I received the following message from David Moser on 6/2/11, but it got lost in my inbox until just now when I was able to retrieve it while cleaning out a bunch of old and unwanted messages:
Wow, talk about digraphia! I just got this text message on my cell phone here in Beijing:
本酒店为您 ti 供大学笙，模 te, 空 jie及外国 nv 孩。需要请拨打电话1374980598. 张经理。
Even those who don't read Chinese will notice the romanized syllables scattered among the characters. Since we've been discussing digraphia quite a bit lately, especially in connection with Jackie Chan's amazing "Duang", this is a good time to rediscover David's peculiar specimen.
First, let me put the whole thing in characters, transcribe it in Pinyin, and translate it into English:
Běn jiǔdiàn wèi nín tígōng dàxuéshēng, mótè, kōngjiě jí wàiguó nǚhái. Xūyào qǐng bōdǎ diànhuà 1374980598. Zhāng jīnglǐ.
本酒店为您提供大学生，模特, 空姐及外国女孩。需要请拨打电话1374980598. 张经理。
This hotel offers you university students, models, stewardesses, and foreign girls. If you are in need (of such services), please dial 1374980598. Manager Zhang.
Not only did the sender sprinkle in Pinyin here and there, they also substituted homophonous shēng 笙 ("reedpipe") for shēng 生 ("student"). They undoubtedly used such tactics to avoid triggering some automatic character-string search that China Unicom might employ to weed out spam.
Such messages are used not merely for kinky fetish sex trade, I receive them in my e-mail for fake IDs, fake licenses, fake tickets, fake diplomas, and so forth. If you walk around China's cities, you'll see cell phone numbers scrawled all over the sidewalks, buildings, and other available surfaces advertising a wide variety of suspect and illegal services. Those who want to circulate such ads on the internet or via mobile phones have long since discovered the utility of digraphia and homophony as means for avoiding the censors and blockers.