In Other Words – Again

31 10 2011

Last year, one of the first quizzes we put on our blog was a test of your ‘language’ skills.  We asked you to match 10 Chinese sayings with 10 familiar English idioms, to test of your ability to go beyond the literal translation of what was being said to understand the concept being expressed.  After all, every language has colloquial expressions that, while easily understood by native speakers, can be confusing to new language learners.

After one year of sharing insights on Chinese culture, we thought we’d provide you with another opportunity to test your language skills. Just as we did last year, we have put together another list of 10 Chinese sayings, along with familiar English expressions.  We have even included the Chinese characters for each of the Chinese proverbs. As you read through the list, you’ll see that some of the sayings are fairly easy to figure out.  Some of them are a little more difficult.  The answers are listed below, so no peeking (we’ll use the honor system here)!

Chinese Saying English Saying
For the mouth to say yes but the heart A.  No pain, no gain
to say no – 口是心非
————————————————————- ————————————————————-
2.  It is easy to move river and mountains, B.  It goes without saying
but difficult to change a person’s basic
nature – 江山易改, 本性难移
————————————————————- ————————————————————-
3.  Pick up a needle from the bottom C.  Pay lip service
of the sea – 海底捞针
————————————————————- ————————————————————-
4.  Fortune does not arrive in pairs; D.  Lock the barn door after
trouble does not come singly
江山易改, 本性难移
the horse is gone
————————————————————- ————————————————————-
5.  To dig a well only after one is E.  Burn one’s bridges
already thirsty – 临渴掘井
————————————————————- ————————————————————-
6.  It can be understood without F.  Easy come, easy go
being explained – 不言而喻
————————————————————- ————————————————————-
7.  A tiger does not father a dog G.  A leopard cannot change his spots
虎父无犬子
————————————————————- ————————————————————-
8.  If you don’t enter the tiger’s den, H.  When it rains, it pours
how will you get the tiger’s cub?
不入虎穴,焉得虎子
————————————————————- ————————————————————-
9.  Thirty years on the east side of I.  Like father, like son
the river, thirty years on the west
side of the river
三十年河东,三十年河西
————————————————————- ————————————————————-
10.  Break the pot and sink the boat J.  Find a needle in a haystack
破釜沈舟
————————————————————- ————————————————————-


Now that you’ve made your decisions, here are the correct answers!

Chinese Saying English Saying
For the mouth to say yes but the heart C.  Pay lip service
to say no – 口是心非
————————————————————- ————————————————————-
2.  It is easy to move river and mountains, G.  A leopard cannot change his spots
but difficult to change a person’s basic
nature – 江山易改, 本性难移
————————————————————- ————————————————————-
3.  Pick up a needle from the bottom J.  Find a needle in a haystack
of the sea – 海底捞针
————————————————————- ————————————————————-
4.  Fortune does not arrive in pairs; H.  When it rains, it pours
trouble does not come singly
江山易改, 本性难移
————————————————————- ————————————————————-
5.  To dig a well only after one is D.  Lock the barn door after
already thirsty – 临渴掘井 the horse is gone
————————————————————- ————————————————————-
6.  It can be understood without B.  It goes without saying
being explained  – 不言而喻]
————————————————————- ————————————————————-
7.  A tiger does not father a dog I.  Like father, like son
虎父无犬子
————————————————————- ————————————————————-
8.  If you don’t enter the tiger’s den, A.  No pain, no gain
how will you get the tiger’s cub?
不入虎穴,焉得虎子]
————————————————————- ————————————————————-
9.  Thirty years on the east side of F.  Easy come, easy go
the river, thirty years on the west
side of the river
三十年河东,三十年河西
————————————————————- ————————————————————-
10.  Break the pot and sink the boat E.  Burn one’s bridges
破釜沈舟
————————————————————- ————————————————————-

So were you able to answer all 10 correctly?  If not, then console yourself with this thought: “Sometimes I’m confused by what I think is really obvious. But what I think is really obvious obviously isn’t obvious.” Thank you for your prayer support, particularly for Joel as he travels into China and trusts God to enable him to clearly understand what is being said in each of the conversations he has along the way.

