Wednesday, December 28, 2011

狐假虎威 The Fox borrows the Tiger's Fierceness


一只老虎正在森林里找吃的, 突然一只狐狸从他面前经过。 老虎马上扑上去, 准备把狐狸吃掉。 狡猾的狐狸知道自己逃不掉了, 就假装很镇静地对老虎说: “你怎么敢吃我?”老虎吃惊地问: “ 为什么我不敢吃你?”
狐狸说: “因为上天刚刚派我到森林里来, 做百兽之王。如果你吃了我, 你就违反了上天的命令, 你会受到上天的惩罚。”
老虎看看又瘦又小的狐狸, 根本不相信他会是新的百兽之王。
狐狸说: “如果你不相信我, 你跟我一起去见别的动物, 看他们怕不怕我。” 老虎同意了。
于是, 狐狸走在老虎的前面, 老虎跟在狐狸的后面, 往森林深处走去。
你猜羚羊, 小鹿, 兔子看见他们,会不会 害怕呢?当然都吓得赶紧逃走了。可是他们怕的不是狐狸, 而是狐狸身后的老虎啊!
狐狸得意地对老虎说: “ 你看, 所有的动物都怕我!”
就这样,真正的百兽之王老虎上了狐狸的当, 以为别的动物真的害怕狐狸呢。

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

对牛弹琴 Play the zither to a Cow

中国古代有位著名的姓宫的音乐家。 宫先生不但会作曲, 琴也弹得非常好。 人们被他的音乐感动, 所以很尊敬他。 但是, 宫先生有时候也做些傻事。


比如有一天, 他带着琴来到野外, 只见风轻轻地吹, 草地绿油油的, 一只牛站在那里, 低着头在吃草。 宫先生面对这样有诗意的画面,兴致大发. 他 把琴拿出来, 就开始为那只牛弹起琴来。 但是, 那只牛一点也没有注意他的琴声, 继续吃草。

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

惊弓之鸟 A Bird Scared by the mere Twang of a Bowstring

战国的时候,有一天,魏国的射箭能手英和魏王站在高台上,看见一只大雁从头顶上飞过。英很肯定地对魏王说:“大王,我可以不用箭,只要拉一下弓,这只大雁就能掉下来。”
“你能有这样的功夫?”魏王不相信地问。
英说:“能。”  等雁飞近时,只见英举起弓,不用箭,拉了一下弦,,只听见“咚”的一声响,正飞着的大雁就从半空中掉了下来。

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

拔苗助长 Pulling up the seedlings to make them grow faster

有个农民, 性子很急。 他每天很早起床。整天忙忙碌碌的,很晚才睡。有一年春天, 他播种以后, 秧苗过了很久 才长出来。 他每天都到田里去用尺量一量 秧苗长高了多少。他觉得它们长得太慢了, 非常着急, “我怎样才能帮助秧苗快快长大呢?”他想啊想, 终于想到了一个好办法。
他急忙来到田里, 开始把秧苗一棵一棵地往上拔高一点。 在火辣辣的太阳下, 他从早上拔到中午, 又从中午拔到晚上, 终于把每棵秧苗都拔高了一点。他觉得腰酸背痛, 又累又热, 但是, 他心里很高兴, 因为他觉得自己做了一件很聪明的事情。
回到家后, 他得意地告诉家里的人,“今天我太累了!因为我帮助田里的秧苗长高了很多。”他的儿子不明白父亲是什么意思,于是跑到田里去看。 结果发现所有的秧苗都已经被太阳晒死了。
 
you3ge4  nong2ming2, xing4zi   hen3ji2.  ta1 mei3tian1  hen3zao3   qi3chuang2, zheng3tian1  mang2mang2lu4lu4de,  hen3wan3  cai2   shui4. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

九九歌 The Song of Winter

This song shows us how the weather changes in the winter from the coldest days to the early spring. Chanting it cheers you up and gives you hope when you finish with the last two lines. It's also helpful for reviewing numbers in Chinese, since we count the days in units of nine in winter.

一九二九不出手
yi1jiu3 er4jiu3 bu4 chu1shou3,
三九四九冰上走,
san1jiu3 si4jiu3 bing1shang4 zou3,
五九六九河边看柳,
wu3jiu3 liu4jiu3 he2bian4 kan4liu3,
七九河开,八九雁来。
qi1jiu3 he2kai1, ba1jiu3 yan4lai2,
九九加一九,老牛遍地走。
jiu3jiu3 jia1 yi1jiu3, lao3niu2 bian4di4 zou3.

Translation:
In the first and second nine days (in winter), we hate to take off our gloves.
In the third and fourth nine days, we walk on icy roads.
In the fifth and sixth nine days, we admire the (budding )willows at the river bank.
In the seventh nine days, the ice in river melts,
In the eighth nine days, the wild geese fly back.
In the nineth nine days, plus another nine days,
(We see) cattle ploughing in the fields everywhere.

Click the following link to hear one of the versions of this classic.

http://www.56.com/u11/v_MzMxOTE4OTY.htmls

Friday, November 25, 2011

塞翁失马 Sai Weng lost his Horse


很久很久以前, 有一个名字叫塞翁的老人, 很有智慧。他住在北方的边境上,和儿子一起靠养马为生。

有一天, 他的一匹又壮又快的好马不知为什么跑掉了, 可能跑到邻国的山里去了。听到这个坏消息, 塞翁的朋友都觉得很可惜, 就来安慰他。 没想到, 塞翁一点儿也不难过。 他反而说,“丢了一匹马当然是一件坏事。但是, 谁知道呢? 也许这件事会给我带来好结果呢。”

Friday, November 18, 2011

彭祖的传说 The Legend of Peng Zu

Peng Zu is gesturing his age, 800.
As the legend goes, Peng Zu is the person who lived the longest time in Chinese history. For thousands of years, people are talking about his secret of longevity.  As we learned in following paragraphs, it has nothing to do with his genes because both his parents died when he was young.  Nor did he live a happy life, for he  saw a lot of death in the wars and  plagues. He suffered from the pain of losing his wives and sons. You will be surprised to find out how at the end of the story. Yet, it makes all the sense in the world.






Friday, November 11, 2011

老马识途 The Old Horses Know The Way

春秋时期,齐国的北边是燕国,燕国和齐国是友好国家,但是有一个叫 山戎的小国家经常骚扰燕国的边境。 燕国请齐国帮忙。于是,有一年,齐国的齐桓公和他的宰相管仲带领军队去攻打山戎。

开始的时候, 因为山戎害怕齐桓公, 没有反击就带着家人和财物逃到旁边的孤竹国去了。管仲对齐桓公说,“虽然山戎逃跑了,但是我们得去追他,把他彻底打败。

孤竹国的国王派大将黄花去和齐国的军队打仗。但是,黄花的军队根本不是齐军的对手。接连打了几次败仗以后, 黄花打算向齐军投降。 这时候,他的一个手下建议: “北方有个地方,是无边无际的沙漠,没有向导带路,进去了以后没有人能走出来。 我们假装向齐国投降,然后把他们引到沙漠里,这样,一个人也不死就能把齐军消灭。



Friday, November 4, 2011

讳疾忌医 Hide Sickness For Fear Of Treatment

The Portrait of Bian Que


中国春秋时期有一位有名的医生叫扁鹊。

有一次,扁鹊去见蔡国的国王。他在旁边站了一会儿就对国王说:“您有病了,现在病还在皮肤,如果不赶快医治,病情将会加重!” 国王觉得自己身体很好,没有地方不舒服,于是笑着说:“我没有病。”等扁鹊走了以后,国王对别人说:“这些医生就喜欢医治没有病的人, 把这个当做自己的功劳”

十天以后,扁鹊又去见国王,这次他直接警告他,他的病已经发展到肌肉里,如果不治,还会加重。国王不理睬他。扁鹊走了以后,国王很不高兴。

再过了十天,扁鹊又去见国王,告诉他,病已经转到肠胃里去了,再不赶快医治,就会更加严重了。国王仍旧不理睬他。

又过了十天,扁鹊在路上遇见国王,只对他望了一望,转身就走。国王觉得很奇怪,于是派人去问扁鹊。

扁鹊对来人说:“病在皮肤的时候,热敷的力量就能达到。病在肌肉 是针灸可以治疗的。在肠胃是 火罐汤药可以治愈的;现在国王的病已经深到骨头,我也没办法帮他医治了。”

五天以后,国王浑身疼痛,赶忙派人去请扁鹊,扁鹊却早已逃到秦国了。国王不久就死掉了。

zhong1guo2   chun1qiu1  shi2qi1   you3  yi2wei4   you3ming2de  yi1sheng1  jiao4  bian3que4.

