Saturday, October 13, 2007

Shangri-la is in your mind...

Next year the Olympics will be in China which is a huge deal for the Chinese government and people. Having been cut off for so long from the rest of the world, ordinary people are hoping that the huge influx of people from others countries will highlight their struggles with a totalitarian government, which the Chinese government still is for all intents and purposes as well as showcase all that is wonderful about China, the Chinese people and Chinese culture. The government is making every effort to show the best side of their country to show that they have everything to be proud of and to prove they are not a second-rate country but a strong, proud nation.

In their effort to make their country accessible to the enormous number of visitors, they have faced a few stumbling blocks. One is how they have tried to make all their signs and posters read in multiple languages but largely in Chinese and English. Taxi drivers have even been made to learn at least basic English so they can best serve the travelers. All very noble efforts towards the goal. Unfortunately, not all of it has turned out as they would have wished. Especially at issue are the signs like this one(which is my favorite of the ones I’ve seen).

(Click to see a larger image)

The government has now had to draft in Western retired businessmen to work with them on cleaning up the signs which, unfortunately will do exactly the opposite of what they’ve wished. I’m afraid most people will overlook the great effort which has gone into making Beijing accessible to them and will end up mocking their efforts.

I just want to know…where IS my buffalo?!

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