Monday, May 30, 2011

草原上升起不落的太阳 The Sun rises on the Prairie

This is another folk song from the Mongolian Prairies. Composed in Mao's time, it unavoidably bears the brand of the time. However, it is still a very beautiful touching song, especially when sung by a foreign friend who loves Chinese culture.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ancient secrets of Chinese Proverbs (about pain)

通则不痛, 痛则不通。
tong1 ze3 bu2 tong4, tong4 ze3 bu4 tong1.
Literally it means: If it isn't blocked, then it doesn't hurt; if it hurts, then it's blocked.

This clever play of Chinese homophones contains the essence of traditional Chinese medicine.
According to the TCM, our body energy ( Chi' and blood) is carried through a special web of channels called meridians.  If these pathways of energy are free of blockage, we are healthy without any discomforts or pain. However, if certain parts of the pathways are blocked, the whole circulation is disrupted. As a result, we feel pain somewhere.
As is shown in Chinese characters, the difference between congestion (不通) and pain (痛) is not that big. Once you clear up the congestion, the pain will disappear.

But how would you get rid of the congestions in your meridians? Here is another Chinese proverb about pain.

tou2 tong4 yi1 tou2, jiao3 tong4 yi1 jiao3.
It literally means:  Treat the head if you've got a headache; treat the feet if your feet hurt.
This is a description of bad doctors according TCM standards. Pain is only a symptom rather than the cause of the problem. A TCM master will try to relate all the other physical indications (including the color of your tongue,  your pulse, bowel movement, etc) to figure out the cause of the pain. Therefore, an experienced doctor will probably treat your head when your feet hurt, or treat your feet when your head hurts.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

数腿 Counting Legs

Learn to say the animal names in Chinese!

小黑鸡, 两条腿。xiao3hei1ji1, liang3tiao2tui3.
大黄牛,四条腿。da4huang2niu2, si4tiao2tui3.
蜜蜂六条腿,mi4feng1 liu6tiao2tui3.
蜘蛛八条腿。zhi1zhui1 ba1tiao2tui3.
螃蟹十条腿。pang2xie shi2tiao2tui3.
蚯蚓金鱼没有腿。qiu1yin3 jin1yu2 mei2you3 tui3.

The little black chicken has two legs.

The big yellow buffalo has four legs.

Bees have six legs.

Spiders have eight legs.

Crabs have ten legs.

Earth worms and gold fish have no legs.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

花儿为什么这样红?Why is the flower so Red?

This song was written for a popular movie in the 1960's, based on the Tadzhikistan's folk music. One of the good guys died in the end, and that's why the last line of the lyric is "(the flower) is grown with the blood of the youth."


Saturday, May 14, 2011

牛郎织女 The Cowherd and the Girl Weaver


One of the classic Chinese love stories, there are many different versions of this story. Over the time, it has been adapted into many local operas and movies.
The names of the two characters literally means "weaving girl and cow boy", since Zhi Nv weaves a special pretty fabric for the gods and goddesses in the heaven, while Niu Lang herds cows down on the earth. One of Niu Lang's cow is actually a god from

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Five Animals Frolic

This set of Chi Kung practice is developed by Chinese State General Administration of Sports, based on the ancient Five Animals Frolic by Hua Tuo , who is a well-known TCM practitioner in Chinese history and lived 2000 years ago.  You can find many other resources and versions online of this set of of practice. But the following version is a simplified and more standard one easier for instruction.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

摇啊摇,摇到外婆桥 Row, Row, Row Your Boat

Mother's mom is called "Wai Po" in Chinese. Usually, mother's mom is lot dearer to the children than father's mom (Nai Nai). The reason is that traditionally the children live with the father's family instead of the mother's family. Therefore, they see Nai Nai every day, but visit Wai Po only occasionally. On those rare occasions, Wai Po always try all the means to entertain the grandchild. They will never try to discipline the children like the parents. Well, in China, the best way Wai Po can think of to entertain children is to offer them with lots of snacks.

摇啊摇, 摇到外婆桥。yao2 a yao2, yao2 dao4 wai4po2 qiao2.

外婆对我笑, wai4po2 dui4 wo3 xiao4,

叫我好宝宝。jiao4 wo3 hao3 bao3bao

糖一包, 果一包,tang2 yi4bao1, guo3 yi4bao1,

吃完饼儿还有糕。chi1 wan2 bing3er hai2you3 gao1.


Row, row, row the boat, row to the Wai Po's bridge,

Wai Po smiled to me,

And called me darling ,

She gave me a pack of candies, and a pack of fruits,

After I ate up the cookies, there was also rice cake.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

谢谢你 Thank You

假如人生能够留下 可以延续的记忆    
如果在我临终之前  还能发出声音       

jia3ru2  ren2sheng1  neng2gou4  liu2xia4 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

小姑娘会做饭 This Little Girl Can Cook

You learn a lot of cooking terms in this rhyme. Also an egg noodle recipe.

小姑娘, 会做饭, xiao3gu1niang,  hui4 zuo4fan4.
拿杯子,舀白面。 na2bei1zi,  yao3  bai2mian4.
舀了白面做啥饭?  yao3le bai2mian4  zuo4 sha2fan4?
擀面条,打鸡蛋, gan3 mian4tiao2,  da3 ji1dan4.
面团擀得纸一样薄,mian4tuan2  gan3de  zhi3 yi2yang4 bo2.
面条切成一条线,  mian4tiao2  qie1cheng2 yi4tiao2  xian4.
放进锅里滴溜转,fang4jin4 guo1li3  di1liu1 zhuan4.
盛了一碗又一碗。 cheng2le  yi1wan3  you4  yi1wan3.
浇上麻油放上盐, jiao1shang4  ma2you2  fang4shang4 yan2.
大家吃得把头点。da4jia1  chi1de  ba3tou2  dian3.


The little girl can cook.
She took a cup to scoop out flour.
What is she cooking with the flour?
(she) Rolls out the dough to make noodles, and beats up eggs.
The dough is rolled out as thin as paper,
The noodles are cut out like lines.
Put the noodles in the pot. They twirl around.
One bowl after another is ladled out.
Add sesame oil and salt.
Everbody eats and nods (satisfied)