Words of Wisdom: Chinese Proverbs II

Chinese proverbs include words to the wise for families, encouragement for accomplishing goals, as well as the acknowledgement of the importance of nature. In this article, you will encounter Chinese proverbs that touch upon a variety of subjects.   

“You must persevere to accomplish seemingly impossible tasks.”

It is said that everything is achievable when you go at it with enough perseverance. This proverb is similar to “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

“When the tree falls, the monkeys scatter.”

This proverb is often used to refer to fair-weather friends, but has a history of referring to a leader that has lost power, and his followers have become unraveled. Similarly, some people find that they have lost friends when they are down-on-their-luck, poor, or involved in conflict.

“Try to save the dead horse as if it is still alive.”

This proverb translates into encouragement to attempt the impossible.

“Wealth does not pass three generations.”

The hard work of past generations are easily forgotten or squandered, as seen in many real life cases of celebrities and socialites. The meaning of this proverb is that it is not uncommon to see that the wealth of a family has been lost after three generations. The first generation is responsible for building wealth or success, while the second may see the value in hard work (as well as benefit from it), and the third often forgets it or it is already gone.

“Thirty years the east bank, thirty years the west bank.”

The meaning behind this proverb is that the luck and destiny of one will change over time. In the proverb, “Luck will change in 10 years,” it is suggested that luck turns around every ten years.

“If you’re poor, change and you’ll succeed.”

When people seek change under negative or poor circumstances, it is said that opportunities will eventually emerge.

“One mouse dropping ruins the whole pot of rice porridge.”

If this sounds familiar, it is a less appetizing way to say, “One bad apple spoils the bunch” , meaning it only takes one person to ruin a good thing, to mar a company reputation, or spoil a good time.

“Careful with others is a must have.”

This proverb suggests that you should be cautious of people who may have intentions to hurt you.

“See sky eat rice.”

Farmers often use this proverb that refers to looking towards Mother Nature to bring a good harvest.