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Thread poster: Alexander Shchekotin

Alexander Shchekotin  Identity Verified
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May 10, 2009

This note (http://pics.livejournal.com/xtc4you/pic/0000tezz/) was found in the box with toy clay bought in Estonia. Whether anybody can give a clue what’s written there? Thank you in advance, colleagues.

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
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Here's the note May 10, 2009

Thought it would be more convenient to display the note here.



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wherestip  Identity Verified
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nothing important May 10, 2009

It's a written contract someone scribbled out to sell his bicycle to another person. The handwriting is very poor, with misuse of characters, BTW. I would throw it out.

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Jason Ma  Identity Verified
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Local time: 21:16
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Contract May 10, 2009

I (Yang Guangxian) is to sell my bicycle to Old Xiao, at the agreed price of 130 yuan RMB.

Party A's hand print
Party B's hand print

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is quite amusing. Obviously the contract is prapared for the sale of a second hand bicyle, so why bother at all? 130 yuan is dirt cheap compared to the normal price for a new bicyle (above 500 yuan).

Steve is right, it's just a scribble.


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Alexander Shchekotin  Identity Verified
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Thanks to everybody May 10, 2009

Well, this is a really unusual toy clay. I worry for Old Xiao - how he would now prove the purchase if the original documents is some 10000 km away:)

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chica nueva
Local time: 01:16
Chinese to English
Agreement or offer? ; the 8 dialects of Mandarin May 10, 2009

Jason Ma wrote:

I (Yang Guangxian) is to sell my bicycle to Old Xiao, at the agreed price of 130 yuan RMB.

Party A's hand print
Party B's hand print

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is quite amusing. Obviously the contract is prapared for the sale of a second hand bicyle, so why bother at all? 130 yuan is dirt cheap compared to the normal price for a new bicyle (above 500 yuan).

Steve is right, it's just a scribble.


Hello Jason

I'm really interested in this - what this document is and why it might have been written.

I often have difficulty reading and understanding handwritten script, but this one is not too bad at all, because the purpose and layout are very clear.

协议书
本人XXX自行车买给老尚
做为协议:130元X:
甲方 手印(?)
乙方

Xieyishu
Benren XXX zixingche mai gei Lao Shang.
Zuowei xieyi: 130 yuan X:
Jiafang (shouyin?)
Yifang

Agreement
I XXX 'buy' my bicycle to Lao Shang.
'as agreed'? OR 'hereby agree'? 130 yuan X
Party A XX
Party B

Some questions, about the wording, if you or any of the peers have time:
1 obviously(?) the writer has written buy 买 instead of sell 卖.
2 做为协议 is 'as agreed' right? could it be 'hereby agree'
3 手印 is written rather strangely. Would it mean handprint, or finger/thumb print?
4 Could you possibly give us the characters that I have not been able to read, especially the one after the price?

About what is going on here:
1 Does 手印 suggest that one or both of the parties cannot write? or is it a standard way of sealing a private agreement, instead of signature or chop.
2 Who would have written the agreement? someone in the factory? or was the packer a messenger for someone else, a family member, a neighbour. I guess it was discussed at the weekend, and had to be confirmed in writing, maybe.
3 Or maybe the two parties don't speak the same dialect, is that possible? Wow, when I was a student in China, travelling, if I didn't understand people, they would as often as not write it down for me ...

I have been reading about the dialects 方言 of Mandarin recently. It's very interesting. Apparently, not all dialects are mutually intelligible. The Shandong 'accent' is certainly very very strong (IMO). And Chairman Mao's Hu'nan accent is famous. It's interesting (to me) how they have shown the tonal differences between dialects here. I've never seen that before ...

[ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandarin_dialects http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Madarin_in_Chinese_Mainland_EN.PNG
The eight main dialect areas of Mandarin in Mainland China. ]

[Edited at 2009-05-10 23:44 GMT]


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Jason Ma  Identity Verified
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Local time: 21:16
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"Agreement" is the word, thanks Lai an May 11, 2009

Does 手印 suggest that one or both of the parties cannot write? or is it a standard way of sealing a private agreement, instead of signature or chop.


Yeah, that is true in both cases.

It suddenly occurred to me that after "Party A" there's the signature of the buyer (?) 平红, could it be Xiao Pinghong 肖平红? we usually say 卖给, so 买 is a wrongly written character here.

To me, 平红 also looks like 手红,it could be a ghost word for 手印。

Judging from the use of wrongly written characters, assumably the writer of this agreement is simply a person with little education. Dialect difference seems unlikely here, IMO.

Maybe we could turn to Dr. Henry C. Lee for help, just track down this Old Xiao. He will explain everything.

[Edited at 2009-05-11 13:25 GMT]


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chica nueva
Local time: 01:16
Chinese to English
Lao Xiao or Lao Shang? ; Chinese handwriting May 11, 2009

Jason, I think I agree. It's more likely to be 肖 Xiao than 尚 Shang.

