WHEN I LIVED in Beijing, I loved spotting English phrases ironed across t-shirts. Mistranslations are nothing new, but because there are infinite possibilities in their construction, they were always a dependable source of fun:
Happiness grows sky tall from the place of crying
Santa’s Dirty Secret
A favorite of mine was on a t-shirt worn by a Chinese teacher at the school where I taught English. In front of the mass of tiny students she would lead morning exercises with, the phrase Drink. Drank. Drunk. was sprawled in bold letters across her chest. I was unsuccessful in explaining to her that the t-shirt didn’t express an appropriate colloquialism for a kindergarten class. From her perspective, it was just a conjugation.