Sunday, June 17, 2012


Using a symbolic language,it is only natural that Chinese have mastered the most compressed language in English: the acronym.
Product names are the most common ones you hear. LV is an expensive brand famous for hand bags. CK is famous for underwear. XO, far from being a kiss and a hug, is a by-word for cognac. Since they're commonplace for Chinese speakers to use them, students will use them all without hesitation in their own English thinking that the alphabet indicated that they were English.  
Oddities abound. WC is one of the longest existing Chinglish acronyms. Can you guess what it stands for? It is not a global sporting event but a humble latrine. The letter originate from the archaic name of water closet. OT, which I associate with occupational therapy, means overtime. BMW is a put down: big mouth woman. TMD is a Chinese curse phrase which doesn't bear elaboration. From my first weeks in China I learnt a new one, PK, which comes to mind more frequently now.
PK is even more obscure than WC in that no-one is entirely sure whence it originated. When I asked, no-one could tell me its provenance, and some even really struggled to explain the meaning. After exposure to this phrase I can kindly define for your enlightenment that a PK is a head-to-head match: one person will win, the other will lose. It is a verb too, You can PK someone, to challenge them for a position, for a title etc. According to Baidu, the Chinese dominant Googlesque website, it originates from Player Kill, a common phrase in old computer games, apparently. 
As reported in The Snag, after climbing the mountain and achieving my goal, I've found an ogre at the top swinging to knock me off. Or rather, in a more realistic sense, two of us have just climbed up, and two rather pleasant people are at the top and the space at the top only accommodates two. They're nice. They aren't exactly stamping on our fingers. We're all pretty good friends. But while we are up here, we're going to be PK the odds-on winners for our own piece of the crumbling crag.
Your Chinglish word of the day. My reality. When I wrote earlier, I wasn't rating my chances. But now I'm getting myself organised. I can see my strengths and my achievements more clearly. I have a strong supporter who is quite determined to push me onto the top, too. So I shall surge up and PK with all my might.

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