The Declarer (Floyd McWilliams' Blog)

Sunday, June 13, 2010


And She Is The Black And White Spirit On The Twigs


In honor of the 2010 World Expo, the Shanghai Zoo brought together eight two-year-old pandas.  It's a great exhibit.  The young pandas are full of energy; they fight, wrestle, and wait eagerly for their feedings.

The signs describing the pandas are full of leaden prose, translated very badly:

The giant panda "Ping Ping", Serial No. 704, female, is the elder of the twins for the first pair in the world in 2008.  Ping Ping and her brother "An An" were the first pair of twins born after the earthquake.  She was born at 7:52 in the morning of July 6th, 2008, whose weight was 170g at birth, at present, she weighs 37 kg, and her mother is Guo Guo.  

I doubt the Chinese version is much more fun to read.  Whenever I edit my writing I delete ruthlessly, and the same rule should have been applied here.  Why tell us Ping Ping's serial number?  In case she gets loose and someone sees her on the street and reads her tag?  Who cares what time of day she was born?

"Ping Ping" has a round face, well-developed figure, 

She's a svelte 26-28-30.

bright and good looks, black and white hair.  

A panda with black and white hair?  What were the odds?!

(The original was one huge block of text, so be happy I am breaking it up for you.)

She is gentle and shy and likes climbing trees and lying on the high branches graciously, looking into the distance, or closing eyes for rest.  In a day, she will spend most of the time on the branches, and she is the black and white spirit on the twigs.  On Sept 25, 2008, she was adopted by the famous actor Huang Xiaoming.  

What, he lives at the zoo?  Tucks her into bed?  Will pay for her secondary education?  I hate celebrities. [1]

"Ping Ping" didn't have a good health when she was young, so she got more attention of people.  She likes pestering people, after a meal, she likes walking about near the rails, and she will approach the feeders when it sees them.  The feeders will be attracted by her delicate and touching expression and then squat in front of her and play with her.  But the young daddies are not easy to deal with and the nose of "Ping Ping" is often flipped by her fingers.  After a long time, "Ping Ping" has learned her lesson, she will not wait for the flip with her big nose, but to do head exercises following the movement of the fingers of her daddies.
The zookeepers are flipping her the bird?  That's not very professional.

Seriously ... there are 13 million people in Shanghai and the zoo couldn't find one person who speaks English fluently for its headline exhibit? One person who knows about paragraphs?

[1] At least it was an actor and not a government official.  The Communist Party doesn't seem very interested in self-glorification.  I can't remember seeing a single poster or billboard devoted to a high-level politician.

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