Nov 30 2010

Les Invalides 荣军院

We came up from the Metro station in Paris and were blinded by the blazing sun. I was squinting and blinking to adjust my aging eyes to the sudden light. The first sight came into my view was a grand old massive building. Then the street sign Les Invalides. Having been living in New York for nearly quarter of century, I managed to understand a few words of Chinglish.
“Invalid?”
I was horrified.
Political correctness is paramount in my beloved USA. How would the human right groups react were this sign in America?

Google translates:
invalid: 无效
invalides: disabled/残

I do not have problem with different terms for the same thing but, as an English learner, I would rather have to learn just one term for one thing, instead multiple terms. And on top of that, I’ll have to memorize which term is the correct term, to be politically correct.

  • illegal immigrant, the right term is undocumented immigrant
  • negro, black although neuter but isn’t good enough. the right term is African-American
  • crippled, invaliddisabled, no no no. Should use handicapped
  • heathen, the correct term is atheist  
  • sex change, the right way is sex reassignment
  • immigrant or expat?
  • Chinese Wall or Ethic Wall

I knew being an American won’t be easy. Guess the old Europa just doesn’t care.

Years ago, after I registered my domain for my book “Heathen Son“, an Indian-American friend, paused for a few second, then politely advised me, “we don’t use that term any more. It’s atheist now.” Too bad and too late. I already paid. Actually I did not even know how to spell atheist.

I believe if you talk about it thousand times, even a lie may become true. However, race is an elephant in the room. 2008 Obama became the first half black president. But all I heard is that he’s black. What about his white mother? Did she ever count?

P.S. 2014.12.05, Trayvon Martin of Florida, Michael Brown of Ferguson and Eric Garner of Staten Island are the cause of massive protest in USA now. Chef’s Table in Brooklyn, three-Michelin-star serves worst meat to Asians

And there are few myths ..

Visited it in 2019