Friday, October 15, 2010

from: Matthew L.
date: Tue, Oct 12, 2010 at 4:03 PM
subject: This Tattoo...

Hey Tian,

One of my coworkers has this tattoo on her wrist which she had done in Bali. She thinks it says the following:

1. live your dreams (Tailand)
2. just fucking dance (China)
3. let nature take it's course (Burma)
4. actions/protest (Bali)

Your thoughts?


for hanzismatter

顺其自然, without that extra piece in the middle, would mean "to let nature take its course."

Besides the terrible calligraphy, what a group of hodgepodge text.


  1. The Thai makes absolutely no sense either, some words are misspelled and unpronounceable, others aren't words at all, and the whole thing together makes no sense. สานชีวตตางณฝัน literally says "weave life(misspelled) eye *not a word* dream."

    I can only imagine what the other two languages might say.

    what an awful idea it was to get that tattoo.

  2. Well, 自然 is "nature" in Japanese and in Chinese (I think), so I guess that 3. "let nature take it's [sic] course" is supposed to be the equivalent of the Chinese (not Burmese) on the third line.

    Then which one of these is Burmese?

  3. Clearly the submitter just had the countries out of order; this one is not "wrong" (CC-EDICT lists 顺其自然 as matching the submitter's definition almost exactly) though the calligraphy is kind of shitty.

  4. Ja, the Thai is wrong and barely legible. I got two other women to look at it for me and they argued over it for a while.
    Burmese is the second line.

  5. Matthew L, you don't need to ask Tian. You need to ask the 'CSI' team, they will be able to tell you exactly what brand of tyre ran over her wrist.

  6. 順其自然 is a perfectly acceptable phrase in classical Chinese meaning (literally) "to follow what which is so of itself." The extended meaning is for someone or thing to follow its natural inclinations. Indeed any even vaguely educated Chinese person (as in educated in China or Taiwan) would recognize this phrase immediately (though yes, the 書法 is awful).

  7. Languages:
    1. Thai
    2. Burmese
    3. Simplified Chinese, due to 顺, which = 順 in Traditional Chinese. Copy and paste character and enlarge using a wordprocessing program. The character in the phrase means "smooth" used like "smooth sailing" in English.
    4. New Tai Lue script

  8. Reminds me of the line from Forgetting Sarah Marshall: "Let me tell you something about these tattoos, okay? That is Buddhist, that is Nordic, that is Hindu, that's just gibberish. They are completely conflicting ideologies, and that does not make you a citizen of the world, it makes you full of shit!"

  9. I believe the Thai is supposed to be สานชีวิตตามฝัน but it's mis-spelled and illegible. I would have had no idea that's what it said if you hadn't given us the English intention.