Saturday, 3 January 2015

Catering to the Chinese...

The reading material available in Hongcouver, or Vancouver these days
You know you're in Hongcouver or should I say Chinouver? when the magazines you peruse at your local bank branch are in Chinese.

The publications are about luxury lifestyles or Vancouver homes, introducing the latest fashions or accessories from brand names, or the best tips on decorating homes to make them look sophisticated, with wine fridges and gorgeous-looking bathrooms.

The best part is that the writers are non-Chinese and yet the magazines are published in traditional Chinese characters.

Hmmm.... wonder which readers they are targeting?

There must also be a small army of Chinese translators keeping busy here too, as the magazines are either bilingual or completely in Chinese.

Wonder how the writers feel, having their stories translated into a language they can't read or speak, but guess it's all in a day's work?

Another sign you're in Chinouver is at Metrotown in Burnaby, where a good percentage of the customers are mainland Chinese. I passed by one store and the young gweilo standing in front said, "Lai kan kan" (come take a look). And you couldn't help but turn around to see who said that.

While the intonation was only slightly off, he was desperate to pull in the Chinese demographic into his shop. I didn't stop long enough to turn around and investigate, partly because I didn't want him to think I heard him!

And in the shopping mall washrooms -- doesn't matter where -- you can hear horking in the stalls... which means a Chinese person isn't far away.

But perhaps the best sign of Chinouver is when I was at Target in Metrotown and I heard the distinctive wailing tones of Chinese opera played loudly and they were coming from an old man bundled up looking at merchandise as if nothing was the matter... has he not heard of earphones?!


  1. Traditional Chinese characters, not simplified Chinese ones? Hmmm... so are they trying to cater to Hong Kongers still more than mainlanders?

    1. HI YTSL -- that may be the case or they think mainlanders will be able to figure out what it says!

  2. I saw those magazines at the Pearson airport lounge and once on a plane and was shocked at the high quality of the magazines. Never seen them since! - Hello from Toronto where it finally snowed!

    1. Hi Anonymous -- were you shocked at the high quality of the content or the printing?

  3. HI B,
    Was focused on the high quality of the paper stock and variety of gorgeous photos. Didn't look at the content too closely, since the articles were focused on tastes far different than my own (what type of wood to use in building a wine cabinet, suspended versus built in fireplaces). And surprised by the sheer number of titles!

    1. Hi TL! Ah I see! It's reminiscent of what's happening in HK (catering to luxury tastes) but that's starting to dry up thanks to Xi Jinping's corruption crackdown!