This makes me sad - and mad!

The blogosphere is inundated with editors and others commenting on people's spelling mistakes on public signs. We often have a bit of a titter at their errors, congratulating ourselves on our superior language skills. Here's a case which provoked a different reaction in me. In 2014 a real estate sign appeared in a leafy suburb of Melbourne. Many Chinese families want to live in this area and the estate agency catered for that by assigning two Chinese ladies as the contacts, their names and photos visible on the board. [caption id="attachment_295" align="aligncenter" width="300"]What all the fuss was about What all the fuss was about[/caption] The sign's content was written by someone whose native language is not English. The purpose of the board was to provide information, and in the main it accomplished this. However, someone corrected the text in red pen, a photo was taken and posted on social media and it has now gone viral. What makes me sad is my friends' reaction: they thought it was funny. Correction itself isn't inherently amusing, but correction in such a public place in such a way tickled their funny bones. But consider: printed on the board were the names and photos of Chinese women. There would have been potential buyers of Chinese origin reading the board, and the agency was probably operated by Chinese as well. Chinese culture values honour and respect. The red pen corrections would not have been funny to them: they would have been humiliating. We must never forget that words, however ineptly expressed, are written by people. People who have cultural heritages, ideas and feelings. To use editing skills to shame another -  that's what makes me mad! If you want your text corrected by someone who will be sensitive to your feelings, contact me at

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