指桑骂槐 Pointing at the mulberry tree but cursing the locust tree

As I said before, I will be writing more at my blog at Weebly. I am putting my blog here and my 163.com blog together into one and hope that both sets of my friends, Chinese and foreigners, can have more interactions. The reason I moved my blog to Weebly is that it is accessible in China, while WordPress was blocked, on and off. Needless to say. I do not like the idea of internet censorship. I wrote about it at Weebly. One of my friends shared my view and said that what the authorities doing was 自欺欺人 (cheating yourself and cheating others) and asked me to write about this idiom. Of course, I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to annoy the authorities and get myself into trouble. I don’t want to move my blog once more time. The worst case scenario is that Weebly would end up like WordPress.

I know my fellow Chinese friend, like me, love our country, but some of us just do not agree with everything that it does and like to criticise it out of our love of the country. Learning from ancient Chinese wisdom, I think a good way to do so without getting into trouble is using one of the famous “smart ass strategies” dating back to 500 AD 指桑骂槐.  Learn more about this  by clicking the link below. For those want to learn about this Chinese idiom come visit me there too.

http://bzin2.weebly.com

Google is “covering one’s ears to steal a bell 掩耳盗铃”

On 24th of March I posted an article written by a Bloomberg correspondent entitled “Google Faces No Hong Kong Censors After China Retreat”. It seems that Google has upheld its stance on internet freedom. The fact is that Google only passes the ball to China’s court. It is now the China authorities who are doing the censorship. It is confirmed that China has screened Google’s contents and blocked those topics which they do not like. The Chinese netizens (net users) still do not have access to such sensitive topics on Tiananmen Massacre, Tibet,, Dalai Lama, Falun Gong etc. I am a big Google fan and I am all for Google’s intent and purpose. However,  I have reservation the way they handle the matter.  What Google doing is akin to an ancient Chinese metaphor, 掩耳盗铃. More on this below.

The metaphor

掩耳盗铃 (yan er dao ling) literally means “covering one’s ears to steal a bell” in English or “Taperse los oídos al robar una campanilla” in Spanish. It actually means “deceiving oneself” or “engañarse a sí mismo“. It has similar meaning to “bury one’s head in the sand” or “esconder la cabeza debajo del ala

The origin of the metaphor can be traced back to the ancient China’s Spring and Autumn Period (476BC to 770BC). History had it that a thief at the time tried to steal a big and heavy copper bell from a house. He could not move it so he had to break it into pieces. The thief found a big hammer and tried to do so. He realized that it would produce a very loud noise and would draw others’ attention.  To avoid that he stuck some fabrics into his ears. He thought others, like him, could not hear it when he hit the bell with the hammer. Needless to say that was not the case and he got caught.

Do you agree what Google doing is 掩耳盗铃? Please take a vote:

One can’t have one’s cake and eats it too 鱼与熊掌不可兼得

One can’t have one’s cake and eats it too is a popular English idiomatic proverb or figure of speech. It means an individual can’t use a thing and still attempts to own it (such as eating a piece of cake and yet still possessing that piece for future use) It may also indicate having or wanting more than one can handle or deserve, or trying to have two incompatible things. The proverb’s meaning is similar to the phrases, “you can’t have it both ways” and “you can’t have the best of both worlds.

There is a Chinese proverbs which bears similar meaning. It is 鱼与熊掌不可兼得, which literally means “one cannot get fish and bear’s paw at the same time”. Back in the old days, both were considered culinary rarities. I was told the closest Spanish phrase to this is.“no puedes tener simpre lo que quieras”

以上应语谚语表示不能同时做两件互不相容的事而双收其利,即两者不可兼得或不能两全其美,可译为:不能什么都随你;不能两全其美;事难两全;两者不可兼得.

Examples

  • He can’t make up his mind whether to go to college or get a full-time job. You can’t have your cake and eat it. 上大学还是找个全日工作的职业,他还拿不定主意,两者不可兼得啊。
  • You spend all your money on beer and then complain about being poor, but you can’t have your cake and eat it, you know. 你把所有的钱都喝啤酒喝完了,然后又抱怨没钱用,你知道,这不能两全其美啊。

Double Whammy to Fung Shui Master Tony Chan

The late woman tycoon Nina Wang Kung


On 31st December 2009. I posted a blog on a Chinese Metaphor or Chengyu 賠了夫人又折兵, which literally means “losing your wife and the army”, and the related English slang “double whammy”. There is a real case in the news in Hong Kong. It is the case of the Fung Shui Master, Tony Chan, and his legal battle for the estate of Nina Wang Kung, who was recognised as the richest woman in Asia at the time, when she passed away in 2007. The estate is said to be worth US$13 billion today. On 2nd February, the High Court of Hong Kong ruled that the purported will. which is in Chan’s possession, on which he based his claim on the estate, is fake. Chan not only lost the legal battle in the civil court, but also was arrested by the Hong Kong Police and is likely to face criminal charges by the police for forging the will. Further, not only that his reputation, if any, is ruined but also likely to face jail sentences.  Please read about the case as reported by BBC in English and ABC.es in Spanish respectively.

