The Oxford Royale Academy says, “It’s often said that English is one of the hardest languages to learn … and one of the reasons why English is known for being difficult is because it’s full of contradictions.”
That difficultly didn’t stop China from making learning English mandatory in its public schools, but speaking English like a native doesn’t always work well when you’re learning from a cartoon character called Mocky the naughty monkey.
Michael Meyer, the author of “The Last Days of Old Beijing” had this to say about Mocky: “Beijing students begin studying English in Grade One. Every child is enrolled in three forty-five-minute lessons each week until the end of elementary school, at Grade Six. Much of Mocky’s instruction is automated, reducing the teacher’s role to leading students through recitations of the dialogues, animated on a disc included with the text. Although Mocky speaks slowly, he sounds as if he’s inhaled some bad helium.”
This is a normal Chinese high school student who was not born in an English speaking country and learned English in class.
A friend shared the following e-mail and said it had gone viral among the Chinese. The friend said she knew someone else who went to Beijing and was given this brochure by the hotel he was staying at. After you read this brochure that the hotel had translated into English, you might think it was written by that naughty monkey. Here goes:
Our representative will make you wait at the airport. The bus to the hotel runs along the lake shore. Soon you will feel pleasure in passing water. You will know that you are getting near the hotel, because you will go round the bend. The manager will await you in the entrance hall. He always tries to have intercourse with all new guests.
This is a family hotel, so children are very welcome. We of course are always pleased to accept adultery. Highly skilled nurses are available in the evenings to put down your children. Guests are invited to conjugate in the bar and expose themselves to others. But please note that ladies are not allowed to have babies in the bar. We organize social games, so no guest is ever left alone to play with them self.
Our menus have been carefully chosen to be ordinary and unexciting. At dinner, our quartet will circulate from table to table, and fiddle with you.
Every room has excellent facilities for your private parts. In winter, every room is on heat. Each room has a balcony offering views of outstanding obscenity!
You will not be disturbed by traffic noise, since the road between the hotel and the lake is used only by pederasts.
Your bed has been made in accordance with local tradition. If you have any other ideas please ring for the chambermaid. Please take advantage of her. She will be very pleased to squash your shirts, blouses and underwear. If asked, she will also squeeze your trousers.
When you leave us at the end of your holiday, you will have no hope. You will struggle to forget it.
The punchline, as it turns out, is that the original e-mail was an April fool’s joke, but because someone who thought it was real forwarded it to everyone he knew who forwarded it again, it ended up going viral. Even the Chinese had fun with this one.
Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the unique love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.
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