Thursday, March 31, 2011

理发师,手艺高 The Crafted Barber




You probably have had such experience before somewhere...Through the exaggeration, you can sense the irony.



理发师,手艺高,li3fa4shi1, shou3yi4gao1.
不用剪刀不用刀。bu2yong4 jian3dao1 bu2yong4 dao1.
一根一根往下拔,yi4gen1 yi4gen1 wang3 xia4 ba2,
你说糟糕不糟糕。ni3shuo1 zao1gao1 bu4 zao1gao1.


Translation:

This barber is so crafted,

He uses no scissors nor knives.

He pulled the hair out one by one,

How terrible he is!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

丁香花 The Lilac Flower



This song was written in 1998, and became a hit all over the  country. The writer of the song is Huang Lei, a well-known internet musician from Shenzhen, Guangdong. The song was written in meromy of a girl he knows and who died very young.

你说你最爱丁香花
因为你的名字就是它
多么忧郁的花
多愁善感的人啊
花儿枯萎的时候
当画面定格的时候

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I'm the Master of my Health(3)

A bowl of porridge helps to maintain his energy; A little move helps to improve his eyesight; A special dish is the source of his health; A cup of herbal tea keeps the balance of energy in his body. In this show, some traditional Chinese Medicine masters shared their little secrets that have helped them to achieve healthy longevity.

Friday, March 25, 2011

羿射九日 Yi Shoots the Nine Suns

Have you ever imagined the sun as somebody's child and would become naughty some time? In the western culture, the sun is always the most powerful god that rules the world. However, it is quite coincidental that "sun" in English is pronounced the same as "son". In fact,  the ten suns in ancient China are ten golden birds, as are seen in the picture on the left.
The ending of this story is both happy and sad. Yet, the story of Yi continues into a more popular one.

古时候,天上有十个太阳。
gu3shi2hou4,  tian1shang4  you3 shi2ge4  tai4yang.

每天早上,太阳妈妈带着她的孩子们来到东边的一个山谷,mei3tian1  zao3shang4, tai4yang ma1ma  dai4zhe  ta1de hai2zimen  lai2dao4  dong1bian1de  yi2ge4  shan1gu3,

山谷里有一个大湖,
shan1gu3li3  you3  yi2ge4  da4hu2.

妈妈给太阳们在湖水里洗澡。
ma1ma  gei3  tai4yangmen  zai4 hu2shui3li3  xi3zao3.

洗完一个太阳,就把他放在湖边一棵巨大的桑树的树枝上。xi3wan2  yi2ge4  tai4yang, jiu4 ba3ta1  fang4zai4  hu2bian1  yi4ke1 ju4da4de sang1shu4de  shu4zhi1shang4.

这棵树的名字叫扶桑。
zhe4ke1shu4de  ming2zi4  jiao4  fu2sang1.

太阳们轮流从扶桑树上飞到天上,
tai4yangmen  lun2liu2 cong2 fu2sang1shu4shang4  fei1dao4  tian1shang4,

坐着马车从东走到西。
zuo4zhe  ma3che1  cong2dong1  zou3dao4xi1.

其余的九个太阳没有事做,
qi2yu2de  jiu3ge4  tai4yang  mei2you3 shi4  zuo4,

就等着那个太阳回家。
jiu4  deng3zhe  na4ge4 tai4yang  hui2jia1.

每天都这样,太阳们不高兴了。
mei3tian1  dou1  zhe4yang4,  tai4yang2men bu4  gao1xing4le.

有一天,淘气的太阳们一起来到了天上。
you3yi4tian1, tao2qi4de  tai4yangmen yi1qi3 lai2dao4le tian1shang4.

这下糟糕了,天上有了十个太阳,
zhe4xia4  zao1gao1le,  tian1shang4  you3le  shi2ge  tai4yang.

地上的植物都被晒死了,
di4shang4de  zhi2wu4  dou1bei4  shai4si3le.

