I thought I had seen all the wacky Chinglish translations there were, but this one grabbed my attention. From Weibo, the picture has quite different ways of telling its domestic and foreign patrons how to use the urinal. For the English, it makes a rather crude joke about the size of one’s member. For the Chinese however, we get 靠近一小步文明一大步 (Kàojìn yī xiǎo bù wénmíng yī dà bù); which roughly translates to “One small step closer to the urinal is one giant leap closer to civilization.”

I’m not entirely sure which message is more offensive.


  1. Well,neither are offiensive except for a prude.But a gaint leeap for civilization is extremely well said. China would literally be great if people flushed the toilet in CHina. Their toilets in the internet cafes and everywhere else except for peoples homes are plain grose. Ive seen grown man walk in, do a massive shit and walk out with a smile on theior faces.No flush. I threw up once because an enormous smelly shit greeted me as I walked into the teachers toilet in my school.

    By the way, I live in Chinese Malaysia now – just used a Chinese internet cafe toilet. There is a shower for cleaning your ass, (which I prefer) soap and a mirror and a woprkable flush. It is clean.

    Im very impressed. This does nae exist in CHina. I was there for five years.

    They say in India it does.

  2. Also, I dont quite see why that extremely funny and self-deprecating joke is racist or Chinglish. I think this poster is questionable.

  3. My last comment , at the risk of posting too much (but still a lone poster lol) is that the English parodies Neil Armstrong’s famous words.. ‘One small step closer to the urinal, one giant leap for mankind’.

    The sad thing is – everyone respects but secretly laughes at CHina because of its crude habits of loud throat clearing, spitting publicly in restaurants (everyone spits in the street in every country), pissing not behind a bush (which everyone does in every country) but at a bus depot for example or in the middle of a University high street or just making very insensitive remarks like – ‘you are clearly less handsome and strong than your brother!hahah’.

  4. The quality of expatriate humor or ability to be offended in China never fails to amaze. It’s a short step from here to parody and then exit Ryan. Hilarious!

  5. To be clear, not offensive to me — I’m not at all easily offended. This blog is a testament to that I think. I very definitely think the sign is just plain funny (note the category it is stored in).

    My issue, if I must have one, is that the sign plays to different stereotypes to make its point.

    @John: Did you just call yourself a prick? To your benefit, a smaller prick than you think. 🙂

  6. Once, in a fight, five Chinese ganged up against me when I was drunk. THis angered me, so I accused them of having a small dick.

    In ENglish, ‘dickless’ means cowardice.

    But in the Opium War, the Chinese were famous for extreme bravery,as noted by the English.

    They have big dicks in that sense.

    But they do gang up easily.

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