Sunday, September 23, 2007

Chinese and the media

The recent two cases involving the Chinese seem to have revealed an inability of the media to deal with Chinese names. Many of those who have a career in reading and writing the news seem not to have any advice on how to approach them. Regularly, the names have been so butchered that at times it was hard to know who was who.

Neither does there seem to be a standard convention for the ordering of Chinese names. In the recent article, “Pumpkin case: Grandmother's anger at police”, the grandmother is called Liu Xiao Ping using Chinese name ordering (surname first) yet in the same article ‘Pumpkin’ is called Qian Xun Xue with English name ordering (surname last). In the Saturday Herald, a man by the name of Sun Anguang was mentioned; Sun was his family name yet in the article he was referred to as Mr Anguang! The solution is easy: if it is a Chinese name, use the Chinese order (e.g. Hu Jintao); if the name has an English component, use the English order (e.g. Pansy Wong).

Perhaps this is a sign of the inability of media outlets to take on journalists of other ethnicities and language backgrounds.

(I've sent this to the Letters to the Editor at the Herald)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Obsession rising

I was downtrailed. Not a single answer solved. The grid immaculate apart from a few feeble, misguided scribbles in miniscule letters. The Mephisto crossword humbled me three weeks ago, restricting me to three answers, but had given me an ounce of hope yielding 19 (of the 32) answers the following week. But this past week's left me confounded and grasping.

Studying the clues I didn't get revealed a glaring problem. The clues were designed for an educated, older British solver. A decent knowledge of Middle English (as you'd expect in Chaucer), Scottish vernacular and the history and people of note for Greater Britain are all required.

So guess who's reading Chaucer now...