Monday, February 06, 2023


A lovely visual internet meme has a mis-translation that speaks to many people: "please wait patiently for the failure of the sytem". Because we know it's all just a matter of time. Of course it originally meant something else, the person doing the translation went kind of awry in his or her hasty copy-paste.

All of us at The Ministry For Silly Walks need this on our desks.
It will save time immensely, and make our jobs easier.

It's almost Hungarian Phrase Book level.
Reminiscent of French-taunting.
And eels.

[Traditional characters: 外國人來華工作許可系統故障,請耐心等待 。]

The actual meaning in the language in which it was written (probably Serbo-Croation): "The work permit system for foreigners in China is malfunctioning, please be patient." But to be perfectly honest, I prefer the mis-translation, in which the original text would have been:

外國人來華工作許可系統故障 ('ngoi gwok yan loi waa gung jok heui ho hai tung gu jeung'), 請耐心等待 ('ching noi sam dang doi').

請耐心等待系統故障 ('ching noi sam dang doi hai tung gu jeung').

Practice sentence you should memorize: 我嘅氣墊船裝滿晒鰻魚 ('ngo ge hei dim suen jong mun saai maan yü'); "my hovercraft is (entirely) full of eels".
It's bound to come in handy.


For approximately two pounds of skinned and boned eels, you will need three TBS sherry or rice wine, three TBS soy sauce, one TBS fragrant dark vinegar, One to one and a half TBS cornstarch, Half a TBS sugar, two stalks green onion, plus a few cloves of crushed garlic, and a little less minced ginger. As well as a rasher of bacon, cut into large pieces.
Or two. I prefer two.

Rinse the eels under the tap.

Heat a saucepan of water with one of the green onion stalks and a hefty dash rice wine or sherry to boiling. Dump in the eels, let it come back to boil, and turn off the heat.
Drain and rinse with cold water.

Cut the eels into appropriate chopstickable pieces. Chop the remaing green onion.

Stir the cornstarch with two or three TBS. water to dissolve. Stir the sugar into the soy sauce, rice wine, and vinegar.

Drizzle a little oil into the pan. Saute the bacon, garlic and ginger very briefly, toss in the eel, stirfry briskly with a toss or two. Add the soy sauce and sugar combination plus the cornstarch water. Cook till the sauce is velvety, add a brief grind of pepper.
Decant, and garnish with the chopped green onion.

Serve with rice and a sambal.


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