Uproar after Chinese woman who can’t speak English goes to parent-teacher meeting wearing ‘DIE’ top

Woman who bought top carrying the slogan ‘DIE’ without knowing what it meant wants compensation for the distress it caused

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 March, 2018, 5:05pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 March, 2018, 4:03pm

A Chinese woman is seeking compensation after becoming the latest unwary shopper to fall foul of the trend for clothing that carries embarrassing, ungrammatical or just plain baffling English words and phrases. 

In the latest case, the woman from Qingdao in the eastern province of Shandong claimed her whole family had suffered tremendous emotional damage and embarrassment after wearing a top with the word “DIE” emblazoned on the front to a school parent-teacher meeting.

The woman, surnamed Mao, told Peninsula Metropolis Daily that she could not understand why other parents were staring at her when she turned up at the meeting on Tuesday wearing the top she had bought earlier this month. 

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But she said she soon learned why they were staring at her after a teacher explained what the word meant in English. 

She claimed that it had caused great upset to her family, and her child frequently burst into tears. 

She went back to the mall where she had bought the top and demanded compensation, the report said. 

At first the store tried to convince her that the word had many different meanings. 

But she insisted there was only one meaning of the word and the store eventually agreed she could return the sweater and offered her 400 yuan (US$62.50) in compensation.

But Mao rejected the offer, saying it was not enough to make up for distress her family had suffered and the case is now being dealt with by the local market watchdog. 

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Whatever the outcome of her case, she is the latest in a long line of people to fall victim to Asia’s most embarrassing fashion trend.

Retailers are keen to cash in on the growing trend for using English across China and other parts of East Asia by offering a variety of clothing carrying words or phrases in the language. 

But many of these are ungrammatical and poorly spelt and many unwary shoppers have been pictured in clothes they would never dream of wearing if they understood the true meaning, a phenomenon often referred to as “Chinglish”. 

One example circulated online shows a little girl in a pink T-shirt standing under a lace umbrella, making a V-for-victory sign – all rather spoiled by the phrase on her shirt that reads “you are a “f***ing piece of *****”.

Another showed a man in a white sweater bearing the words “Crap your hands”. 

Li Yunsheng, a lawyer at the Qingdao office of Jointide Law Firm, told Peninsula Metropolis Daily that retailers had an obligation to be cautious about the products they sold. 

“Some customers don’t know English so the retailers have to do their due diligence when selling such products,” he said.