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Chinese allegories Lesson 9
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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)

dāng yī tiān hé shang zhuàng yī tiān zhōng – dé guò qiĕ guò
当一天和尚撞一天钟 – 得过且过
Go on tolling the bell as long as one is a monk – drift or muddle along; do the least that is expected of one; take a passive attitude towards one's work.

ài kè sī guāng zhào rén – kàn tòu le
爱克斯光照人 – 看透了
X-ray somebody –see through him/her.

bā zì méi yī piĕ – zăo zhe ne
八字没一撇 – 早着呢
Not even the first stroke of the character "八" ("eight") has been written – nothing tangible is in sight; there's no sign of anything happening yet.

chū lóng de niăo er – yŏu qù wú huí
出笼的鸟儿 – 有去无回
A bird out of its cage will never come back – gone never to return.

dāo zi zuĭ dòu fu xīn – zuĭ yìng xīn ruăn
刀子嘴,豆腐心 – 嘴硬心软
Have a mouth as sharp as a dagger, but a heart as soft as tofu – have a sharp tongue but a soft heart

duàn le xiàn de fēng zhēng – bù zhī qù xiàng
断了线的风筝 – 不知去向
The flying kite has broken away from its string – it's unknown where somebody or something has gone.

fēi é pū huŏ – zì qŭ miè wáng
飞蛾扑火 – 自取灭亡
A moth darting into a flame – bringing destruction upon oneself; courting one's own doom.

zuì wēng zhī yì bù zài jiŭ – lìng yŏu suŏ tú
醉翁之意不在酒 – 另有所图
The drinker's heart is not in the cup – have other things in mind; have ulterior motives; many kiss the baby for the nurse's sake.

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