Until next week,

Joel & Debbie

PRAY WITH US:
Joel will be traveling to south central China this week, meeting with church leaders to follow up on several opportunities, including plans for a lay worker training seminar.  PRAY that these church leaders would have wisdom as they work together on finalizing all these plans.
Pray for God’s guidance and will to be made known in the next few weeks as decisions are made concerning the future leadership at International Christian School.





Who’s My Neighbor?

26 10 2011

It was a terrible scene.  Earlier in October video from closed circuit television showed a 2 year old girl being struck and run over by a van on a narrow market street in southern China.  As she lay injured and bleeding on the edge of the road, residents walked or rode by her, until another vehicle hits her a second time.  Finally, a trash collector who came along dragged her off the street and stayed with her until her mother arrived on the scene.  The little girl was taken to the hospital, but unfortunately after a week in intensive care, little Yue Yue died of her injuries.

This episode has deeply shamed China and started a national debate on the issue of social responsibility. How can a society that says ‘respect the old, cherish the young’ do something like this? The first driver was talking on his phone when he hit the girl, and when asked to explain his actions he said, “If she is dead, I may pay only about 20,000 yuan ($3,125 US). But if she is injured, it may cost me hundreds of thousands of yuan.”  It’s easy to point our finger at the driver and accuse him of indifference, but what about the other 18 people who walked by this little girl and didn’t stop to help?

This incident is just one of many over the past few years in China where people have deliberately ignored others in obvious distress. China Daily reported on a recent survey done by 3 Chinese universities where 87 percent of the respondents said they were unlikely to help an old person who had fallen in the street, in order to avoid being blamed for the accident. Some writers in China say that the growing indifference to helping those in need illustrates the corrosive effect China’s headlong pursuit of economic growth has had on public ethics. Others say this attitude was developed during the Cultural Revolution where people learned to avoid getting involved in other people’s business for fear of reprisal on themselves. Whatever the reason, people across China are asking themselves – how could people be so callous to someone as needy and innocent as this little girl?

It’s an age-old question, and one that people all around the world need to ask themselves – who’s my neighbor?  What’s my responsibility? Nearly two thousand years ago a religious scholar asked Jesus that same question – “Who’s my neighbor?”  In response, Jesus used the parable of the Good Samaritan to teach this scholar about God’s expectations of how we are to live in this world.  The world is a scary place at times, and like the two individuals in the parable of the Good Samaritan, or the 18 people who walked by Yue Yue, it’s a lot easier to ignore those in need than to stop and become involved.  But what does God expect of us?  Is our faith just about going to a church, studying the Bible and avoiding the most serious sins – or does God expect more?  If our personal faith has no outward expression, then are we, in the words of Johnny Cash “so heavenly minded that we’re no earthly good?”

I don’t have all the answers.  That’s one of the reasons I starting reading a book by Richard Stearns (President, World Vision USA) entitled, “The Hole in Our Gospel”.  I want to make sure that my beliefs are in line with Scripture before I go talk to pastors and church leaders in China about how they might be able to address this issue in their churches.

Who’s my neighbor?  What’s my responsibility? Whether we live in Canada, USA or in China, as followers of Jesus Christ we need to come to grips with this issue if we are indeed going to be salt and light in our communities.  May we live out the words of Saint Teresa of Avila:

Christ has no body on earth but yours, No hands but yours, No feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion for the world is to look out;
Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good;
And yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.

Until next week,

Joel & Debbie Chute





A Ready Response

19 10 2011

In North America many people get frustrated when dealing with unwanted phone solicitations by telemarketers.  With the help of caller ID, however, people are given the choice of whether or not to respond to these calls. But what happens when it’s not a phone call, when someone stops you on the sidewalk and wants you to buy something you don’t want to buy?  That was one of the issues we had to deal with when we first arrived in Hong Kong over 12 years ago.  Let me explain.

Hong Kong is noted for several things – a beautiful harbor, world financial center, and lots of opportunities to shop. Great deals can be found at a variety of places around Hong Kong. It is not uncommon to see hawkers selling their various goods on street corners, pedestrian walkways and alleyways. Sometimes, the ‘store’ comes to you, particularly when you walk thru tourist areas in Hong Kong.  It’s difficult to walk down those streets without someone coming up and asking you – “Copy watch”, or ”Nice suit for you sir – very good deal.”