动物和人也热得受不了。
dong4wu4  he2 ren2 ye3 re4de  shou4bu4liao3.

太阳爸爸俊赶紧叫孩子们回家,
tai4yang ba4ba Jun4  gan3jin3 jiao4  hai2zimen hui2jia1,

可是,太阳们都不听爸爸的话,
ke3shi4,  tai4yangmen  dou1 bu4ting1  ba4bade hua4,

不肯回家。俊就叫来有名的射手弈。
bu4ken3  hui2jia1. Jun4 jiu4  jiao4lai2  you3ming2de she4shou3  Yi4,

俊给弈一个大弓和十支箭,
Jun4 gei3 Yi4  yi2ge4  da4gong1  he2  shi2zhi1jian4.

对他说,“你去吓唬一下他们,
dui4 ta1 shuo1," ni3 qu4 xia4hu  yi2xia4 ta1men,

叫他们赶紧回家。”
jiao4 ta1men gan3jin3  hui2jia1.”

弈来到地上,看见地上到处是晒死的树草和动物,
Yi4 lai2dao4 di4shang4, kan4jian4 di4shang4  dao4chu4 shi4  shai4si3de  shu4  cao3 he2 dong4wu4.

人们哭着请弈帮助他们,
ren2men  ku1zhe  qing3 Yi4 bang1zhu4  ta1men.

弈非常生气,马上就拿起弓箭,
Yi4 fei1chang2  sheng1qi4,  ma3shang4 jiu4  na2qi3  gong1jian4,

砰!”一个太阳被射下来了。
"Peng1!" yi2ge4  tai4yang bei4  she4xia4lai2le.

天气好像凉快了一些,人们欢呼起来。
tian1qi4  hao3xiang4  liang2kuai4le  yi4xie1, ren2men huan1hu1  qi3lai2.

“砰!”又一个太阳被射下来了。
"Peng1!" you4  yi2ge4  tai4yang  bei4 she4 xia4lai2le.

“砰砰!砰砰!”一个又一个太阳掉了下来。
"Peng1peng1! Peng1peng1!"yi2ge4 you4 yi2ge4 tai4yang diao4le xia4lai2.

突然, 有人叫了起来,“别射了,别射了!”
tu1ran2,  you3ren2  jiao4le qi3lai2,  "bie2she4le, bie2she4le!"

弈发现天上只有一个太阳了。
Yi fa1xian4 tian1shang4  zhi2you3  yi2ge4 tai4yangle.

俊看见弈把他的九个孩子都射死了,
Jun4 kan4jian4 Yi4 ba3 ta1de jiu3ge hai2zi dou1 she4si3le,

非常生气,就把弈变成了人,
fei1chang2  sheng1qi4, jiu4 ba3 Yi4 bian4cheng2le ren2.

不许他再回到天上。
bu4xu3 ta1  zai4 hui2dao4 tian1shang4.


Translation:

In ancient times, there were ten suns in the sky. Every morning, the mother of the suns led her children to a valley in the East. There was a big lake in the valley, the mom gave the suns a bath in the lake.  When she was done with one sun, she would put him in the branches of a giant mulberry tree by the lake. The name of the tree was Fu Sang. The suns took turns to fly to the sky from the tree Fu Sang, then rode a horse cart to go from the east to the west. The rest nine suns had nothing to do but wait for the other sun to come back home.
Every day it was like this. The suns were not happy. One day, the naughty suns came to the sky together. This was awful.  There were ten suns in the sky. The plants on the ground were all burned dead. Animals and people also could not bear the heat. The suns' father Jun hurriedly called the children home. But the suns would not obey their father's order, and would not go home. So Jun summoned the famous archer Yi. Jun gave Yi a big bow and ten arrows. He said to him, "Go.  Just frighten them. Ask them to come home fast."
Yi came to the ground. Everywhere, he saw the trees, grass and animals that were burned dead. In tears, people asked Yi to help them. Yi was very angry. He held up the bow and arrow right away. "Boom!" One sun was shot down.  It seemed a little cooler. The people cheered. "Boom!" Another sun was shot down. "Boom! Boom!Boom! Boom!" One after another, the suns were shot down. Suddenly, somebody cried out, "Don't shoot anymore! Don't shoot anymore!" Yi found that there was only one sun in the sky.
Jun saw that Yi shot his nine children dead. He was very angry. He turned Yi into a man, and didn't allow him to return to the sky.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

