• Wed
  • Sep 17, 2014
  • Updated: 7:47am
NewsHong Kong

Give your children a shock! HK government's bizarre advice to parents in Victoria Park

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 June, 2014, 9:05pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 June, 2014, 4:03pm

When in the park with your children, have you ever thought about creeping up behind them as they happily play with friends and giving them the fright of their lives?

That's what Hong Kong's government is advocating if new signs spotted in Victoria Park are anything to go by - thanks to sloppy English translations that inform parents in English "Do not leave your children unsurprised".

The new signs, installed on May 30, contain several English mistakes - with the mis-translation for not leaving children "unsupervised" topping the list.

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Other errors are more slight, but will no doubt be seen by many as a slipping of standards, not least in the Leisure and Cultural Services Department which produced the signs.

Visitors to the park are advised that there should be "no padding" - yet paddling is surely okay - and hawkers are told "prosecution will be taken", although where it will be taken remains unclear.

Non-Chinese residents who frequent the park said they indeed were "unsupervised" by the mistake, as the city's English-language signs often contain errors.

"It's not uncommon, though I don't see it every day - maybe once a month," said a local-born Australian who gave his surname only, Gibson.

"Usually the words will be a bit strange and don't sound right to native speakers," he added.

Kuce To, a student from nearby Queen's College, asked how the government could fail to notice such obvious mistakes.

"Hong Kong claims to be an international city after all, and English is one of our official languages," he said. "Such careless mistakes should be easy to avoid."

But the carelessness would not be too detrimental to the city, he added, as "few people pay attention to the warning signs anyway".

Lawmaker Claudia Mo Man-ching said although the mistake on the sign might seem harmless, it reflected how English was perceived in the city post-handover.

A Leisure and Cultural Services Department spokeswoman said on Monday it had been notified by a member of the public on June 5 about an error on the signage, which she said was a result of "the [LCSD] staff... having failed to have spotted the typing error during proof-reading".

When the Post visited the park the offending "unsurprised" word had been covered with a piece of paper reading "unsupervised".

Two signs sporting the error are due to be replaced by new ones early next week, the spokeswoman added.


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This article is now closed to comments

Can't help feeling that it is inadvertently good advice nonetheless - parents should indeed ensure their children are regularly surprised!
Let be honest the English level in Hong Kong has been sinking for years now. I can't say it fees like a city with two official languages anymore, but it is the way it is and Hong Kong can decide its own path.
This sign is full of nonsense. "Prosecution will be taken", what does that even mean?
"No releasing fish" is awkward.
I guess this is the new policy of removing English from Hong Kong and going full "Putonghua".
The sad thing is that when people alerted LCSD to the 'Do not leave your children unsurprised' error, they corrected 'unsurprised' to 'unsupervised', but did not bother to check the rest of the sign to see if there were still other errors, so that 'No padding' remains uncorrected. This is not just a question of poor English; this is also a question of poor work attitude.
Maybe the sign was for Halloween.
"Other errors are more slight, but will no doubt be seen by many as a slipping of standards, not least in the Leisure and Cultural Services Department which produced the signs."
What does this sentence mean? It is either an error or it's not. The last part of the sign has another error not mentioned, "...please contact the officer-in charge or Manager....on 2890 4355." When it should say 'at' not 'on.' Then there is the issue of the inconsistent and incorrect capitalization in that sentence.
This is what happens when the education system no longer give focus on English language learning, and more focus on pu"bloody"tonghua instead, claiming the latter as more 'internationally oriented' than English — the fact that such a sign was able to pass elementally level proof reading, rather than sending it straight back to its maker.
"elementally" ??
No Padding?
Hands up all those who can speak and read and write fluently Cantonese Mandarin Hokkien all together now 123 WHAT NO HANDS (Y)




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