12 funniest signs this week

sign-from-god

Humor is all around, sometimes intentional

AT THE MALL to do some shopping, I stepped into a lift with one of my kids.

She was the right height to read the little sign on the panel:

“Children must be accompanied in this elevator.”

She gazed up at me and whispered with guilty excitement: “This lift is PG-13!”

***

Whenever the topic of silly signs comes up, everyone has a tale to tell. Indeed, I firmly believe that most people go travelling around Asia not to take a break, but to snap pictures of signs which say:

“Please Do Not Take Weapons Into This Toilet.”

***

A favorite was one seen in a hotel in Vietnam which told guests:

“No sex or fighting.”

What about married couples? You’re talking about our two main activities.

***

Hong Kong has many useless signs. One used to hang at an expressway building site in the New Territories, saying:

“Drivers who collide with this pylon should beware.”

Bit late?

***

Going back to our oft-repeated point that Asian English is more memorable than traditional English, reader Nonie Eu, a mother of two, sent me a photograph of a sign from China, which said:

“Offer Seats to the Old, Weak, Sick, Crippled and Gravid.”

Who’s Gravid? No, not some decrepit fellow with weak knees. It’s a Jurassic-era English word for “pregnant”.

Nonie, a Chinese TV presenter, also sent in a photo of a rather poignant sign on a wall in China. It said:

“Dying right here is strictly prohibited.”

***

1475414584bbfdd91749gn

When discussing wacky signs, readers regularly make the point that some signs which look like spelling mistakes are deliberate. They are “tongue-in-cheek, making use of and subverting the idea that we're poor at English,” said a reader named Sharanya, referring to one in Thailand. “The ‘Broken English Spoken Perfectly Here’ is quite a giveaway.”

Reader Steve Dore was also suspicious of that particular sign. He said: “Surely it should have said, ‘Broken English Speaked Good Here’?”

***

In my files is a letter from reader Fred Gray who noticed that Hong Kong trams have signs saying: "Do not lean out of window".

He would prefer signs in this part of the world to have a more East Asian lilt to them:

“Man who lean out of tram window need head examined.”

***

sign14_1407795i

A favorite item in my signpost files is one that reader Mei Hardwick saw stuck into the ground at a park in Beijing. It says:

“No dabbling.”

It’s not clear what you may be tempted to dabble in nor why you shouldn’t. Perhaps it’s just a general piece of philosophical advice.

***

Of course, there are lots of funny signs outside Asia too. An American friend told me about a serendipitous pairing of road signs in her home country:

“SLOW CHILDREN” and “NO HUNTING”.

They were probably meant to be read separately, but they were in Texas, so you never know.

***

Meanwhile, I have several times been sent photographs of a sign at the check-in desk of China Eastern Airlines:

“Please check in animals and alcoholics.”

So not only does my dog have to go in a cage in the luggage compartment, but so does my Uncle Joseph.

Actually, that’s not a bad idea. At least my kids and I will be able to enjoy the flight.

***

die-slowly

***