War on Simplified Chinese Character

Yesterday, a photo of Macau McDonald’s replacing its traditional Chinese sign with a simplified Chinese one was widely shared on Facebook and drew criticism from both Macau and Hong Kong netizens.

Original uploader’s comment on QOOS, a Macau online community

渡邊麻友:
[Help] [Have Picture Have Truth] [Strongly Protest~Macau McDonald’s Uses Simplified Chinese Character Sign!!!!!!]

Today, I walked past McDonald’s in Fai Chi Kei and saw that a new McDonald’s sign was being installed. The sign was unpleasant when I first saw it. Later I noticed that it was a simplified Chinese character sign. It is really (*obscenity)!! I am not living in Mainland China!! I don’t need your simplified Chinese sign!!!!!

I determined to boycott !!!!

Fai Chi Kei McDonald’s!!!!

(*He took another picture at night)

Comments from Macau and Hong Kong netizens

Mavis: Why do people have to make our Macau look like Mainland China? I don’t want to see Simplified Chinese character everywhere! I need to protest against Simplified Chinese McDonald’s by boycotting it.

Oscar: Haha, Macau is being integrated into Mainland China.

Mavis: It is going to happen in Hong Kong. You should be careful. lol

Kristy: WTF, Macau is invaded by locusts.

Zoe: What the hell! Simplified Chinese character in Macau? And it is under my home. Open stores in Mainland China if they really love simplified Chinese character. Why do they open business in Macau? Simplified Chinese character was convenient for peasant learners. I don’t discriminate Mainland Chinese. The problem is that this is Macau. Macau guests should use traditional Chinese character.

Wong: Refuse to let Macau Mainlandise.

Wai: What the…I think foreign tourists should respect the culture of Macau…When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Why do things have to be “harmonised” to this level? When we Hongkonger and Macanese go to Mainland China, will they switch to traditional Chinese character? No…

Kefic: This is no good. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

AC: This morning, two sides of the sign are reverted to traditional Chinese character. You can eat in there with ease.

Ka: When we travel, we read local alphabets/characters and speak local languages/English. Why do locals of every part of the world have to yield to Mainland Chinese – use simplified Chinese character and speak Mandarin?

Keng: This is really sad. Even this small city is invaded. Why can’t tolerate culture? And this is even the character of our ancestor. How can people learn good Chinese culture? This is really putting the cart before the horse.

Yuuji: In the past, you didn’t expel Mainland Chinese, and even let more Mainland Chinese immigrants in silently, making the population of them more than that of the locals. Today, this is the result you get.

Ivan: The transliterations of some Macau place names have already been changed also. For instance, from Macau, Ilhas to Ao-Men, Ilhas, Macau. (*Ao-Men is Mandarin) I don’t understand why O-Mun, Ilhas, Macau is not used. (*O-Mun is Cantonese)

Kin: Amy, Mainland Chinese go to Macau to gamble, then they are guests. We should not change our unique culture just because they are vital to our economy. If we do so, we are no different from prostitutes.

伊: At first, it was said that a place could have a healthy life span of 50 years. Later, this doctor and that nurse connected tubes all over the place’s body, released blood, force her to stay in hospital, restrict her freedom of movement, always threaten her that “your life mustn’t be long” so she has to integrate with China – connecting blood vessels and depending on blood transfusion from Mainland China. Can people of that place live happily? There is no expectation for future; There is no confidence that one can extend the current state into future and improve the current system so that the place can be youthful forever. That place is hopeless – everyone can trample on, rob and rape her.

Long: In fact, there is no need to do so because even illiterates know that this is McDonald’s from its logo! Also, if this is a commercial decision, that CEO must be a retard. If it isn’t, I believe that there are some thought-provoking reasons. I would also like to learn them!

Chow: People still don’t think that Beijing is turning Hong Kong and Macau into Simplified Chinese using through systematic and deliberate schemes? People still think that these are separate incidents? They are pitifully stupid.

Law: Yes, Mainland China excels in using “boiling frog” strategy. When Mainland China established in 1949, everything was calm for the first few years. Then, changing to simplified Chinese, reforming land policy…finally cultural revolution…When one becomes apathetic about the situation, the next step will be even crueler…Then it will be too late to regret by that time.

Roy: Even though I am lazy all the time and use simplified Chinese character, I think traditional Chinese character should be retained. If we can’t retain traditional character, how can we retain freedom and democracy?

Macau netizens reported that the simplified Chinese sign has already been taken down.

Nicola: Today I passed there at 6pm. It is not in simplified Chinese character.

Lam: Tonight I passed it. It is now in traditional character.

Back to Hong Kong, the battle for traditional Chinese character is going on. Last week, politician Gary Fan protested against clothing retail chain GIORDANO for using only simplified Chinese. The following clip is taken from Oriental Daily.

Fan also succeeded in requesting Sony to change its Simplified Chinese shop sign into a Traditional Chinese one.

Gary Fan: On April 5th 2012, Neo-Democrats found that Sony Store in Tsim Sha Tsui Ocean Centre used only English and Simplified Chinese and immediately sent a complaint letter to the Chairman of Hong Kong Sony requesting that Sony should respect the culture of Hong Kong and use Traditional Chinese.

On May 15th, Sony replied that it had changed its shop sign and other signs inside the store and use both Traditional and Simplified Chinese in order to serve the needs of local residents and tourists. Neo-Democrats Gary Fan welcomes Sony’s willingness to accept opinions and will continue to fight for the use of Traditional Chinese character in stores that only use English and Simplified Chinese.

