But what are these useful tools? Knife, spoon, tin-opener, peeler, grater? None of those. And while there is something described as a Bottle Opener, it’s actually a rubber ring to help you grasp a jar.
A thirsty student would struggle to open their beer bottle with that. With or without the guidance note: “Grasp bottle cap by covering it on bottle cap when using.” Or the further warning that if pulled or folded it “may not recover because of once deformation”.
There’s a Seasoning Grinder. And if you’re wondering what that is, “It is used for triturating seasoning such as ginger, horseradish and etc.” Useful.
There’s something that looks reassuringly like a standard lemon-squeezer. “Its shape is designed reasonably in order to squeeze better.”
The shape of the funnel is designed to “look like bottle”. But as it says on the box: “In that way it is relatively convenient to use powered substance and combine with weighing cup used as a little vase as an open mouth is relatively spacious”.
By this point in reading the instructions, my open mouth is certainly relatively spacious. And no powered substances required.
But about that Weighing Cup (no weighing machine provided): “It with degree scale is used for weighing a small amount of things. It is used by combining with each component and also used as a vessel.”
I can see it might combine usefully with the Cheese Grinder: “Please follow direction of arrow to triturate food material when using it.” I will, I will.
Frankly, I’ve never felt the need of an Egg Pulverizator. I’m not even sure what one is – but fortunately there’s an explanation: “It is used for triturating seasoning such as ginger, horseradish and etc.” So that’s clear, then. Or at least familiar.
Lastly – and the need for this is beyond me as well – there’s what can only be called Utensil for Taking Yolk. And that, apparently, is all the explanation you need.
You will, of course, have realised by now that this little bundle of plastic contrivances, like so many useful objects in our lives, especially the plastic sort, was Made in China. That wonderful far-off country where so much of our language too is pulverizated.
And I’m not mocking. Really, I’m not. My grasp of Chinese languages goes no further than being able to identify the winds and dragons on a set of mah-jong tiles. I mean only to express my disappointment at the decision by China’s rulers to clamp down (again) on one of the world’s most reliable sources of inadvertent surrealism.
The government in Beijing has decided that Chinglish is a national embarrassment. From December it aims to enforce new rules ensuring translations “do not contain content that damages the images of China or other countries”.
It will insist all translated signs and labels “prioritise correct grammar and a proper register, while rare expressions and vocabulary words should be avoided”. Good luck with that, then.
Actually, I find it remarkable that the Chinese even attempt English translations of their signage. How many signs in Cantonese do you see on the streets of Norwich?
But if Chinglish is to be cleaned up, we must cherish it while we can. And celebrate signs such as this one, in a public park: “Drug, druger, psychotic is out allowed to enter, miner, senior citizen and disabled man”.
This one by the side of a steep path: “Carefully slipping”.
Or this one, mysteriously in a record shop window: “No Panting!”
And finally, just remember: “Please don’t wipe forcibly words and lines printed each component. Because they may disappear.”