vendredi 27 juin 2008

Quotable Quotes

wu2 sheng1 ye2 you3 ya2, er2 zhi1 ye2 wu2 ya2

Life is finite,
While knowledge is infinite.
---- Zhuang Zi

zhi1 zhi1 wei2 zhi1 zhi1, bu4 zhi1 wei2 bu4 zhi1 ye3

If you know, recognize that you know,
If you don't know, then realize that you don't know:
That is knowledge.
True knowledge is when one knows the limitations of one's knowledge.
--- Confucius

ji3 suo3 bu2 yu4 wu4 shi1 yu2 ren2

What you do not wish upon yourself,
extend not to others.

Analect ( Lun Yu ) - Confucius 15:24 and 12:5

Taken from:

For Fun~!

Click on "Handwrite characters" and see what appears~! It's really fun! Give it a try.

dimanche 22 juin 2008

A small bit of Chinese Culture

Tea Session
This form of the art of brewing and drinking tea is appreciated by many people, including non-Chinese. Many people are enthusiastic about the art of tea; they enjoy not only the taste of Chinese tea, but also the process of brewing it. The tea culture involved is attractive besides for the relaxation it generates, allowing them to purportedly forget all the trouble in their life during the process of brewing, serving and drinking tea. Some people enjoy serving others with a cup of tea not just because they want to share their excellent tea but also their peace of mind with others.

But, beware of Beijing Teahouse Scam(s)
Sadly, con artists and some tea houses in tourism hotspots in Shanghai and Beijing are increasingly taking advantage of the fascination with tea culture by luring foreigners into overpriced tea ceremonies. Generally be sure to negotiate the price of a commercial Tea Ceremony before you participate or you may be in for an expensive surprise.

Taken from:

Ribbon Dance
Red Ribbon Dance is the symbol of happiness. It originated from Chinese opera and has been preserved for centuries. It has become a traditional dance to perform during festivals.


Calligraphy set
The paper, ink, brush, and inkstone are essential implements of East Asian calligraphy: they are known together as the Four Treasures of the Study (T: 文房四寶 / S: 文房四宝) in China, and as the Four Friends of the Study (HG: 문방사우 / HJ: 文房四友) in Korea. In addition to these four tools, desk pads and paperweights are also used by calligraphers.

Types of Calligraphy:
Seal script(Small seal) 篆书 Zhuànshū
Clerical script (Official script) 隶书 Lìshu
Semi-cursive script(Running script) 行书 Xíngshū
Cursive script (Grass script) 草书 Cǎoshū
Regular script (Standard script) 楷书 Kǎishū

vendredi 13 juin 2008


yu4 bu4 zhuo2, bu4 cheng2 qi4.
ren2 bu4 xue2, bu4 cheng2 cai2.
Meaning: Jade must be carved and polished before it becomes an ornament, man must be educated before he can achieve great things.


ni4 shui3 xing2 zhou1, bu2 jin4 ze2 tui4.
Meaning: When rowing a boat against the current, if one does not move forward, one will definitely end up moving backwards. (Can be used to describe surviving in an increasingly competitive world.)

cun4 jin1 nan2 mai3 cun4 guang1 yin1.
Meaning: An inch of time is an inch of gold but you can't buy that inch of time with an inch of gold.

liu2 zhe4 qing1 shan1 zai4, bu2 pa4 mei2 chai2 shao1.
Meaning: As long as the mountains remain, there's no need to fear that there'll be no firewood. (Can be used on humans; talking about as long as one is alive, there will always be new opportunities.)

vendredi 6 juin 2008


百年树人 bai3 nian2 shu4 ren2
Lit: Hundred-years-tree-person
Meaning: It takes a hundred years to groom talents and it is an ardous task.
Sentence formation: 十年树木,百年树人,培养人才需要长期的努力。

光明正大 guang1 ming2 zheng4 da4
Lit: Light-clear-straight-big
Meaning: Open and aboveboard.
Sentence formation: 我们做事光明正大,不怕别人说闲话。

各有千秋 ge4 you3 qian1 qiu1
Lit: Each-has-thousand-autumns
Meaning: Each has his strong points.
Sentence formation: 这两幅画各有千秋,不知道你喜欢哪个风格?

