Posted by Douglass Chappell on January 01, 2003
In Reply to: Re: Chinese Fire Drill posted by R. Berg on December 16, 2002
: : Trying to figure out why switching cars is a chinese fire drill......
Why do people have to address past history and put a current Political Correct spin on on every statement made rather than putting into the context of the time.
It is my understanding that this phrase originated in the early 1900s. It came from an naval incident where a ship officered by the British and crewed by the Chinese set up a fire drill for fire in the engine room. In the event of a fire the crew was to draw water from the starboard side, take to the engine room and throw it on the fire. Another crew in the engine room was to take the thrown water and throw it over the port side.
When the drill was called the first moments went according to plan then it got confused.The crew began drawing the water from the staroard side and runing over to the port side and throwing the water over, by-passing the the engine room completely.
Thus the expression "Chinese Fire Drill" entered our lexicon as meaning a large confused action by individuals accomplishing nothing