Friday, October 17, 2008

More Hong Kong silliness

OK, a couple more weird things about Hong Kong.

1. There are no seats. There are vast public spaces with not a seat in sight - and in general barely a person in sight. In such a populous country, it seems like such a waste. Or maybe it is a necessary luxury.

2. Toilets that flush themselves, but a stainless steel bucket for sanitary disposal. Of course, now that I think about it, sanitary disposal units that can open themselves and toilets that need flushing maybe just as odd a contradiction.

Being a mono-linguist in a non-English speaking country also reminds you what we will miss if the world ever speaks only one language. (Of course, that language will be English, because I speak it - and it is probably the most ridiculous, hardest to learn language too, both indisputable reasons for its supremacy.) We will lose the joy of lost-in-translation. The one that caught my attention this morning as I cruised past was "Giant Foot Restaurant" - clearly sounds decidedly different in Cantonese. It also makes me lament not being able to speak more languages, and therefore to understand more poor translations. I will never know which of our perfectly reasonable names sound utterly hilarious or just plain wrong in other languages. Or at least I will never really appreciate the finer aspects of the joke.

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