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.


Hong Kong women are real superwomen! 香港女人是真正的女强人

A lady friend asked me what is the English equivalent for the Chinese phrase 女强人 (nǚqiángrén). The literal translation of 女强人 is “strong woman”. Some of the English equivalents I can think of are career woman, superwoman, ambitious woman, strong woman, iron lady, but none of them carries the same essence or connotation as 女强人. The latter was originated from the Hong Kong TVB soap opera named 家变 (the Family Saga) in 1977. The lady lead character therein named 洛琳 took over her father’s business when he disappeared. She managed the business single-handedly. She not only survived in a men dominated environment but also grew the business into a successful empire. She was nick-named 女强人 in the series. From then on, in Hong Kong, when a woman who is aggressive, ambitious, not afraid of competitions from her men counterparts or who is prepared to give up personal or family lives in order to get to the top or be successful, she would be called 女强人. In the circumstances, I think the best translation for 女强人 would be “superwoman”.
Today is the Woman’s Day. Since I am on the subject. I would like to salute the women in China. Some of my Mainland Chinese lady friends are single mothers, who have to work hard and raise their children and support their parents on their own. Many of them got discriminated and have to tackle personal emotional issues too. To me they are the real nǚqiángrén 女强人.
On a separate subject, Hong Kong has truly lived up to being the originator of the name nǚqiángrén 女强人. Hong Kong probably has more nǚqiángrén per capita than anywhere in the world. I would like to back this up by the following facts:

  • According to a survey published by the Citibank in February, 2010, the number of Hong Kong female millionaires, in 2009, exceeds their male counterparts. According to the survey, 394,000 residents in the city possess current assets of one million Hong Kong dollars or more (about US $130,000), Among them, 52% are women and 48% are men.
  • According to The Grant Thornton International Business Owner Survey in 2006, about 35% of Hong Kong companies employ women in senior management positions, a figure significantly higher than in Canada, UK, Germany, and France.
  • Madam Chu Lam Yiu of Hong Kong, the founder of Huabao International, a maker of fragrances and flavourings, have personal assets of US$1.5 billion in 2009, comparing to US$2.7 billion for Opray Winfield US$1.6 billion for Madam Zhang Xin of SOHO of Mainland China.
  • The deceased Madam Nina Kung, then Chairwoman of Chinachem of Hong Kong had been the richest woman in Asia for many years before she passed away in 2007. Her estate is said to be worth US$13 billion.
  • Many of the Hong Kong doctors, lawyers, certified accountants, politicians, high ranking civil servants & etc. are women. In particular the heads of the two largest law firms in Hong Kong are women.
  • It is a well known fact that Hong Kong career women enjoy high esteem and responsibilities and are well respected by their male counterparts.

I have seen many of my lady Mainland Chinese friends possess the same attributes as their Hong Kong nǚqiángrén 女强人. I believe in the near they would enjoy the same respect and status as their Hong Kong counterpart.

我一位内地女士朋友问我女强人的英语翻译,我想实在很难找到一个最合适的翻译,我想过 career woman, superwoman, ambitious woman, strong woman, iron lady 等等,女强人这名称始于1977香港一肥皂剧家变, 剧中女主 角洛琳接管了失踪父亲的生意,在男人商业社会一个女人辛苦经营,努力拼搏,闯出新天地,后来香港对一些专注事业并获得成就的女性称为女强人。因此我觉得女强人英语的最好翻译为 superwoman,这虽然翻译不到该名称的意蕴。

今天是三八妇女节,我藉些机会表扬中国妇女,我有多个内地女士朋友是单亲,一方面努力工作,照顾子女,又要养父母,受到歧视,并要处理个人情绪问 题,我认为她们才是女强人。

另外香港真正不负作为该女强人名称的发源地, 我相信香港以上人均收入是世界最多女强人的地方,认我列出以下之事实以证明:

  • 根据花旗银行2010年2月份发表的一项调查显示 ,香港女性百万富翁人数在2009年超过了男性。根据调查,39.4万香港居民拥有100万港元或以上流动资产(约130,000美元),其中52%是妇女,48%是男性。
  • 根据均富国际业主在2006年调查,约有35%的香港公司聘用妇女为高级管理人员,这一数字大大高于加拿大,英国,德国和法国。
  • 香港的香水和香料生产商华宝国际创办人朱林瑶女士2009年拥有的资产为15亿美元,相比美国Oprah Winfield 之27亿美元和内地SOHO中国张欣之16亿美元资产。
  • 2007年去世香港华主席龚如心 在去世前一直是亚洲最富有的女人。她的财产被认为值130亿美元。
  • 香港的许多医生,律师,注册会计师,政治家,高级公务员等人、都是妇女。尤其是香港两间最大的律师事务所的负责人是妇女。
  • 众所周知香港职业女性享有很高的尊严和责任,并且得到男性的尊重。


Beautiful Argentina 美丽阿根廷

My good friend, Robert, of Argentina, contributed the following article on the subject to my Spanish related blog. I have written the English and Chinese versions. Another friend of Argentina, P. Ricardo, had sent me 73 beautiful pictures of the country. I posted some of them here. The rest of the pictures will soon be in the album section of this blog. To both gentlemen, I am most grateful. I hope this will make you want to go to Argentina tomorrow. I have asked my Chinese friends to do likewise about China or their hometowns.

La Argentina es un país que ofrece cientos de opciones para los turistas porque es inmenso tanto en extensión como en belleza. Desde Salta ‘la linda’ -al norte- hasta Ushuaia -la ciudad más austral del mundo-, su generosa naturaleza permite que se puedan realizar todo tipo de actividades -como por ej. relacionadas con el ‘turismo de aventura’-, y para todos los gustos. Por mencionar sólo algunos, los lugares más visitados por su atractivo son: Al noreste, las Cataratas del Iguazú -en la provincia de Misiones- es lo más cercano al paraíso aquí en la Tierra; Al noroeste, las montañas, con espectaculares paisajes y pintorescos poblados. El ‘Tren a las Nubes’ -que llega a 4200 m de altura- permite recorrerlos en forma inmejorable; En el centro, Córdoba y sus ‘sierras’, otra provincia elegida como centro vacacional porque ofrece de todo. Su capital es la segunda ciudad más importante del país; Al sur, la ‘Patagonia’ es uno de los destinos más elegidos por los turistas extranjeros que nos visitan. En esta extensa región se destaca el imponente glaciar ‘Perito Moreno’, otra de las maravillas naturales del planeta; La cosmopolita ciudad de Buenos Aires, con su intensa actividad cultural y de entretenimiento -desde tomar un café en alguno de los tradicionales cafés de la ciudad, hasta asistir al teatro Colón, a un partido de fútbol o a un show de tango; Son de destacar también los centros de esquí en los Andes, las bellas playas de la costa atlántica, y el caudaloso Río Paraná -segundo en extensión en Sudamérica después del Río Amazonas. Por esto y mucho más, amigos, si visitan la Argentina se sentirán como en casa porque la gente aquí es muy hospitalaria, sobre todo en el interior del país. Los esperamos con los brazos abiertos!

Argentina is a country that offers hundreds of options to tourists because it is huge in both size and beauty. From Salta ‘the beautiful’ in the north to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, the country’s natural enviroments allow tourists to engage in all sorts of activities, according to their needs or budgets, in adventure travels. The country’s most popular and appealing places, to mention a few, are: in the Northeast, Iguazu Falls, in the Misiones Province, which is probably the closest thing to paradise on earth; in the Northwest, the mountains, with spectacular sceneries and picturesque villages, featuring the ‘Train to the Clouds’, which reaches 4,200 meters in height and allows you to travel in superb form; in the center, Cordoba and the mountains. another province resort which offers everything, which capital is the second largest city in the country; in the south, the ‘Patagonia’ is one of the most preferred destinations for foreign tourists who visit us. In this vast region highlights the impressive glacier Perito Moreno, another of the world’s natural wonders; the cosmopolitan city of Buenos Aires, with its intense cultural activities and entertainments, one may drink a cup of coffee in one of the old cafes and then attends the Columbus theater, a football game or a tango show. There are popular ski centers in the Andes, beautiful beaches along the Atlantic coast and the mighty Parana River, the second largest in South America after the Amazon River. For these and more, my friends, if you come visit Argentina you will feel at home because people here are very friendly, especially in the countryside. We are welcoming you with open arms!

