Hong Kong’s archaic English and ‘Litter cum Recyclable Collection Bins’

There is something that seemingly every English speaking tourist snickers about when visiting Hong Kong – the “Litter cum Recyclable Collection Bins” found on every street corner.

'Litter cum Recyclable Collection Bin' at Kowloon Park

In this case “cum” is the archaic Latin word which means “combined with” – not the double entendre.

'Litter cum recyclable' bin

In 2014 the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department received complaints about the “unpleasant meaning”, so commenced a program to cover over the offending word.

Censored 'Litter Cum Recyclables Collection Bin' in Hong Kong

But in the years since many of the stickers have been peeled off.

'Litter cum recyclables collection bin'

But that isn’t all

Tung Chung has a “Fire Station cum Ambulance Depot”.

Folding doors at the Tung Chung Fire Station cum Ambulance Depot

The Hong Kong Society for the Blind runs a ‘Factory cum Sheltered Workshop’.

'Factory cum Sheltered Workshop'

But the one that really takes the cake is the ‘Public Toilet Cum Bathhouse’ I found on Cheung Chau.

Cheung Chau Peak Road 'Public Toilet Cum Bathhouse'

Further reading

Mary Hui covers this topic in great detail in a piece titled ‘Hong Kong has a cum problem‘ at The Outline.

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