Category Archives: Chinese proverb

Friday’s proverb: Darkness

“Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”

I thought this was a good one today to honor Lix Xiaobo, on the day he should have accepted his Nobel Peace Prize. This is the first time in 75 years that a recipient was unable to claim the prize and the $1.5 million award–the last time the winner Carl von Ossietzky was in one of Hitler’s concentration camp. I had been wondering if someone else from his wife’s list of 140 people who accept it, but no one did.

Credit: Heiko Junge/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

And here is a poem for Xiaobo entitled “Words a Cell Can’t Hold

This poem was translated by Jeffrey Yang from the Chinese.

From “Experiencing Death”

I had imagined being there beneath sunlight

with the procession of martyrs

using just the one thin bone

to uphold a true conviction

And yet, the heavenly void

will not plate the sacrificed in gold

A pack of wolves well-fed full of corpses

celebrate in the warm noon air

aflood with joy

Faraway place

I’ve exiled my life to

this place without sun

to flee the era of Christ’s birth

I cannot face the blinding vision on the cross

From a wisp of smoke to a little heap of ash

I’ve drained the drink of the martyrs, sense spring’s

about to break into the brocade-brilliance of myriad flowers

Deep in the night, empty road

I’m biking home I stop at a cigarette stand

A car follows me, crashes over my bicycle

some enormous brutes seize me

I’m handcuffed eyes covered mouth gagged

thrown into a prison van heading nowhere

A blink, a trembling instant passes

to a flash of awareness: I’m still alive

On Central Television News

my name’s changed to “arrested black hand”

though those nameless white bones of the dead

still stand in the forgetting

I lift up high up the self-invented lie

tell everyone how I’ve experienced death

so that “black hand” becomes a hero’s medal of honor

Even if I know

death’s a mysterious unknown

being alive, there’s no way to experience death

and once dead

cannot experience death again

yet I’m still

hovering within death

a hovering in drowning

Countless nights behind iron-barred windows

and the graves beneath starlight have exposed

my nightmares

Besides a lie

I own nothing

Chinese proverb: Alexander Moulitsas

Today we are very lucky because we have not just one Friday proverb, but several from the talented Alexander Moulitsas. He and his wife created these holiday posters out of their stack of NYTimes. I think the meanings here are either pretty transparent or open to your own interpretation… and I hope maybe one will be insightful–or at least make you think!!–as you head into the weekend ahead.

His posters were two-sided… here is the customized back.

Friday’s proverb: Books.

Good morning everyone! I think it’s high-time we start a little tradition here on HK Housewife. I adore traditions, always have, always will. I think it’s why I went to Notre Dame–they may be horrible at football, but they’ve got tradition down pact.

So here it is… every Friday (could be my Friday or could be yours if I’m slacking!) we’re going to look at a Chinese proverb. Today’s is:

“A book holds a house of gold.”

It’s not surprising that the Chinese believe education is the key to success. It’s a bit sad to think about how hard all the Chinese kids are working in school here to get ahead–many go six days a week and stay until after 5pm–while ours at home fall apart.

On a lighter note, the most beautiful photo ever:

So as it turns out, Nigella Lawson’s books are literally in a house of gold! Despite my love of the Kindle, in my dream house I will have a library just like this one. I am not the neatest person. I think genius thrives in a little bit of chaos and I still believe in good, old fashioned books–especially cookbooks! My favorite childhood memory is going through all of my Aunt Steph’s cookbooks–she has a legitimate library with a whole wall dedicated to cookbooks and every night when I stayed with her I would take a couple down to read in bed. From House & Garden (R.I.P) by way of the NeoTraditionalist, sent over to me by Katherine–thank you! If you haven’t checked out Katie’s great blog, you should pop over there and take a look.