阿根廷因其面积巨大风景迷人为游客提供无数旅游景点,由北面美丽从萨尔塔至世界最南端城市乌斯怀亚,上天赐予阿根廷天然环境可让游客选择各适其适精彩旅游活动。阿根廷引人入胜景点随便数数有:东北方被形容最似人间天堂的伊瓜苏瀑布,在西北方风景如画的山区,其「火车入云」于海拔4200米高行走,令人有另外的感觉, 在中部Cardoba及环山是另一个可提供一切活动的省,该市是全国第二大城市,南部巴塔哥尼亚是外国游客首选的地方,在突出水面的广大冰川令人印象深刻,可算是自然奇观,还有在布宜诺斯艾利斯国际大都会,其强烈的文化和娱乐,在古老咖啡室喝一杯咖啡人后到哥伦布剧院看歌剧,看一场足球比赛或探戈表演。也值得一提的安第斯山脉的滑雪中心,大西洋沿岸美丽的海滩和强大的巴拉那河,该河是南美洲仅次于亚马逊河最大。 各位朋友,如果您访问阿根廷将有宾至如归的感觉 , 因为这里的人们非常好客,特别是在农村。我们正张开双臂欢迎你们!

If there is a will there is a way 有志者事竟成

When I re-activated my blog at WordPress in October 2009, I have indicated my intention that I wanted to bring the Chinese and Spanish speaking peoples to blog in one place. Of course it included the English speakers too as I am one of them. It was impossible at the time as WordPress was blocked in China. So it seemed no way for me to reach out to my Chinese friends. Thanks to the introduction by a Chinese friend at LiveMocha, I came to know of the blog site 163.com. Although the latter was designed primarily for Chinese language users, I find it very English friendly. As a matter of fact, I find it, to a certain extent, better than WordPress as it has a lot of the gadgets pre-installed. Besides, it got a lot of my friends’ beautiful pictures in the first page, which make it more interesting. The problem is, at I said earlier, that it is all in Chinese. I have a Spanish friend who wanted to join my blog, but to no avail, because, although he is learning Chinese, he could not understand all the Chinese instructions to be able to register.

During the course of my making friends at Italki and Livemocha for the past few months I see that increasingly more Chinese are learning Spanish and more Spanish speakers are learning Chinese. I have a lot of Chinese friends at 163.com and I have a lot of Spanish speakers friends at WordPress. However, it seems almost impossible to bring the peoples of the two languages together. However, as the title of this post suggested, if there is a will there is a way. It is clear my will is there, now I have to find a way. Now I have a way, which is that I am going to start a new blog at another blog site and the name of the blog is bzin2.weebly.com, which is accessible in China. My friends please visit my blog there and feel free to blog. But please…….no politics, otherwise, it will end up like my WordPress blog.

WordPress is blocked in China again

It is sad that I learned from my good friend Joseph that my WordPress blog is now unavailable in the Mainland as it was and still blocked by the authority. The reason that I have one blog hosted in 163.com and one hosted in WordPress is that WordPress at one time was blocked in the Mainland but to my surprise it was unblocked a couple months ago and now it is blocked. The on and off, blocked and unblocked, is not good for a blog like mine, which has minimal political content yet it was affected by the country’s policy ebbs nonetheless.

