The Mighty Gross Huangpu River

Late this afternoon, while leaving the Puxi side of the Expo 2010 (World’s Fair) grounds, I happened to pause at a bus stop which – to my great surprise – provided this (presumably) inadvertent commentary on Shanghai’s Huangpu River.

It’s true: despite monumental efforts to improve Shanghai’s riverfront (including wonderful work at the Expo site), the river which runs through this great river town remains highly polluted. I actually did a bit of looking into this subject a year ago, and if you’re interested in the details, you might consider paying the fee necessary to access this paper. Gross river, indeed.

[ed. note: The staff at Shanghai Scrap believes that there’s rather too much writing about Chinglish in the foreign media and blogsphere – especially by people like me who really have no business making fun of someone else’s foreign language ability. And that’s why we maintain a “One Chinglish Post Per Year” policy at Shanghai Scrap. Needless to say, there was very little discussion about whether or not the above entry should be this year’s example; not only is it funny, it is -arguably – an apt commentary on a pressing environmental issue. Congratulations, Expo 2010.]

[Addendum: Additional Shanghai Scrap thoughts on Expo 2010 English, from 2009, here.]


  1. I sometimes wonder if the more egregious Chinglish offenses aren’t committed on purpose. This would be a good candidate.

  2. What gets me about Chinglish (or Konglish or Jinglish) is the attitude behind it. I think it boils down to: “Sure we could actually have a native speaker look at it, but then we would lose face” OR “who cares, it’s just English, not nearly as unique/special/pure as our minzu’s mother tongue”

  3. I like Carl’s comment. When I was at the Expo I couldn’t believe all of the crap English. Didn’t they bother or try to get it right? This sign is bad but how about Pavilionof Footprints??? Urbanian pavilion??? Shanghai wants to be international but then it keeps shooting itself in the foot.

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