[閱讀] Chinese quiproquo

The blackboard menu at Café 自然醒.
Did you know that Taiwan also grows its own coffee beans? Ironically, only a few coffee shops sell a cup of Taiwanese Joe. Due to the cost of labor, its price is significantly higher than imported beans.

Quiproquo is a French word (of Latin origin) for “misunderstanding”, in theatrical plays, it’s a way to create a twist of event, often to obtain a humorous outcome or tragicomedy. Too bad it’s not part of the English lexicon, but that shan’t prevent me from pretending that it does, hehe. 😛

Anyway! I’m feeling studious today, so let me share a cute little story in Chinese. It was forwarded by a friend who loves spamming me with all kinds of random stories, pictures and videos (Tibetan sky burial? Not again please.), so I usually ignore most of it, until that time where I actually got quizzed on the “spam of the day”.

Though it was a little embarrassing to face up with the fact that I don’t consume all of his messages (I guess the “Read” stamp isn’t enough to fake it), sent with the best intent in the world, I’m glad he called me on that day, and thereby forcing me to flex some of my Chinese reading muscles. 😅

This short reading exercise hides a few puns which are also a good way to gauge one’s knowledge of the Chinese language and Taiwanese culture. If you’re game enough, read on and try to figure out the quiproquos. Explanations are provided after the text. 🙂


反韓熱潮

某國掀起了一股前所未有反韓熱潮,政府下令將國內所有跟韓國有關的商品全數驅逐回國 ••••

碼頭邊,韓貨們排隊等著搭上遣返他們回國的船。

三星電視和LG電視手牽著手排在最前面,現代汽車跟在後頭,韓式泡菜也在隊伍之中。

韓式泡菜發現包心菜竟然也在隊伍之中,於是就過去問他。

韓式泡菜:「你怎麼來啦?」

包心菜淚眼汪汪的說:「他們說我是”高麗”菜…」

然後看到排在包心菜後面的蔥,大家也很好奇為什麼他會出現?!

蔥說:「他們說我是“三星”(宜蘭)出產的 。」

之後,泡菜發現旁邊竟然還有巧克力?? 很訝異的問他:「巧克力,你怎麼也在這?…」

蔥說:「對啊!你不管是念成台語、英語、菲律賓話、什麼語言都跟韓國沒關係啊!你怎麼會在這?」

只見巧克力重重的嘆了一口氣,說:「因為我…”含果仁”…」

接著,韓式泡菜遠遠望見台灣地瓜, 垂頭喪氣的走在隊伍的最後頭,感到相當訝異 ?!

「你是土生土長的台灣地瓜,來這兒排什麼隊啊?」

地瓜哭喪著臉,幾近崩潰的說:「因為我是 “韓籍”」


The gist of the story is about a country taking drastic measures on the latest Korean craze, and deporting all Korean related products back to their home. Some unfortunate ones are caught lost in translation…


包心菜淚眼汪汪的說:「他們說我是”高麗”菜…」

包心菜 is a vegetable that resembles cabbage. Cabbage in Chinese is 高麗菜, but 高麗 alone is also a term for Korea, so the poor 包心菜 is being mistaken as a Korean vegetable.


蔥說:「他們說我是“三星”(宜蘭)出產的 。」

The township of 三星 in Ilan 宜蘭 is famous for its production of green onion, 蔥. Unfortunately for Mr. 蔥, 三星 is also the Chinese name of the Korean brand Samsung, thus implying that 蔥 is Made in Korea.


只見巧克力重重的嘆了一口氣,說:「因為我…”含果仁”…」

In appearance, there is no linguistic ambiguity with Mrs. Chocolate  巧克力, if only it wasn’t for the fact that she contains 含 ㄏㄢˊ some nuts 果仁 ㄍㄨㄛˇ ㄖㄣˊ, which sounds too close to 韓國人, a Korean individual, to spare her from being deported.


地瓜哭喪著臉,幾近崩潰的說:「因為我是"韓籍"」

Sweet potato is considered as an indigenous plant of Taiwan. In Chinese it’s called 地瓜, but also known as 蕃薯 ㄈㄢ ㄕㄨˇ. The latter can be read in mandarin and be understood just fine, but the word is also the Taiwanese term for sweet potato. Its pronunciation, ㄏㄢ ㄐ|ˊ,  is a homophone of 韓籍 ㄏㄢˊ ㄐ|ˊ, meaning a Korean native.

Listen to 蕃薯 ㄏㄢ ㄐ|ˊ in Taiwanese (sound from moedict 萌典):


If you’ve figured out all the puns, then you can give yourself a pat on the back, your Chinese and knowledge of the Taiwanese culture is 袂䆀. =^-^=

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