Well, I know 口红 (lipstick), but not 手红 (red-hand). Is it that red paste people use with seals? The famous Dr Lee ... he should know something about fingerprints. How about Judge Dee? I think there are a few famous Chinese detectives ...

@ wherestip
I am not sure that it isn't an educated person who wrote it, at least primary-school educated ... I am not sure how far education is compulsory in China now. 'Party A Party B', what do you make of it? Is that a long-standing Chinese cultural thing, in your view? Who knows, perhaps it's been around for millenia? ...

@ Alexander, do you know which part of China that box came from?

'ghost' character? oh, I think I am with you now - you mean if I can't remember how to write '印' then I write a character that looks a bit like it (红)in a 'strange' way. Ha, ha. interesting. So this is why you both think the writer is not very educated? '手红' or '平红' ... no wonder handwriting is so important. It's definitely not 王红 Wang Hong is it.
[ http://209.85.173.132/search?q=cache:A2vBVTdISRYJ:www.shanghaiexpat.com/print.php?sid=1103873%20chinese%20characters%20bishu&cd=2&hl=en&ct=clnk
How To Write Chinese Characters ]

[Edited at 2009-05-12 03:39 GMT]


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wherestip  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:16
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handwritten note May 12, 2009

lai an wrote:

@ wherestip
I am not sure that it isn't an educated person who wrote it, at least primary-school educated ... I am not sure how far education is compulsory in China now. 'Party A Party B', what do you make of it? Is that a long-standing Chinese cultural thing, in your view? Who knows, perhaps it's been around for millenia? ...




Lesley,

The person who wrote this is definitely literate. But that's probably as far as you want to go.

I'm no expert in people's handwriting. But typically there are some things about a person you can glean from it. Granted, good handwriting doesn't necessarily equate to being well educated, and poor handwriting doesn't necessarily equate to being poorly educated; yet on average, it could be somewhat of an indicator in this regard. In Chinese culture, another indication to a person's literacy - as well as competency - is the correct use or misuse of written characters. "白字先生" is often a name given to someone who makes a habit of misusing characters. The mistake of writing 买 for 卖, for example, could be a telltale sign of a person's limited education, and furthermore of that person's lack of attention to detail.

If memory serves, for a brief moment in time during the early '60s, China was able to declare victory on achieving full universal elementary-school education among the younger generation of the population. Unfortunately, in the pursuit of a free market system in recent decades, it seems like a small percentage of children from remote rural areas could no longer afford basic education, and have sadly fallen through the cracks and been left behind.

Using thumbprints to seal a deal indeed has been a tradition since ancient times. A thumbprint can't be forged like a signature can. And not everyone necessarily has a need or means for a personal seal. I think there's also the practice of using both signatures and seals in combination, or alternatively in lieu of the latter, using thumbprints. Of course, just like in Western cultures, if the person is illiterate, all you are able to get is a thumbprint. However, I don't think illiteracy is the case in this instance. IMO this was just an agreement scribbled out on a scrap piece of paper, probably intended as a receipt or a note of commitment. But for some reason, the document was never completed nor executed. Instead it found its way into a box of play-doh, and eventually wound up in Estonia thousands of miles away.



[Edited at 2009-05-13 11:32 GMT]


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wherestip  Identity Verified
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John Hancock May 12, 2009

Lesley,

You might find this link informative; I certainly did ...

http://zhidao.baidu.com/question/50028167.html



要说画押,先要说签名,签名起源于原始的记号和一些手工制品的标记。氏族社会,刻在陶器上的图腾符号,很多就是一个部落的标志。在我国,自从文字的出现,作为个人的标志,签名也开始运用。押印起源于商周亚形图徽。亚形除了装饰作用, 可能还具有凭信之功能。故亚字假借为押字。亚字内之十字空白, 为后世以十字画押之原始符号。春秋末期,封建社会政权成份复杂了,表明身份,履行职能,上下沟通,都需要凭证。由于当时识别能力不高,笔迹容易被别人模仿,而使签名的防伪功能降低,因此代表个人和国家权力机构的检验凭证被工艺水平更高、制作难度更大、防伪性更强、使用更为简便和更具象征性的印章所代替。从古至今,印章品类繁多,主要品类有官印,包括皇帝的玉玺,王侯的玺印,各级文、武官员的官印等,它是等级社会权力和身份的象征;私印,作为个人签名画押的取代物,私人印鉴在社会生活中具有十分重要的作用,产生不可替代的法律效应。后来,随着文人治印的兴起,印章的防伪功能也在不断弱化。到了宋代,出现一种花押签,这种手写的花押签是文人们笔走龙蛇的鬼画符一样的东西,将几个字连在一起写成一个字。很多是难以辨别原字是什么。由于其难以模仿性,变得独一无二,反而成了一种身份验证,古代没有相片,画像也不能十分的体现样貌,而花押这种难以模仿的东西很容易识别真伪。由此逐渐被广大文人阶层以至官僚体系所接受。为此,我国宋代就开始设计立专门的签名馆,凡考中进士的人,都要到京城的签名馆买签名,俗称买花押。然后,闭门练习几天,把练好的花押交到吏部备案,换回官印。此后,无论这个人到哪里做官,在其呈送给朝廷的文件上都要有自己的花押,进行比对来验明正身。