Feng shui master denied Nina Wang fortune in Hong Kong

A court in Hong Kong has thrown out a feng shui master’s claim to the multi-billion dollar estate of Asia’s richest woman, Nina Wang.Tony Chan, who said he was Nina Wang’s lover, had argued she left him her fortune in a 2006 will. But a high court judge said the will was a fake and a 2002 will was valid which left the estate to a charitable trust run by Wang’s family.Nina Wang’s Chinachem was worth $4.2bn (£2.1bn) when she died in 2007. The fortune had been part of an earlier dispute with her father-in-law.

High Court Judge Lam Man-hon ruled: “The court finds that the 2006 will was not signed by Nina.” “The 2002 will truly reflected the long-held intention on the part of Nina to leave her estate to charity,” the ruling said.The competing 2002 document left the estate to the Chinachem Charitable Foundation, which was set up by Wang and her husband and is run by members of her family. The Chinachem Charitable Foundation’s lawyer, Keith Ho, told reporters outside the High Court that the foundation was “very happy with the result”.”The main point is that the judge accepted the evidence from us that some signatures in the 2006 will are forgeries,” he said.Mr Ho said the foundation would continue to “carry out its charitable purpose”.

Mr Chan’s lawyer said his client was “extremely disappointed” by the judgment.”But he appreciates how difficult this sort of trial is to judge and that there has to be a judgment,” said Jonathan Midgley.He said Mr Chan’s position remained “the same as it has always been – namely that the will in question was given to him by Nina and accordingly it is inconceivable that that will is a forgery”.Mr Midgley said Mr Chan would appeal against the ruling.

By the time Nina Wang died of cancer in 2007, she had created a huge business empire – a conglomerate of high-rise towers and companies around the world. Her life was marked by the 1990 kidnap and disappearance of her husband, Teddy Wang Teh-huei. She wore miniskirts and her hair in pigtails into old age and was reputedly very frugal, despite her wealth, says the BBC.

Nina Wang paid half the HK$60m (US$7.7m) ransom for him early on, before proof of life had been made and, unusually, the money and most of the kidnappers were found, but never the body of Teddy Wang. When he never came back she refused to accept his death and reportedly spoke of wanting to join him. Teddy’s father later claimed his son’s fortune as his own, alleging that Teddy had been upset at an alleged affair of Nina’s.

It was the father who pressed for Teddy to be declared legally dead nine years later, prompting Nina to produce the hand-written will showing the fortune was hers. A court ruled it was a forgery in 2002 but a higher court reversed that ruling in 2005, and Nina Wang inherited the estate.

3.000 millones de euros encuentran heredero en China

Un “playboy” buscavidas metido a maestro de “feng shui”, una multimillonaria excéntrica famosa por sus coletas y sus gustos frugales y una fortuna valorada en 4.200 millones de dólares (3.010 millones de euros), pero que en realidad podría ser hasta tres veces mayor.
Estos son los protagonistas del último “culebrón” judicial que ha mantenido en vilo a la opulenta ciudad de Hong Kong, donde se acaba de dictar sentencia en el juicio por la herencia de la millonaria Nina Wang, una de las mujeres más ricas de Asia según la revista “Forbes”.
A sus 69 años, la presidenta del potente grupo empresarial Chinachem falleció en abril de 2007 de un cáncer. Atrás dejaba a su desconsolada familia y a Tony Chan, un maestro de “feng shui” 20 años más joven que ella que se había convertido en su adivino personal y con quien, además, mantenía una relación sentimental.

Al parecer, Tony, que antes de vidente había sido camarero, vendedor de maquinaría, técnico de marketing y hasta exportador de piezas informáticas, había encandilado a Nina Wang con sus cualidades más humanas que espirituales. Por ese motivo, a su muerte esgrimió un testamento supuestamente firmado por la millonaria el 16 de octubre de 2006 donde le dejaba como único heredero de su patrimonio.

