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.


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:

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


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.


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


  • 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”.

The speaking of plums quenches one’s thirst 望梅止渴

By popular demands “The Chinese Metaphors” returns. The subject of this post is shown in the title. However, one should note that the literal translation of 望梅止渴 (wàngméizhǐkě) should be “The sight of plums quenches thirst”. It is a direct Chinese metaphor which the author borrowed an object to convey a meaning as opposed to an insinuating metaphor whereby the author borrowed an indirect object to convey a message to the hearer without offending him.


During  the Three Kingdoms Period (220-280), a general, Cao Cao 曹操,  was leading his troop of soldiers across a desert under the scorching sun.  The soldiers. were moving very slowly. even though they were close to the destination, due to the running out of body water and strength. Cao Cao tried all means to 0rder the soldiers to expedite, but to avail.  As a last resort Cao Cao claimed that there was a plum forest ahead of them and the sweet and sour plums would relieve their thirst.  When the soldiers heard that, saliva came up to their mouths and their thirsts were said to have cured.


The are some scientific bases in this metaphor. It is likely that the presence of a pickled plum will bring saliva to one’s month. As to whether it would quench a thirst that is besides the issue. However, this metaphor, if effectively used, is a good icebreaker line, and will help you make a lot of sales and friends.


  1. If you can’t buy your son a Ferrari, buy him a model.
  2. In a sales competition, when your team members run out of steam, as a humor, you showed them a picture of a bonus check and say this metaphor. This would on the one hand relax them and on the other hand get them back on track.
  3. When your wife  goes on  a trip for a long period of time, you tell her that you are looking at her picture to quench your thirst. She will love you more.

Chinese and Mexicans were connected 5000 years ago

My friend Jose Antonio has written an article on the subject in Spanish. I have translated it into English and Chinese and has posted it at my blog at 163.com for the benefits of my Chinese friends

Durante la Dinastía Tang (618-907), un grupo de eruditos chinos escribió sobre un supuesto viaje de marineros chinos a un país lejano al que llamaron Fusang, revela a su vez, en un libro recientemente publicado en inglés, el profesor Hu Chundong, de la Universidad de Beijing (Pekín). Investigaciones posteriores permitieron afirmar que ese nombre se refería a una zona ocupada ahora por México. Coincidentemente, una leyenda maya explica el origen de sus antepasados en una corriente migratoria de desconocidos que llegaron a Yucatán por el mar del Oeste, dice el profesor chino. Chundong apoya también la noción de los acoplamientos cercanos chinos y mayas. Durante más de 25 años ha estudiado los jeroglíficos mayas y ha encontrado semejanzas entre los dialectos mayas y la lengua china antigua. Mediante el Método lingüístico contrastivo”, que se emplea para comparar dos idiomas, el profesor eligió 100 palabras populares de cada lengua y encontró que 22 son similares en la pronunciación, sobre todo con dialectos de China Suroeriental. Este descubrimiento, entre otros, le permitió al profesor Chudong formular la hipótesis de que los mayas (o al menos un grupo de ellos) salieron de Asia hace 5,000 años. El descubrimiento de Chundong se suma a otras evidencias, como las semejanzas entre las artesanías mayas y chinas. En la artesanía maya se reconoce un “estilo chino”, sobre todo en piezas encontradas en Campeche, muy similares a artesanías de la Dinastía Tang, dice Chudong.

Hace cinco mil años una corriente migratoria de China llegó al Continente Americano y fundó varios pueblos indígenas, entre ellos el de los mayas de Yucatán, según exámenes recientes de ADN –el código de la herencia genética- practicados a herederos de ambas culturas. La influencia china sobre la civilización maya se observa hoy todavía en varias expresiones similares del lenguaje y la cerámica, y en ciertas costumbres como usar piedras de jade con propósitos ornamentales y religiosos, según sostienen científicos de varias partes del mundo. Gavin Menzies autor de un libro sobre la llegada de los chinos a América antes de Cristóbal Colón, que acaba de salir a la luz en Estados Unidos, afirma que varias culturas precolombinas del norte y sur del continente serían descendientes de aventureros chinos que llegaron por mar hace miles de años. En su libro titulado “1421, el año en que China descubrió el mundo”, un “best seller” en Estados Unidos, Mensies afirma que marineros chinos y sus concubinas llegaron pr segunda vez a América ese año, siguiendo la ruta marítima que marcaron almirantes de la Dinastía Ming, y que en sus viajes visitaron varios pueblos y fundaron otros. Las similitudes entre estos indígenas americanos y los chinos sugieren que ambos tienen los mismos genes y comparten el mismo origen, apunta. “El ADN de la población maya de Yucatán, por ejemplo, es mucho más parecida al de los chinos que al de la gene que vivió alrededor de los mayas”, afirma el escritor en su trabajo. Según el libro de Menzies, este pueblo no sólo tiene genes similares al de los chinos, sino que además guarda con ellos otras similitudes, como la de fundar sus ciudades cerca del mar y tener estilos de vida parecidos.