签押字一般都是王字体,上面一横,代表“天”,下面一横代表“地”,设计时一般遵循此例。文人们流行了花押,老百姓也开始模仿,而出现了民间的“十”字押,在此之前一般用“指”押,就是将签押人的食指按在合约上用笔记下食指指端和下面两个指节的位置(画3个道)。而比较重大的合约,例如买卖人口等则用“掌押”(也称箕斗押),将整个手掌沾满墨迹画押。“十”字押出现后替代了“指”押,所谓十字押就是在合约上用笔划个十字。古代对于犯人的转移关押,流配等,为了防止掉包,要求犯人在交换文件上押拇指押,将大拇指沾上墨迹签押,逐渐官方开始采用这个签押用于百姓,而民间的百姓有的由于忌讳(以前是犯人的专用)则采取了在画押的位置画个圈代表拇指押。
另外,古代社会在契约上一定要摁手印。因为古人没有笔迹鉴定技术,手(掌)印成了主要的证据来源。1927年德国罗伯特•海因德尔在《指纹鉴定》一书中断定,中国唐代的贾公彦是世界上提出用指纹识别人的第一个学者。其实,二千多年前的秦代,我国就有用指纹破案的记录可。在云梦出土秦简中的《封诊式•穴盗》篇记载: “内中及穴中外壤有膝、手迹、膝,手各处”。这表明秦代司法人员已将“手迹”作为破案方法,并对作案现场进行司法检验的一种物证。我国古代对指纹的观察和应用,在唐代传到外国,对以后世界皮纹的研究和现代皮纹学的产生和发展都起过深远影响。
解放后发现的唐代许多文书、契约、遗嘱上都有指纹、指节纹或掌纹,以此作为识别个人的重要手段。此后历代,都沿用在文书上以指模、掌模为鉴的习惯。我国古代军队有《箕斗册》,即登记士兵指纹,以便检查。这表明当时己能对指纹按形态、结构进行正确分类,并将这种分类特征和知识应用于社会实践。



Here's also a pdf file from Taiwan that has a section on the practice of allowing illiterate people to use thumbprints besides other hand-drawn symbols in lieu of their signatures for the purpose of making documents legally binding ...

http://www2.wunan.com.tw/download/preview/1s20.pdf



權利能力、行為能力與禁治產

案例一 文盲者簽名

75 歲王媽媽是文盲,有一天她推著 3 歲王小妹妹在馬路旁散步,被 24 歲騎機車的李大同撞傷,事後雙方同意和解,需要王媽媽親自簽名,請問;

一、文盲不會簽名怎麼辦

我國民法規定,若依法律之規定,有使用文字之必要者,得不由本人親自撰寫,但必須親自簽名。如果有用印章代簽名者,其蓋章與簽名生同等之效力,如以指印、劃十字或其他符號代簽名者,在文件上,經二人簽名證明,亦與簽名同等效力(參照民法第 3 條)。

所以,如果王媽媽不認識國字無法劃十字、或打「×」或其他符號(如親自簽名,則她可用指印×、○、+等)代簽名,但同時在該文件上,需有另二人簽名以為證明(一定要親自簽名),則王媽媽上述之「指印」、劃十字、打「×」或其他符號才生與簽名同等效力。

在此特別一提,如果是蓋印章,則一定要當事人親自蓋章,不得由他人持當事人之印章而代為蓋章,因為這是意思表示的法律行為,如係由第三者持當事人之印章而代為蓋章,萬一事後經該當事人否認為其意思表示,則將產生困擾。

在實務上,由當事人親自按指紋(大拇指),一般習慣上是,男左女右,只要由當事人親自按指紋,則亦可視為當事人意思表示的法律行為。因為民法規定:民事,法律所未規定者,依習慣;無習慣者,依法理(參照民法第 1 條)。




p.s. My apologies to Alexander for posting this amount of Chinese text in this thread. But I figured I'd go ahead and do it since we're already on the subject. Plus I think some things are always good to know for everyone.



