Sunday, August 8, 2010


This week my blog became a hassle. I quite often get comments on it in Chinese, frustrating in that I can’t read them. Are they comment, criticism or praise? So after a recent comment upon the tui I tried to transcribe. My efforts failed. What I did do was turn my homepage into Chinese. I could read nothing on my screen. Triple frustration.

I have direct entry. So access wasn’t a problem. Once in, despite the Chinese characters I knew the locations for 'edit' and 'publish post' which, thanks to the powers that be, once in came through in English. So the blog was still usable. I used what skills I had to try to undo the switch, but I was scared of getting deeper in, like a fly caught in a cobweb, struggling only compounds the entrapment.

I emailed Geoff who is a Seniornet adviser. He sent through instructions. But I didn’t have a clue where items like ‘dashboard’ were. My computer I drive using the habits I have developed. (I know there are huge capacities into which I have never tried to tap. It’s hard to teach an old bear new tricks). Geoff’s wife Pam went to a Chinese dairy and got the symbols for the English language. Despite the helpful advice I still couldn’t find my way through the maze.

So Geoff came in to see me. He led, I followed, he’s a good teacher. It took us a while but eventually we got the screen into French and hey presto one step into English. I now know what the dashboard is and have filed it away in my memory banks. But my transcription experiments are over. From now on, comments can remain as Chinese, (they could be Japanese or Korean for all this old panda knows), unread by me.

The relief! The comfort of the known. It depends on perspective. I pull back the curtains in the morning and if I’m lying in my bed all I can see is the gaunt outline of oak boughs. I sit up and there through the window is the scarlet-flowered camellia on the verge of full bloom. Transformation!


  1. Dear Harvey,

    To see whether I could resolve this issue, I translated one of the Chinese-language comments on your blog (the one on your post "Tui" of 4 August) using Google Translate, which can give an approximate machine translation from Chinese to English. It translated the comment as follows:

    "Tang Ming-home said ...

    Suffering humiliation in the environment, the creation of our new life of self-reliance. .................................................."

    However, if you look back at the original comment in Chinese, you'll see that what's rendered as a sequence of dots here is underlined, and is actually a link, in the original comment. If you click on that link, it takes you to an Internet chat room which, from the initial image, is definitely not about poetry!

    So I fear these Chinese-language comments are what are called "blog spam" or "blog comment spam". A good explanation of why this sort of spam is left on blogs is provided here:

    It is possible to stop this spam appearing on your blog, by setting your blog comments to be moderated rather than published automatically - but you may prefer to leave well enough alone!

  2. Tim

    Many thanks. This is helpful. In my naivety I'd not thought of the possibility.