Sigh. Another sign that Beijing is on the wrong track (or perhaps no track whatsoever) emerged Thursday, when the Beijing Municipal Government issued a draft plan calling for a new naming regime for city streets, one that would not allow avenues to be named for Chinese leaders, foreigners, or, everyone's worst name nemesis, dung beetles.

They had to say dung beetles, didn't they?

There is some comfort in knowing that, for example, Stephon Marbury, Beijing's favorite foreigner, a guy for whom a statue has been erected in the city, will not be eligible for a street name for the same reasons as someone even more important, like Deng Xiaoping. But dung beetles?

"'No Chinese leaders or foreigners can appear in the names of new Beijing roads; hutongs and other ancient names must stay but not 'excrement' or 'dung beetle,'" the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday.

"'As for names with indecent words, the standards suggest homophonic replacement, citing the example of 'Dung Beetle Hutong,' which has been replaced by a homophone that means 'Always Shining Hutong.'

"'Vulgar place names were once common in Beijing. Some even included animal dung and the names of prostitutes. Most of such names have been replaced by more 'elegant' homophones,'" the report said.

How has anyone from Dung Beetle Hutong ever survived childhood? "Where do you live?" "Dung Beetle Hutong." "Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!" "Mommy!"

In case you were wondering, "dung beetle" in Chinese is qiāng láng.

Photo: Wikipedia

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