Today, March 4th, is the birthday of Song Meiling, daughter of one of the wealthiest families in China. Born in China, educated in America, and married to General Chiang Kai-shek. Her two other sisters had equally glorious lives, one married into a family of equally great wealth and worldwide interests in banking. The other, Qingling, married Dr. Sun Yat-sen, a revolutionary and the first president China.
Song Meiling was beautiful and well-spoken, and was well-known to people around the world during the World War II as she and her husband rallied support from the allied governments, fought against the Japanese invaders, and tried stop the rise of the communists China. They fought bravely, but a great number of communist sleeper spies planted in many parts of the government and military just got up joined the communists in their fight for power. Song Qingling stayed in China. Song Meiling and Chiang Kai-shek and their nationalist loyalists retreated to the island of Taiwan to re-arm and re-take China. It never happened. She died a recognized war hero in NYC at the age of 106 years old.
An old taxi driver told me for the old folks Chinese New Years hasn’t passed until the 15 lunar day after the Lunar New Year. That day is known as Lantern Festival. Actually, Lantern Festival is more of a kick than Chinese New Years. There are lantern making contests and eating round moon-shaped dumplings.
Based on the Chinese Zodiac, 2012 is the Year of the Dragon. It begins on January 23, 2012. The Dragon, the fifth sign, is a mythical creature representing emperor and power. Today, it is the luckiest sign for men in the zodiac. If you want to see A LOT of pregnant women, visit China during the year of the dragon. I remember writing home, “Mom, I think everybody here is pregnant. No wonder people are suspicious that the population is about to explode in China!’ This year, why don’t you celebrate by making your own puppet dragon! Watch this:
The only dragon parade I saw for Chinese New Years was in San Francisco, however. Here you will seen them, a long with lion dances, in temple birthday parades.
Dui4buqi2 (对不起) is the Chinese word for “sorry.” It can also be used to mean “excuse me,” for example if someone has to ask you to move aside on the bus or elevator when he or she wants to get off. A westerner may find it strange for someone to be apologizing to him on such occasions. It can also be use to interrupt someone while he or she is speaking, if necessary. Bao4 qian4 is a more direct way of apologizing and is not often used to excuse one’s self. You can practice Dui4buqi2 (对不起) here.
Here’s a lesson by Peggy in Taiwan. She uses bu hao yisi, “I’m embarrassed,” to mean “excuse me” and duibuqi to mean “I’m sorry.” The boy replies meiguanxi, meaning “it doesn’t matter” or “no sweat.”
Here’s a song. Dui bu qi. The Pinyin is here. Get someone to explain it to you in English.
And another one you might enjoy. Beginning Chinese learners, I guess. Duibuqi. Wo shi Meiguoren. Wode Zhongwen buhao. Meiguanxi.