During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), a group of Chinese scholars wrote about a purported Chinese sailor journeyed to a distant country called Fusang, revealed in a book recently published in English, Mr. Hu Chundong, a retired teacher of the Beijing Normal University. Subsequent investigations led to affirm that this name (Fusang) referred to an area now occupied by Mexico. Coincidentally, a Mayan legend explained the origin of their ancestors in an influx of strangers who came to Yucatan by sea from the West, says the said teacher. Mr. Hu also supports the notion of the close links between the Chinese and the Indians. For over 25 years Mr. Hu has studied the Maya hieroglyphs and found similarities between the Mayan dialects and the ancient Chinese language. Through the contrastive linguistic method, which is used to compare the two languages, the said teacher chose 100 words from each language and found that 22 are similar in pronunciation, especially with the southeastern Chinese dialects. This discovery, among others, allows the said teacher hypothesizes that the Mayans (or at least a group of them) came from Asia 5,000 years ago. This is further supported by the discoveries of the similarities between Mayan and Chinese handicrafts. In the Mayan handicrafts there existed certain “Chinese style”, especially in pieces found in Campeche. The latter were very similar to handicrafts of the Tang Dynasty, said Mr. Hu.

Five thousand years ago, it was said that an influx of Chinese came to the Americas and founded several indigenous villages, including the Maya of Yucatan, according to recent DNA tests to heirs of both cultures. The Chinese influence on the Mayan civilization can be seen in the latter’s languages, ceramics and, in some ways, customs like using jade stones for ornamental and religious purposes, according to the arguments of some scientists of the world.  The English amateur historian, Gavin Menzies, recently wrote a book about the arrival of Chinese to America before Christopher Columbus, which book just came out in the United States. He said some pre-Columbian cultures north and south of the continent were inherited from the Chinese who arrived by sea thousands of years ago. In his book “1421 , the Year China Discovered The World”, a bestseller in the U.S., Menzies said Chinese sailors and concubines came to America for the second time that year following the route led by the Ming Dynasty Admiral (Zheng He), and that in his travels visited several villages and founded others. The similarities between the Native Americans and Chinese suggests that both have the same genes and shared the same points of origin. “The DNA of the Maya of Yucatan, for example, were much closer to the Chinese than to the people who lived around the Mayans,” says the writer in his work. According to Menzies’s book, these people not only had genes similar to the Chinese, but also possessed other similarities, for instance, they founded their cities near the sea and had similar lifestyles to the Chinese.

根据最近一本由北京师范大学退休老师胡纯栋先生在英国出版的书,在唐代(618-907)有古学者指当时有数中国船员前往一个称Fushang (中文名称不详) 遥远的国家.j经过随后的调查,该地方应是现时墨西哥所处的地方  。胡老师说巧合的是根据玛雅人(—个中美洲之古代民族) 传说,当时有一群由西方海路来的陌生人涌入他们的祖先所定居地方尤卡坦(Yucatan) 。胡老师还确信中国人跟印地安人的文化有密切联系。他在过去的25年研究了玛雅象形文字,发现玛雅方言和古汉语有很多相似之处。通过对比语言学的方法比较两种语言,胡老师在这两语言各选择了100字,他发现有22配对发音相近,特别是跟中国东南地区方言相近。这一发现令胡老师推测玛雅人(或者至少是其中有部分)是5000年前由亚洲移居过出。胡老师发现其他证据,如玛雅人跟中国人之的民间手工艺品十分相似.尤其是在坎佩切地区发现之手工艺品带有中国色彩.跟唐代之手工艺非常相似。

有说法根据最近对两种文化的后人DNA测试.可以看到五千年前中国人到过美洲,包括在尤卡坦地区建立了多个原著人村落.中国文化对马雅文化之影可以在后者之语言和陶瓷看到.在习俗也可以看到.如玛雅人使用玉石作装饰和宗教用途跟中国相似。英国业余历史学家加文孟席斯(Gavin Menzies) 在他刚刚在美国出版的书 ”1421 , the Year China Discovered The World” (1942年,中国发现世界),他写了关于中国人在哥伦布到达之前已到来美洲,他说一些南北美洲前哥伦布文化是由中国海上千多年前流传过去。孟席斯说中国船员和他们的妻妾第二次到美洲是跟随明朝著名航海家郑之航海路线,他们到步后探访一些村落其后更建起屋来。印第安人和中国人的相貌相似和具有相同的基因,看来两族人来自同一祖先。 例如尤卡坦半岛玛雅人的DNA与中国人比还要比临近地区的人更为接近.孟席斯在他的作品说,他们基因不但与中国人相似,他们还保存了其他相似的地方,如他们在海边建立城市和具有类似的生活方式。

Hole-in-one (not me)

A couple of friends of mine and I went to Chang An, Dongguan, China for a round of golf yesterday. The weather was nice. It was warm and the golf course was beautiful. It was fun. What made it more fun was that one of my friends scored a hole-in-one. It was a 160 yards par 3 hole. My friend hit it with a utility wood. I saw the ball flying across a lake of 120 yards long straight at the flag. It looked like to me that the ball had rolled past the flag after it landed on the green. I was about to get ready to tee. Suddenly, one of the caddies yelled out hole-in-one. We were ecstatic and went high-fiving each other. Needless to say, we went out and partie afterward.

photo (1)

My frined got an hole in one

photo (3)

photo (4)

On the golf course