Engrish and Other Vaguely Amusing Items

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Everybody has seen Engrish, even if we don’t know what it is.

Years ago, I went to the hardware store here in Madang to find a grease gun. I’m not talking about the 45 calibre weapon favoured by Allied tank crews in WWII. I’m talking about the gadget that you use to lubricate the suspension bits on your automobile.

I did manage to find one. This is notable, since it is a truly happy day when you find what you are actually looking for at a hardware store in Madang. Hardware shopping (indeed all shopping) in Madang consists of going to stores to look for things that you might  need. Trying to find a specific item that you must have right now is pure folly.

Anyway, I did manage to find a grease gun and here are the instructions that were on the side telling me how (or rather, how not  – I’m not sure) to use it:  (you will need to click to enlarge to be fully mesmerised)

Grease gun instructions

This is a classic example of Engrish – the somewhat ethnically pejorative word that applies to fractured English so often found on products made in far-away places where The Queen’s speech is seldom heard.

The image above is an exact scan of the label that I’ve saved for all these years. I’ve puzzled over it many times. I cannot honestly say what it means.

It does, however, if read over and over and over,  display a kind of gestalt of its own. It’s not so much what it means, but how its itty-bitty parts blend together to produce something that is immensely more intriguing than the mere technical details it purports to impart to the user. One can almost imagine the words set to a Gilbert and Sullivan tune.

I particularly like the dire warning, “Do no use MULTI-LOADING alternately!!” I assure you, I would do no such thing, if only I understood what it meant.

Imagine if a four metre tall alien pointed a giant comic-book ray gun at you and ordered, “By none means shall ye recombobulate thine meagerish farbulators!!”

It would be insane to disobey. I would fall all over myself to avoid doing exactly that. Whatever that  is.

It’s odd how one can develop a suspicious view of any information that is unfamiliar when bombarded incessantly by Engirsh.

For example:

Lithium Iron Batteries

These innocent rechargeable batteries proclaimed themselves to be Lithium Iron.  Since I had not heard the term before, I quite naturally assumed that they were cheap knock-offs of Lithium Ion*  batteries. After all, the phrase, “Sustains 6x Alkaline” is linguistically suspicious.

Somebody had given me a pack of four. I took a glance and instantly dismissed them as chaff, tossing them in a drawer to be forgotten as most everything else in that drawer has been forgotten. It’s my place to store absolutely useless items that might, given time, redeem themselves.

As I was preparing this post, something in my brain broke loose and I remembered the batteries.  I Googled them.  Lo and behold, there is such a thing as Lithium Iron batteries!  Who could have known!  I immediately loaded them into my charger.

And now, puzzle of grease leakage been settled.

*You know, like the Rollex watch or the Lewis Strauss jeans.

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5 Responses to “Engrish and Other Vaguely Amusing Items”

  1. phoenix auto insurance Says:

    Right on !! Damn I’m getting addicted to your blog 🙂

  2. Stephen Says:

    Mate those instructions are great, I should be able to repair my long time defective juice extraction unit if I follow those!
    I will see what my VRF instruction manual has to offer and look at posting a few pearls of wisdom if it has any on offer 😉

  3. MadDog Says:

    Glad to be of service, Stephen. It’s nice to be useful.

  4. David Briscoe Says:

    I go to the Philippines occasionally. I will keep an eye out for Engrish. English is an official language of the Philippines, but I bet I can find examples. Thanks for the cool post.

  5. MadDog Says:

    Thanks, David. If you find some nice Egrisih examples, please take photos and send them to me. I’ll put them up and give you a guest shot.