It is extremely inconvenient for me to post my blogs at two different websites. Besides it defeats the purpose of me trying to bring the peoples of the two different cultures together. I think no social net or blog could be successful with both Chinese and western readers, although I am trying to do that impossible task. The reason I say this is that any one who is successful in doing so would be a victim of his own success. It is because there are people who would do things just to get on the Chinese authority nerves and would use such forum to achieve their purposes. Apparently there is no such forum at the moment. If there were one, I am sure it would be inundated with materials that would guarantee a shut down by the Chinese authority.

Further, there are some professional bloggers, which have economic motives to irritate or provoke the Chinese people or authority. They know some of the sensitive topics would guarantee strong and emotional reactions from the Chinese people. As I have written in my post on 17th November, 2009 entitled, China, one big blogging country, it was estimated that China has a blogging population of 182 million people at around September 2009. There is no single country which has such a big blogging population. If a blogger could make a name in the China, even in an underhanded way, it would be like printing money or like selling Big Macs in China. I need to point out they are so called professional bloggers because they earn money by putting advertisements in their blogs and more readers mean more advertising revenues.

Having said that I do not support a controlled internet policy. As a Hong Konger, I am used to and all for an open door policy in respect of internet use and information. Speaking from personal experience, I know my Mainland compatriots are sophisticated enough to tell which is true and which is untrue in respect of news or information received through the internet or other medias.

It brings me to another sad news is that Google reportedly is contemplating pulling out of the China market if its ends to self censorship are not acceptable to the Chinese authority. I am a big fan of Google. I use Google’s search engine for researches on my blog topics and on my English style and grammar. The other day my friend asked me a English grammar question: whether it is “make a voice heard” or “make a voice be heard”. At first glance, both seem correct. However, when I did a Google search, there were hundred of results for the former and none for the latter. So it is clear the former is the correct one. If Google indeed pulls out of the China market, I think it would be a great loss to the English learning community in China. With no disrespect to Baidu, which I think is a great search engine, personally I think as far as non-Chinese languages searches are concerned it has no competition against Google. Similarly, I think it would be a great loss to commercial business users in China too. Last week, my US principal asked me to search for certain machine parts, which are not available in the US. First off, I looked for a possible China supplier and did a Baidu search, but it came up with no answer. Then I did a Google search and found out that a part supplier in Poland had them in stock. What I intend to point out is that in the commercial world more information the better, a Google loss could be a China loss.

I hope Google and the China authority could work out an amicable settlement and my friends in the Mainland could continue to enjoy the great resources that Google has built up in English language searches.

Yellow Crane Pavilion of Wuhan, Hubei

In May this year I went to Wuhan, Hubei to visit a client. I took the opportunity to visit the famous Yellow Crane Pavilion (黄鹤楼 pinyin: Huáng Hè Lóu), which is a structure of about 7 storeys built on a slightly elevated land at the bank of the famous Yangtze River. The history of the pavilion dated back to the Three Kingdoms period (220-280). When I stepped onto the terrace on the top floor of the pavilion, I had a fine view of the Yangtze River and the entire city of Wuhan. I was overwhelmed with emotion and proud of the greatness of the history of China.

The building is said to be named after a fairy tale that a fairy once passed here riding on a yellow crane. The building is regarded as one of the three most famous ancient terraces in China. There were many poems using this pavilion as the subject and below are the two most famous ones (sources of the two poems: Wikipedia)

Poem by Cui Hao
Yellow Crane Tower was made famous by an 8th century poem written by Cui Hao called “Yellow Crane Tower” (黄鹤楼). The original text of the poem is shown below:

日暮乡关何处是? 烟波江上使人愁。

A modern English translation of the poem may follow as such:

Long ago a man rode off on a yellow crane, all that remains here is Yellow Crane Tower.
Once the yellow crane left it never returned, for one thousand years the clouds wandered without care.
The clear river reflects each Hangyang tree, fragrant grasses lushly grow on Parrot Island.
At sunset, which direction lies my home town? The mist covered river causes one to feel distressed.

