Tag Archives: Chinglish

It’s all Chinglish to me…


The new baby fog has finally lifted… I am now beginning to see the wonderful differences in our cultures more clearly.
It’s a constant source of wonder…

(I am referring mainly to the Chinese, not Hong Kongers, who can at times be more English than I will ever be)

Living quite close to the border with China, we mix with as many Chinese families as expats and HK folk.

I was so fogged up with weariness before and was really just rolling with our new lives without properly taking it all in.
More concerned about how much sleep we were getting, where to get decent priced baby milk and how to get Sophie immunised without it costing more than our amah monthly salary.

But now I see and hear the most unbelievable things and spend most of my time having a quiet giggle to myself… miscommunication a constant source of hilarity here.
(Note – if I was dealing with it at work I might have been driven slightly potty by now)

I don’t have to even have to step out of our apartment for the fun to begin… It’s just brilliant what gets lost in translation when East meets West.

Nina our Amah (who we all love dearly) feeding our new pets the fish, Alex and Eliza, Bisto gravy granules instead of fish food, gave us all (including Nina) a good giggle.

Ed chucking away his dinner and having a sandwich after asking her (I was out for the night) how long the fish he was eating had been in the fridge. 30 days was the reply, she had gotten the words fridge and freezer muddled up.

Living in a house with toddlers where daily, amusing, if baffling conversation goes on and all the miscommunication outside makes daily life seem a bit surreal.

There is a lot of talk about signage over here, when you understand how Mandarin or Cantonese translates with its many alternatives for our one word it’s not surprising we get signs such as;

To take care of safety, the slippery are very crafty!


Conversation with the mums at the school gate and can sometimes leave me with a dropped jaw. I was asked recently, do you ever go in your kitchen? and said mum being amazed when I admitted that I sometimes did and actually quite enjoyed it.

Last week I was asked to explain this thing we do (?) going out with husband when kids are in bed, what does it involve? Going to the cinema? Think she was referring to a date night.
In the end she gave up on the idea as she decided her husband wouldn’t have anything to say to her in the evening anyway.

Sophie who talks the most babble (being only 1) thinks we are all mad and on a recent trip to the beach abandoned us completely and spent the day with another group of people entirely… What concerns me she is going to grow up thinking all this bonkerishness is normal…
Quite a nice way to be really…