Friday, January 23, 2009

Happy Niu Year!

Magazine cover 2009

Chinese humorists are feeling bullish this year, combining two cultures into one tongue-in-cheek message: 

The English translation of Xinnian Kuaile (Happy New Year) with the 2009 Chinese Year of the Ox (Ox = niu/牛). The clever result is: Happy Niu Year!

Although probably not the only ones to think of this play on words, it seems to be the brainchild of Mengniu, one of China's leading dairy firms. The message/slogan has spread over China like wildfire and is widely used in text messages, email greetings and in signs. Mengniu is based in Inner Mongolia and is privately owned. The name Mengniu combines the Chinese words for Mongolia, meng (Inner Mongolia , Nei Menggu) and cow, niu. Milk in Chinese is niu nai

(Swedish footnote: In 2006 Mengniu joined together with Swedish Arla Foods to start producing and distributing solid milk products in China. This has subsequently proven embarrasing for Arla as Mengniu is one of the many Chinese milk producers to be involved in the melamine tragedy.)

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