you3yi1ci4,  bian3que4 qu4   jian4   cai4guo2  de   guo2wang2.  ta1  zai4  pang2bian1  zhan4le  yi1hui3er   jiu4  dui4   guo2wang2  shuo1: "nin2  you3bing4le,   xian4zai4  bing4  hai2zai4   pi2fu1,   ru2guo3   bu4   gan3kuai4   yi1zhi4,   bing4qing2  jiang1hui4   jia1zhong4!"  guo2wang2  jue2de   zi4ji3   shen1ti3  hen3hao3,  mei2you3   di4fang1  bu4  shu1fu2,  yu2shi4    xiao4zhe    shuo1: "wo3  mei2you3  bing4."  deng3  bian3que4   zou3le   yi3hou4,   guo2wang2   dui4   bie2ren2  shuo1: "zhe4xie1   yi1sheng1   jiu4  xi3huan1   yi1zhi4  mei2you3   bing4  deren2,  ba3  zhe4ge4   dang1zuo4   zi4ji3de   gong1lao2."

shi2tian1  yi3hou4,  bian3que4   you4   qu4   jian4  guo2wang2,  zhe4ci4   ta1  zhi2jie1   jing3gao4  ta1,  ta1de  bing4  ji3jing1   fa1zhan3  dao4  ji1rou4li3,  ru2guo3  bu2zhi4,  hai2hui4    jia1zhong4.  guo2wang2  bu4  li3cai3  ta1.   bian3que4   zou3le  yi3hou4,  guo2wang2  hen3  bu4  gao1xing4.

zai4  guo4le   shi2tian1,   bian3que4  you4  qu4  jian4  guo2wang2, gao4su4  ta1 bing4 yi3jing1   zhuan3dao4   chang2wei4  li3  qu4le,  zai4  bu4  gan3kuai4  yi1zhi4,  jiu4hui4   geng4jia1   yan2zhong4le.  guo2wang2  reng1jiu4   bu4  li3cai3  ta1.

you4  guo4le   shi2tian1,   bian3que4   zai4  lu4shang4   yu4jian4   guo2wang2,   zhi3  dui4ta1  wang4le yi2wang4,  zhuan3shen1  jiu4zou3.  guo2wang2   jue2de   hen3 qi2guai4,  yu2shi4   pai4ren2   qu4  wen4   bian3que4.

bian3que4    dui4   lai2ren2   shuo1: "bing4  zai4   pi2fu1  deshi2hou4,  re4fu1  de  li4liang4   jiu4  neng2   da2dao4.  bing4  zai4   ji1rou4   shi4  zhen1jiu3  ke3yi3  zhi4liao2de.   zai4  chang2wei4 shi4  huo3guan4  he2  tang1yao4   ke3yi3   zhi4yu4de.   xian4zai4   guo2wang2 de   bing4  yi3jing3   shen1dao4  gu2tou,  wo3  ye3  mei2  ban4fa3   bang1  ta1  yi1zhi4le."

wu3tian1  yi3hou4,   guo2wang2   hun2shen1   teng2ong4,  gan3wang2    pai4ren2   qu4  qing3   bian3que4,   bian3que4  que4   zao3yi3  tao2dao4  qin2guo2le.  guo2wang2  bu4jiu3   jiu4  si3diao4le.



Translation:

During the Spring and Autumn period, there was a famous doctor named Bian Que.
Once,  Bian Que went to visit the king of the State of Cai. Standing by the side of  the king for a while, Bian Que said, "you are suffering from an illness, which now is in the skin. But it may get worse without treatment." The king feels he is fine and nowhere is uncomfortable. So he said smiling, "I'm fine."  After Bian Que left, he told the others: " these doctors like to treat people who are not sick, and take the cases as their credits."

Ten days later,  Bian Que went to see the king again. This time he directly warned him: "your illness has developed into the muscles. Without treatment, it will go from bad to worse." The king ignored him. After Bian Que left,  the king was very unhappy.

Another ten days passed, Bian Que went to see the king again, telling him his illness had gone into the stomach and the intestines.  Without immediate treatment, something even worse will happen for sure.
Again the king brushed aside his advice.

Ten days later, Bian Que happened to see the Marquis in the street.  Looking at him from afar, he simply turned round and went away. Puzzled by this, the king sent somebody to ask him for the reason.

Bian Que said to the man, “when the illness was at the skin deep, only hot pads will reach the problem.  When the illness went into the muscles, acupunture would do.  When the illness went to the inner organs, fire cupping and herbal tea could cure it. Now the king's illness has reached the bones,  and I have run out of ways of treating him."

Fiv days later,  the king had pains everywhere. He hurriedly sent people for Bian Que, but Bian Que had escaped to the state of Qin a long time ago.  Soon enough,   the king died.

Comments:
The idiom describes those who wouldn't admit they are sick for the fear of treatment.  All the treatments are unpleasant in some way, but it is for patients's own goodness. As another Chinese saying goes: "Good advise is always harsh to the ear."

Friday, October 28, 2011

木兰的故事 The Story of Mulan

This story is so popular in China that everybody knows it. Now it is well-known in the world ever since it was adapted into a Disney movie. Mulan was originally considered the role model of filial piety as she was enlisted in the place of her old father, but in the present medernized version, she is the convincing good example of independent adventurous female.


古时候有一个女孩子叫木兰, 她从小跟着父亲读书写字,平时帮母亲做家务,织布。她还特别喜欢骑马射箭,练得一身好武艺。有一天,父亲很着急地告诉她,马上要打仗了,每户人家都必须有一个人去当兵。但是因为木兰没有哥哥,弟弟还太小,看来父亲只能自己去了。木兰一边干活, 一边想着父亲说的话。 她想:“父亲已经很老了,身体又不好,怎么能离开家去当兵呢?”木兰想来想去,决定自己穿上男人的衣服代替父亲去当兵。
木兰当了兵以后,和男兵一样,男兵能做的,她也能做,而且比男兵做得更好。大家都以为她是男的。她又聪明又勇敢,常常打胜仗。她的战友都很敬佩她。
十二年过去了,仗打赢了,皇帝要奖励她,但是木兰既不要做官,也不要财物,只想要一匹快马,好让她立刻回家,皇帝高兴地派人送她回家。木兰回到家后,脱下打仗穿的衣服,换上女人穿的衣服,梳好头发,出来向送她回来的人道谢,那些人看了都非常惊讶。没想到一起打仗的战友竟是一位漂亮的姑娘。 木兰说: “两只兔子在地上一起跑,谁能看得出哪个是雄的,哪个是雌的呢?”

gu3shi2hou  you3 yi2ge4  nu3hai2zi  jiao4  mu4lan2,  ta1 cong2xiao3  geng1zhe fu4qin1  du2shu1 xie3zi4, ping2shi2  bang1  mu3qin zuo4jia1wu4,  zhi1bu4.  ta1 hai2  te4bie2 xi3huan1  qi2ma3,  she4jian4,  lian4de2  yi4shen1  hao3 wu3yi4.  you3yi4tian1,  fu4qin  hen3  zhao1ji2de  gao4su4 ta1,  ma3shang4 yao4  da3zhang4le,  mei3hu4  ren2jia1  dou1  bi4xu1  you3  yi2ge4 ren2   qu4  dang1bing1.  dan4shi4  yin1wei4   mu4lan2  mei2you3  ge1ge,  di4di  hai2 tai4xiao3,  kan4lai2  fu4qin  zhi3neng2  zi4ji3  qu4le.
mu4lan2  yi4bian1  gan4huo2,  yi4bian1  xiang3zhe  fu4qin   shuo1de hua4.  ta1xiang3: "fu4qin  yi3jing1  hen3lao3le,  shen1ti3  you4  bu4hao3,  zen3me  neng2  li2kai1  jia1  qu4  dang1bing1  ne? "  mu4lan2  xiang3lai2xiang3qu4,  jue2ding4   zi4ji3   chuan1shang4  nan2ren2de   yi1fu2  dai4ti4  fu4qin   qu4  dang1bing1.
mu4lan2  dang1le  bing1  yi3hou4,   he2   nan2bing1  yi2yang4,  nan2bing1   neng2zuo4de,  ta1  ye3  neng2 zuo4,   er2qie3   bi3  nan2bing1  zuo4de  geng4hao3.  da4jia1  dou1  yi3wei2   ta1  shi4  nan2de.  ta1  you4  cong1ming2   you4   yong3gan3,  chang2chang2  da3  sheng4zhang4.  ta1de  zhan4you3  dou1  hen3  jing4pei4 ta1.
shi2er4nian2   guo4qu4le,   zhang4   da3ying2le,  huang2di4   yao4   jiang3li4  ta1,   dan4shi4   mu4lan2  ji4  bu2yao4   zuo4guan1,  ye3  bu2yao4  cai2wu4,   zhi2xiang3  yao4  yi4pi1  kuai4ma3,  hao3rang4ta1   li4ke4   hui2jia1.   huang2di4  gao1xing4de   pai4ren2   song4  ta1  hui2jia1.    mu4lan2  hui2dao4  jia1  hou4,   tuo1xia4  da3zhang4   chuan1de    yi1fu2,   huan4shang4   nv3ren2  chuan1de  yi1fu2,   shu1hao3  tou2fa,   chu1lai2  xiang4  song4  ta1   hui2lai2de   ren2   dao4xie4,   na4xie1ren2   kan4le  dou1  fei1chang2   jing1ya4.  mei2xiang3dao4   yi1qi3   da3zhang4de   zhan4you3   jing4shi4   yi1wei4   piao4liang4 de    gu1niang2.   mu4lan2  shuo: " liang3zhi1   tu4zi   zai4  di4shang4   yi1qi3  pao3,  shei2  neng2  kan4dechu1   na3ge4   shi4   xiong2de,  na3ge4  shi4   ci1de  ne?"

