Wow, Chinese New Year is fast approaching, with just 2 weeks to go. I remember last year we had fun parodying CNY songs on our WittyCulus Fan Page (, the likes of “Gong Xi Gong Xi(Chinese characters for gong xi gong xi) and “Cai Shen Dao(Chinese characters for cai shen dao). Now, what shall I write about this year?

The spate of beer ads on TV reminded me of a pet peeve about uncreative Chinese — that of the upside-down Chinese character for fu (pinyin: fu2) character. While the intent is welcome — good fortune and happiness has ‘arrived’ for the new year — the manner in which it’s portrayed is somewhat uninspiring although there’s some word play (see wikipedia for more on this…) involved.

For me, two things aren’t right about this:

  1. While the Chinese word for upside-down Chinese character for dao, meaning upside-down (pinyin: dao3 / dao4) sounds very much like the word which means “to arrive” (Chinese character for dao, meaning to arrive), upside-down Chinese text looks disturbing and diminishes the beauty of those strokes that are uniquely Chinese. Just have a look at this: Chinese character fu, shown upside-down. What a strain on the eyes and neck! C’mon, have you ever seen anyone trying to write an inverted fu?
  2. Something that is upside-down doesn’t quite connote a positive meaning. It could suggest confusion, total disarray, even dysfunctionality — not quite the kinda vibes you’d want in the new year, wouldn’t you agree?

Of course, us Chinese like the idea of welcoming the cai shen, or money god, into our house to create a prosperous new year. But just imagine this: what good does it bring if your cai shen fell down or collapsed (play on the dao word in “cai shen dao”)? You don’t want to hurt your chances at prosperity, do you?

Still, if you’re lucky, perhaps cai shen will spill all the gold ingots on you :-). Perhaps…

🙂 – 🙂 – 🙂 – 🙂 – 🙂

Fun with Upside-Down Chinese

If you still think upside-down Chinese text is cool, let’s have some WittyCulus fun with it. Try reading the following…

Said one aunty to another, after checking the 4D (our local lottery) results:
Chinese text with upside-down characters for word play

Mother rousing her son to get to school on time:
Chinese text with upside-down characters for word play

Funny, right? My younger son was tilting his head just to read those upside-down Chinese characters to make sense of what his papa just wrote.

Come to think of it, we might as well shorten Chinese characters for qi chuang (pinyin:qi3 chuang2) to just the chuang character slightly raised — like this: Chinese text with raised character for word play — since qi literally means “up”. LOL.

Jokes aside, did I just invent a form of Chinese shorthand? Maybe I should start teaching this Way Cool WittyCulus Chinese! Let’s see if you qualify to enrol — take this test: How should Chinese characters for bu dao weng be written?

2 Responses to “Upside-Down Chinese, Anyone?”

Comments (2)
  1. Best wishes!Your blog is very good!

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