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Chinese allegories Lesson 3
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Chinese allegories

Two-part allegorical saying (of which the first part, always stated, is descriptive, while the second part, often unstated, carries the message)

xiā zi diǎn dēng – bái fèi là
瞎子点灯 – 白费蜡
Lighting a candle for a blind man – a waste of effort or time

lóng zi de ĕr duo – băi shè
聋子的耳朵 – 摆设
A deaf man's ears - they are merely ornamental; something done just for show

lĭ yú chī shuĭ – tūn tūn tŭ tŭ
鲤鱼吃水 – 吞吞吐吐
A carp is drinking water – speaking hesitantly

huáng shŭ láng gěi jī bài nián – méi ān hǎo xīn
黄鼠狼给鸡拜年 – 没安好心
A weasel makes a courtesy call to a chicken – to harbor evil intentions; to have ulterior motives

cái feng de chĭ zi – liáng rén bù liáng jĭ
裁缝的尺子 – 量人不量己
The tailor's ruler always measures others but never the tailor himself; being critical of others but lenient on oneself

cái feng zuò yī – jiǎng jiū fēn cùn
裁缝做衣 – 讲究分寸
When a tailor makes clothes he pays great attention to measurement; taking care, being careful in doing things

hé shang dǎ sǎn – wú fǎ wú tiān
和尚打伞 – 无法无天
A Buddhist monk holding an umbrella – there is neither law nor heaven. This idiom means to be completely lawless. To understand why, you need to know that 法fa which means law is pronounced the same way as 发fa which means hair, and that 天tian means both sky and heaven.

xiǎo hé shang niàn jīng – yǒu kǒu wú xīn
小和尚念经 – 有口无心
A young monk mumbles prayers. – Doing something without putting your heart into it

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