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“Fuwa” to China’s Olympic Friendlies


I just read on China Rises that the government has changed the name of the Beijing Mascots from Friendlies to Fuwa (gesundheit!) which means “good fortune”. This should be good news to folks who bought commemorative coins with the old name inscribed.

Why the name change was made and why the announcement was kept so low key is somewhat of a mystery. It was a report aired last week on China Radio International (CRI) that revealed the name change and listed the reasons why the name should be altered: Firstly, Friendly is somewhat an ambiguous name, which could refer both to friendly people and friendly matches,”(and everyone knows that none of that nonsense is consistent with the goals of the Olympic Games!) a Dr. Li from Lanzhou University was quoted as saying on the site. “Secondly, the term Friendlies has a similar pronunciation to ‘friendless’ and thirdly, the spelling of Friendlies could be split and pronounced, ‘friend lies’.” 

Laura Fitch, a Canadian who works in China as a news editor, welcomed the change, saying the name Friendlies sounds a “a little bit childish” and “doesn’t really have a meaning.” Laura didn’t get out much in Ottawa, but am I ever so glad that one state paid expat’ approved the switch and that the whole world will now get to say the more sensibly adult Fuwa. Sadly, it sounds similar to the sound made by my Chinese roommate expectorating. Laura is also working on changing the goofy little term for athletic coach back to “agonistarch” which means “a person who trains combatants for games.” and Dr. Li is lobbying for the Chester in Chester Drawers to be thrown out so nobody confuses it with a given name or a pair of pants. And both of these  linguistic lamenters think that Car Pool Tunnel Syndrome is something contracted by commuters and that Grape Nuts is a venereal disease. Fuwa on you.

China Editorials,China Humor,China Olympics,China Sports,Intercultural Issues

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One Response to ““Fuwa” to China’s Olympic Friendlies”

  1. […] they dumped the Friendlies (HERE) because some professor thought someone might read it as “friend lies”. Then, the government […]

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