In Hong Kong’s “new town” of Ma On Shan, I spotted this eye-catching sticker on the back of a delivery truck:
This was an image and meaning I simply had to deduce! Here is what is written on the sticker:
(In pinyin, this is: zhǐ wèi qián kuáng yánjìn shéwáng. In fully simplified Chinese, this is 只为钱狂 严禁蛇王.)
Scrambling through the radical index in a traditional character Chinese dictionary takes some doing, but I finally had my translation. I thought the sticker must have something to do with hating snakes, but no, the message reads:
“Only for the money-mad; loafers prohibited”
No lazy moving men for this furniture company, apparently!
Two questions for the language geeks:
- One Cantonese speaker from Macau told me that the sticker might have a double-meaning, with one meaning being an inducement not to catch wild snakes to sell for money. Any other takers on this theory? Sleuthing does reveal that “蛇王” in addition to meaning “loafer” can also mean “cobra.”
- Why, since the rest of the sticker is in traditional characters, is “只” simplified? The dictionary tell me that the traditional form of “只” is “隻.” Any insights?
For everyone else:
Isn’t this a much cooler image than the still ubiquitous (at least in Hong Kong) “baby on board” sticker? I have two children and yet the circa 1980s “baby on board” sticker simply makes me want to ram any car displaying it.
As you read this, I am in Yunnan, China where the forbidden fruit of WordPress blogging (and Facebook and Twitter) are blocked by the patronizingly paranoid Chinese government. Too short a trip to bother with a VPN circumvention, but I’ll be back in touch soon.