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Chinese Proverbs

Ever wondered how Mao could keep coming up with the likes of death by thousand cuts and paper tigers? Maybe the following from will provide some clues:

Just today after work I went to one place on Heping E. Road to let them know I wasn’t interested in one of their places, but the lady was quite insistent.

“So you’ll take it?” she asked, nodding agreeably not two seconds after I had told her I wasn’t overfond of the room.

“I don’t particularly like the neighborhood.”

“But one can only be a successful official when living in a peaceful residence,” she countered, using a Chinese saying.

“I’d rather ride a donkey to look for my horse,” I replied with another.

“I think you’re painting legs on a snake here.”

“The only snake is being reflected in my soup.”

This went on for awhile, but I knew when she started shifting to old Taiwanese sayings that I was fighting a losing battle. “I’m going to take a walk around the neighborbood,” I said firmly, and as she tried to figure out what I was really trying to say with this apparently unknown ancient saying, I took advantage of the lull to beat a hasty retreat before I was drowned in irrelevant flowery rhetoric.

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