::every cloud has a silver lining:: @ ::天無絕人之路 ~:~ 明天會更好:: @ ::tiān wú jué rén zhīlù ~:~ míngtiān huì gènghǎo:: @ ::天無絕人之路 ~:~ 明天會更好:: @ ::tiān wú jué rén zhīlù ~:~ míngtiān huì gènghǎo:: @ ::every cloud has a silver lining::


Jan 19, 2014

இ Horse Up 馬上

Time not only slithers time just flies. The 'Snake' would be hissing goodbye pretty soon to make way for the Horse. Bananaz wanna apologies for MIA over couple of months been busy and hectic with overseas trips. The coming Horse Year will be a very special and unique year. Based on the lunar calendar, the year of Horse will commence on 31 January 2014 and ends on 18 February 2015. So this year we will have 2 occurrence of the first solar term or 立春 *lichun* (beginning of spring) within a year which is on 4 February 2014 and 4 February 2015. This makes the Year of the Horse a 'double spring year' 双春年 *shuāng chūn nián* plus a 閏月*rùn yuè* ie a leap 9th lunar month in this year. The old folks believe this is a good omen especially for wedding ceremony and giving birth. The next double spring year will be in the year of Rooster in 2017.

What's next?

The story above on 'The Clever Old Man' reminds us NOT to mess with old people. The three panicky pretty ladies "horse up" 馬上 *mǎ shàng* jumped out of the pond immediately with lightning speed regardless of wearing nothing.  馬上 *mǎ shàng* lit. ''horse up'' means ~ at once / right away / immediately / (on horseback).

We all know most Chinese words are based on pictograph, see how the word evolved gradually comparing the top pixz with the four legs and tail and a nice mane on the head. However the traditional word for horse '馬' *mǎ* was further simplified to '马' *mǎ*.

Found something quite interesting about the U.S. Postal Service while surfing the internet. USPS (U.S. Postal Service) is honoring the Chinese culture with The "Year of the Horse" stamp, the latest in the postal service's 12-year Lunar New Year stamp series, which runs through 2019. The stamp, which features drums and a small horse in the upper left corner, "signals that fresh beginning" of a new year.

For this Horse Year the most popular idiom which would be overly mentioned is 馬到成功 *mǎ dào chéng gōng* lit. 'horse arrives, succeed' (meaning: to win instant success).  For more idioms to use during this coming CNY can refer to last year's idioms which can still be applicable other than those snakey idioms.

Here's wishing ALL A Happy & Horseperous New Year with 馬上有錢 *mǎ shàng yǒu qián* 'immediately got money' (horse back got money).

Jan 1, 2014

இ Happy 2014

Here's wishing all a very happy new year, a new year a new beginning. Today is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one. Happy 2014.

Sep 15, 2013

இ 貼錯門神 Door gods

At last the scary hungry ghost month is finally over good bye to the Do's & Don'ts and good riddance no more of those eerie and horror movies aired over  television. The ghost busters can now take a break as well as the 'Door Gods' 門神 after the closure of the Hell Gate couple of days ago. Wait a minute, could sense someone saying "heard of door knobs and door knockers before, huh what door also got gods?"

Image courtesy of TwilightZone

A 'door god' 門神 pinyin:*mén shén* is a Chinese decoration placed on each side of an entry to a temple, home, business, etc., which is believed to keep evil spirits and ghosts from entering. It all began during the Tang dynasty, when the East Water Dragon King (東海龍王) *dōng hǎi lóng wáng* came into Emperor Táng Tàizōng's (唐太宗) dream, begging for mercy to save his life as he has flouted a decree of Heaven by changing the time of the rain and reducing the amount. The Jade Emperor had ordered the execution and Wei Zheng (魏徵), Chancellor of the Tang Dynasty was assigned by Heaven to carry out the execution. On the day of the execution Emperor Tang summons Wei Zheng for a game of Go (圍棋) pinyin:*wéiqí* an hour just before the execution but not knowing Wei Zheng's soul left his body when he took a short nap during the game and ordered the execution. Despite of all his effort Emperor Tang failed to prevent the beheading of the East Water Dragon King, who misunderstood Emperor Tang did not keep up to his promise, seek revenge by haunting Emperor Tang. When Qin Qiong (秦瓊) and Yuchi Gong (尉遲恭) were called to guard the emperor's door, the emperor had a blissful sleep. The next day, the emperor, not wanting to trouble his two generals, gave orders to hang portraits of the two generals on both sides of his door. Pretty soon ordinary families adopted the imperial custom with portraits of the ever-vigilant generals on their front doors to keep away evil spirits and ghosts and to have good luck. 