Translation

In the past, there was a girl named Mulan. Since she was little, she learned to read and write after her father. In normal time, she would help her mother with house chores and weaving.  She was expecially fond of horse riding and archery. She had gained the great skills of martial arts. One day, her father very worriedly told her that the war was about to start and that one male from every family must be enlisted. But since Mulan had no elder brother, and her younger brother was too young, it seemed that the father had to join the army. Mulan was thinking about her father's words  as she worked. She thought," father is old already, and is also in poor health. How could he serve as a soldier outside of home?" She thought and thought. Finally she made up her mind to change into man's clothing and join the army in the place of her father.

After Mulan became a soldier, she could do whatever the other male soldiers would do, just like the other male soldiers, and could do even better than them. Everybody thought she was male. She was both smart and brave, and often won the battle.  All her friends respected her very much.
Twelve years passed, and there was the victory. The emperor wanted to reward her. But Mulan wanted neither high position in the court nor jewelry and money. What she wanted was a fast horse so that she could get home right away. The emperor was happy to send her home accompanied by other soldiers.  When Mulan got home, she took off her fighting robes and changed into women clothing. After she did her hair, she came out to say thank you to the men who accompanied her home. The men were very surprised to see her. The friend who fought together with them was unexpectedly a beautiful girl. Mulan said: "When two rabbits are running fast on the ground, who can tell which one is male and which one is female?"

Friday, October 21, 2011

只许当官的放火, 不许百姓点灯The Officials are allowed to Set Fires, while the People are forbidden to Light up Lights

Chinese Lanterns
This joke was recorded in one of the Chinese history books, so it's supposed to be real.  "dian3deng1" means "to light up lights".
"fang4huo3" means "to set ... on fire, to commit arson".  According to Chinese tradition, it is not respectful to call the parents or other older relatives by their names.

It's one of the customs to make and light up lanterns during the Spring Festival to celebrate the Chinese New Year. On the fifteenth day of the New Year (also called the Lantern Festival (yuan2xiao1jie2)), the celebration reaches the climax. There is a lantern show in every neighborhood. Families come out to admire the lanterns of all shapes and to get prizes for guessing the riddles pasted to lanterns.

很久以前有一个地方官,他的名字叫田登, 可是他不许别人叫他的名字。他觉得别人叫他的名字就是对他不尊敬。 因为他的名字“登”和“灯”念起来一样,所以大家都不能说“灯”, 只能说“火”, 也不能说“点灯”,因为“点灯”听起来好像他的名字“田登”, 只能说“放火”。
元宵节的时候,家家户户都要点灯,田登就通知大家“要放火三日庆祝”。因为他是那个地方最大的官, 所以老百姓都没有办法。 大家生气地说: “只许当官的放火,不许百姓点灯!”

hen3jiu3  yi3qian2  you3  yi2ge4   di4fang1guan1,  ta1de   ming2zi4  jiao4  tian2deng1,   ke3shi4  ta1  bu4xu3   bie2ren2   jiao4  ta1de   ming2zi4.  ta1  jue2de    bie2ren2   jiao4  ta1de   ming2zi4   jiu4shi4   dui4  ta1de   bu4  zun1jing4.   yin1wei4   ta1de  ming2zi4   "deng1" he2   "deng1"  nian4  qi3lai2  yi2yang4,  suo3yi3   da4jia1   dou1  bu4neng2  shuo1  "deng1",  zhi3neng2  shuo1  "huo3",   ye3  bu4neng2   shuo1  "dian3deng1",  yin1wei4   "dian3deng1 "   ting1qi3lai2   hao3xiang4   ta1de  ming2zi4   "tian2deng1",   zhi3neng2   shuo1  "fang4huo3".

yuan2xiao1jie2   deshi2hou4,   jia1jia1hu4hu4  dou1  yao4   dian3deng1,   tian2deng1   jiu4  tong1zhi1   da4jia1 "yao4   fang4huo3   san1ri4   qing4zhu4".   yin1wei4   ta1  shi4  na4ge4  di4fang1  zui4da4de  guan1,   suo3yi3   lao3bai3xing4   dou1  mei2you3  ban4fa3.  da4jia1   sheng1qi4de   shuo1: "zhi3xu3   dang1guan1de   fang4huo3,   bu4xu3   bai3xing4  dian3deng1!"

Translation:

Long long time ago there was a local government official called Tian Deng. However, he didn't allow the others to call him by his names because he thought it was not respectful to him if his named was called. Since his first name "deng" sounds the same as "deng"( lights), so people were not allowed to say "lights", and could only say "fire" instead. Neither were they allowed to say "to light up lights", because "dian deng( to light up lights)" sounds similar to his full name "tian deng". Instead they could only say "set fire".
When it was time of  the Lantern Festival,  all the families would light up the lanterns.  So Tian Deng  made an announcement that " everybody should celebrate by setting fires for three days." Because he was the highest local official,  the people could do anything about that.  They commented angrily: "The officials are allowed to set fires, while the people are forbidden to light up lights!"

Friday, October 14, 2011

与虎谋皮 Asking Tigers for Their Skin

This idiom is originally known as "Asking Foxes for Their Skin", but since Fox (狐, hú) and Tiger (虎, hǔ) in Chinese have very similar pronunciations, it gradually changed into "Asking Tigers for Their Skin". It refers to requesting somebody to act against his own interests.


传说在中国春秋时期,鲁国的国王想任命孔子做司法部长,但是当他向手下的大臣询问意见时,却没有一个人支持他。鲁国国王感到很困惑,就对左丘明说:“孔子是一位很有德行的人,学问也很好,但是为什么人们都反对我任命他做部长呢?


Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

破镜重圆 The Broken Pieces of Mirror Joined Each Other Again


This expression is now used to describe that a separated family got reunited.  Many traditional Chinese dramas have an ending of happy reunion like this one.
The Lantern Festival falls on the 15th day of the Chinese New Year.
NanJing was the capital city of the country at that time.

从前南京城里有一个人, 姓徐, 刚刚结婚, 夫妻俩非常恩爱,幸福。可是,那个时候马上要打仗了,大家都逃到乡下。 徐先生怕万一他和妻子路上走丢了怎么办? 就把家里的一面镜子分成两半, 一半给他的妻子, 一半自己留着。说好元宵节时,他们在街上, 一个人买镜子,一个卖镜子,用这样的方法来找到对方。

仗打起来以后,徐先生的妻子真的走丢了。徐先生非常想念妻子,元宵节那天就去街上找卖镜子的人。他看到一位老人正在卖半面镜子, 就拿出自己的半面镜子,两面镜子正好对上。原来是他的妻子让老人替她卖镜子找丈夫的。 徐先生就这样找到了他的妻子。

cong2qian2  nan2jing1  cheng2li3  you3  yi2ge4 ren2,  xing4 xu2,  gang1gang1  jie2hun1,  fu1qi1lia3  fei1chang2  en1ai4,  xin4fu2.  ke3shi4,  na4ge4shi2hou  ma3shang4 yao4  da3zhang4le,   da4jia1  dou1  tao2 dao4  xiang1xia4.  xu2xian1sheng1  pa4  wan4yi1  ta1 he2  qi1zi  lu4shang4  zou3diu1le  zen3me ban4? jiu4ba3  jia1li3de  yi2mian4 jing4zi  fen1cheng2  liang3ban4,  yi2ban4  gei3  ta1de  qi1zi,  yi2ban4  zi4ji3  liu2zhe.  shuo1hao3  yuan2xiao1jie2 shi2,  ta1men  zai4 jie1shang4,  yi2ge4ren2  mai3jing4zi,  yi2ge4  mai4 jing4zi,  yong4  zhe4yang4de  fang1fa3  lai2  zhao3dao4  dui4fang1.
zhang4  da3qi3lai2  yi3hou4,  xu2xian1sheng1  de  qi1zi  zhen1de  zou3diu1le.  xu2xian1sheng1   fei1chang2  xiang3nian4  qi1zi.  yuan2xiao1jie2na4tian1   jiu4 qu4  jie1shang4  zhao3  mai4  jing4zi de ren2.  ta1 kan4dao4  yi2wei4  lao3ren2  zheng4zai4  mai4  ban4mian4 jing4zi,  jiu4  na2chu1  zi4ji3de  ban4mian4  jing4zi,  liang3mian4  jing4zi  zheng4hao3  dui4shang4.  yuan2lai2  shi4  ta1de  qi1zi  rang4  lao3ren2  ti4 ta1  mai4 jing4zi  zhao3  zhang4fu de.  xu2xian1sheng1  jiu4  zhe4yang4  zhao3dao4le   ta1de  qi1zi.

