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Interesting Times

May you live in Interesting Times.

It is reported that this was the first of three ancient Chinese curses of increasing severity,
the other two being:
May you come to the attention of those in authority.
May you find what you are looking for.

Comments

(Anonymous)
Jun. 4th, 2010 05:00 pm (UTC)
No, I never did find a good source. And yes, they do sound very credible to the western way of thinking of Chinese culture. But my Chinese friends just don't talk like that, so even if it is originally a Chinese curse it will have been translated in to an English idiom and way of saying things, so the original would be very hard to identify.

Not that Google is a good translator, but I often feed my friend's Facebook posts through their Chinese-English translator and the results sound hilarious. But the really odd thing is that when we show these to the authors they aren't amused, they just say that whilst that is correct in English we would say ... So they do a lot more idiom translating, if I understand what is going on.
liveonearth
Jun. 4th, 2010 05:06 pm (UTC)
I get it, how language influences thinking. I also understand that there is a gigantic gulf between the western/Euro and Chinese/east Asian worldviews and values. I personally have never really bridged it; their ways are mysterious to me, and I am mindful to respond to the uncertainty with curiosity instead of defensiveness. If you ever get a chance to run this by any of your Chinese friends, I'd be very interested in their take---and the words they use to explain it!

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