Hú is foolish and reckless?


胡 “reckless” can be used to make many Chinese phrases referring to recklessness or foolishness.  We often use them to joke with close friends, not acquaintances or people we don’t know very well.  (1)* húshuōbādào 胡说八道  “Idiom used to criticize. Talk lies and nonsense,”  (2)*  hútú  胡涂 “adj. confused,muddled,” (3)* húsīluànxiǎng 胡思乱想  “Idiom to mean  foolish thinking,”  (4)* húhuāluànyòng 胡化乱用 “Idiom to mean spend and use money recklessly,”    (5) húshuōluàndào   胡说乱道  “Idiom to mean talk wildly and foolishly,”  (6) húyán  胡言  “noun to refer to foolish talk,” (7) húchuī 胡 吹 ” verb phrase meaning to brag or talk big,” (8) húzhi 胡支 “verb phrase meaning to hem and haw or make excuses,” (9) húrìnòng 胡日弄 “colloquial verb phrase to mean to act recklessly,”  and (10)  húlái  胡来  “verb phrase meaning to bungle, cause mischief, proceed recklessly.”






Bāng dàománg Yuè bāng yuè máng

Bāngmáng (帮忙) means to help (bāng), or literally ‘help with busyness’ (忙). We can often say ‘help someone with something’ like ‘help him wash dishes.’ (bāng tā xǐpánzi) (帮 他 洗盘 ). However, when well-intentioned people try to help you, but they seem to be more of a hindrance than a help, you could complain to others that they bāng dàománg (帮 倒 忙).  This expresses that when they tried to help (bāng,) the opposite (dào) occurred making you busier (máng).  Another way to say it is yuè bāng yuè máng (越 帮 越 忙) is funnier: the more he helped, the worse (busier) it got.  Could be similar to “he was just getting in the way.”

A Chinese View of Chinese Jealousy

In China, people are pretty much wary of appearing too popular, too smart, or too rich, basically because it provokes jealously.  We say in Mandarin Chinese that we are pàhóng (afraid of red) (meaning afraid of being too noticeable), because as we say in English, “the nail that stands out gets the hammering.”  Therefore, humility may not be as much an inborn personality trait or a sign of good education as it is a defense mechanism used to protect oneself from jealousy, often times disguised as criticism and often resulting in backstabbing and sabotaging (as confrontation is avoided in China).  That’s the real mìmì (secret)!

As an editor of scientific journal articles, I have had the opportunity to read the peer reviews of manuscripts submitted for publication, and have chuckled because most often it is NOT the native English-speaking peer reviewers who are most critical of the author’s English, it is the Chinese peer reviewers who are most likely to criticize the English, as if they actually knew!  Of course, language can be edited and edited and edited, forever and forever!  It can ALWAYS be improved.

As I edit research manuscripts, I have noticed that some authors in China are overly critical of previous research in the Discussion or Comment section of the manuscript.  I either remove the comments or tone the negativity down, because I know this will make the peer reviewers become overly critical of the manuscript they are reviewing.  Who knows? One of those peer reviewers may very well be the person or a friend of the person the author is criticizing. Oops, poor review and rejection!

In Chinese, they have a saying, “Scholars hate scholars.”   For some reason, some people, not only in China but others around the world, think they can raise their own  esteem if they push down, browbeat, or make fun of others. The logic is similar to this: if I go next door and break up my neighbors’ living room furniture, my own living room furniture will look better. Yeah, right!  Of course, the opposite often happens because criticism invites criticism. Most likely, critical people, those who habitually and blatantly judge something as bad, terrible, or without merit, will be held in lower esteem by all.  And THAT will be easy to do, for as Wei Zheng from the Tang Dynasty said, “Other people are mirrors that reflect our own flaws.”  From this, we can deduce your frequent criticisms show that you have plenty of flaws that can be found and will be found and used by people who have a negative opinion of you.

Here is a cute article written by a Chinese member of the Falun Gong in the newsletter PureInsight.org it is entitled, “Cultivation Diary: Experiencing Chinese Jealousy.”

And enjoy a little music jealousy.  :-)


Drinking at a Chinese Banquet

Come to a banquet early so that the host can seat you where he has planned to.  Before the meal, drink only from the tea or water provided, but not any wine or juices.Then..

The guest of honor is the person ideally sitting facing the door and has a big view of the room and almost always sitting directly across from the host. At the beginning of the meal, s/he cues you when to begin.  S/he raises her glass to one side, and they raise; s/he raises to another side, and they raise. S/he drinks, and everybody drinks. Unless YOU are the guest of honor, don’t eat a bite until the guest of honor, not the host, takes the first bite even if s/he says “Let’s eat,” even if s/he puts some food on your plate. Back to drinking..

During the meal, you will be toasted and you will toast each person or each couple, at least once. It is impolite not to acknowledge people at your table by toasting and returning toasts. A good rule-of-thumb is not to take a sip of anything other than water without toasting someone. If you don’t want to drink alcohol, apologize and tell them anything “I’m driving,” “I’m taking medicine,” or “It is against my religion” and return toasts and toast with your heaviest drink (tea or fruit juice).  To toast someone, say, Wǒ jìng nín.  Followed by gān bēi (bottoms up) or suí (as much as you want). It is prudent to drink water or tea when thirsty and alcohol when being social.

Don’t allow yourself to become the butt of a drinking game, especially when the goal is to get the foreigner drunk, because being publicly drunk is a sign of weakness and loss.  Leave your glass full or almost full so that they can’t keep filling it up. You may cover it with your hand to stop them and say, “Thank you, but I need to take care of my health.”  DON”T turn it upside down.  You may prudently save that last full shot glass until the end of the banquet, or not (if you use sickness or religion for an excuse).

If you happened to have too much, before you go to bed, take an aspirin, a B-complex, and a big glass of water before you go to sleep.  The next day will be more bearable.