Translation:
Long time ago,  in the city of NanJing lived a man, whose family name was Xu. Xu had just got married. The couple loved each other very much, and lived happily together.  However, at that time a war was about to break out, and everybody escaped to the countryside. Mr. Xu was afraid what to do in case he and his wife got lost on the way. So he separated one of their mirrors into two halves. He gave one half to his wife and he himself kept the other half.  They arranged a way to find each other later. On the Lantern Festival day,  one of them would try to sell mirrors in the( main) street, and the other would try to buy a mirror.
After the war started, Mr. Xu's wife did get lost. Mr. Xu missed his wife very much. On the Lantern Festival, he went to look for sellers of mirrors in the street. He saw an old man selling half of a mirror, so he took out his own half of the mirror. The two halves matched each other. It turned out that the old man was asked by Xu's wife to sell the mirror to find her husband. In this way, Mr. Xu found his wife.

小剪刀 My little Scissors







Paper cuts are traditional Chinese handicrafts. Some dexterous masters can cut out virtually everything you can think of, like the one in the rhyme.

小剪刀,嚓嚓嚓,
xiao3 jian3dao1, ca1ca1ca1,
我和姐姐剪窗花。

Sunday, September 25, 2011

梁上君子 The Gentleman on the Beam

你知道为什么中国人把小偷也叫做“梁上君子”吗? 中国汉朝有一个陈先生, 很会教育人, 所以他的孩子都很听话。 有一天晚上,一个小偷来到他家,蹲在他家的屋梁上,正准备下来偷东西,没想到陈先生从外边回来了,他一进来就看见了小偷。但是他没有马上叫人来抓他,而是假装没看见,把自己的孩子叫来, 很认真的对他们说: “一个人要经常提醒自己不能做坏人。 坏人不是生下来就是坏人, 而是因为经常做坏事, 慢慢地才变成了坏人, 就像梁上的哪位君子一样。”小偷听了吓得从屋梁上掉了下来。
  
ni3  zhi1dao4  wei4shen2me  zhong1guo2ren2 ba3  xiao3tou1  ye3 jiao4zuo4 "liang2shang4   jun1zi ma?  zhong1guo2  han4chao2  you3 yi2ge4  chen2xian1sheng1,  hen3hui4  jiao4yu4 ren2,  suo3yi3  ta1de  hai2zi  dou1hen3 ting1hua4.  you3yi4tian1  wan3shang4,  yi2ge4  xiao3tou1  lai2dao4 ta1jia1,  dun1zai4  ta1jia1de   wu1liang2shang4,  zheng4  zhun3bei4  xia4lai2  tou1dong1xi,   mei2xiang3dao4  chen2 xian1sheng1  cong2  wai4bian1  hui2lai2le,  ta1 yi2jing4lai2  jiu4  kan4jian4le  xiao3tou1.   dan4shi4  ta1 mei2you3   ma3shang4  jiao4ren2  lai2  zhua1 ta1,  er2shi4  jia3zhuang1  mei2 kan4jian4,  ba3 zi4ji3de  hai2zi   jiao4lai2,  hen3 ren4zhen1de  dui4  ta1men  shuo1: "yi2ge4ren2  yao4  jing1chang2  ti2xing3  zi4ji3  bu4neng2  zuo4  huai4ren2.  huai4ren2  bu2shi4  sheng1xia4lai2  jiu4shi4  huai4ren2,  er2shi4  yin1wei4  jing1chang2  zuo4  huai4shi4,  man4man4de  cai2  bian4cheng2le  huai4ren2,  jiu4xiang4  liang2shang4de  na4wei4  jun1zi3  yi2yang4."  xiao3tou1  ting1le  xia4de  cong2  wu1liang2shang4     diao4le  xia4lai2.

Translation:
Do you know why thieves are also called "gentlemen upon the beam" in Chinese?  There was a Mr. Chen in the  Han Dynasty in China, who was good at giving people lectures. So all of his children were very obedient. One night, a thief came to his house and was squatting on the beam of his house. He was about to come down to steal things when unexpectedly Mr. Chen came home from outside. As soon as he entered the room he spotted the thief. However, he didn't call others to catch him right away. Instead, he pretended to have not seen the thief, and summoned his own children. He said to them very seriously: " A man needs to remind himself frequently not to be a bad guy.  A bad guy was not born to be bad.  But because he often did bad things, he would gradually turn bad...  just like the gentleman on the beam!"  Hearing this, the thief was so scared that he fell down from the beam.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

这人生来性子急 This Man was Born Impatient

This rhyme is hilarious if you can imagine the picture in your mind.  In Chinese culture, it's a great virtue to take everything easy and do it in a relaxed manner, especially for a young person. So we've got plenty of stories that mock people of hotheads.

这人生来性子急,
清晨早起去赶集。
错穿了绿布裤,
倒骑了一头驴。

zhe4  ren2  sheng1lai2  xing4zi  ji2,
qing1cheng2  zao3qi3  qu4  gan3ji2.
cuo4  chuan1le   lv4  bu4ku4,
dao4  qi2le  yi4tou2 lv2.


Translation
This man was born of impatient disposition.
One day he rose at early morning to hurry to a fair.
He put on (his wife's) green cotton pants by mistake.
And he rode his donkey with his face toward its tail!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

画蛇添足 Add Feet When Drawing a Snake


Is it silly to add feet when drawing a snake? Well, I've made similar mistakes like this many times. Sometimes, only a cup of wine was lost, but other times more can be missed.

古时候,有一个人请朋友们喝酒。但是来了很多朋友,他原来准备的的酒不够多。于是,他对朋友们说: “ 这些酒你们几个人喝,不够。 一个人又喝不完。请你们在地上画一条蛇,谁先画完,谁就先喝酒。好不好?” 大家都同意他的建议。
有一个人画得特别快,第一个画好了。他高兴地拿起酒杯喝了一口酒,看见别人都没画完,得意地说: “我还能给我的蛇画上脚呢!”说着他继续画。 但是,他还没把脚画好, 另一个人就把一条蛇画完了, 把酒杯拿过去说: “蛇本来没有脚, 你怎么能给蛇加上脚呢?这酒应该是我的。”说完他就把酒都喝了。

gu3shi2hou,   you3  yi2ge4ren2  qing3  peng2you3men   he1jiu3. dan4shi4  lai2le  hen3duo1  peng2you3,  ta1  yuan2lai2   zhun3bei4de  jiu3  bu2gou4duo1.  yu2shi4,  ta1  dui4  peng2you3men  shuo1: "zhe4xie1jiu3   ni3men  ji3ge4ren2  he1,  bu2gou4.  yi2ge4ren2  you4  he1bu4wan2.  qing3  ni3men   zai4  di4shang4   hua4  yi4tiao2she2,  shei2  xian1  hua4wan2,  shei2  jiu4  xian1  he1jiu3.  haobu4hao3?"  da4jia1  dou1  tong2yi4  ta1de  jian4yi4.

you3  yi2ge4ren2  hua4de   te4bie2kuai4,  di4yi1ge4  hua4hao3le.  ta1 gao1xing4de  na2qi3  jiu3bei1  he1le
yi4kou3jiu3,   kan4jian4   bie2ren2  dou1  hai2 mei2  hua4wan2,  de2yi4de  shuo1: "wo3  hai2neng2  gei3  wo3de  she2  hua4shang4  jiao3ne!"  shuo1zhe   ta1  ji4xu4  hua4.  dan4shi4,  ta1  hai2mei2  ba3  jiao3  hua4hao3,  ling4yi2ge4ren2  jiu4  ba3  yi4tiao2she2  hua4wan2le,  ba3 jiu3bei1   na2guo4qu4  shuo1: "she2  beng3lai2  mei2you3  jiao3,  ni3  zen3me   neng2  gei3  she2  jia1shang4  jiao3ne?"  zhe4  jiu3  ying1gai1  shi4  wo3de. ” shuo1wan2  ta1  jiu4  ba3  jiu3  dou1  he1le.

