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Chinese allegories Lesson 29
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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)

sī mǎ zhāo zhī xīn – lù rén jiē zhī
司马昭之心 – 路人皆知
Everyone on the street is aware of Sima Zhao's intent. – The villain's design is obvious to all.

Sima Zhao (211 - 265) was a general, politician and regent of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history. He maintained control of Cao Wei, seized by his father Sima Yi and ruled by his older brother Sima Shi, and had himself established the Duke of Jin -- the penultimate step before usurpation of the throne, although he would never actually take the throne.

wŏ jiĕ lǎn nǐ tuī chuán – shùn shuǐ rén qíng
我解缆,你推船 – 顺水人情
I untie the mooring rope and you push the boat. – a favor done at little or no cost to oneself

chí táng lǐ de fēng bō – dà bù liǎo
池塘里的风波 – 大不了
Waves in a pond are not big. – It's not a big deal.

tán xīn bù diǎn dēng – shuō hēi huà
谈心不点灯 – 说黑话
Have a heart-to-heart talk without turning on a light – speak malicious, obscure words; doubletalk

chàng gē bù kàn qǔ bĕn – lí pǔ
唱歌不看曲本 – 离谱
Don't read the music score when singing a song – go beyond what is proper; be out of place; go too far

tài shān dǐng shang guān rì chū – gāo zhān yuǎn zhǔ
泰山顶上观日出 – 高瞻远瞩
View sunrise on the top of Mount Tai – stand high and see far; take a broad and long-term view; show great foresight; be farsighted

jiè le yī jiǎo huán shí fēn – fēn wén bù chà
借了一角还十分 – 分文不差
Borrow one jiao and pay back ten fen – pay back every cent one owes the other [jiao and fen are units of currency in China. 1 yuan = 10 jiao, 1 jiao = 10 fen.]

èr shí yī tiān bù chū jī – huài dàn
二十一天不出鸡 – 坏蛋
For twenty-one days, no chicks have been hatched. – bad egg; bastard; rascal; scoundrel

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