From the Ministry of Silly Chinglish Shirts

I dearly wanted to ask this kid whether his choice of t-shirt was intentional or not; and also, whether his parents understood it!

Well, now that I’m finally back in good old New York and my last silly t-shirt gift has been posted to its recipient, it’s time to collate my best photos– of the best silly t-shirts with broken English (or, Chinglish) spotted in Taiwan.

Given to a friend and former roommate, we puzzled about what the intended meaning might have been. Perhaps, "Every setback is a hidden opportunity?" What do you think??

So although these shirts are not brought to you BY the Ministry of Silly Walks, they were photographed in the same gently-poking fun spirit. Other amazingly silly captions spotted over the year (but lacking in pics) are listed below, in order of remembered hilarity:

This shirt wins for "most understated." Also, not shown here: it is ridiculously cropped, and goes over a fitted tank. For everyone's favorite hip and trendy lab manager!

1. This color sucks! (written in sharpie pen-like font on a salmon-orange 80’s style t-shirt)

2. ZEAL (written in rhinestones across a bedazzled hot pink t-shirt)

3. The Amazing Miracle: One day you’ll see it happen to me. (I may or may not own this shirt. Optimism is good for the soul, ya know?)

4. STOIC (in dark blue on an acid-washed jeans denim printed 80’s style t-shirt)

5. I Need More Sleep (worn by a 40-something Taiwanese man nonchalantly walking down an MRT escalator)

6. You’re the Best! (in fancy silver script on a black background, which begs the question– is it talking to me or to you?)

7. She was so tired… her sneaker was untied… looks so good!!(utter chaos, really)

I seriously considered getting this one for my friend who writes a blog of a picture of Karl Marx (among others) saying funny things. But then, I thought he might appreciate a photo just as much, if not far more.

8. Let’s Plant Some Greens (couldn’t tell if it was related to being green, eating greens, or simply gardening)

9. Barbie (with a golden crown on a navy blue hoodie)

10. And, last but certainly not least, Winner The Pooh (under a huge picture of Winnie the Pooh’s face)

Please comment below and/or link to your favorite Chinglish/English/Chinese characters mangled into English translations on t-shirts, bodies (hilarious Chinese characters tattooed on westerners, anyone?), or street signs.

And wishing you a very silly Monday and mid-holiday season week! Coming soon: more pop songs in Chinese, and Taiwan election coverage from this side of the Pacific.

Hello, stranger, indeed.

My former roommate Tascha helps model t-shirts.... and in case you didn't catch that one...

.... let's see that t-shirt up close!!

Weigh those optiond, please! Weigh them!

Okay the thing I love about this t-shirt is that it is ACTUALLY silkscreened from a real, live, I ❤ NY plastic bag. See the fine print below for recycling instructions and how to stop kids from choking on it. Amazing.

And THIS is my favorite t-shirt of all time. Should've bought it, seriously. I now have a terrible case of non-buyer's remorse. But at least I have this photo to prove it exists!!! Also, to anyone interested in Taipei: it was at that funny cheap t-shirt shop by the intersection of Zhongshan and Nanjing roads.



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12 responses to “From the Ministry of Silly Chinglish Shirts

  1. I think the time travel one might just be my favorite. It’s so…explanatory.

  2. HA! STOIC! Be gentle with the young! If you fuck me I will eat you! Corpse! Mushroom Quiche! Oh, the silly shirts. Oh, Taiwan, I miss you.

  3. This is a funny post. I agree, how I miss Taiwan. 🙂

  4. Um, Tascha, I feel like you need to add photographic evidence to prove that your comment is a veritable quotation, and not just you shooting off your mouth with expletives. I am, however, a witness to that shirt in question…. so yes, it DID happen.

  5. A. R. Schultz

    The Time Traveling T-Shirt as well as the “Winner the Pooh” T-Shirt were my favorites.

  6. Sam Shortis

    Wank wins

  7. A favorite from a man practicing tai chi in Fuxing Park, Shanghai: Celebrating Black History Month

  8. Hey check out (and like) an awesome video interview with the talented playwright David Henry Hwang of “Chinglish” at:

  9. William Tedrick


  10. Steen

    I didn’t pay any notice to shirts in Taipei, but i must admit that the “Always Lie” has got it. You’ll get easy through life that way.

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