 
Translation


In ancient time,  a man invited his friends to drinks. However, many friends showed up, and the winel he prepared originally was not enough. Therefore,  he said to his friends: " the wine is not enough for all of you, but it is more than one person can drink. Would you please draw a snake on the ground? Whoever finishes drawing first will drink first, OK?" Everyone agreed to his suggestion.
One man drew very fast and finished the first. He happily picked up the glass and took a drink. Seeing the others were still not done, he said in elation: "I can still add some feet to my snake!" Then he went on to draw. However,  before he could finish drawing the snake's feet, another man was done with drawing his snake. So he took the glass and said: " Snakes don't have feet anyway. How can you add feet to your snake? This drink should be mine."  That said, he drank up the wine

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Try this simple food recipe if you are suffering from Gout

Besides avoiding food with high purine content, you can also try the some herbal tea of sarsaparilla, yarrow, rose seeds or peppermint, etc.
Eating lots of cherries can also help easing the pain.
I'm introducing one more simple food recipe here to those who are suffering from gout.

Materials:
1. venigar made of grains (4%-5%): 12 bottles (1lb each)
2. fresh lemons: 10 lb
3. orange peels: 0.5lb
4. sugar: 8-12lbs as you prefer
5. egg shells: 25

Procedure:
1.slice lemons (The thinner the better)
2. place the lemon slices in a glass container
3. pour in venigar
4. add orange peels and egg shells
5. add sugar
6. mix and seal for 2-3 months.
7. strain and pour the liquid back into the original vinegar bottles.

Usage:
Add 20--30cc vinegar eggshell liquid to 200-300cc water. Combine and drink it.
This special drink can also encourage better metabolism, defer senility, get rid of fatigue and dark spots on the skin.

Food as Medicine (Reposted FYI)

How can you prevent hey fever or lessen its symptoms? I think the following tip #10 makes sense to me. There is no harm trying it, so why don't we give it a try?

Warning:
Don't replace your regular medicine with the following food. The following tips can only be used mainly as preventative measures. However, there will be no side-effects from eating too much of some of these food.

1. ASTHMA - EAT ONIONS!!!!


Eating onions helps ease constriction of bronchial tubes.


2. BLADDER INFECTION - DRINK CRANBERRY JUICE!!!!


High-acid cranberry juice controls harmful bacteria.

3. BLOOD SUGAR IMBALANCE - EAT BROCCOLI AND PEANUTS!!!


The chromium in broccoli and peanuts helps regulate insulin and blood sugar.

4. BONE PROBLEMS - EAT PINEAPPLE!!!


Bone fractures and osteoporosis can be prevented by the manganese in pineapple.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

养只猪, 吃口肉 Raise a Pig for Pork

After reading this nursrey rhyme, you probably would think: "uhm,  Chinese people are indeed vey practical." In fact, Chinese people traditionally are not good at expressing their love vocally, especially to their close ones. So don't be horrified if you hear old wives calling their husbands "the one worth a thousand slashes" instead of "honey".




养只猪, 吃口肉;
养只鸡, 吃个蛋。
养只狗,会看家。
养只猫,会抓鼠。
养你这孩子有啥用?


yang3  zhi1  zhu1,  chi1  kou3  rou4.
yang3   zhi1  ji1,  chi1  ge4  dan4.
yang3   zhi1  gou3,  hui4  kan4  jia1.
yang3   zhi1 mao1,  hui4  zhua1  shu1.
 yang3    ni3  zhe4  hai1zi   you3  sha2yong4?




A pig will leave us with a bite of pork;
A hen will leave us with an egg;
We keep a dog to guard the house;
We keep a cat to catch the mouse;
But what 's the use of raising a child like you?

Monday, September 5, 2011

东施的故事 The Story of Dong Shi

That explains why a lot of times we bought clothes that look so nice and elegant on the model, but found they look awkward even ugly on us. In fact,  I myself made a lot of mistakes like this when I was younger.
I heard some girls spent a lot of money adding a mole on the face, thinking it's as sexy as the one of Cindy Crawford. Anyway, that's what  fashion is about.

Xi Shi is considered one of the four beauties in Ancient China.  Later, she died tragically in order to win the war against the enemy state called Wu.



中国古代有一个村子,村子的西边住着一个姑娘,名叫西施,大家都认为她长得非常美。 村子的东边住着一个叫东施的姑娘,她看见西施那么好看,听见别人都说西施漂亮,非常羡慕。有一天,西施病了,皱着眉头,从东施的家门口走过。东施看见了,觉得西施皱着眉头的样子比平时还要好看, 就模仿西施的样子,整天皱着眉头走来走去。没想到,大家见了她,不是赶紧关上门不出来了,就是赶紧走开了。东施觉得很奇怪,她不明白为什么西施皱眉好看,她皱眉就不好看呢?

zhong1guo2  gu3dai4  you3  yi2ge4  cun1zi,  cun1zi de  xi1bian1  zhu4zhe  yi2ge4  gu1niang,  ming2 jiao4  xi1shi1. da4jia1  dou1  ren4wei2  ta1 zhang3de  fei1chang2  mei3.  cun1zi de  dong1bian1  zhu4zhe yi2ge4  jiao4  dong1shi1de  gu1niang,  ta1 kan4jian4   xi1shi1  na4me  hao3kan4,  ting1jian4  bie2ren2  dou1  shuo1  xi1shi1  piao4liang,  fei1chang2  xian4mu4.  you3yi1tian1,  xi1shi1  bing4le,  zhou4zhe  mei2tou2,  cong2  dong1shi1de  jia1men2kou3  zou3guo4.  dong1shi1  kan4jian4le,  jue2de   xi1shi1  zhou4zhe  mei2tou2 de yang4zi  bi3  ping2shi2  hai2yao4  hao3kan4,  jiu4  mo2fang3  xi1shi1 de yang4zi,  zhen3tian1  zhou4zhe  mei2tou2  zou3lai2zou3qu4.  mei2xiang3dao4,  da4jia1  jian4le ta1,  bu2shi4  gan3jin3  guan1shang4men2  bu4chu1lai2le,  jiu4shi4  gan3jin3  zou3kai1le.  dong1shi1  jue2de  hen3 qi2guai4,  ta1  bu4 ming2bai2  wei4shen2me  xi1shi1  zhou4mei2  hao3kan4, ta1  zhou4mei2  jiu4  bu4 hao3kan4 ne?

Translation

There was a village in ancient China. On the west side of the village lived a girl called Xi Shi. Everybody thought  she was extremely beautiful.  On the east side of the village lived another girl called Dong Shi. She was very envious when she saw pretty Xi Shi, and when she heard all the compliments to Xi Shi. One day, Xi Shi was sick. Dong Shi saw her when she  was walking past the front of Dong Shi's house, frowning.  Dong Shi thought Xi Shi looked even more beautiful than before when she frowned. So she tried to mimic the way Xi Shi frowned and walked about in that way. To her great surprise, people either turned away in a hurry, or hurriedly closed their doors.  Dong Shi felt very puzzled. She didn't understand why Xi Shi looked so cute frowning, but she looked terrible when she tried to copy Xi Shi's frowning.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

疙瘩疙瘩快下去 Bump, Bump, Go Away

Uh-oh, got an ouch! 


疙瘩疙瘩快下去,
别叫奶奶看见。
奶奶如果看见,
不给我吃饼干。


ge1da   ge1da   kuai4  xia4qu.
bie2  jiao4 nai3nai  kan4jian4.
nai3nai  ru2guo3  kan4jian4,
bu4gei3  wo3 chi1  bing3gan1.


Translation:


Bump, bump, please go away fast,
Don't let grandma see you.
If she sees you,
She won't give me crackers to eat.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

井底的青蛙 The Frog at the Bottom of the Well

How do we know if we are not the frog inside a well? We'll never know the truth if the sea turtle didn't show up.


I admire the bear who went over the mountain to see what's on the other side of the mountain. However, I'm sure the frog would be quite content to continue living inside the well even if he has learned about the great exciting sea. His life in the well is indeed very peaceful and comfortable. As a Chinese saying goes: "My nest made of hay is much better than gold and silver nests that belong to others."
"金窝银窝,不如自家的草窝。”






很久很久以前,在一口老井里住着一只青蛙。 一天,青蛙在井边遇到一只从东海来的大龟。青蛙就对海龟说:“你看,我住的地方多好啊!世界上没有比我的井更好的地方了。 如果我想玩,就可以跳到井边玩。 玩腻了,就回到井里休息一下,露出头和嘴巴,安安静静地泡在水里, 这多方便啊!或者在软软的泥里散散步,也很舒适。而且,我是这个井里的主人,想做什么就做什么,你为什么不进来看看呢?”


