Friday, July 20, 2012

Wisdom In Idioms?

I know this wonderful old lady who is 78 years old. She is witty, gracious and humble and I love chatting with her. She is wise too but because of her wit, grace and humility, its so easy to listen to what she has to say. And more importantly, I think I'll remember a lot of it. She uses a lot of idioms when she speaks. My lesson yesterday was "Laugh, and the whole world laughs with you. Weep, and you weep alone."

Today, my mother used an idiom on me. It is a Chinese one that I have often heard in the past. The literal translation is "Waiting until its urgent before looking for the bathroom." Obviously, this is applied to situations where you've left things to the last minute. 

My brother and I used to jokingly (but probably still rudely) refer to all the idioms that my mother and grandmother used as crap. Many of the Chinese ones are quite funny. For example, dragging the moon to the bottom of the ocean (i.e. an impossible task) and something about water rising up to your eyebrows. I can't remember the specifics I  know that somehow, the meanings from all the idioms are in me. I have a book somewhere that I'll have to dig up one of these days - a Dictionary of Chinese Idioms.

Actually, that day may come very soon because my arsenal of idioms to fire at my own kids is practically empty. I have a total of one at the moment but its not a Chinese one : "Whats worth doing is worth doing well." Oh, and those Chinese ones only work if you say them in Cantonese. This is so strange, how did I get to the point of wanting to become my mother and rattle of Cantonese idioms at Aaron and Adrian?

1 comment:

Mike said...

The dictionary can be purchased online for about $15. I tried to look up "water rising up to your eyebrows" and got one google hit. Your post.