Sliced duck or opium?

This issue of whether the Chinese characters you see on this site when you click the time at which an entry is posted came up years ago – and the perpetrator allegedly repaired the maliciously incorrect character. So today I get the following email (apologies in advance if the hanzi comes out as gibberish):

Richard,

What is the obsession with opium, if that is what you
really mean right next to the time stamp of each
entry? Did you recently change it from Š›Žq to Š›•�,
cause I’ve never noticed it in my past visits. If by
Š›•Ã? you mean “sliced duck” – the way Peking ducks are
served on the dinner table, it may sound reasonable,
but I’ve never heard it termed this way. Just curious.

Yando

Now, this was supposedly fixed back in the dark ages. Is Yando right, is my site being used to transmit drug-friendly messages to the unsuspecting, or does the hanzi indeed say “sliced duck,” as it should? Thanks to all my Chinese scholar readers for your insights.

______________

Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 4 Comments

Nope: “opium” is 鸦片, which is homophonous with but distinct from 鸭片 yÄ?piàn. Not sure whether or not a native speaker would read it as a typo for “opium,” but the characters, at least, are right.

October 31, 2006 @ 10:53 am | Comment

Hey, that was fast. Thanks Brendan.

October 31, 2006 @ 10:55 am | Comment

(And I hope you read the original “Defamation of “Character” post – it was really funny. Poor Adam.)

October 31, 2006 @ 10:55 am | Comment

Oh dear, oh dear. Well — it’s a natural enough mistake, since if you’re typing characters, ‘opium’ will come up as an existing entry, since it’s a known word in most Chinese input software, whereas ‘duck slice’ requires a bit more poking around.

October 31, 2006 @ 1:19 pm | Comment

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