I couldn’t help myself but, while trying decide between a childish giggle and a pretentious smirk, I spontaneously gave some advice to two people at my school today. One was a young student of mine, one of the 630 little tinkers I happen to be testing on oral fluency this very humble week. (I know. I am exhausted and I did ask for a pay rise this afternoon). Anyhoo. Ready? Description begins.
She sits before me, 7 years old, sweet and confident, and says her English name is Lucifer. She’s ready to repeat, quickly comes a spell with a smile, and yep, Lucifer it is. I’d already given up on the fight with parents and home teachers over King, Venus (for a boy), David (for a girl – although, being a fellow male-name bearer, to this particular one I have no objection, really), Tiger, Blue (but Andie, he does look sad, look at his face! He did.), Arrow, Woody and Litter (for a girl. Fair enough , boys being called trash sounds just as bad). But Lucifer? What the???
The other smart-Alec act of mine got deployed later in the afternoon in the lift – yes yes, on my way to the HR office to ask for a thicker pay check. I’m knackered, just focusing on looking out of my eye sockets as decent as possible after my eternal sweaty hours with my examinees and I see this petite girl standing next to me in a white T-shirt. I’ve never seen her before, she might work at one of the admin depts. She’s around 20 (give or take 10 years, you never know here), friendly but timid (aka virgin, to put it bluntly) looking. Her T-shirt says, with orbital black italics: WEAR PINK CONDOM.
Once I had a heated debate with a friend of mine whether those workers who assemble those snazzy adult health products here actually are aware of what they are grabbing between their hands 14 hours a day. But, I dare ask, whoever comes up with T-shirt messages like this? Last time, another colleague, a young, super-shy home teacher walked in to my class with bullshit neatly embroidered on her blouse. So, come on!!!!
Still, you know, I’m wondering when we’ll get to the mainstream era of Chinese people laughing at us for misstrokes of characters. Some folks already made it to legend among Chinese speakers with their funky tattoos, which mean “poo” or “chicken” (this latter standing for hooker in Mandarin).
Anyway, my big favourite is of course Venus As a Boy.
More on the artist, Yue Minjun (岳敏君), here.