En el primer testamento destinaba la herencia a su fundación benéfica

El problema es que la familia de Nina Wang tenía otra última voluntad, fechada el 28 de julio de 2002, donde destinaba su herencia a la fundación benéfica de su empresa, que ella había creado junto a su difunto marido, el magnate Teddy Wang. Curiosamente, la “Pequeña Dulce”, como era conocida la mujer por su parecido con un cómic japonés, también tuvo que pleitear por la fortuna de su esposo, ya que Teddy Wang fue secuestrado en 1990 y, a pesar de que se pagó un rescate de 33 millones de dólares (23,6 millones de euros), su cuerpo nunca fue hallado.

Nueve años después, fue oficialmente declarado muerto, pero Nina Wang, nacida en 1937 en Shanghai bajo el nombre Kung Yusum, tuvo que acudir a los tribunales para batallar por su herencia frente a su suegro, Wang Dinshin. Aunque el juez falló a favor de la viuda sólo dos años antes de su muerte, ya le había dado tiempo a multiplicar la fortuna de su difunto marido, pues convirtió a su empresa, Chinachem, en una de las inmobiliarias más potentes del mundo al construir 300 rascacielos durante los últimos años.

Igual de accidentada ha sido la herencia de Nina Wang, que un juez del Alto Tribunal de Hong Kong, Lam Man-hon, ha otorgado a sus familiares al considerar que el testamento de 2006 esgrimido por su amante era falso. “Su firma ha sido falsificada con mucha pericia, pero el tribunal no cree que la relación fuera tal que Nina estuviera preparada para donarle todo su patrimonio sin tener en cuenta sus otros compromisos y responsabilidades”, recoge el fallo judicial.

Sexo, dinero y “feng shui”

En un caso que ha enganchado a la opinión pública hongkonesa por mezclar sexo, dinero y “feng shui”, la popular filosofía oriental que estudia la disposición de los objetos para aprovechar su máxima energía natural, la sentencia aclara que “darle regalos a Tony Chan e incluso grandes sumas de dinero en vida de Nina cuando éste la hacía feliz es una cosa. Convertirle en el único heredero de toda su fortuna es otra muy diferente, ya que ella situó sus obligaciones caritativas por encima de Chan y habría querido que su relación secreta fuera enterrada con ella tras su muerte”.

Tras ver cómo las intimidades de la multimillonaria eran destapadas en el juicio, donde su amante llegó a decir que tenía dos de sus coletas y que hacían el amor incluso cuando su esposa estaba embarazada, la familia de Nina Wang aplaudió satisfecha la resolución judicial. “Hemos ganado. Hay justicia en el mundo”, se congratuló su hermano, Kung Yan-sum.

Mientras tanto, sus abogados aseguraron que Tony Chan estaba “decepcionado”, pero que recurriría la sentencia. A su frustración se suma ahora la posibilidad de que sea acusado de haber falsificado el testamento de Nina Wang, unos cargos por lo que, en caso de ser declarado culpable, puede ser condenado a 14 años de prisión.
Compuesto y sin herencia, el adivino necesitará algo más que el buen rollito del “feng shui” para superar que los 3.000 millones de euros de Nina Wang han encontrado, por fin, un heredero. Y no ha sido él.

A frog in the well 井底之蛙

Background

There was a frog that lived in a shallow well.

” Look how well off I am here ! ” he told a big turtle from the Eastern Ocean. ” I  am master of the water and lord of this shallow well, What more can  a fellow ask for? Why do I want to leave the well ? “

It was only until the turtle took the frog outside of the well  (or told the frog what were outside) that the frog realized how big the world was.

Meaning

It means a person who cannot see  the world or things in big picture

Examples

  • A son who was born and raised in a small place like Hong Kong told his father  “I do not want to be a frog in the well. I want go t o a university in the United States to further my studies and see what life is like outside Hong Kong.”
  • A member of  Italki or LiveMocha wrote in his profile “I do not want to me a frog in the well. I am learning Chinese so that I get to know more about the Chinese culture and the people of China”.
  • A New Yorker laughed at a man from a small town “You are a frog in a well. You don’t know how big New York is.”
  • A teacher told his students “You must study hard and read more otherwise you will be a frog in the well.”
  • A person thought the bank of his country was the biggest bank in the world. He was told “You are a frog in the well. Don’t you know that the three largest banks  in the world by capitalization are Chinese banks”.

Losing your wife and the army 賠了夫人又折兵


This proverb was originated from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century, which is a Chinese historical novel based upon events in the turbulent years near the end of the Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms era of China, starting in 169 and ending with the reunification of the land in 280.

It is acclaimed as one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature, with a grand total of 800,000 words, nearly a thousand characters, most of them historical, in 120 chapters.

