanical Garden

I was walking around the Taipei Botanical Garden when I came across this sign, which explained some plant idioms. Think this sign could have specified more of the Chinese idioms and provided a proper equivalent in English to explain the idioms properly, but definitely a cool idea:

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The  first idiom is expanded to one side as follows: Continue reading

The “Joss” in the Joss Paper 金紙的英文名字

I never realized that the term for the “ghost or God money” (variously called 金紙、陰司紙、紙錢 and 冥幣 in Chinese) that we use in English, “joss paper”, is a Chinese-English pidginization of the word God in Portuguese “Deus”.


It’s odd because I’ve used it so often without thinking to look up its origin. I guess I’d always assumed it was from Cantonese like other terms more commonly used in English like “pak choi” for 白菜 bai2cai4. Incidentally the Taiwanese for joss paper is kim-chóa. The reason there are so many different names for it in Chinese is because different kinds of paper are burned for different kinds of spirits, whether they be ancestral ghosts, deities or the ghosts of the recently deceased.

Update: The Oxford dictionary states that the term came from Dejos, the Javanese corruption of the now obsolete Portuguese word for god Deos, which in turn came from the Latin Deus. It was first used in the early 18th Century. Not sure if was just the term “joss” to refer to god was coopted in reference to China by the Portuguese in Macau as one commenter (Keoni Everington) suggested or how it came to be used in the West. It says that it refers to Asian religions though. Would love it if anyone has any details on this.

Passive Aggressive Notes in Taipei 又來了消極抵抗的紙條!

Given the population density of a place like Taipei, it’s no wonder that tensions very easily arise between neighbours. I’ve always been interested in the way people communicate their complaints in a city famed for its politeness. Parking is a particular problem and people get all sorts of aggressive if you steal their spot (my old flatmate got his car windows smashed in with a brick for parking in a space that someone else felt didn’t belong to him).

I don’t drive, so it doesn’t affect me in any way, but there has been some tension between my neighbours recently over a black car that someone keeps parking in a place where everyone normally parks their scooters. When we came out one morning we saw their car had been keyed all down one side – and they seems to be covert about the times they park (2 or 3 in the morning). Today we noticed this note under the windshield wiper of his car:

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It reads:  Continue reading

Commemorative $NT10 pieces – the 50th anniversary of Taiwan being ceded to the ROC

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Geeking out again after discovering another commemorative coin. The front reads 「共同經營大台灣」 (Running Greater Taiwan together) and below that “搏聚休戚與共的生命共同體” (United together through thick and thin as a community of fate). It’s written in seal script, which explains why it’s quite hard to read. I thought 「共」 looked particularly unlike it’s seal script version:

gong

However, you can see the pattern when you compare it with 與, as the bottom of both characters is the same. You can download the seal script font for programs on your computer, including Word, here, although unfortunately you have to type in simplified for it to work (after unzipping drag the TTF file into your Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Fonts folder).

This coin was issued in 1995 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Taiwan being ceded to the Republic of China by Japan after World War II. This is commonly referred to as 「光復」(guang1fu4) in Chinese, which literally means “to restore the light”.

This term has sparked a certain amount of controversy given its implication that those living in Taiwan under Japanese rule were living in “darkness” until Chiang Kai-shek came to bring them to the light. The government of Taiwan launched a series of campaigns to attempt to “re-sinicize” and the populace of Taiwan, which the Republic of China government felt had been brain-washed or “enslaved” (奴化) by the Japanese in during the 50 years of colonial rule. The local population had been introduced to modernity under Japanese rule, but many artists and writers faced persecution or marginalization under the new Kuomintang government, as they were seen as collaborators by the new regime or never properly got to grips with writing in Chinese. Those who had been formally educated in the Japanese language had to learn Mandarin and this led to much of their work being overlooked until more recently, when it was translated from Japanese.

There is an excellent book on this period by historian Huang Ying-che (黃英哲) called Uprooting Japan; Implanting China: Cultural Reconstruction in Post-War Taiwan 1945-1947 (《「去日本化」「再中國化」戰後台灣文化重建(1945-1947)》): Continue reading