Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Apr 25 2002

I left work a bit early yesterday in order to make…

I left work a bit early yesterday in order to make it to an editing test at the Ministry of Truth. The truth is, I have to admit, that even if they offer me that particular job I am not sure I would take it, since it would involve a rather stressful working environment. But I sent in my resume anyway, and then they wanted me to take the translation test, so I thought I would at least give it a shot. I didn’t prepare at all for it. I was even a few minutes late, since the MRT stop was a little further away from the place than I had remembered. The test consisted of two news stories and a speech to translate. The speech had an English translation already to use as a guide, but it was so poorly written I found it quicker to just re-translate from the Chinese. And then there was an essay question for which I simply wrote the equivalent of a ranting blog entry for an answer.

There were four other guys in the testing room, all white, all about my age. Sean Scanlan, co-organizer of the Urban Nomad Film Festival, was there, complaining about the simplified characters in the dictionaries they provided us. Two of the other guys asked me if I was me; one of them knew Ronnie, with whom I worked at the newspaper so long ago, and the other had seen me on Oriented.

Speaking of Oriented, their happy hour is tonight, at some no-doubt trendy enclave on An-he Road. I didn’t ride my motorcycle today due to the weather, so I will probably just walk over. It’s only a few blocks from here, and I have an hour after I get off work to get there, and I like walking through this city. I’m constantly discovering little bits of it, hidden alleys and corner parks that I’ve never come across before.

This morning, since I was late for work as usual, I took a taxi instead of the MRT. I was taking pictures out the window of interesting sights along the way, such as the “USA English School“, where USA stands for “Ubanity, Sagacity and Ardency” of all things. On the way I spotted a couple driving a black Mercedes-benz in the next lane. The woman was in the passenger seat, and the man was driving, but all of his attention was focused not on the road, but on his PDA, which he was manipulating with his stylus as we rushed down Xinyi Road in morning traffic. Not once did he look up, and eventually I overcame my surprise and took a blurry picture of the guy with my camera. Perhaps Mercedes has come up with a way to drive with your PDA, using the stylus to map out your course with a virtual representation of the road ahead on the little gray screen. But I doubt it. Odds are, in reality, that the driver was just ignorant. Anyone who drives can tell you that benzes and BMWs are often driven by the worst, most idiotic drivers. I suppose that is why they have to incorporate so many safety systems, so that they can survive the inevitable crash and sue the poor person they ran into while checking their stock portfolios at 60 mph. Idiots like that make me want to move out of the city altogether and take the MRT everywhere I go.

After I got to work I got a call from Lynn, who acted in A Man for All Seasons with me last summer. She has become a Buddhist nun, shaving her head and donning the gray robes nuns here wear for shopping and other duties, and she now works for Bookman Publishing. They had received my proposal and were wondering if I had a translation ready. For some reason, a lot of people have proposed doing a bi-lingual version of the Damn Book, with English on one side and Chinese on the other. I am opposed to this for several reasons, including the fact that it is not a textbook, and also, since there are some things that would not make it into the Chinese version, the versions would not match up. Such a book would also attract a different crowd, not necessarily the one I am aiming for, and while I could charge a bit more for each book, the printing costs would be double. It just wouldn’t make sense.

posted by Poagao at 8:23 am  

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