[Edited at 2009-05-13 12:35 GMT]


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wherestip  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:16
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huh? May 13, 2009

所以,如果王媽媽不認識國字無法劃十字、或打「×」或其他符號(如親自簽名,則她可用指印×、○、+等)代簽名,但同時在該文件上,需有另二人簽名以為證明(一定要親自簽名),則王媽媽上述之「指印」、劃十字 、打「×」或其他符號才生與簽名同等效力。

BTW, does this make any sense to you guys? Is it poorly written or what!?

I feel sorry for those who have to read this kind of nonsense on a daily basis.



[Edited at 2009-05-13 14:38 GMT]


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Alexander Shchekotin  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:16
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TOPIC STARTER
I'll try to check the manufacturer May 13, 2009

lai an wrote:

@ Alexander, do you know which part of China that box came from?



No idea unfortunately. The agreement was carefully packed into one of the play-doh boxes. It seems its getting interesting to know the fate of the parties.
Is such agreement typical for such deals in China?


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chica nueva
Local time: 01:16
Chinese to English
signatures, etc; names, etc; agreements, etc May 13, 2009

Steve, Jason, Alexander

@ Steve
The articles were interesting. I read the gist, and some of the detail, as you do (= as one does). Perhaps the article ('writing a circle instead of a thumbprint') explains ‘划了个圈圈’in this story: http://www.thn21.com/Article/xiaoshuo/286.html
关于申请添购一把铁壶的报告,许世杰

I found a little (in English) about China's history of fingerprinting here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fingerprint#History_of_fingerprinting_for_identification and here is a reference to 'making a mark 画押' from a contract:
本合同自甲乙双方签字、盖章(画押)后生效。

A receipt/proof of purchase? I thought of that too. It might be a draft. Or a duplicate. BTW my bike in Beijing was a Flying Pigeon. http://www.proz.com/forum/chinese/104417-为中国加油!-page5.html#855709

@ Alexander
Yes, regarding bicycles, perhaps in the 1980s when things were rationed, they all had to be registered (the peers can confirm), so this kind of document might have been useful as proof-of-ownership, just guessing. Perhaps the custom (of making written agreements) has continued, for chattels and valuable possessions?

@ Jason
It seems 肖 is a reasonably common surname, 20th most common, according to Wiki, Li Dongming 李栋明. Recently I saw it written as 萧, and it fooled me. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_surname#Common_Chinese_surnames

Detective stories and Judge Dee. I don't know whether you have heard of Judge Dee, or are interested?: http://www.proz.com/forum/translation_theory_and_practice/130168-most_translated_tongues.html#1082906

[ Internationally, according to Wiki, 'On legal documents, an illiterate signatory can make a "mark" (often an "X" but occasionally a personalized symbol), so long as the document is countersigned by a literate witness. In some countries, illiterates place a thumbprint on legal documents in lieu of a written signature.' (Wiki:Signature)

I know about 'marks' mainly from the Treaty. When the Maori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, they used signatures, partial moko or marks to identify themselves. (moko is the facial tattoo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MaoriChief1784.jpg )

IMO a private agreement is sometimes good, in duplicate, to prevent any disputes later. You do this with flatmates: rent $x, bond $x, pay into xx account by AP 2 weeks in advance ... ]

Lesley

OK, try again:
Yang Guang Xian 杨光先; 130元整, 整 = (Eng) 'only' (即viz. 'exactly') Am I right?
A name like 光先 may reflect a certain era, but I can't be certain about that.

[Edited at 2009-05-13 23:50 GMT]


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Alexander Shchekotin  Identity Verified
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It is HONG KONG May 14, 2009

lai an wrote:

@ Alexander, do you know which part of China that box came from?



The manufacturer is Kid's Toys (HK) Limited (http://www.kidstoys.com.hk). So, it's HONG KONG area?


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chica nueva
Local time: 01:16
Chinese to English
message in a pottle; Hong Kong May 14, 2009

Hello Alexander

Was the message actually in a pottle of play-dough?. What is your theory? I think the message might have been put in somewhere in Mainland China. Let's see what others say ...

I once translated a story about some apples being exported through Hong Kong. It gives a picture of the commercial life of Hong Kong. You possibly have something similar where you are.

Lesley

[Excerpt from the translation:
'In 1965 the first shipment of around one hundred cases ... were shipped [from Gansu] to Hong Kong through the Tianjin Foreign Trading Corporation. In order to understand the trial-sale process, the technicians wrote the two characters "huaniu 花牛" in pencil on the top right hand corner of the packing cases as a mark. The shipment of apples was sold to a British trading house, which then on-sold them to an American trader. ... China formally used 'Huaniu' as a trademark and Huaniu apples became known throughout the world.(Translated from 'Gansu’s Special Local Products' in Duan Deyi, Qi Baoling, Li Yingrui eds., Gansu Tourist Guide, 1982, China Tourism Publishing House, Beijing) ]

[Edited at 2009-05-16 03:36 GMT]


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