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".

la1  da4ju4,  tui1  da4ju4,
yong4  mu4tou2.  gai4  fang2zi.
la1da4ju4,   tui1  da4ju4,
nai3nai  men2kou3  chang4  da4xi4.
jie1  gu1niang,   qing3  nu3xu4,
xiao3hai2er   gen1zhe  pao3lequ4.


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.


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


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



梦里, 梦里见过你。
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"?

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.


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

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.