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June 26, 2007

Hillary gets lost in translation

June 26, 2007


TO: Harold Ickes


RE: HRC's name on Chinese-language ballots

As we discussed this a.m. at the staff mtg, DOJ is requiring ballots in certain areas of Boston to be printed in Mandarin (Chinese) for Chinese speakers,
including the candidates' names. This will create big problems for the candidates, because there are many different Chinese characters for each sound. The article we were discussing said that "Romney" could be "translated" as "sticky rice."

I spoke to Sally Cheung of Asian-Americans for Hillary to see if we could get some positive meaning from the Chinese characters used in HRC's name. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Sally reported that, depending on which characters are used, HRC's name in Mandarin will mean one of the following:

  • chubby ankles
  • tormented pants suit
  • dung of woolen civet
  • hurl infected lamp
Since Romney means "sticky rice," I asked Sally about food names. She said it was funny I asked, because BC's name is very similar to "moo shu pork."

I told her, and I think you'll agree, that we don't ever want to see BC and "pork" mentioned in the same sentence.

To avoid this looming disaster, I also inquired about possible name changes for HRC. I asked Sally how to say "inevitable victor." But the answer was "hsiu li wa ni." (Say it fast.) I asked her how to say "natural talent." The answer was "how bah mah."

Harold, we are totally hosed!

[hat tip: fee simple]