|[a] Zodiacal RF|
|[b] Bigchop RF|
—"Chop" is the English word (borrowed originally from Malay) for a variety of character combinations, including yinzhang (印章).
25 November 1985
When I signed my bank book, a woman I work with started hooting with laughter. She told me that people don’t use those gaudy icons to sign their names; the ones Chinese people use on documents are about a fourth the size of it. It was too late, though. By that time, everybody on the fourth floor of the company had come to take a look at the American’s chop. They talked about it for weeks. To tell the truth, it didn’t seem so big to me until I went out and bought the standard, cheap wooden model that people use everyday. Now I can see what’s so funny. The big ones are used only for special occasions—like signing marriage licenses or international treaties. They aren’t used in bank books.
It wasn’t a total waste of money, however. Everybody has the big kind. After hearing my story, my English student (he is actually a neurosurgeon), went to his office and brought back an armload of chops—large chops, small chops, round chops, curved chops, square chops, chops with ancient characters, and chops with modern characters. Chop, chop, chop. I asked him what he used to sign documents. He took out a standard NT $50 (US $1.25) model. I asked him what he did with all the others. “Show them to foreigners, I guess,” he said.
|[c] Chop copse RF|