We were coming out of the Hou Hai Starbucks this afternoon, and saw a water poet. I’ve written about this before, I think it’s awesome to watch them paint disappearing poems with their giant brushes. We went over to watch him work, which means I hopped around calling out the characters I recognized before sadly telling Stick that no, I have no idea what it says.

When he finished his piece, the poet turned to me and offered me the giant brush. Never wanting to miss an opportunity to publicly make a fool of myself try something unusual and new, I accepted. A crowd gathered and they guessed aloud what I was writing as I slowly and carefully wrote out three characters.

I have newfound respect for the waterpoets’ use of the giant unwieldy brush and unevenly flowing water-ink. They make it look so simple and smooth, but it was extremely awkward and made my usual childlike writing even worse than usual.

I wrote the top three, Mei guo ren, American (it was that or Ni Hao, I’m not playing with a full dictionary here), then handed the brush back to the poet, who whipped out the next two lines in the time it took me to write one word. It says:

nan something ming something
nu something tian hua

This proves that understanding greater than 50 percent can still leave me totally clueless as to the whole meaning. Men something, women something else.

I hope it says “Americans: Men are from Mars, women are from Venus.”

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0 Responses to Semi-Literate

  1. Anonymous says:

    great pic. May I suggest “not playing with a full dictionary” as a replacement for “getting the tones wrong since 2006”?

  2. Anonymous says:

    it’s a couple’s names, like on their wedding invitation. I don’t know why they are there. And, the guy’s name is a bit feminine.

  3. Elliott Ng says:

    LOL. I have been in the “wo3 – something – something – something – something – something” game for a while. So I identified with this post!

  4. spambait9876 says:

    The names are:

    Male: Yan Ming Xia (Xia as in summer, that makes it masculine)
    Female: Xiao Tian Hua

  5. Anonymous says:

    In Pinyin the names are:

    Male: Ren Mingxia
    Female: Zhao Tianhua

  6. Kathy says:

    Hi, I just wandered into your blog while browsing and that is so cool! I’ve never seen anything like it! And yours are impressive as well!!

  7. Pingback: Simpson’s Paradox » Blog Archive » Little Water Poets

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