那海龟听了青蛙的话,就到井里去看了看。觉得井里不像青蛙说得那么好,又小又黑,一点儿意思都没有, 就对青蛙说:“你看见过大海吗?闹水灾的时候,海水不会多很多。很长时间不下雨,海水也不会少很多。 住在大海里才真的快乐呢!”


青蛙听了非常不好意思,他这才明白自己知道的太少了


hen3jiu3  hen3jiu3  yi3qian2,  zai4  yi4kou3 lao3jing3li3  zhu4zhe  yi4zhi1 qing1wa1.  yi4tian1,  qing1wa1  zai4  jing3bian1  yu4dao4  yi4zhi1   cong2  dong1hai3lai2 de   da4gui1.   qing1wa1  jiu4 dui4  hai3gui1  shuo1: "ni3kan4,  wo3  zhu4de  di4fang  duo1 hao3 a!  shi4jie4shang4   mei2you3  bi3  wo3de  jing3  geng4hao3de  di4fang le.  ru2guo3  wo3  xiang3  wan2,  jiu4  ke3yi3   tiao4dao4  jing3bian1  wan2.  wan2ni4le,   jiu4  hui2dao4   jing3li3  xiu1xi  yi2xia4,  lu4chu1   tou2 he2  zui3ba,  an1an1jing4jing4de   pao4zai4   shui3li3,  zhe4  duo1  fang1bian4a!  huo4zhe3   zai4  ruan3ruan3de  ni2li3  san4san4bu4,  ye3hen3  shu1shi4.  er2qie3,  wo3  shi4  zhe4ge4  jing3li3de  zhu3ren2,  xiang3 zuo4  shen2me  jiu4 zuo4  shen2me,  ni3 wei4shen2me   bu4 jin4lai2  kan4kan4 ne?"
na4  hai3gui1  ting1le  qing1wa1de  hua4,  jiu4 dao4  jing3li3  qu4  kan4lekan4.  jue2de  jing3li3  bu1xiang4  qing1wa1 shuo1de  na4me  hao3,  you4xiao3  you4hei1, yi1dian3r   yi4si  dou1  mei2you3,  jiu4 dui4  qing1wa1  shuo1: " ni3  kan4jian4  guo4  da4hai3 ma?  nao4  shui3zai1  deshi2hou4,  hai3shui3  bu2hui4  duo1 hen3duo1. hen3chang2  shi2jian1   bu4  xia4yu3,  hai3shui3  ye3  bu2hui4  shao3  hen3duo1.  zhu4  zai4  da4hai3li3  cai2  zhen1de  kaui4le4ne!"
qing1wa1  ting1le  fei1chang2  bu4hao3  yi4si,  ta1  zhe4  cai2  ming2bai2  zi4ji3  zhi1dao4de tai4shao3le.

Translation:


A long long time ago,  in a deserted well lived a frog. One day, on the edge of the well, the frog met a big turtle from the East Sea.  The frog said to the turtle: "Look, what a nice place I'm living at! No place in the world can be better than my well. If I feel like playing, I can jump onto the edge of the well and play there.  If I'm tired of playing, I will return to the well and take a rest. I'll soaking myself in the water quietly, showing only my head and mouth. How convenient it is! Or I could take a walk in the soft mud, and it is also very relaxing. Moreover,  I'm the master of the well. So I can do anything I want. Why don't you come inside and have a look?


Hearing this, the turtle went inside the well and took a look.  It was a small dark place, not interesting at all. He felt it was not as nice as the frog talked about. So he said to the frog,  "Have you ever see the sea? In times of flooding, the water in the sea didn't increase much. If it doesn't rain for a long time, the sea water won't decrease much either.  It is real happiness to live in the sea!"


The frog was very embarassed when he heard this. He then realized that he didn't know  a lot (about the outside world).

Saturday, August 20, 2011

小金娃, 骑金马 The Little Golden Baby Rides a Golden Horse

This Chinese nursery rhyme reminds me of "There was a Crooked Man". The Chinese seem to prefer "golden" as the adjective for everything  in stead of "crooked".

小金娃, 骑金马,
金马金鞭打。
梧桐树,金乌鸦,
开了庙门金菩萨,
金手抱着金娃娃。

 Pheonix Trees
xiao3  jin1  wa2,  qi2  jin1  ma3,
jin1  ma3  jin1  bian1  da3.
wu2tong2  shu4,  jin1  wu1ya1,
 kai1le   miao4men2  jin1  pu2sa,
jin1  shou3  bao4zhe  jin1  wa2wa.

Translation

The little golden baby rides a golden  horse.
He lashes the golden horse with his golden whip.
(He sees) golden birds on the golden phoenix trees.
Opening the door of temple, and (he sees) a golden Buddha,
Its golden hands holding a golden baby. 



For your reference:

There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse.
And they all lived together in a little crooked house

Monday, August 15, 2011

自相矛盾 The story of Spears and Shields


Many of the advertisements nowadays are full of contradictions if analyzed carefully. However, nobody seems to care. Ads are supposed to brag a little, some or a lot?


从前有个人,在市场上卖矛和盾。 他拿起盾对人说: “你们看我的盾! 我的盾是世界上最好的,什么矛都刺不穿它!” 然后,他又拿起矛说:“你们再来看我的矛!我的矛是世界上最厉害的, 什么盾它都能刺穿。” 大家听了他的话,都觉得十分好笑。有个人问他: “如果你说的都是真的,你的矛是世界上最厉害的, 什么盾都能刺穿,你的盾是世界上最好的, 什么矛都刺不穿它, 那么用你的矛来刺你的盾, 结果会怎么样呢?” 那个人听了,就很快地收起他的矛和盾, 离开了。所以,中文“矛盾”这个词的意思是contradiction.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

你这孩子爱淘气 You Little Kid Likes to Play Naughty Tricks

Have you wished that your naughty little ones would stay at the camp longer as you are enjoying your precious quiet moment at home? This one is told from the point of view of a mother.  It sounds a milder form of threatening to me. As I grew up, I've heard many stronger versions than this.  For example, "I'll give you away to the beggar if you don't behave yourself!" Or " I'll call for the big bad wolf  if you don't stop ...now!" But the little ones have become smarter now than we used to be, aren't they?

你这孩子爱淘气,
送你去南山看瓜地。
等到瓜儿都熟透了,
我才让你回家去。

ni3  zhe4  hai2zi  ai4  tao2qi4,
song4  ni3  qu5   nan2shan1   kan5  gua1di4.
deng3dao4  gua1er  dou1  shu2tou4le,
wo3  cai2  rang4 ni3  hui2jia1  qu4.
Translation:

You little kid likes to play naughty tricks,
I'll send you to the melon fields at the Southern Mountain to watch (out for thieves) .
You stay there till all the melons are completely ripe,
Then you are allowed to go home.

Friday, August 5, 2011

怎样挑选女婿 How to Pick the Right Son-in-law

When I first read the story in the elementary school, I was quite puzzled why the rude young man was chosen as the son-in-law. The strange story becomes more meaningful as I grew up.



What are the modern standards of ideal son-in-laws? According to the recent Chinese Courtship and Marriage Survey of 1,550,000 people by two Chinese matchmaker websites, material wealth has become a decisive factor for marriage stability. Usually the criteria of choosing one's spouse include financial status, family background, personalities and physical appearance. Which criteria did the prime minister used to pick his son-in-law?
这个故事发生在公元五世纪的中国。那时有个宰相,他有个漂亮的女儿,到了结婚的年纪。 有一天,宰相叫他的手下给朝廷的学校*1送一封信, 请校长帮他选一个女婿。
校长说:“我有很多学生住在旁边的房子里,你自己去选吧。”宰相的手下去旁边的房子看了回来报告宰相说: “校长的学生都很不错,听说我来给您选女婿,个个都很客气,站起来打招呼,只有一个学生躺在东边的一张床上,好像没看见我。”
宰相听了就说:  “这个人好!” 于是, 他去看那个年轻人, 后来把女儿嫁*2给了他。那个年轻人的名字叫王羲之。 他后来成为中国最有名的书法家。 现在中国人把女婿也叫做“东床”, 就是从这个故事来的。



