Tuesday, December 06, 2011

South Korea Cracks Down on Funny Howling Shleep Demons

Engrish Papparazzi
Schlepping Around with a Camera
Photo by Jin Lee

My diplomatic childhood friend Deva Hupaylo, recalling that I like beer and that I'm living in Korea, put two and two together -- she always was good with numbers -- and sent me a link to this CNN report along with the advice that I can "make some beer money this way."

The CNNGO report, titled "Korea Tourism Organization wages war on 'Engrish'" (December 1, 2011), doesn't post the author's name, though the photo is by Jin Lee -- who I assume is the photographer "Jin Lee." The article is short, so I'll post it all:
Looks like Engrish.com -- the snarky website showcasing error-riddled English signs in Asia -- won't be getting as many submissions from Korea.

How awesome is this? Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) is offering to reward photographers who submit snaps of muddled signs at tourist spots.

The prize? A gift card of ₩50,000 (approximately US$45) that can be used at any vendor that accepts credit cards -- otherwise known as free money.

Although there are no hard-and-fast rules about what constitutes a "tourist spot," you can't go wrong with the usual foreigner hotspots of Myeong-dong and Itaewon.

To enter, create an ID on the Visit Korea website and submit a photograph of the garbled sign, along with its location. Although the event site is only displayed in Korean, foreigners are also welcome to participate in the event.

Submissions will be accepted for signs with mistakes in English, Japanese and Chinese.

Rather bizarrely, the event does not apply to mistakes on road signs, restaurant menus and guidebooks, due to the fact that these categories are overseen by other departments and this particular event is being hosted by the Tourism Service Improvement Team at KTO. The latter will then pay to have the signs fixed.

The contest runs until December 14. The 20 winners will be announced on December 22 on the Visit Korea homepage.

It's permissable to submit multiple entries with one ID.

Unfortunately for me, the website is in Korean, and I just know that my wife won't be sympathetic to a request that she sign us up for this contest, so I suppose that I'll just have to leave the job to those Korean papparazzi reported on by Choe Sang-hun: "Help Wanted: Busybodies With Cameras" (New York Times, September 28, 2011).

But some of you are still thinking, "Actually, Deva put one and one together . . . ." Fair enough, but not sufficiently idiomatic, and I never claimed to be good with numbers myself.

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