It’s Been a While…

…since I’ve had the time or the inclination to scribble, so here are a few more thoughts from over here.

I’ll kick off with one of my favourite topics and share a few signs that have tickled me in one way or another.  Some while back, I spotted this over an optician’s premises:

ImageYou may have to look closely, but that rather adds to my amusement.  I think the sign maker could do with a new pair of spec’s.

On a completely different level, I was introduced to this writing the other day.  Again, look closely and see if you can read it.  (More at the end of this post if you want an explanation.)

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Just in the last few days I’ve seen several clothing-based writing curiosities.  Sadly, I didn’t have a camera to hand to record the evidence, but then again, I doubt I’d have got away with pointing my Canon at random women’s chests, so I’ll just give you the text:

ADIDDS – blazoned across a jacket

PARIS CONFERENOE – woman’s T-shirt

UNIOR JACK – T-shirt with a design featuring the British flag

FASHIOI WEEK – another woman’s T-shirt

Note to designers and printers: if you’re listening, gimme a shout and I’ll proofread at very favourable rates.  Ta.

One of the reasons I’ve been away from the blog is that we moved house again, so I’ve been resting* and rehydrating for the past month.  (*Ha! Ha!  Chance would be a fine thing.)  I don’t think I’ve ever sweated as much as I did on this latest move.  Thankfully, since moving in, the temperature has dropped quite considerably in Tainan and we’re now experiencing mid 20s most days rather than low 30s.  Anyway, the house has been refurbished and redecorated and we’re pretty much settled.  The only further comment I wanted to make is mirror-based.  Back in our apartment in Zhubei, we had a bathroom mirror with a built-in element to clear the glass if it got steamed up; here we have one in each bathroom.  No big deal, except that each and every one that I have come across (both in our home and those that I have seen elsewhere) still has the protective corner pieces attached, thus:

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Is it simply that the fitters are too bone idle to remove them, or is it some kind of superstition that prevents them from being binned?  Come to think of it, there are many things in Taiwan that remain forever in their protective wrapping.  Bikes are a great example, swathed as many are in bubble wrap around top tube, seat stays and chain stays for no apparent reason.  I’ve also seen plenty of television sets with the protective film left on the frame around the screen.  Just seems odd to me.  Locals – feel free to explain if you have the time, please.

More signs?  Go on then.  A cycle ride to the National Museum of Taiwan History** with the boy just last week (about 5 miles from here following the road along the river defences) rewarded me with these little gems:

This was on a piece of land covered in gravel.

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And this adjacent to a well-stocked pond/lake.

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Don’t be selfish!  Once that stone has been thrown, there’ll be nothing left for others, will there?***  Meanwhile, go fishing at your peril.  (It looks as though the stone throwing ban has encouraged some miscreant to nick the dots off some of the ‘i’s).

**Pretty amazing building – nice video, here:

*** There seems to be an issue with the use of English plurals in the Chinese-speaking world.  Christopher has books about cars, animals and vegetables called Car, Animal and Vegetable, respectively.  Don’t get me started on use of the definite article.

Chinese speakers/readers: please do let me know the difference between the two fishing signs.  Clearly, there are different levels of angling-based naughtiness.

Yet another level of visual amusement came to my attention when we were sat in a restaurant at the weekend.

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I made the assumption that this was an innovation dreamt up by this purveyor of sugary fizzy pop, but I then spotted this on a packet in the supermarket (disclaimer: hard to miss – big promotion).  For those of you who can’t read Chinese, think of a product that give you wings, but not of the Red Bull type.

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Sorry, but I’m going to have to finish with some more about life on the roads.

While stuck in a traffic jam a few weeks ago, I looked to my left to see this:

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Rest assured, it was a pretty big truck.  Sadly, it’s not an uncommon sight.  (I have the registration number if anyone from the law enforcement agencies happens to be taking an interest, but I shan’t be sat by the phone waiting for your call.)

While on the traffic/driving/transport theme, I suppose I must conclude with another observation/suggestion or two.  I genuinely do not understand what is going on in the minds of Taiwanese drivers and scooter riders, and having asked a few people why nobody will ‘wait’, the only response I get is “time is money”.  Well, frankly that just doesn’t make any sense because, almost without exception, the incidents of impatience I witness result in no meaningful gains in terms of time saved for the individual concerned, whilst frequently resulting in unnecessary time wasted for a third party (or several of the same).

One example.  There is a widespread practice here of vehicles turning across in front of oncoming traffic, rather than waiting for it to pass safely before moving.  The net result is that one vehicle goes on its way – all well and good for the selfish individual concerned – while several cars, trucks and scooters are forced to slow and/or stop before accelerating back up to speed once more.  Think of the wasted fuel and the resultant increase in pollution.  Where does the “time is money” mantra sit in this scenario?  It’s hideously selfish, inconsiderate and symptomatic of an utterly thoughtless mindset.  It’s also downright dangerous.  The thing is, it’s a collective national malaise.  Nobody, and I mean nobody, seems to care.  Let’s all put on a face mask and hope that everything will be okay.

Here’s a free suggestion for the government/highway authorities.  Sort out your traffic light system (I’m talking traffic sensitivity) and invest a few quid (sorry, $NT) in red light cameras and enforcement officers.  I reckon you could generate $billions in revenue which you could then divert to the education of drivers.  What with me being the eternal pessimist and all that, I’ll not be holding me breath, while actually holding my breath when stuck at yet another junction.

For those who bothered to stick with it, or those who skipped to the end (shame on you ! ;0) ), the Chinese-style writing = Can’s Book Shop.  Clever, innit?

Footnote: thinking about doing something on my favourite songs.  It’ll be an open-ended project, so check back from time to time.  Expect anything and everything, ranging from a bit of prog’ to a bit of Wham! with all sorts in between.

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