White Scent

 

White in Chinese

 

When I found out that I was really going to China (as opposed to “Yeah. Sure. You’re going. Probably”) I tried to read up on the language. I realized that a book was not going to help me with the tones (Mandarin has 4, Cantonese has 6) so I focused on the writing. I got a book from Amazon and started reading.
Don’t get too impressed, I only remembered about a dozen or so.
At one point I noticed that the lobby of the hotel in China had a bar called “White Scent”. Beneath the “White Scent” sign were a couple of Chinese characters. I assumed that these meant “White Scent” in Chinese. The symbol for “white” is one of the dozen that I remember.
Trouble is, I didn’t see the symbol for white in the Chinese characters.
When our host met me in the hotel lobby, I asked him about it. He was even more puzzled. Even though the English sign said “White Scent”, the Chinese characters meant “Heavenly Spa”. We discussed this and concluded that this is probably some kind on demographics issue.

This led to a discussion of tattoos. Tattoos aren’t very fashionable in China. Only criminals and very violent people have them. I had often wondered about people who got tattoos of Chinese characters without knowing anything about them. (“I was told that it means ‘Peace'”) Our host said that he has seen this on television. He remarked that he once saw a woman with a tattoo that meant “fat, stupid woman”

The tattoo was probably right.

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