Poem by Li Bai

There is another famous poem about it by Li Bai called “Seeing off of Meng Haoran for Guangling at Yellow Crane Tower” (黄鹤楼送孟浩然之广陵). The original poem is shown below:


A modern English translation of the poem may follow as such:

My old friend’s said goodbye to the west, here at Yellow Crane Tower,
In the third month’s cloud of willow blossoms, he’s going down to Yangzhou.
The lonely sail is a distant shadow, on the edge of a blue emptiness,
All I see is the Yangtze River flow to the far horizon.

My dear friends, please make a translation of the two poems. You may post it at “the comments” or send to me at bzin88@gmail.com

Can you find real friends at language social nets?

I have been a regular user of the language social nets like italki and Livemocha (hereinafter referred to as the said two nets) for almost 2 years, although I was on a hiatus for over 1 year and became active again in October this year. During the period, I have made a lot of friends. Recently I came across an interesting topic raised by my good friend, Judy, as to whether one can find real friends over such nets.

First and foremost, no one would argue that the two said two nets are not dating nets like Match.com or Love.163.com in the US and China respectively, the purpose of which are to serve people who are looking for dates or relationships. Whereas the purpose for the said two nets is for people to look for language partners usually from another part of the world. Under such circumstances, it is difficult to develop real friendship or a relationship.

Having said that, I think real friendship can be made over the nets like the said two nets. It is particular so in LiveMocha, whereby friends review the exercises or homeworks of other friend without any material benefits. A lot of my friends have gone through the trouble of going through the exercises I submitted in details and recommended ways as to how I can improve my language skills. I reciprocate the same by reviewing those of my friends. If that is not real friendship I don’t know what is.

As for my personal experience, I think I have found, among others, a real real friend in Jose Antonio of Mexico, whom I met at italki, in about June of 2008. He was very supportive of me when I wrote a similar blog then. He used to contribute from time to time to my former blog. Jose and I had difficulties understanding each other and I think we still do as my Spanish was limited then and still is, so was and is Jose’s English, but that did not affect our friendship. When I started this blog in about a month ago, without asking, Jose contributed a page long article entitled “The Chinese and Mayans were connected 5000 years ago” (my title), which has created tremendous interests among my Spanish speaking friends. To Jose, thanks once again.

Another good friend of mine is Jenny at my blog at 163.com. We share our personal feelings and concerns with each other from time to time, although we are only Platonic friends. Also Jane too at bzin1.weebly.com, I have been reviewing her English exercises. She is very kind to let me put up her works at my site for the benefits of my other friends. From time to time Jane gave me advice and inputs regarding the said website. Thanks also to Joseph which had written more comments on my blog at Wordpress than anyone, although I have known him for only three days. Also to John, another frequent follower of my blog, who shares his interests in music with me at bzin1.

As I write on, I notice one fun fact is that of all the names mentioned above, they all start with a J, Judy, Jose, Jenny, Jane, Joseph and John. I think it is what we Chinese say I have unspoken connections (緣份)with people’s names starting with the letter J. My friends, if you are angry with me because I did not mention your name as yours does not start with a J, let me know. If that is the case I owe a big apology to you.

Another issue encountered by users of the said two nets is whether one should meet his or her friend face to face personally. It is unlikely that friends of the said two nets would meet face to face as most of them are literally world apart. If such situation arises, what is your position? Personally, I have reservations about meeting a person whom I  know over the internet. Nonetheless, I have met one of my friends, an Italian fellow, together with his wife, when they came to Hong Kong as tourists. They were an extremely nice couple and we had a nice coffee and a nice exchange of languages in English and Spanish.

As a man, I have lesser concern, or no concern at all, regarding my personal safety if I am to meet with friends of the said two nets personally. If you come to Hong Kong, I would be most delighted to meet with you personally and extend a warm Hong Kong hospitality to you. As a matter of fact, I have never had any bad experience with my friends on the said two nets. The same cannot be said of my female counterparts. A couple of them told me that they occasionally were being pestered or harassed by some so called “men friends”. I think that is one of the negatives of an open communications system that one has to live with amid the many benefits that come with it.