Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China

The game is the same – it’s just up on a different level

About a year ago, it was claimed that the Chinese invented golf! I had forgotten about this until last night when a young Chinese friend claimed that not only golf, but football (soccer), basketball and disco dancing were all also Chinese inventions. I should point out that this is the same friend who claims that colour television was invented by the Egyptians and fully functional television sets were discovered in the pyramids.

This reminded me of my response when the golf story broke a year ago. It seems that a picture showing something similar to golf was discovered. It is claimed that this is from the Ming Dynasty. Why, oh why, do Chinese historians date things by dynasty? The Ming dynasty lasted from 1368 to 1644. I make that 276 years. Can we be a bit more precise?

The Autumn Banquet

Anyway here is my original response (which I inexplicably failed to post here.)

“As is generally acknowledged, every invention known to man, and many known only to woman, comes from China. From the beginning of the universe, (mistakenly translated as the “Big Bang” due to some half-deaf idiot mishearing 冰棒 (Bing Bang), which in ancient Chinese indicated the two terrestrial poles and so, by association, our planet Earth, centre of the universe) everything worth having was invented by the Chinese. Everything not worth having was invented by the Japanese. In particular, every sport known to man (and the Mrs) originated in China. Take cricket, for example. Clearly, any game which takes several days to complete and after which few people know who won must have its origin in the usual Chinese card game which people play for days on train trips. An alternative theory is that it comes from the average Chinese meeting which can last for days and at the end no one can remember what happened. Usually because nothing happened.

Clearly, only the Chinese could have come up with the idea of thumping a ball with a stick. Golf was, in fact, actually invented when some resident of the Middle Kingdom took it upon himself to clear his basement of rats by battering them with a stick. The rats, being sensible chaps, ran into holes.

“Stone me!” said aforementioned chappie, “That would make a good game!”

He then wrote a book explaining the rules (after inventing paper, books and a system of writing which uses pictures of badly drawn television aerials).

An explorer (did you know the Chinese invented exploring?) took a copy of this book and went sailing down the Yellow River, got caught up in a storm and accidentally ended up off the east coast of Scotland, as you do.

Having landed safely (due to the excellent stability of that Chinese invention, the boat) he wandered up to the ancient St Andrew’s University (founded 1413, in the Ming Dynasty) and presented them with a copy of his opus, which had survived the hazards of the journey and the sea by being securely wrapped up in a heavy duty plastic bag sealed with duct tape, both of which the Chinese had fortunately invented the previous week.

Luckily, the book was written in the local St. Andrews dialect (which was a variation on Putonghua invented just weeks before the Chinese invented English) so everyone understood it immediately. Within days, the entire town was playing 高尔夫, which was Anglicized as “golf”.

Having introduced the world (or a tiny village on the east coast of Scotland (or Sugarland as it was then known) to the delights of screwing up a good walk in the countryside, the intrepid traveller went into the catering business and invented the haggis and the Scottish style Chinese restaurant (specializing in newly invented dishes completely unrecognizable to the average China man (or woman)).”

I should point out that I was born in St Andrews and have never played golf in my life.

. This entry was posted on Thursday, July 26th, 2007 at 3:10 pm and is filed under Humour, Stupidity. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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