Enough of you had trouble with the quiz (see last blog) that I think it would be well worth everyone’s while going over the answers in class. Okay. Get your papers out.
The challenge was to distinguish between actual Chinese proverbs and the faux variety coined by your humble instructor.
Here we go:
1. Beat your gong and sell your candles. This is an actual proverb. A contemporary American way of articulating it might be “advertising is an important part of your candle marketing strategy.”
2. Never link whole global economy to debt swap derivatives. This is not a Chinese proverb. Neither is it an American one, unfortunately.
3. Do not allow the sheep to die for a half-penny of tar. This one is real. I think it’s like “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”, which is not a Chinese proverb because very often the ancient Chinese did throw the baby out with the bath water.
4. Cold water makes a limp noodle. I confess but it expresses a universal truth in any language.
5. An unhappy pig tastes the same as a happy one. This may have fooled a lot of you because it sounds like an actual proverb. Not!! I had a chicken in there first but switched to a pig when I saw I had a chicken in the next one. As the Chinese say, too many chickens spoil the proverbs.
6. The weasel comes to say “Happy New Year” to the chicken. This is the real deal and I haven’t a clue what it means. I suppose it’s like “beware of Greeks bearing gifts.” This refers to the Trojan horse. One time the Greeks screw up with a bad gift, and they hear about it for the next 3,500 years.
7. Never fart in silk pajamas. Good advise and deeper than it appears at first glance, but not a proverb.
8. Dead song birds make a sad meal. I couldn’t have made this one up.
9. Put the fat lady in the back of the row boat. Wise counseling that will be appreciated by anyone who ever put the fat lady in front, but not a proverb.
10. Do not use a hatchet to remove a fly from a friend’s forehead. Except if your friend is a debt swap derivatives trader. This one is real.
11. Don’t believe the menu, it ALL contains MSG. This is me and I stand by it: it does all contain MSG
12. Falling hurts least those who fly low. I’ll bet you thought this one was a fake because the ancient Chinese didn’t have airplanes. Gotcha! It’s not. They had kites.
13. All people are your relatives, therefore expect trouble. I WISH I had written this.
14. Never bet on the eunuch to win the Most Eligible Bachelor contest. Me, again. It’s believable because eunuchs were commonplace in the Imperial Court. Also, it’s a well known fact that the Emperor Hon Lo was addicted to Most Eligible Bachelor contests because he always won.