Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Getting Shanghai'd While Thinking of Pipe Dreams

Definition of a "pipe dream" according to Wikipedia:

A pipe dream is a fantastic hope or plan that is generally regarded as being nearly impossible to achieve, originating in the 19th century as an allusion to the dreams experienced by smokers of opium pipes.

I love the origination of this term! I used to think that writing on an active basis, much less having a blog, was my pipe dream. Now I just think getting paid for it is. Ha ha.  I still have other pipe dreams I have yet to see come to life.  I am afraid my pipe dream list may one day segue into a bucket list.

Definition of "Shanghai'd" according to Wikipedia:

Shanghaiing refers to the practice of conscripting men as sailors by coercive techniques such as trickery, intimidation, or violence. Those engaged in this form of kidnapping were known as crimps. Until 1915, unfree labor was widely used aboard American merchant ships. The related term press gang refers specifically to impressment practices in Great Britain's Royal Navy.  Shanghaiing predominantly took place in the Northwest United States.

This is another term I had always wondered about. By the way, it is just a coincidence I have chosen two unfamiliar terms which are both Asian in reference and/or definition. I had always wondered where the term pipe dream came from and earlier in the week, I stumbled across Shanghai'd in a trivia book. I further read online that in Portland, Oregon, you can take a tour of the waterfront where getting Shanghai'd was a common practice. There are cells in tunnels by the docks which you can tour. On my next trip out to Seattle, I am definitely going to swing down to Portland, Oregon, and take the tour.

Here is the website:
http://www.shanghaitunnels.info/

It seems that the 1800's and first half of the 1900's were times of misunderstanding and mistrust of Asian cultures. Derogatory terms were invented out of ignorance, fear, and this mistrust. Even casual references with negative connotations were often used. Thankfully, today, our world has progressed where these hurtful words and expressions are not used too often, and of course, frowned upon. Still, I have always been interested in word origination and these two words are no exception to that interest.

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