一发千钧 yi2 fa4 qian1 jun1
Lit: one-hair-thousand-weights
Meaning: Imminent peril (Everything hanging by a single strand of hair)
Sentence formation: 在这种一发千钧的时刻,请不要鲁莽行事。

画龙点睛 hua4 long2 dian3 jing1
Lit: Draw-dragon-dot-eyes
Meaning: Bring the painted dragons to life, by putting pupils in their eyes
Origins of this idiom:
During the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-589 AC), once lived a famous painter named Zhang Seng-Zuong. He was highly praised for his fine art by Emperor Liang Wu.

One year, Zhang Seng-Zuong was asked to paint on the wall of the temple of Andong. He almost finished the painting of four dragons, in which they were breaking into a gallop in clouds. Everybody appreciated the vivid dragons on the wall. "But," asked one man," why didn't you put in the pupils of their eyes?" "Well, they will fly away if the pupils are put in." answered Zhang Seng-Zuong. But nobody believed him. They took what he said for jokes, so they still appealed to him to paint the pupils in the eyes.

At their request, Zhang Seng-Zuong had to take up his paintbrush to begin his troublesome work. After a moment of hesitation, Zhang dotted the key part of the dragons resolutely. Two of the dragons suddenly precipitated into a cloud of rolls of thunder and lightning before he could drop the paintbrush. The crowd was disordered into a mess; some lay themselves on the stomach, and some hid themselves behind pillars. A loud crash was heard and the wall toppled into pieces in the middle. The dragons writhed for a while and flew away high in the sky. Fortunately the two without pupils still remained there on the wall peacefully.

The proverb, 'Bring the painted dragons to life, by putting pupils in their eyes' now is usually adopted to indicate the case that a person can make his speech or composition smartly lively just with only a few pointed key words or expressions.

兵不厌诈 bing1 bu4 yan4 zha4 +(典故)
Lit: Soldier-not-hate-cheat
Meaning: There can never be too much deception in war.
Sentence formation: 所谓兵不厌诈,在谈判前多做几种准备,才会更有把握。
Origins of this idiom:
In 383 AD, King Fu Jian of the state of Qianqin in North China led an army of 870,000 men to invade the Eastern Jin (317-420). Emperor Xiaowu ordered three generals, Xie Shi, Xu Yan and Xie Xuan, to lead 80,000 warriors to resist the invaders.

In November, the enemy reached the Fei River in Eastern Jin and began to set up defenses at the riverside. Across the river was Eastern Jin's troop. As there was a great disparity of strength, Xie and his comrades in arms had hardly any hope of victory if they started a face-to-face battle. Then they had an idea. They sent a herald to take a message to Fu Rong, the king's major general, "You are setting up defenses along the river, so it is quite obvious that you are planning for a long war. But as you are far from your country and supplies cannot be timely guaranteed, you are no doubt putting yourselves in a very disadvantageous situation. Why don't you let your troop retreat a few hundred yards so that we can cross the river to fight a decisive battle with you?"

This message was taken to King Fu Jian. He laughed and said, "How silly those generals are! How dare they wade across the river to fight against a troop of 870,000 men! They surely overrate themselves. Let's retreat so that they can come across. But we will return and wipe them out when they are in the middle of the river."

The retreat started. In a few seconds, there suddenly came a roaring cry from behind, "The king is defeated!" As the purpose of the action had not been properly declared, many men mistakenly believed that they were truly defeated. Therefore, they ran faster until the whole troop became beyond control. The Jin's troop immediately crossed the river and attacked the enemy from behind. General Fu Rong attempted to give a counterattack, but it was too late. His troop was already in a thorough confusion and no one would hear his order. This invading Titanic was at last sunk by a much smaller group of fighters.

King Fu Jian's mistake lies in the fact that he only knew that an army in water is easy to defeat. Yet, he should have also known that when two armies confront each other, the one who first retreats tends to lose.