image courtesy of cultural china

Special care must be taken as not to place the 'door gods' in the opposite direction. The door gods usually come in pairs, facing each other; on the left should be the portrait of Qin Qiong and Yuchi Gong's portrait to be on the right. What if they are placed wrongly probably the ghosts and evil spirits would have a hell of a swinging time as the two generals are unable to coordinate in guarding the entrance. Moreover it is considered bad luck to place the figures back-to-back. Now this brings us to a related Chinese idiom of 貼錯門神 pinyin: *tiē cuò mén shén* 'stick wrong door gods' ie not facing each other and in a back-to-back position. This applies to two persons after a heated argument cannot see eye to eye with each other and most definitely not in talking terms for days or weeks with the so called 'silent war' especially very common between couples. Here is a classic example of a 'silent war' by blogger fayjesselton who was sulking like a monster when 貼錯門神.

image courtesy of MadameNoire
Back-to-back door gods

Jul 22, 2013

இ Chinese Kinship

Two men struck up a conversation in a pub and one of them kept complaining of family problems with 同父異母 *tóng fù yì mǔ* 'same father but different mothers'. Finally the other man said: "You think you have family problems? Listen to my situation". "A few years ago, I met a young widow with a grown-up daughter, we got married and I got myself a step-daughter. Later, my father married my step-daughter. That made my step-daughter my step-mother and my father became my step-son. Also, my wife became mother-in-law of her father-in-law."

"Much later the daughter of my wife, my step-mother had a son. This boy was my half brother because he was my father's son. But he was also the son of my wife's daughter which made him my wife's grandson. That made me the grandfather of my half brother."

"This was nothing until my wife and I had a son. Now the half sister of my son, my step-mother is also the Grandmother. That makes my father, the brother-in-law of my child, whose step-sister is my father's wife, I am my step-mother's brother-in-law, my wife is her own child's aunt, my son is my father's nephew and I am my OWN GRANDFATHER!"

"And you think you have FAMILY PROBLEMS!?"

It was a pleasant Sunday morning, so nice to ��檯腳 *jaang3 toi4 goek3* 'stretch table leg' 'Cantonese: lit. stretch one's legs over the dining table legs' with Mango enjoying a simple dimsum breakfast. We noticed a family of four sitting across the next table having similarity in their facial features. Out of curiosity we 'played' Sherlock Holmes in guessing their relationship. Bingo! When the kid uttered two words, he solved the mystery for us by just calling out 叔公 *shūgōng* to the guy wearing the checked shirt. On the boy's right is his father and the older man on the far left is his grandfather and the guy at the center with checked shirt whom the kid called out as 叔公 *shūgōng* is his grandfather's younger brother aka Great Uncle.

sisters, brother, 舅 *jiù* 'uncle', 姨 *yí* 'aunt', 表 *biǎo* 'cousins'

Excerpt from Wikipedia: The Chinese kinship system (traditional Chinese: 親屬系統; pinyin: qīn shǔ xì tǒng) is classified as a Sudanese kinship system (also referred to as the "Descriptive system") used to define family. Identified by Lewis Henry Morgan in his 1871 work Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, the Sudanese system is one of the six major kinship systems together with Eskimo, Hawaiian, Iroquois, Crow, and Omaha. The Sudanese kinship system (and hence the Chinese kinship system), is the most complicated of all kinship systems. It maintains a separate designation for almost every one of ego's kin based on their generation, their lineage, their relative age, and their gender.

