Biting JFK

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

  • I used to know a girl who found Chinese writing to be particularly attractive, so much so that she decided to have some Chinese characters tattooed along her spine and lower back. She didn’t speak or read a word of Chinese, but was under the impression that the characters that were to be forever inked on her skin were “Peace, Love, Harmony and Happiness”

    Sometime later, while wearing a backless dress to show off her bold and beautiful tattoo, a group of Chinese men began laughing at her. Not one to shy away from any confrontation she challenged the men and demanded to know what was so funny. That’s when she discovered that the beautiful Chinese script she was so enamoured with did not in fact read “Peace, Love, Harmony and Happiness” but instead was merely a random selection from a Chinese food menu.

    The ‘crispy duck disaster,’ as it became known among the group of us who knew the girl, graphically demonstrats the peril of playing with the text of a language you have no understanding of. With this tale in mind, I suspect that the t-shirt I spotted today at a clothing store in the Malaysian port town of Melaka (Melacca) is another such ‘crispy duck disaster.’

    The text “Then Murdered by FBI to prevent her biting JFK” is clearly a fragment of a sentance, and obviously bears no connection to the London bus image whatsoever. A quick search online reveals that the text appears on a website about Marilyn Monroe, and is in fact part of a wider paragraph dismissing myths surrounding the late actress.

    Quite why this text was chosen is beyond me, but then I suppose one might ask why crispy duck and not sweet and sour pork?