Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ink Diplomacy

I was watching CCTV the other night (yes, I love international broadcasting, and sometimes tune in to RT, NHK and France24) and I saw something on the ticker that made me laugh: apparently, the most popular tattoos in China these days are English words.  So years after the stupid craze of getting Chinese characters inked on Occidental skin, now the Chinese are getting semi-poignant words printed on their skin-cum-canvas.  As I noticed across the Straits, in Taiwan- where there is a large Buddhist population- people were opting for Sanskrit.

Having been to China, and seen the muck of Chinglish that exists on signage ("Racist Park" in Beijing, among a slew of anecdotes I could name), perhaps a good bit of business could be made in teaching English to tattoo artists, and offering proofreading for people planning on getting tatted up.  Someone could set up a stand outside parlors, and proofread for a lil kwai.  Maybe it could even be a public diplomacy exchange.  Why do all our vocational exchanges need to be high brow?  Why couldn't we sponsor some vocational exchanges for tattoo artists?  The Bernays-Barnum School of PD approves such guerrilla cultural exchange.

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