NO MORE 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 changed. “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 as ‘friend lies’.” Dr. Li also thinks Grape Nuts is a venereal disease. Laura Fitch, a Canadian who works in China as 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 glad that this is an expat approved switch and that the whole world will now get to say the more sensibly adult Fuwa which sounds similar to the sound made by my Chinese roommate expectorating. Laura is working on changing the goofy little term for 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 changed to a Chinese given name and Car Pool Tunnel Syndrome could be more easily understood by city dwellers if we talked about taxis and underpasses.

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