Posts Tagged ‘Chinese Podcast,Learn mandarin’

Learn mandarin – 为虎作伥 – Chinese Podcast

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

为虎作伥 (Wèi hǔ zuò chāng)

Act as a chang ghost for the tiger—Help a villain do evil

伥Chāng is the ghost of someone devoured by the tiger in ancient Chinese legend. Legend says, the 伥chāng  ghost helps the tiger eat other people. The idiom 为虎作伥(Wèi hǔ zuò chāng) has developed from a very old Chinese fable.

Long, long ago, once a tyrannical tiger was out hunting for food in the forest. To his delight, he caught sight of a man. The beast stole near, sprang on the man, killed him and made a nice meal of him. Ferocious and greedy, the tiger didn’t let the soul of his victim go. The soul now had become a ghost which is called the 伥chāng . The beast said he would let the 伥chāng  go only after the ghost find him another man to eat. Then the soul of the second man would take his place.

The chāng ghost was most willing to help the tiger. He guided the tiger to another man, and even helped undress the new victim so that the tiger could eat him more easily.

The popularity of this story shows people’s hatred for those who regard the enemy as kith and kin and serve as a jackal for scoundrels and villains.

为虎作伥(Wèi hǔ zuò chāng) is close to the English saying “To hold a candle to the devil”.

Learn mandarin – 病入膏肓 – Chinese Podcast

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

病入膏肓 (Bìng rù gāo huāng )

The disease has attacked the vitals — sick beyond cure

Gao refers the region below the heart. Another source says Gao is the fat on the tip of the heart. Huang is the region between the heart and the diaphragm. People in ancient China believed that when the ailment reached Gao and Huang, it’s incurable. If we say someone 病入膏肓(Bìng rù gāo huāng ),we mean he has no hope of recovery.

In the year 581BC during the Spring and Autumn Period, Duke Jing of the Dukedom of Jin fell ill. One day the sick duke had a dream. In his dream, a long-haired devil thumping his chest and stamping his feet, said to the Duke, “you killed my descendants. God has approved my request to punish you.” The frightened Duke escaped to the inner room. But the devil forced his way in. with a start, the Duke woke up. He summoned a wizard to the palace. The wizard predicted that the Duke couldn’t live to the summer harvest.

Duke Jing’s health deteriorated. He sent someone to the Dukedom of Qin for help. Duke Huan of Qin sent a doctor called Yuan to treat Duke Jing. Before the doctor arrived, the sick Duke had another dream. This time, he dreamed that his aliment became two children. One said to the other, “a good doctor is coming. I’m afraid that he’ll harm me. Where shall I hide?” the other said, “don’t worry. We are above Huang and Below Gao. This is a very safe place. What can he do about us?”

After examining Duke Jing’s case, Doctor Yuan said, “The illness is incurable. It’s between Gao and Huang. No acupuncture needle or medicine can reach it.”

Duke Jing nodded and said, “A very good doctor indeed.” He presented him with handsome gifts and sent him back to Qin.

The idiom 病入膏肓(Bìng rù gāo huāng ) is used not only ofr a person who is mortally sick, but also for a serious situation which cannot be remedied.

Learn mandarin – 请君入瓮 – Chinese Podcast

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

请君入瓮 (Qǐng jūn rù wèng)

Will you enter the vat please? — try what you have devised against others

Under the Empress Wu Zetian’s reign during the Tang Dynasty at the end of the 7th century, there were two brutal ministers who dealt with punishment. One was called Zhou Xing and the other Lai Junchen.

They obtained confessions through force and severe corporal punishments, and killed many loyal ministers and good generals cold-bloodedly. Zhou Xing once said indifferently, “all the defendants claim they are wronged when interrogated, but they are silent when they are executed.”

Later someone secretly reported to the empress that Zhou Xing was plotting a rebellion against her. Wu Zetian ordered Lai Junchen to handle the case. Lai Junchen knew it would be difficult to make Zhou to admit his guilt. He racked his brains and finally a bright idea came to him. He invited Zhou Xing for dinner.

During dinner, Lai asked Zhou for advice: “recently I’ve dealt with some criminal cases. I tried all kinds of torture on them but they refused to confess their crimes. Do you have any successful means?”

Not knowing that his conspiracy had been revealed, Zhou Xing replied: “that’s easy. Place some charcoal under a big jar and fire the charcoal until the jar becomes burning bot. they throw the defendant into the jar. This method guarantees a confession.”

So Lai Junchen ordered his men to heat up a big vat. After a while Lai yelled, “Come on, Zhou Xing. The vat is ready.”

Zhou, anxious to witness how effective his new torture method worked, immediately appeared. But Lai, in a stern voice, said,” why are you waiting? Don’t you think the vat is hot enough? Please don’t hesitate. Enter it!”

Zhou then realized how he had been tricked. Trembling in fear, he quickly confessed his plot for rebellion.

From that story comes the idiom 请君入瓮 (Qǐng jūn rù wèng). The message is : make someone suffer from his own scheme.