小老鼠偷油 Little Rat Steals Oil



I guess there is always a popular children's rhyme about mice in every culture, since this creature has lived in people's house for so long...
I don't know how the American rats talk, but Chinese rats talk like this:  dz niou, dz niou.

小老鼠,上灯台,xiao3lao3shu3,  shang4 deng1tai2,
偷油吃,下不来。tou1  you2  chi1, xia4 bu lai2.
吱纽吱纽叫奶奶,zhi1niu1  zhi1niu1  jiao4 nai3nai.
奶奶听不见,       nai3nai  ting1bu2jian4,
吱纽吱纽叫爷爷,zhi1niu1  zhi1niu1  jiao4  ye2ye
爷爷不肯来。ye2ye  bu4 ken3lai2,
叽里咕噜滚下来。ji1li gu1lu  gun3xia4lai2.

Translation:
Little rat climbs up the lamp stand
To steal oil, but cannot come down.
"Squeak, squeek" he called his grandma.
Grandma cannot hear him.
"Squeek, squeek", he called his grandpa.
Grandpa would not come.
With a "bump" he tumbles down.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

愚公移山 The Foolish Old Man Removes the Mountains

The name of Yu Gong literally means "foolish old man", while his neighbour who tried to stop him is ironically called " wise old man".  The story was very popular and widely quoted in the 1950's and 60's when  Chairman Mao was leading the Chinese people to build the new communist China. A lot of things done at that time indeed turned out to be foolish and impractical. But I think it must be a lot of fun too when all the people are working together towards one same goal. Nowadays, people always question why Yu Gong didn't move his family to another place instead of trying to move the mountains. Do you think Yu Gong is foolish or smart? What's your idea?

古时候,愚公的房子前面有两座大山,一座叫太行山,一座叫王屋山。每次愚公出门到南边去,都得绕过这两座山,很不方便。于是,他把家里所有的人都叫来,对他们说: “我下决心要挖掉我们家门口的两座大山,你们说好不好?”大家都同意,只有愚公的妻子觉得不行, 她问:“你这样的力气挖一座小山都很困难,别说太行王屋这样的大山了。 而且,挖出来的泥土,石头放在哪里?”“把它们搬到北海去,”她的儿子回答.
第二天,愚公的一家开始挖山,他们用篮子,水桶把泥土和石头搬到北海。 去一次北海要花很长时间,冬天出发,第二年夏天才回来。愚公的邻居老太太有一个孙子,也过来帮忙。
愚公的另一个邻居知道了这事,觉得愚公太傻了,可是愚公说:“虽然我已经九十九岁了,但是我死了以后有儿子,儿子死了有孙子,子子孙孙不停地挖,但山不会再高了,怎么挖不平?” 他带领全家继续挖山。
天上的大神听到了愚公说的话,很感动,就派两个巨人背走了两座大山。

The PinYin Version:

gu3shi2hou4, yu2gong1de  fang2zi  qian2mian4  you3  liang3zuo4  da4shan1.  yi2zuo4  jiao4  tai4hang2shan1,  yi2zuo4  jiao4  wang2wu1shan1.  mei3ci4  yu2gong1  chu1men2 dao4  nan2bian1qu4,  dou1  dei3  rao4guo4  zhe4  liang2zuo4shan1,  hen3bu4  fang1bian4.  yu2shi4,  ta1 ba3 jia1li3   suo3you3de ren2  dou1 jao4lai2,  dui4  ta1men  shuo1: " wo3  xia4jue2xin1  yao4 wa1diao4  wo3men  jia1men2kou3de  liang2zuo4 da4shan1, ni3men  shuo1  hao3bu4hao3?"  da4jia1  dou1  ton2yi4,  zhi1you3  yu2gong1de qi1zi  jue2de  bu4xing2,  ta1wen4:"ni3 zhe4yang4de  li4qi4  wa1  yi2zuo4  xiao3shan1  dou1  hen3 kun4nan2,  bie2shuo1  tai4hang2  wang2wu1  zhe4yang4de  da4shan1le.  er2qie3, wa1chu1lai2de  ni2tu3,  shi2tou  fang4zai4  na3li3?"  "ba3 ta1men  ban1dao4  bei3hai3qu4," ta1de  er2zi  hui2da2.


di4er4tian1,  yu2gong1de  yi4jia1  kai1shi3  wa1shan1,  ta1men yong4 lan2zi, shui3tong3  ba3ni2tu3  he2 shi 2tou  ban1dao4  bei3hai3.  qu4 yi2ci4 bei3hai3  yao4 hua1  hen3chang2  shi2jian1,  dong1tian1 chu1fa1,  di4er4nian2  xia4tian1 cai2 hui2lai2.  yu2gong1de  lin2ju1  lao3tai4tai  you3 yi2ge4  sun1zi,  ye3  guo4la2  bang1mang2.

yu2gong1de  ling4yi2ge4 lin2ju1  zhi1dao4le  zhe4shi4,  jue2de  yu2gong1  tai4 sha3le. ke3shi4  yu2gong1 shuo1: " sui1ran2  wo3  yi3jing1  jiu3shi2jiu3sui4le,  dan4shi4  wo3si3le  yi3hou4  you3  er2zi ,  er2zi  si3le  you3  sun1zi,  zi3zi3 sun1sun1  bu4tign2de wa1, dan4 shan1 bu2hui4  zai4 gao1le, zen3me  wa1 bu4ping2?" ta1  dai4ling3 quan2jia1 ji4xu4  wa1shan1.

tian1shang4de  da4shen2  ting1dao4le  yu2gong1 shuo1de hua4, hen3gan3dong4,  jiu4  pai4  liang3ge4  ju4ren2  bei1zou3le  liang3zuo4 da4shan1.


Translation:
In ancient times, in the front of Yu Gong's house, there were two big mountains. One was called TaiHang Mountain; the other was called WangWu Mountain. Every time Yu Gong went outside to go to the South, he had to go around the two mountains, and it was very inconvenient. Thus, he called all the family members together, and said to them, " I have made up my mind to dig away the two big mountains in front of our house. What do you say? "  All the people agreed except Yu Gong's wife, who didn't think it would work. She asked:" It would be very hard to even dig a small hill with your strength, not to mention to dig big mountains like TaiHang and WangWu. Besides, where can you deposit the mud and rocks dug out?" Her son answered:  "Move them to the North Sea."
The next day, Yu Gong's family started to dig the mountains. They carried the mud and rocks to the North Sea with baskets and buckets.  One trip to the North Sea took a long time. They left in winter, and came back the next summer. An old lady who was Yu Gong's neighbor had a grandson. He also came over to help. Yu Gong's another neighbor learned about this, and felt Yu Gong was so foolish. But Yu Gong said, "Although I'm already ninety-nine years old, I have my sons after I died. My sons have my grandsons after they died. Sons and grandsons dig on without stop. The mountains will not grow higher. How can't I level them?" So he led his family to continue with the work.
The god in the heaven heard Yu Gong's words, and was very moved. So he sent two giants to carry the two big mountains away.

Friday, March 18, 2011

东西街 The East-West Street


Here is another nonsense rhyme for fun! But don't you find plenty of slips of tongue like this in our daily life?