Background

The background of this proverb is rather complicated which involves one chapter of the novel. In a nutshell, the person at the centre stage was Liu Bei, a governor of one of the provinces of China at the late Eastern Han Dynasty. On the other side was Sun Quan, who had an uneasy alliance with Liu. Sun enticed Liu to marry his sister intending to kill Liu at his territory. However, that did not work. Liu married Sun’s sister and decided to flee without letting Sun know. Sun sent an army to chase the couples, who were saved by boats waiting for them at the shore. Just as the boats were sailing away, the general of the army overhead from the boat these words “賠了夫人又折兵” which literally means losing the wife (although it was Sun’s sister) and the army returned empty handed. However, it is commonly accepted as meaning “losing your wife and the army”

Meaning

A double whammy. Making double losses in a deal or losing on both sides of it.

Examples

  • Tiger Woods’ alleged extra-marital affair is likely to cause him to lose his wife and on top of that millions of dollars of commercial endorsements.
  • A woman gave her first love to a man and loaned him money and got dumped by him, or vice versa.

马照跑舞照跳 Horse races go on and night clubs stay open

马照跑, 舞照跳 This quote, originated in Hong Kong in the eighties. is associated with the smooth transition of the sovereignty of Hong Kong from the British to the China motherland. The literal translation of this quote is “horses continue to run and people continue to dance”, which figuratively means “Horse races will go on and night clubs will stay open”.

I went to the Shatin race course for a horse race yesterday. It reminded me of the said quote. Let me write about the background thereof. Hong Kong was ceded to Britain under an unequal treaty under the Qing Dynasty which gave Britain “the right” to rule Hong Kong until 1997. In the eighties, China made it known unequivocally to the British that China wanted Hong Kong back came 1997. Back then, Hong Kong people were concerned that the change of sovereignty would mean a loss of freedom or a loss of the capitalistic lifestyle, which Hong Kong got so used to. With hindsight, Hong Kong people’s worries were unwarranted as Mainland China seems more materialistic than Hong Kong nowadays At that time, in order to calm the fears of the local people, the then China chief negotiator, Zhou Nan, said this popular quote, which meant that the status quo of Hong Kong would be maintained notwithstanding the change of flags. Under the doctrine of communism, gambling and sexes associated with horse racing and night clubs respectively are totally unacceptable. However, those were and are part of the lifestyles of Hong Kong. By saying that quote, the Central government was essentially saying Hong Kong would maintain a system which is financially, legally and politically independent from the Mainland China, thanks to which Hong Kong continues to prosper.

Below is an extract from the article entitled “Horse racing in Hong Kong….” written by Rory Boland at About.com, which aptly describes what horse racing is all about in Hong Kong.

Horse racing in Hong Kong is a pivotal part not only of many people’s lives but the city’s economy, and horse racing in Hong Kong is followed far more passionately than anywhere else in the world. Racetracks, particularly Hong Kong’s Happy Valley, which offers flat races only, are regularly packed, boasting an electrifying atmosphere that is rarely replicated on other racetracks. Outside the stadium, locals pour over form guides and tipster rundowns.

In all honesty, Hong Kong’s obsession with the horses is more an obsession with gambling,…….however with some of the world’s best tracks, world class race meets and a manic crowd, a visit to the track is a must. Those who are used to the refined atmosphere at English meets, or the sober surroundings on American tracks will find the roaring Hong Kong crowd and humble approach an exciting shock to the system and Happy Valley is simply one of the world’s greatest sporting spectacles.

Aside from the gambling and the racing, Happy Valley is very much a social affair. Beer tents and make shift hot-dog stands keep 40,000 people fed and watered, and much of the racetrack turns into the city’s biggest al-fresco bar.

Hong Kong Jockey Club

The Hong Kong Jockey Club has a monopoly on racing and betting in the territory, a holdover from colonial days, and the HKJC is the territories largest taxpayer and charity. The organisations privileged status is thanks to the average six million plus bets placed on each meet, meaning a flutter for nearly every Hong Kong resident.

According to an article of BBC in 2002:

the Hong Kong Jockey Club receives in excess of U$10 billion in betting revenues (around 80% of the US combined take from 167 racecourses), and the totalised wagers staked on a single day’s meeting can quite often be more than an entire year’s betting on many European and American racetracks.

Nevertheless, the HKJC does not make a profit, nor is it allowed to do so. Instead, the Jockey Club is Hong Kong’s largest contributor to tax revenue, and is the biggest single supporter of the city’s charitable causes. Indeed, at the end of the 2000 – 2001 racing season, the HKJC had given HK$1.06 billion in charitable donations to assist 180 charitable organisations and community projects.