I read the most delightful article a while back in a publication called “ChinaWatch,” which seems to be a sort of Chinese Chamber of Commerce thing.  It’s full of cheerful articles about Chinese industry and the Chinese economy, always upbeat, never negative.  I have the latest issue right here, and let’s see, we have articles about the Chinese lavender industry, the local market for jade, a pass between China and Kazakhstan which has become very internationalized, green energy in China, solar energy in China, soccer teams in China –



But here.  Just wait.



Here’s an article about a nice young Irishman named Manus McMahon, who set up a Western-style bar in Urumqi, one of the larger cities in the Xinjiang region of western China.  They serve imported beers and pizza, and are (according to the article) very successful, although (inexplicably) the building is being torn down, and Mister McMahon is moving on to Central America to establish another Irish-style pub.  (You think that’s strange?  So do I.)



Anyway, the Urumqi bar is named “Fubar.”



“Fu,” in Chinese, denotes fortune and good luck.  “Fu Bar,” get it?



Well, no.



Seriously.  Do you know what “fubar” means in Standard English?  (See here if you don’t.)



So: someone was having a nice little joke when they named the place.



(Postscript: I mentioned this to one of my student employees, Jennifer, who has studied and worked in China over the past few years.  She looked startled.  “I’ve been to that bar!” she said.  “Not in Urumqi, but in Beijing!”)



(“They had pizza?” I asked numbly?)



(“Yeah,” she said.  “Pizza and beer.)



(Omigod.  It’s a franchise operation.)



(Oh, kids, how small the world is.)



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

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