东西街,南北走。dong1  xi1 jie1,  nan2  bei3 zou3,
出门看见人咬狗,chu1men2  kan4jian4  ren2 yao3 gou3.
拿起狗来打砖头,na2qi3  gou3lai2  da3  zhuan1tou
又怕砖头咬了手。you4  pa4  zhuan1tou  yao3le  shou3

Translation:
The East-West Street goes in South-North direction,
Going out, I see a man biting a dog.
Picking up the dog, I try to hit a brick.
But I'm afraid the brick will bite my hand.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I'm the Master of my Health (2)

Jogging barefoot, walking with two sticks or bumping the wall every day... no matter what form of exercising you are doing, it does good to your body all the same. The three people in this show regained their health and vitality successfully due to the fact that they are persistent in doing exercises. Generally speaking, if you have chronic health problem for ten years, it takes at least one year to get rid of the problem if you start to exercise regularly now. You are fooling yourself to expect an effect of painkillers. It's not magic; it's perseverance that works. So pick a kind of exercises and get going! This is your body, and you're the master of your own health.

Monday, March 14, 2011

一个老头七十七 An Old Man Who was 77


This nonsense rhyme is funny and very simple to learn! Enjoy!


一个老头七十七,yi2ge4  lao3tou2  qi1shi2qi1
娶个老婆八十一,qu3ge4  lao3po2  ba1shi2yi1,
生个儿子九十九,sheng1ge4  er2zi  jiu3shi2jiu3,
得个孙子一百一。de2ge4  sun1zi  yi1bai3yi1.


Translation:
(Once there was) an old man who was seventy-seven years old.
He married his wife  (when she) was eighty-one,
(They) gave birth to a son who was ninty-nine,
(They) got a grandchild who was one hundred and one.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

一封家书 A Letter to Mom and Dad



This unique song is composed by Mr. Li Chunbo, who used the most common template of Chinese letters  as the lyric in the song.  The song shows the deep love of a son, who works far away from his hometown, to his elderly parents. The lyric is very simple and direct, but very moving. Every time I hear the song, I cannot help crying.
A couple of cultural notes: in China, many old mothers, who went through severe poverty and a lot of hardship when they were younger, would save every penny for the children and the family. Even if the life is much better now, they are still used to not spending any money on themselves. That's why the writer urges his mom to wear the sweater he bought for her, because he knows she would save it for a very special occasion that probably would never come.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

伏羲是谁? Who is Fu Xi?

















Fu Xi is regarded as the founder of Chinese civilization. He is also the first king in the documented Chinese history, who reigned for 115 years. As a legendary figure, Fu Xi is the inventor of many things that started the ancient civilization. For example, he taught people how to use fire, how to make clothes from animal skins, and how to record things with symbols instead of knots and ties. But his most important invention is the Diagram of Universe (ba1gua4) with the Yin Yang Fish in the center. This diagram is the basis of Chinese philosophy and Chinese medicine. You can see the diagram on the ground in front of Fu Xi in the painting.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

两个小虫子吹牛皮 Two Little Bugs Boasting




This is a little rhyme for fun. The moral of the story?  人须有自知之明。One must know his own limitations, otherewise... Sadly,  we human beings often act like these two little bugs.

今天哥哥出城去, jin1tian1  ge1ge chu1cheng2 qu4,
碰见两个虫子吹牛皮
peng4jian4  liang3ge4 chong2zi  chui1niu2pi2.
一个说:“昨天我吃了一棵大柳树!”

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I'm the Master of My Health (1)

This is one of the special series of Chinese Medicine, a health program by CCTV Channel 4. In this show, we are introduced to three masters of self-treatment in China. They all have suffered from serious health problems that no medicine could help. But through self-treatment, they are living a healthy and happy life now in their old age.
You will find miraculous effect of traditional Chinese medicine treatments: scraping, ironing, and moxibustion.



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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

草原之夜 The Night in the Prairie




 This is an old Chinese song written in 1959. It was and still is popular in China. The prairie refers to the grassland in Inner-Mongolia, where folksong singers sing and play a special musical instrument called Ma Tou Qin (马头琴)。

美丽的月色多沉静,草原上只留下我的琴声。