Chinese Characters on Pakistani Transport

Posted on January 19, 2007
Filed Under >Owais Mughal, Education, Humor, Photo of the Day, Society, Travel
25 Comments
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Owais Mughal

Clicking on the photos in this article will take you to their enlarged images

Over the past few years, Chinese and Japanese characters have increasingly appeared on Pakistani public transport as decorations. On my recent visits to Pakistan, I’ve been constantly amused by these decorations and took some photos. I’ve been fortunate to have a Chinese language expert at home as my wife so we enjoy reading a lot of these decorative instructuction markings, which at times do not even make sense. Few examples are given below:

(1) I took following photo on Jan 10, 2007 in Federal-B-Area, Karachi. It shows a school van and I am very happy to announce that Japanese characters on the front also say the same. Somebody did the research beofore buying this sticker. It roughly means ‘Automobile for School’.

(2) Following photo is from Marston Road, Karachi and was taken in June of 2005. The Chinese characters used as decorations on this van do not make a meaningful sentence. The characters from left to right mean;

Green Color, Certain time of the year or day, Tea, Korea and Come Inside.

Looks like somebody has selected some characters from a Chinese text purely on the basis of what they liked and then mass-marketed all across Pakistan as decorative stickers. Put together the characters do not make sense. Also note the stickers on van’s pillars are the same as the one on the body except in different size and orientation.

(3) Following photo was taken on Lahore-Islamabad motorway in May 2005. Please note that the Chinese characters in this photo are exactly the same as shown on a Karachi van above.

Some of the more hilarious writings that we have observed, and unfortunately couldn’t take photos, included Chinese characters instructing the public to ‘use the back door’ when there was no back door on the vehicle. Another sticker called for ‘contact a lawyer immediately’ written on front door of a van.

I beleive things like such makes life in Pakistan so colorful, entertaining and lively.

25 responses to “Chinese Characters on Pakistani Transport”

  1. Fahad Asad says:

    Hi,
    yea! Japanese is so Interesting Language.I like Japanese so much….
    Now i can Read,Write & Speak Japanese very Easily!

  2. Owais Mughal says:

    Believe it or not, this morning I saw a car in St Louis, which had used Chinese characters for decoration. Seems like this trend of decoration is catching up in NA too.

  3. mushtaq says:

    Turab my Bro.I understand that you love Japan.Your friend is right about Japan.Just to visit as tourist is one thing,but to do business is another.Business is a very complicated process of life.One cannot do business just because one has money or likings,or Japanese-dream.One has to be very realistic,risk-taking,educated in that particular field,right timing etc. and most of all,the blessing from Allah which we sometimes call Luck etc..There are Pakistani people in Japan like elsewhere,playing with millions even though they can’t sign their names properly and use Hanko(a personal seal)and also there are people educated like me but have to worry for my rent next month.Some people are burned by their own business partners and they lose faith in friendships and become bitter.Sure,Japan is a great country where one can buy automobile parts(used or new).I don’t want to discourage you my brother but I would suggest you to visit Japan,live there,know the people,our brothers in auctions etc.Do you know why the Pakistanis own the whole Japanese used-car industry is because our people buy cheaper,sell at better prices than Japanese dealers,looking for their products all day long,in cold,in heat.In other words,work harder than any other race in Japan.And they love cars.They help their own people and they have a strong community in Niigata and Toyama-ken.I am not in this business and I hate business,one needs commitments like romance(chicks).I am more a less a traveller.I am here today,tomorrow diving The Blue Hole in Belize,in Cozumel,all over Caribbeans,with Mantas in Ishigaki,with shsrks,in Vegas gambling&watching you know what.This is my life.I am a Pakistani,WANTED by the Dozukh-guards,waiting for me with millions of degree fire,Ready to Roll!Ready to Jumpppp!!!Wish you good luck.

  4. mushtaq says:

    Shukria Mugal Bhai,you are welcome.It was my pleasure to share some of my Japanese,Chinese knowkedge with my Brothers and Sisters which I learn in Japanese University few years ago.It is fun to observe the trucks,buses,vans,taxis,cars,camels,horses,donkeys,bicycles etc. in Pakistan.How beautifully our people decorate these things,even we are poor.Watch,how Ushtad Sahib(the truck or bus driver)with his hand on his Mutch(mustache)jumps out of his seat,walks like a lion for his cup of tea.It is a culture created by our people,only found in Pakistan as far as I have travelled.Some people say our culture is same as Indians.I disagree.Not only we look different,we are completely different in so many things.I have travelled and lived in different parts of India and I know them very well.I am not against them ‘cos some of my best buddies are from India.We are just too different.We should be proud of our people,the sense of humor and artist inspirations our people have.Even a donkey cart in Karachi is so beautifully decorated,oh my Allah.One can tell all the hobbies,the mind of that particular Ustad Ji(the driver).The stickers are parts of that decoration of art and what an extra fun for people like us who read Chinese characters.Long Live Our People and Pakistan.

  5. TURAB says:

    mushtaq, i don’t live in pakistan either !

    I am interested to start some car parts business which would require me to travel to japan and setup things there…. and my best frd went to japan recently and he said words are not enough to describe the place…

    so i guess my ever so long fascination of japan is increasing day by day…

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