In the Chinese kinship system: Maternal and paternal lineages are distinguished. For example, a mother's brother and a father's brother have different terms. The relative age of a sibling relation is considered. For example, a father's younger brother has a different terminology than his older brother.

Bananaz Paternal lineages:
伯 *bó* dad's elder brother [paternal elder uncle]
叔 *shū* dad's younger brother [paternal younger uncle]
姑 *gū* dad's elder or younger sister [paternal aunt]
堂 *táng* dad's brothers' children (sons & daughters) [paternal cousins]

Bananaz Maternal lineages:
舅 *jiù* mom's elder or younger brother [maternal uncle]
姨 *yí* mom's elder or younger sister [maternal aunt]
表 *biǎo* mom's brother or sister's children (no seniority) [maternal cousins]

The above may be very confusing and would better stop here for the time being if not it could be stretched to a mile long and that would be even more complicated. For easier understanding the surname of each individual and age factor in terms of seniority from the paternal lineage would determine a different terminology where else for the maternal lineage surname, age and seniority does not apply.

Jul 5, 2013

இ 未见过大蛇屙屎..Big Snake Defecate

Bananaz wanted to have a comprehensive insurance so asked for offers hoping to get C&G *cheap&good* protection. The first company offered: "From cradle to grave" but the second was better: "From womb to tomb." Bananaz was just about to take this when a third company came up with the ultimate offer: "From erection to resurrection!" Here goes the three presentations:

The first presenter 'From cradle to grave' said, "When one of our insured died suddenly on Monday, we got the news that evening and were able to process the claim for the wife and had mailed a cheque on Wednesday evening".

The second presenter 'From womb to tomb' said, "We are better, when one of our insured died without warning on Monday, we learned of it in 2 hours and were able to hand-deliver a cheque the very same evening itself".

The last presenter 'From erection to resurrection' said, "That's nothing! You guys are missing the big picture and most certainly 未见过大蛇屙屎 *pinyin* "wèi jiàn guò dà shé ēshǐ"; Cantonese:"mei6 cang4 gin3 gwo1 daai6 se4 o1 si2" [lit. never seen a big snake defecate before] Our office is on the 20th floor of the Twins Tower. One of our insured who was cleaning a window on the 85th floor, slipped and fell. We handed him his cheque as he passed our floor".

Of course the above presentation or rather a joke may be exaggerated but hopefully may bring home a point to explain this Chinese idiom 未见过大蛇屙屎 *pinyin* "wèi jiàn guò dà shé ēshǐ" [never seen a big snake defecate before].  WhyAskWhy Bananaz does not have the foggiest (not blaming the recent haze) idea how on earth this Chinese idiom of snake poop came into being. Guess the answer is already there we merely have to read between the lines (anyone can please assist). Honestly who have actually seen a live big snake defecate before? None? Simply put, it means that if we have not seen or know about it, does not mean that it does not exists. One must look at life in a wider perspective and not a knowledge barrier over a myopic view. More than often people would use this idiom when ever someone has a lack of knowledge of not knowing the bigger picture or current situation. When do we invite the 'snakey shit' to slam at our face? When someone is trying to be smart alec for example not aware that it's possible to run a mile in less than 4 minutes or building a 30 story hotel in 360 hours, who then uttered 'its impossible'. Then better watch out for this snakey shit idiom 未见过大蛇屙屎 *pinyin* "wèi jiàn guò dà shé ēshǐ" [never seen a big snake defecate before] to roll over the face.

Seeing is believing in just 15 days..

 This idiom 未见过大蛇屙屎 *pinyin* "wèi jiàn guò dà shé ēshǐ" [never seen a big snake defecate before] also serves as a reminder to be humble at all times as life is always in a flux and a never ending learning process with no proven record of anyone known as Ms/Mr. KnowAll.

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