Poor English is bad advertisement for bank amid debate over language standards in HK

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 November, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 November, 2009, 12:00am

The city's English standards are debated regularly. Have they fallen or risen? Why should we care? Isn't Putonghua set to become the global language anyway?

The worst English LoDown has seen recently, from somewhere that should know better, was in a Citibank promotion urging customers to choose e-statements over paper, to save trees. The English is so poor, LoDown wonders if the bank's staff simply ran the Chinese version through an internet translation service.

'Did you know that every tree will be saved by 200 e-statements,' the promotional e-mail opens.

Please explain: 'Less plastic bag is as important as less paper for a green & health lifestyle.'

From there it descends into a messy jumble, with mistakes so elementary one wonders if the statement was written by a 10-year-old who won a competition to be a marketing expert for a day.

A Citibank spokesman humbly told LoDown: 'We appreciate your feedback. We will exert extra caution in the future.'