Ox Demolition

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From AntC:

The black Chinese writing on a yellow background says:

tuòhuāng niú jiànzhù qīngchāi gōngsī


"bull / ox /bovine for opening up / reclaiming (waste)land for agriculture construction and demolition company"

AntC, who sent this photograph to me, also included the following remarks:

In my neighbourhood there’s a straggling cluster of Chinese/Asian businesses along a couple of sidestreets [**] — restaurants, supermarkets, veggie shops, butcher/fish stall, Arts & Crafts, Travel Agents catering to Chinese Mainlanders, and others whose purpose is less clear (not that they’re open often).

In a corner I don’t often go past, I saw this sign. (To the left is advertising dishes for an allegedly-Vietnamese restaurant — I suspect from the photos this is a Chinese-run pseudo-Vietnamese outfit.) Inside this particular cluster, I saw no evidence of a demolition business; but neither did I see a business I could connect to that sign.

Ox Demolition is a business with registered address at a lawyer in the city. It doesn't have its own website nor means of contact.

Worldwide, other demolition-related businesses seem to spell themselves OX all caps — like this is a technical mark.

* Does the Chinese mean ‘Ox Demolition’?
* (That seems an awful lot of Chinese characters for only two English words.)
* Why is there a silhouette of a clearly North-American bison? (From the shaggy high shoulders/lowered head, not an Ox, not a S.E. Asian buffalo.)

If the sign is advising the ‘Shopping Centre’ is to be demolished, I’d expect the notice to be repeated in English.

[**] The cluster likes to call itself a ‘Shopping Centre’, but that would be completely misleading to Westerners’ expectations.

In my experience, the Chinese I know have never been very precise in their usage of terms for large bovine / cattle.  They often use the term shuǐniú 水牛 ("[South / Southeast Asian] water buffalo") to apply indiscriminately to any of them, including the American plains bison.

Selected readings


  1. Jerry Packard said,

    October 12, 2023 @ 3:12 pm

    Loose translation that may capture the essence: Reclamation Bull Construction and Demolition Company.

  2. Lasius said,

    October 13, 2023 @ 2:10 am

    Why is there a silhouette of a clearly North-American bison?

    I'm pretty sure that's a wisent.

  3. AntC said,

    October 13, 2023 @ 4:59 am

    Thanks @Lasius, as in ox-it-wasn't ;-)

    New Zealand is noted for its total absence of ungulates — or any other mammal — until European times.

    It would surely have been just as easy to find a stock silhouette of a "bull / ox /bovine" — if you're trying to strike an image for a demolition company. (Bull in a China shop? In fact there is a Chinese 'porcelain' emporium in there which seems to be in process of moving its stock out.)

  4. Lasius said,

    October 13, 2023 @ 5:56 am


    New Zealand is noted for its total absence of ungulates — or any other mammal — until European times.

    Not entirely true. There were definitely seals and bats before even the Maori arrived. In fact New Zealand has one of the most interesting familes of bats, though unfortunately likely only a single species remains. And even before the Europeans, the Maori themselves were of course mammals and so were the dogs and rats they brought.

    Interestingly the wisent existed in the Altai until comparatively recent times, and so was present in the vicinity of the Chinese cultural sphere. Do we know of any mentions or terms in older literature?

  5. Gregory Kusnick said,

    October 13, 2023 @ 9:49 am

    "reclaiming (waste)land" seems to imply clearing unwanted vegetation. North American landscapers often employ sheep or goats for this purpose. Might Asian landscapers use oxen?

  6. AntC said,

    October 13, 2023 @ 6:45 pm

    @Gregory "reclaiming (waste)land"

    In Christchurch we had a whole series of earthquakes 2010-2011. There's still plenty of rickety ruins left standing (I use the term loosely) under insurance negotiations, and waste land piled with masonry rubble. Not so much "unwanted vegetation".

    Anyhoo, the (not-a) Shopping Centre in question is all concrete. OTOH a couple of wisents leaning against it would probably be just as effective as the wrecker's ball.

  7. unekdoud said,

    October 15, 2023 @ 12:12 am

    Reclaimation Bovine building
    teardown company

    I don't think they do construction except in the opposite sense of demolition.

  8. Sam said,

    October 19, 2023 @ 2:59 am

    can you provide some info on the menu also

  9. Philip Taylor said,

    October 21, 2023 @ 2:10 pm

    <spam>can you provide some info on the menu also</spam>

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