Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Bad Engrish

While there are few things funnier than laughing at cultures we don't understand, we must always be vigilant to spot the fakers. That's right. The web has made it possible for certain nefarious individuals to create ostensible "Official Websites" of various countries, and through unfortunate translations and cultural faux-pas, make otherwise upstanding locales such as, say, North Korea, look a little low-budget. For example, Slate.com found a link to what seems to be the Official Page of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. It boasts such features as a souvenir page (set of 5 stamps of the Dear Leader! Hurry while supplies last!) and an explanation of traditional Korean dress ("The traditional Korean clothing is composed by the inferior clothing.") But alas, it was all put together by some Kim Jong Il groupie in Spain or something.

My favorite, though, has to be the Official Tourist Site of the Moscow Government. Set aside any qualms you may have had about a trip to the Evil Empire, for as this site assures us, Moscow is "as beautiful as ever, despite all crises and misfortunes!" This site is chock full of valuable information for the intrepid voyager. Worried about the lack of an official taxicab system in Moscow? Never fear! Just a hitch a ride with a friendly driving Russian, and remember this tip: "the shabbier is the car, the more credible is its driver, because frauds, mostly, do not have bad cars " Have you been hearing any stories about rampant crime in Russia? Well, it's all propaganda. You see, "It's up to local Mafia people to shoot at each other. In case you are not intended to do some illegal business in Moscow, you may, somehow, feel safe and protected." Women, just remember, you "should better avoid close company with "hot-tempered" Caucasians in lifts." Most importantly, the capitalist tourist should know that "Moscow is worth spending money. Keep it in mind and try not to forget at home all the money you will need here. Put some cash into your pockets and all Credit Cards and Traveller Checks you have into your big wallet."

Shhhh...can you hear Lenin spinning?


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