Daily Chinese Proverb: Laughing at Others

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Wednesday, 16 September 2009 0 comments

This Chinese proverb comes from Mencius, essentially it means; Don't gloat over other peoples mistakes whilst you are making the same ones in a different fashion. Though it is never good to laugh at other peoples mistakes, it is more important not to laugh when you have made the same mistake but not as seriously.

wǔshí bù xiào yī bù
Fifty steps, Laugh at a hundred

This proverb comes from the following Mencius quotation:


Mèngzǐ duì yuē: "wáng hàozhàn, qǐng yǐ zhàn yù. tián rán gǔ zhī, bīng rèn jì jiē, qì jiǎ yè bīng ér zǒu. huò yībǎi bù érhòu zhǐ, huò wǔshí bù érhòu zhǐ. yǐ wǔshí bù xiào yībǎi bù, zé hérú?"

Mencius replied, 'Your majesty is fond of war - let me take an illustration from war. The soldiers move forward to the sound of the drums; and after their weapons have been crossed, on one side they throw away their coats of mail, trail their arms behind them, and run. Some run a hundred paces and stop; some run fifty paces and stop. What would you think if those who run fifty paces were to laugh at those who run a hundred paces?'


yuē: "bù kě, zhí bù yībǎi bù ěr, shì yì zǒu yě."

The king said, 'They should not do so. Though they did not run a hundred paces, yet they also ran away.'

Snake With A Leg Found in China

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin 0 comments

Despite what I thought to be true and right, I posted this proverb the other day:

huà shé tiān zú
Draw a snake with legs

It is used when someone is doing too muc, completely ruining a situation by doing too much. However after finding this Snake with a leg growing out of it, one could be forgiven for 'trying to do too much' whilst attempting to show someone this talon-footed snake.

It almost looks like it is trying to evolve (a couple of thousand years late) into a crocodile.

The Telegraph reported:

Dean Qiongxiu, 66, said she discovered the reptile clinging to the wall of her bedroom with its talons in the middle of the night.

"I woke up and heard a strange scratching sound. I turned on the light and saw this monster working its way along the wall using his claw," said Mrs Duan of Suining, southwest China.

Mrs Duan said she was so scared she grabbed a shoe and beat the snake to death before preserving its body in a bottle of alcohol.

The snake – 16 inches long and the thickness of a little finger – is now being studied at the Life Sciences Department at China's West Normal University in Nanchang.

I for one would be interested to see the mutation of snakes with claws make real headway into the world, I think it would be more interesting than a snake, and funnier to watch than a lizard. But that could just be me... I get the feeling most people would probably beat it to death with their shoes like Mrs Duan.

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