zhe4ge4 gu4shi4  fa1sheng1 zai4  gong1yuan2 wu5shi4ji4 de zhong1guo2.  na4shi2  you3ge4  zai3xiang4,  ta4you3  ge4  piao4liang de  nv3er,  dao4le  jie1hun1de  nian2ji4.  you3yi4tian1,  zai3xiang4  jiao4  ta1de  shou3xia4  gei3 chao2ting2de  xue2xiao4  *1 song4   yi4feng1xin4,   qing3  xiao4zhang3  bang1 ta1  xuan3  yi2ge4  nv3xu4. 
xiao4zhang3  shuo1: "wo3 you3  hen3duo1  xue2sheng1  zhu4zai4  pang2bian1de  fang2zi li3, ni3  zi4ji3  qu4  xuan3 ba." zai3xiang4de   shou3xia4  qu4  pang2bian1de  fang2zi  kan4le  hui2lai2  bao4gao4  zai3xiang4  shuo1: "xiao4zhang3de  xue2sheng1 dou1  bu2cuo4,  ting1shuo1  wo3  lai2  gei3 nin2  xuan3  nv3xu4,  ge4ge4  dou1  hen3  ke4qi4,  zhan4qi3lai2  da3zhao1hu,  zhi2you3  yi2ge  xue2sheng4  tang3zai4  dong1bian1de  yi4zhang1chuang1 shang4,  hao3xiang4  mei2 kan4jian4  wo3."
zai3xiang4  ting1le  jiu4shuo1: "zhe4ge4ren2  hao3!"  yu2shi4,  ta1  qu4 kan4  na4ge4  nian2qing1ren2. hou4lai2 ba3  nv3er  jia4 *2 gei3le  ta1. na4ge4 nian2qing1ren2de  ming2zi4  jiao4  wang2xi1zhi1.  ta1  hou4lai2  cheng2wei4  zhong1guo2  zui4you3ming2de  shu1fa3jia1.  xian4zai4   zhong1guo2ren2  ba3 nv3xu4  ye3  jiao4zuo4  "dong1chuang2",  jiu4shi4  cong2  zhe4ge4  gu4shi4  lai2de.

 

*1 The special academy at the Chinese court was considered the highest and most prestigious educational institution in  the country. But in contrast to Harvard or Yale, it was the only state-run school in China at that time. All the rest schools in China were private at that time.



*2 For a woman to marry a man is called "jia4"(to add to); for a man to marry a woman is called "qu3"(to take).

Translation:
The story took place in China in the 5th century  when there was a prime minister.  He had a beautiful daughter who had reached the age of getting married.  One day, the prime minister dispatched one of his man to send a letter to the principal of the court academy, asking the principal to choose a son-in-law for him.

The principal said, " Many of my students live right next door. You can go and choose one by yourself." So the prime minister's man went to the house next to them to take a look. He  reported to the prime minister when he returned: " All the principal's students are very nice. When they heard that I was there to choose a son-in-law for you, they were very good-mannered. They all stood up and greeted me. All but one student who (continued to) lay in the bed on the east side,  as if he didn't see me."
One the prime minister heard this, he said: " This is the right man." Hence, he went along to see the young man, and later married his daughter to him. The young man is called Wang Xizhi. He later became the most famous calligrapher in the Chinese history. Now Chinese people also call "son-in-law" "the east side bed", and that's where it comes from.





Saturday, July 30, 2011

拉大锯,推大锯 We Pull, We Push the Big Saw

This nursery rhyme is chanted as you rock back and forth holding the hands of your partner. In the past, an opera troupe would be hired for occasions such as birthday celebrations, wedding, new born baby, etc. Without much other entertainment, this kind of performance was really something to look forward to.
GuNiang has two meanings. One is "girls"; the other is "the married daughter who lives with her husband's family".



拉大锯,推大锯,
用木头,盖房子。
拉大锯,推大锯,
奶奶门口唱大戏.
接姑娘,请女婿,
小孩儿跟着跑了去.
 
la1  da4ju4,  tui1  da4ju4,
yong4  mu4tou2.  gai4  fang2zi.
la1da4ju4,   tui1  da4ju4,
nai3nai  men2kou3  chang4  da4xi4.
jie1  gu1niang,   qing3  nu3xu4,
xiao3hai2er   gen1zhe  pao3lequ4.


Translation:

We pull, we push the big saw,
To build a house with the wood.
We pull, we push the big saw,
A grand opera was put on in front of grandma's house.
(She) picked up the daughters, and invited the son-in-laws.
Even the little kids came chasing (after their parents).

Monday, July 25, 2011

朝三暮四 Three in the Morning, and Four in the Evening

What was the difference between Mr. Monkey's two suggestions?
Why were all the monkeys fooled  by him?
Man is certainly smarter than monkeys. But  it is not nice to use your eloquence against your not-so-smart fellowman.

从前有个人,养了很多猴子, 大家都叫他猴子先生。他熟悉猴子的脾气,猴子也听得懂他说的话。 猴子先生的猴子和别的猴子不一样, 他们不喜欢吃香蕉,花生,却喜欢吃一种特别的果子, 每天都要吃很多. 这种果子很贵,猴子先生没有钱给猴子买那么多果子了, 他想给猴子少吃点果子,但是他怕猴子不高兴,于是,他想了一个办法。

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

太阳出来一点红 The Sun Rises, a Ball of Red

You can surely sense the happiness of the little one as you read this nursery rhyme. "I'm going much faster than my master!" As Chinese dragons live in the water, it can swim and fly as well.

太阳出来一点红;
师傅骑马我骑龙。
师傅骑马沿街走,
我骑白龙水上游。


tai4yang2  chu1lai2  yi4dian3  hong3.
shi1fu4  qi2ma3  wo3  qi2  long2.
shi1fu4  qi2ma3  yan2  jie1  zou3,
wo3  qi2  bai2long2  shui3shang4  you2.

Translation

As the sun came up, a ball of red,
My master rode his horse while I rode my dragon.
My master rode his horse along the street,
I rode my white dragon in the water.

Friday, July 15, 2011

甜蜜蜜 Sweet

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ppccxy4YyKg&feature=related





甜蜜蜜,你笑得甜蜜蜜,
好像花儿开在春风里。

*在哪里,在哪里见过你?
你的笑容这样熟悉,
我一时想不起。

*啊在梦里,
梦里, 梦里见过你。
甜蜜笑得多甜蜜。
是你, 是你,梦见的就是你。

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ancient Secrets of Chinese Proverbs (different approaches)

What would you do if you like to have wind from your southern windows? Did you say "open the southern windows"?

欲求南风,先开北窗。
yu4 qiu2 nan2 feng1, xian1 kai1 bei3 chuang1.
Literally it means:  if you want wind coming from the south, you should first open the windows in the north.

Another similar expression is:
无水舟停, 增水行舟。
wu2 shui3 zhou1 ting2, zeng1 shui2 xing3 zhou1.

So what do you do if the boat stops? Pushing and pulling by force can get it going, but it will stop
again if you stop doing that.  Have you thought of the possibility of the river water getting low? It will be much easier to add water to the river. Of course, it takes more time, but it will solve the problem forever.


This is why you see TCM doctors insert needles on the legs to stop stomachaches, or needles on the arms to treat constipation. It is truly a holistic approach to treating our health problems.

The traditional method of losing weight in the west is to try to curb your appetite and reduce the intake of calories. But why do you hear so many people complaining that "they are still gaining weight if even they are living on water only"? The TCM would regard this as a problem in your spleen and stomach meridians which are in charge of your digestion systems. If the food cannot be digested properly, it turns into waste and accumulates in different parts of the body in the form of water and fat. Therefore, to lose weight, it's more important to strengthen the spleen and stomach rather than to cut down on food.

Accordingly, if you have a stomach problem, it is very likely you have problems with your liver meridians, which means you tend to get angry or melancholy very easily. So it is very important to keep a happy and relaxed mood to promote the function of digestion. Otherwise, your stomach problem won't leave you no matter how much drugs you take.

Now we are back to the fundamentals of TCM diagnosis. If you feel hot and stifled in front of the windows in the south,  the problem can be solved more effectively if you first open the windows in the north.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

高高山上一棵麻 On the top of a Mountain

We have quite a lot of rhymes that start with " On the top of a mountain there was a ...". It must be an interesting beginning for a story. This one sounds like a tongue twist to me. Try it out for yourself.

高高山上一棵麻,
有个知了往上爬。
我问知了你上哪?
他说渴了要吃麻。


gao1gao1  shan1shang4  yi4ke1ma2,
you3ge4   zhe1liao  wang3shang4  pa2.
wo3  wen4  zhi1liao   ni3  shang4  na3?
ta1  shuo1  ke3le  yao4  chi1  ma2.