The first couple of times you’re approached by these salesmen, you can push them and their comments to the back of your mind.  But after several weeks of these kinds of encounters, I was getting exasperated, and desperate to come up with a response to these individuals that was to the point, but not sarcastic or negative. Then I heard the following story from our good friend and colleague, Chuck Fowler.  Chuck & his wife Midge spent 40 years serving with the C&MA in Hong Kong.

In order to get to the field office, Chuck would have to walk by variety of sidewalk vendors and had many of these salesmen trying to get him to buy their goods. One of those places was a men’s clothing store, and each day he walked by the store he was greeted by one of their salesmen with the same invitation everyday – “Nice suit for you sir – come in and have a look.” Upon hearing the sales pitch, Chuck would cheerfully give a simple answer of “not today” and keep walking.  After several weeks of hearing this response, one day as Chuck walked by this store, the salesman greeted him with a handshake, and said to him ”Good friend, every day you come by here, and I invite you to come look at our goods. But you never come in.  My friend, when will you come and see the suits and shirts we have for sale?”  Holding onto the man’s handshake, Chuck looked the gentleman in the eye, and with a smile responded, “Not today”, and walked away!

I have never forgotten the story nor the lesson behind it, and it has made for a less stressful walk through the tourist areas of Hong Kong.  It’s not just about learning how to be gracious in telling people no, it‘s also about having a ready response. Even more important than having the right words to say, is being ready to respond with the right attitude.  So whether it’s dealing with an unwanted telemarketer, an impatient store clerk or a pushy sidewalk vendor, let’s remember that  “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)

Until next week,

Joel & Debbie





Dealing with Storms

5 10 2011

This past week we experienced a typhoon that came both as a surprise and a disruption to normal life in Hong Kong.  For one thing, it came right at the tail end of the typhoon season, which normally finishes in September.  Furthermore, while the storm was heading in our general direction, forecasters said that it would go well south of us and would have minimal impact. They were wrong.

Typhoon Nesat in South China Sea

While the typhoon got no closer than 125 miles of Hong Kong, strong winds up to 60 mph buffeted parts of the city.  Transportation was limited, all public offices and many businesses were closed, and even the stock market did not open. All schools (including ICS) had classes cancelled for the day – a welcome break for the students!

Storms usually arise when we aren’t expecting them.  Their severity and length often surprise us.  Earlier this summer we heard a sermon from Mark 6, where the pastor used the story of Jesus walking on the water to illustrate truths for those facing adversity in life. This sermon came at a very propitious time, as we were still processing the passing of Joel’s mom earlier in that month.

The pastor used the story of Jesus and his disciples in Mark to remind us that:

(1) Jesus sends us into the troubles of life.  As followers of Jesus, we realize that we don’t live in a bubble.  Just like everyone else around us, we too will face challenges in life – we were never promised a life free of trouble.
(2) Jesus sees our troubles. Sometimes, like the disciples, we think that Jesus is unaware or too busy to know what we’re facing.  But the Bible is filled with reminders that the Lord is with us no matter what adversity comes our way (Mark 6:48 -“He (Jesus) saw the disciples straining at the oars.” )  In Joshua 1:9, God told Joshua and the people of Israel “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” And the writer to the Hebrews (13:5) reminded them (and us) of God’s promise to us: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”Typhoon Nesat - Hong Kong harbor
(3) Jesus comes to us in our troubles.  Don’t lose sight of the fact that Jesus didn’t walk right on past the disciples that evening – but came to them and helped them in the midst of their adversity. In the same manner, the writer of the poem “Footprints in the Sand,” helps us to realize that the Lord has not abandoned us at the most difficult times in our life, but rather has walked with us and carried us through those trials.
(4) Jesus comforts us in our troubles.  More than just being aware of what we’re dealing with, Jesus cares for us, and desires to come alongside us and help us in the midst of the storm we’re facing.

It was a great sermon, and it came at just the right time for us.  It not only reminded us of the Lord’s care and concern for us, but helped us to be better prepared for the next storm we might have to face. After all, whether it’s a typhoon hitting Hong Kong or personal adversity in life, we want to be prepared for whatever comes our way.

We’ve been told to expect another typhoon to come our way this week.  The same typhoons that have battered the Philippines are heading our way, and maybe we’ll feel their impact.  But now we’re more prepared – because we’ve learned some lessons along the way about dealing with storms.

Until next week,

Joel & Debbie