You Say, What??

Posted by on Feb 12, 2011 in Thailand - Chiang Mai, Uncategorized | 17 comments

English signs in non-English speaking countries are always good for a bit of comic relief.

The condo I’m living in here in Chiang Mai is about a 30 to 40 minute walk from the old city. How long really depends how many scooters and tuk-tuks I have to dodge or climb over along the way. Walking is my thing, so I don’t mind the trek into town. By the time I get there I’m usually in need of the lady’s room, so I usually creep into McDonald’s. I always feel a little guilty because there is almost always a yellow sign on the stairs up to the second floor that says “out of service”. The other day I’m coming down the stairs and I see this guy standing there looking at the wall, and I can see his lips moving. At first I thought he was talking to someone outside, but then I realized there’s no window there. I’m thinking… crazy person!

I get down to where he’s standing, and I started to laugh. He’s trying to figure out this freshly posted sign.

You say, what?

We had a good chuckle together, and figured that the staff must be tired of people asking if the toilet is out of order because of the ‘out of service’ sign. When in fact it’s okay to use the toilet, but they don’t want customers eating on the second floor unless all of the first floor seats are full. No more guilt trips when I use the lady’s room at McD’s.

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  1. Hah, you ought to do an Asian Funny Sign A Week. Bet we could fill up a book for you !
    In my travels, I see some real doozies and I guarantee everyone else does, too. I just never take the time to shoot them.

    • That is a great idea. A Funny Sign a Day from Around the World would be good too. There’s so many cute ones. I need to start taking more photos of them myself!

  2. I’m in Chiang Mai for the next month. We should try to get together for food or a drink. 🙂

  3. That’s funny! I always get a kick out of English signs in foreign countries 🙂

  4. Isn’t that just sooo polite? Now you get invited to use the loo (rest room for my American friends!!).

  5. Funny…I would think that with all the free translation tools out there online that the signage would improve…especially at a major corporation.

  6. Really enjoyed this – saw picture first before read post and needed post to clarify my understanding of sign! I love signs like this and though it is more common in non English speaking countries I have seen a few doozies in English speaking countries. Just don’t photograph them…

  7. Too funny! I always take photos of fun signs, too!

  8. Haha I love horrible English translations on signs. It’s always so confusing but great for a laugh.

  9. No wonder the guy was confused!!!

  10. English signs in Asia are always some of my favorites. My absolute favorite was from a bar in Bangkok. Above the bar a sign read, “Now, Open Lady Toilet Here, Only Pee Do Not Shit”
    I still laugh out loud every time I come across that picture.

  11. lol! i am an english corporate trainer here in the philippines and it always cracks me up whenever i see signs like these… confusion much?!?!

  12. That’s a pretty good one! I wish I remembered to take photos of all the funny signs I see. 🙂

  13. My own personal favourite is what I saw on a paper carrier bag on a the train in Japan about twenty years ago. It read, “I love elephant family. Their humming makes me happy.”!

  14. lol… There are so many funny english signs in non-english speaking countries. Actually, one of my favorite sites is Engrish Funny You can have a good laugh by reading the horrors out there! 🙂

  15. Hi Amy………….I am so sorry that I missed your comment. I think I may have been leaving Chiang Mai as you were arriving. I am now back in Daejeon getting ready for a new semester and missing Chiang Mai! Have fun.

  16. That’s hilarious! What a great sign 🙂


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