There is a war on Mandarin transliteration as well. On April 7th, 2012, blogger Lam Kay found that the official name of Hong Kong became “Xianggang Tebie Xingzhengqu” on the official page of FIFA. Netizens sent complaint emails to FIFA and requested to use “Hong Kong Special Administrative Region”.

On April 10th, netizens found that FIFA had made the change.

However, some netizens were upset that the “capital” of Hong Kong, Victoria (*nowadays Central), was changed as well, under the request of fellow netizens who don’t know Hong Kong history.

Liαr_Gαmer: But it changed the capital. This is a bit disappointing.

日向日向葵:(Cry) Victoria City is gone

“City of Victoria, Hong Kong” (Source)

Hong Kong netizens also requested to erase Mandarin transliteration from Macau’s FIFA page as well.

指責公仔: Some people may think that original poster is pointless. In real life, there must be some sensible pricks around you. However, you should not suspect your own value. Hong Kong has too few people who are willing to defend local values. Others dare not to do, then we should do it harder. Otherwise, Mandarin, Simplified Character, RMB and Xiang Gang are around the corner.

14 thoughts on “War on Simplified Chinese Character

  1. What about all the restaurants in HK which have menus and signs in english only? So locals are fine to pander to foreigners but when its your northern cousins, suddenly its unacceptable? Idiots.

    • 兄台要知道正體中文以及英語同屬香港官方語言
      雖然我不贊同上述餐廳做法,但焦點不同
      繁簡之爭雖然亦關乎文化霸權
      但更涉及中文道統之爭,相提並論似有不妥

      • @loo – The Basic Law of Hong Kong specifies that “Chinese” is the official language (together with English) – no preference for traditional chinese over simplified chinese. See Chapter 1, Article 9 of the Basic Law: http://www.basiclaw.gov.hk/en/basiclawtext/chapter_1.html

        So using simplified chinese is an attack on cantonese culture (which originated from the mainland) – but using English is not?

      • @Antho It doesn’t matter. In countries that use English, does it specify that it is American, Canadian, or British English you are suppose to be using? No.. But does that mean that you shouldn’t respect their usage? No.. You should. I get your point, it is a valid point, but everyone knows this. Cantonese, and Traditional Chinese is the language of spoken and written in Hong Kong. Respect it, or get out. The reason is because Hong Kong was built from the ground up speaking Cantonese (writing Traditional Chinese), and English (writing British English, and now mixed.. But mainly British). Never did Mandarin or Simplified Chinese ever have a place in Hong Kong, and it never shall. EVER.

    • There is a fundamental categorical difference:

      – Traditional Chinese characters and English are not substitutes
      – Traditional Chinese characters and simplified Chinese characters are substitutes

  2. 正楷滅亡, 殘體陪葬.殘體中文係寄生喺正楷中文下0既劣質速記系統, 已喪失造字功能, 無生命力. 無咗正楷, 殘體好快會跟住收皮, 中文等住變成拼音文

    講多次:

    美感固然重要, 但正楷之長, 殘體之劣, 不止於此, 更在其生命力.現代社會日新月異,殘體字造字功能已癈,根本無法應付。

    我地反對者, 係整個殘體字系統, 唔係個別殘體字.殘體字系統係附於正楷中文之下0既劣質速記系統, 莫講話公認核突難登大雅之當, 連基本傳情達意力都欠奉.

    古人書信可用行草, 你幾時見過歷史紀錄國際條約石碑用草書簡化字?私人通信偷懶用簡化字速寫無可厚非, 但公共空間係唔可用殘體字. 呢啲粗淺道理,講咗咁多次,一樣有人唔明。

  3. Would re-wording the original post statements to ‘Using Simplified Chinese is a slap on the face to HK & Macanese cultures’ clarify the misunderstanding a bit? Since Simplified Chinese IS part of the Chinese culture in some other countries.
    It would be nice to be able to maintain Traditional Chinese in HK and Macau.

    • Call me sentimental, Macau was beautiful before the vast developments; I enjoyed its small-town colonial feel. It is good that the government at least preserved several historical building and facades. It was truly an east-meets-west colony and the people was friendly. I hope it can preserve both the Portuguese language and Traditional Chinese writing.

  4. I’m from Singapore. Simplified Chinese had totally destroyed our culture.

    Most of our ancestors are from Cantonese part of china, HK and Taiwan in the 1800’s and 1900’s. Since 1960’s the Singapore government replaced Chinese instead of Cantonese as our main mother tongue.

    Our workplace and education had all been replaced with English and Chinese since then.

    Sadly 50 years later today, not many of us still remember how to speak Cantonese. 3rd generation of Singaporeans cant even understand simple Cantonese such as “Sun yat fai lok” which means happy birthday.😦

    Today there are so many mainland Chinese people in Singapore causing our own Singaporeans to lose their jobs. These mainlanders had destroyed our job market, causing average hourly wages to go down SGD$8 per hour to go below $4.50 for part time jobs. They are harshly competing for our jobs.😦

    Many do not respect local Singaporeans and are terribly rude and racist.

    Singapore had a population of 6 million currently; in which around 1 million people are mainlanders.

    I deeply understand how terribly HK people felt over the flow of Mainland chinese to HK. Same thing is happening in Singapore too.

    The Chinese invasion must be stopped.

    • I still wonder why Singaporean still voting for LKY and his pro-immigration PAP nowadays. Arn’t they the one destroying Singapore’s Chinese culture.

      • Yes. LKY is destroying our culture especially destroying our Cantonese and Hakka and Hokkien languages completely.

        It is conspirated that in fact most of us voted for the opposition party. But however votes had been manipulated to make LKY’s PAP to win.

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