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Monthly Archives: February 2018

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Someone sent me this set of “揮春” (Auspicious Messages) written in English which looks like Chinese characters. I thought it was brilliant. Instead of aligning alphabets in a straight line, Chinese strokes are stacked on each other. Talk about complication for the dyslexic.

The way to teach Mandarin words is to break up the character or enlarge it. I think it looks like Hebrew. Look at the character for “each”, does it remind you of Robert Indiana’s “LOVE”?

#Looking at the familiar through different lenses#.

Q: Can you guess what it reads?

Ans:
On the right hand side
Eat well sleep well each every day

On the left hand side
Good health good wealth all year round

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Stuck with small talk this Chinese New Year or don’t know what auspicious words to greet your host?

This week’s Mandarin on Mondays, I’d like to introduce auspicious words and symbols.

My favourite red packet envelope in order.

1. Microsoft

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The Dog is considered a lucky animal by Chinese. A stray dog wandering into one’s home symbolise fortune is coming.

A dog’s bark symbolise fortune coming. How do dogs bark in your culture? Chinese dogs bark “wang wang” 旺旺 – same sound as fortune coming.

Wish you prosperity during Year of Dog. 祝你狗年旺旺旺。
祝你十犬十美

2. Seletar Aerospace Park

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Anything bound for flight. Flying birds, aeroplanes.

Wish you promotion.
祝你 – 飞黄腾达
步步高升 (bù bù gāo shēng): May you rise steadily (at work).
平步青云 (píng bù qīng yún): May you rise rapidly in the world (social status or career).

飞黄腾达
fēihuáng-téngdá/
神马腾空奔驰(飞黄:古代传说的神马名。比喻官职、地位迅速上升。)

3. Sun Yatsen Museum

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Bat (蝙蝠 – biānfú) – longevity, happiness, good luck (the Chinese word for bat, “蝠” (fú) sounds like the word for good fortune

Here, there are Five Blessings, bat, cloud, pomegranate, peony (a long life, riches, health, love of virtue and a natural death). 五福临门。

4. Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum

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Which has a fabulous collection of crabs.

螃蟹 pangxie – Crab symbolise promotion in social status because crabs like to crawl. Shell of Crab 甲 jia represents being top in exams. Xie sounds like harmony 协 xie as in 合心协力.
http://www.mahjongtreasures.com/tag/crab-symbolism-in-chinese-art/

5. Public Utilities Board

With their iconic Water Wally reminding us of the importance of Water. Running Water symbolise wealth.

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Why you need to learn mandarin and not trust google translate. One wonders about the Tamil translation.

Small change unavailable here(此处无小额零钱可兑换)”则译成了“小的更改无法在这里”。Change in this context refers to coins for the ticket vending machine. Whereas if you had used google translate, it will use “change” as in “improve”, ie “make changes to”.

Good intentions to appeal to a multiracial group need #mindfulness# in execution.

Source:
https://www.channel8news.sg/news8/singapore/20180204-sg-smrt-translation/3951612.html

子曰:“吾十有五而志于学,三十而立,四十而不惑,五十而知天命,六十而耳顺,七十而从心所欲,不逾矩。”《论语》

zǐ yuē:“wú shí yǒu wǔ ér zhì yú xué,sān shí ér lì,sì shí ér bú huò,wǔ shí ér zhī tiān mìng,liù shí ér ěr shùn,qī shí ér cóng xīn suǒ yù,bù yú jǔ。”《lùn yǔ》

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Humans go through physiological life stages from baby to child to teenager then to old age. What about psychological life stages?

Here, I would like to share the life stages presented by Confucius, and it puts into perspective the advice given by Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba.

The best interpretation, or one that helped me make sense of Confucius’ saying is this post on the following site:
https://m.ruiwen.com/news/64708.htm
(I do not vouch for the site)

Confucius says,

“When I was fifteen, I started on my pursuit of life’s path/ career (being open to questioning and devote in finding my path);

(After many years of hard work)
when I was thirty, my understanding of life, my path was set firmly;

when I was forty, I no longer doubt my life decisions (my career path is set);

when I was fifty, my inner and outer world finds alignment. I have found (act out) my mission in life. I practice what I preach (No mid life crisis here) 五十而知天命.

when I was sixty, I realised that life is complex and I begin to accept – the positive and the negative views – and not be upset;

when I was seventy, I had the freedom to do whatever my heart desires, within the rules of this world [that I have observed throughout all of my life].”

Examining Confucius, I realised that Jack Ma’s sayings are built on philosophical foundations, just like in the Western world if you quote Socrates.

What Jack Ma says (probably building on the sayings of Confuscius) :

“When you are 20 to 30 years old, you should follow a good boss [and] join a good company to learn how to do things properly,” Ma said. (Learn as much as you can.)

“When you are 30 to 40 years old, if you want to do something yourself, just do it. You still can afford to lose, to fail,”

“When you’re 40 to 50 years old, my suggestion is you should do things you are good at.” Instead of diving into a new field or subject toward the later years in your career.

“When you are 50 to 60 years old, spend time training and developing young people, the next generation,” Ma added.

“When you are over 60 years old, you better stay with your grandchildren.”

Source:
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/30/jack-ma-dont-fear-making-mistakes-in-your-20s-and-30s.html