Monthly Archives:October 2011

9 Lives

15 Oct 11
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Whether it’s in a marriage or while traveling, good communication is always important. And language barriers often make for poor communication.

Examples of what can happen are found seemingly daily on the internet. Remember the story about how the Chevy Nova didn’t sell well in Latin America because “no va” means ‘it doesn’t go’ in Spanish? As it happens, that’s an urban legend – the car actually sold quite well. Also mostly untrue is the story about how Coca-Cola in Chinese means ‘bite the wax tadpole.’

But sometimes such stories are real. For instance, the first time we heard about ‘cat ovens.’

Our reaction to this, needless to say, was one of absolute horror. As I mentioned in a previous post, bunny and horse sate is quite common here. And cats, along with dogs and other four-legged pets are commonly eaten in various parts of Southeast Asia. So while repulsed, we really weren’t that surprised to see the cat oven signs.

It always pays to check though. It turns out that ‘cat’ doesn’t mean meow in Indonesia. As it happens, the word Kuching means cat in Bahasa. ‘Cat’ actually means ‘paint.’ So a cat oven is a place where freshly-painted cars can be dried to a nice glossy finish.

I think our cats back home can breathe a bit easier.