Translation:
On the top of a mountain
There was a hemp.
And up it a cicada was climbing.
 I asked the cicada: "Where are you going?"
He said he was thirsty and wanted to eat the hemp.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

孟母搬家的故事 The Moving Story of Mencius' Mother

Don't you think Mencius' mother is a real FengShui master? Since children's education is traditionally the number one issue of priority in a Chinese family, it's not uncommon to find parents quitting their old jobs and trying to find new jobs in a new place in order to send their children to a better school. It's a  hard decision for a modern family. It's much harder for a single mother in the past, whose only means of making a living was to do laundry and sewing for others.  Mencius' father died when Mencius was only three.

This story has such an influence on Chinese parents nowadays that the condos within the best school

Saturday, June 25, 2011

小小孩儿开饭馆儿 A wee little Child has Opened a Restaurant

Most of children are fond of “play house". To play restaurant is more fun!
This rhyme plays with the "er” sound, which is typical of Beijing Dialect.

小小孩儿开饭馆儿,
开开饭店儿两扇门儿。
小桌子儿小椅子儿,
乌木筷子儿小饭碗儿。


xiao3  xiao3 hai2er  kai1  fan4guan3er.
kai1kai1  fan4dian4er  liang3 shan4  men2er.
xiao3 zhuo1zi er   xiao3  qi3zier.
wu1mu4  kuai4zier xiao3  fan4 wan3er.


Translation:


A wee little child has opened a restaurant,
The restaurant opens and the child opens two doors.
There's a wee little table, a wee little chair,
Some ebony chopsticks, and a wee little bowl.

Monday, June 20, 2011

24 Form Tai Chi Chuan




The Chinese characters for Tai Chi Chuan can be translated as the 'Supreme Ultimate Force'. The notion of 'supreme ultimate' is often associated with the Chinese concept of yin-yang, the notion that one can see a dynamic duality (male/female, active/passive, dark/light, forceful/yielding, etc.) in all things. 'Force' can be thought of here as the means or way of achieving this ying-yang, or 'supreme-ultimate' harmony.

Tai Chi, as it is practiced in the west today, can perhaps best be thought of as a moving form of yoga and meditation combined. There are a number of so- called forms (sometimes also called 'sets') which consist of a sequence of movements. Many of these movements are originally derived from the martial arts (and perhaps even more ancestrally than that, from the natural movements of animals and birds) although the way they are performed in Tai Chi is slowly, softly and gracefully with smooth and even transitions between them.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

犯错Fault



沉默不是代表我的错,
分手不是唯一的结果,
我只是还没有想好该怎么对你说。

Monday, June 13, 2011

一张画儿 A Painting

Is this story a classical joke about modern arts?  I found it everywhere. It does prove that a piece of white paper is full of possibilities. I hear another version of the story is a piece of black paper with the tile "The Owl Eats the Mouse".

有一天, 张文去参加李朋的生日晚会, 看到李朋画的画儿很好, 就说: “李朋, 你可以给我画一张画儿吗?” 李朋笑着说: “可以,你下个星期六来拿吧。”
到了星期六, 张文又来到李朋家。 他进门就问: “你给我的画儿画好了吗?” 李朋说: “画好了。” 张文问: “ 在哪儿呢?” 李朋说: “在这儿。” 张文一看, 是一张白纸, 就说: “你还没画呀?”李朋说: “画了, 我画的是牛吃草。” 张文说: “ 这儿没有草啊!” 李朋说: “草都被牛吃了。” 张文问: “那牛呢?” 李朋说: “没有草了,牛还在这里做什么?”

you3yi4tian1, zhang1wen2  qu4  can1jia1  li3peng2de  sheng1ri4 wan3hui4,  kan4dao4  li3peng2  hua4de  hua4er  hen3hao3,  jiu4 shuo1: "li3peng2,  ni3  ke3yi3  gei3 wo3  hua4  yi4zhang1hua4er ma1?"  li3peng2  xiao4zhe  shuo1:" ke3yi3, ni3  xia4ge4  xing1qi1liu4  lai2 na2ba." 
dao4le   xing1qi1liu4,  zhang1wen2   you4  lai2dao4  li3peng2 jia1. ta1  jin4men2jiu4wen4:" ni3 gei3  wo3de  hua4er  hua4hao3lema? "  li3peng2shuo1:"hua4hao3le."  zhang1wen2 wen4 :"zai4  na3er ne?" li3peng2shuo1: "zai4  zhe4er."  zhang1wen2 yi2kan4,  shi4  yi4zhang1  bai2zhi3,  jiu4shuo1: "ni3 mei2 hua4 a!"  li3peng2 shuo1: "hua4le, wo3 hua4de  shi4  niu2 chi1  cao3."  zhang1wen2 shuo1: "zhe4er  mei2you3  cao3  a!"  li3peng2 shuo1: "cao3  dou1  bei4  niu2  chi1le."  zhang1wen2  wen4: "na4  niu2  ne?"   li3peng2 shuo1: "mei2you3 cao3le,  niu2  hai2zai4  zhe4li3  zuo4shen2me?"

Translation:
One day,  Zhang Wen went to Li Peng's birthday party. He saw that the paintings done by Li Peng were very good. So he said: "Li Peng, can you paint a painting for me?"  Li Peng said while smiling:"Okay, you come to pick it up next Saturday."
It was Saturday. Zhang Wen came to Li Peng's place again.  He asked once he entered the room:" Are you done with the painting for me?"  Li Peng said:" Yes, it's done." Zhang Wen asked:"where is it?"   Li Peng said:" It's here."  Zhang Wen took a look and saw a piece of white paper. So he said:" Oh, you didn't paint it yet." Li Peng said:"I did. What I painted is a cow grazing."  Zhang1wen2 said:"But here is no grass!" Li Peng said:" the grass was eaten by the cow."  Zhang Wen asked:"How about th cow then?"  Li Peng said:" With the grass gone, why would the cow still be here?"

名落孙山 Name Falling Behind SunShan

This story shows an example of Chinese euphemism. There are thousands of Chinese expessions like the title of this story that are made up of four Chinese characters, which are usually originated from stories in the history or  classical writings.

宋朝*1的时候,有一个人叫孙山。 他很会说笑话。有一年,他离开家到京城参加考试,结果考上了, 可是发榜*2时, 他的名字在最后。
孙山回到家里以后,很多人来看他。 孙山的一个朋友的儿子也参加了考试,就来问孙山, 他儿子有没有考上。 孙山没有直接回答。 他说: “我的名字在榜上是最后一个, 你儿子的名字落在我的后面。”后来,我们就用“名落孙山” 来形容考试没有通过。

song4chao2 *1 deshi2hou,  you3yi2ge4ren2  jiao4 sun1shan1. ta1  hen3hui4  shuo1 xiao4hua.  you3yi4nian2,  ta1 li2kai1  jia1  dao4  jing1cheng2 can1jia1  kao3shi4, jie1guo3  kao3shang4le,  ke3shi4  fa1bang3*2  shi2,  ta1de  ming2zi4  zai4  zui4hou4.
sun1shan1  hui2dao4  jia1li3  yi3hou4,  hen3duo1ren2  lai2  kan4 ta1.  sun1shan1de  yi1ge4 peng2youde  er2zi  ye3  can1jia1le  kao3shi4, jiu4 lai2 wen4 Sun1Shan1, ta1 er2zi  you3mei2you3  kao3shang4. Sun1 Shan1 mei2you3  zhi2jie1 hui2da2. ta1  shuo1: "wo3de  ming2zi4  zai4 bang3shang4  shi4  zui4hou4  yi2ge4, ni3 er2zi de  ming2zi4  luo4zai4  wo3de hou4mian4." hou4lai2   wo3men jiu4 yong4  “ming2luo4sun1shan1" lai2  xing2rong2  kao3shi4  mei2you3  tong1guo4.


*1-Song Dynasy lasted from 960 AD to 1279 AD.
*2 - fa1bang3 means to publish a list of successful applicants. In the past, the students everywhere in China had to go to the capital city of the county or the country to take exams. If the student did well in the exam, he would be awarded a kind of title (degree like BA, MA). And his name would be on the list, which was put up on the public bullitin board. The names were arranged in the order of scores from the highest  to the lowest instead of alphabetically. Therefore, it usually took the student a long time to find out if he was on the list or not.

Translation:
In Song Dynasty, there once a man called Sun Shan. He was very good at joking. One year, he left home to take part in the  exam in the capital city. He turned out to have passed the exam. However, when the list of passed students was published, his name appeared as the last one.
After Sun Shan returned home, many people came to visit him. One of his friends had a son, who also took part in the same exam. So his friend came to ask Sun Shan if his son had passed the exam or not. Sun Shan didn't answer him directly. He said:"My name is the last one on the list. Your son's name fell behind mine."
Later, we use the expression "name falling behind Sun Shan" to describe failing in an exam.