Joyful 阅

Home » Posts tagged 'idiom'

Tag Archives: idiom

Energy Saving Mode: ON

I saw this on a person’s shirt:

I’m not lazy, I’m just on energy saving mode.

For the last few days, I have been on energy saving mode. Other than not writing any posts, my life continues. I actually have done more reading and resting for the past week. 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

There is a Chinese idiom that can be used for this situation: 休息是为了走更长的路。

休息 = rest

是 = is (verb-to-be)

为了 = in order to

走 = walk / travel

更长的路 = a longer way


休息是为了走更长的路 means people should take a break to travel a longer journey. If you keep walking or travelling without a break, you may get exhausted. In learning or working, we need to take a break once in a while, so that we can make a review of what we have achieved, what we could have done better and what is our next course of action. Even Sleeping Beauty sleeps to wait for the love of her life. 

The equivalent English idiom is “After dinner sit a while, after supper walk a mile.” There are also other equivalent Chinese idioms, for example: 休息是为了走更远的路 (to travel further) and 休息是为了走更长远的路 (to travel longer and further).




Have you had enough rest? Yes, rest does not mean you are lazy, it just means you are on energy saving mode. The energy saved will be used for more productive applications.

Translation of Phrases

I teach my students to use Chinese language idioms or phrases in their composition so that they can get higher marks. Unfortunately, with their English-speaking family background, most of them can write well in English language but not Chinese language. One of my students even told me that there is no equivalent translation of Chinese language for some common English language phrases. (She wants to translate directly from English language to Chinese language). I want to prove her wrong.

1. 狼吞虎咽 → wolf down

狼 = wolf

虎 = tiger

吞、咽 = swallow

This idiom means someone eats hurriedly and hungrily like a wolf and a tiger.

Example: 他已经一天没有吃东西了,一看到食物就狼吞虎咽地吃完。

He has not been eating for a day; once he sees the food, he wolfs down the food immediately.

2. 一眨眼之间 → in a blink of an eye

一眨眼 = a blink

之间 = in between

This phrase means something happens so quickly that it is done before you realize it.

Example: 妈妈一眨眼之间就煮了一桌晚餐。

Mother prepares the dinner in a blink of an eye.

3. 热锅上的蚂蚁 → like a cat on hot bricks

热锅上 = in the hot pot

蚂蚁 = an ant / ants

This idiom indicates an ant in a hot pot, which means a person is anxious or nervous.

Example: 妹妹失踪了,妈妈急如热锅上的蚂蚁。

The younger sister is missing; the mother is like a cat on hot bricks.

There may be no direct translation between the two languages, but we can try to find similar phrases that have the same meaning. Instead of using Google Translate, we can try Google Search to search the phrase, you may be surprised that there is an equivalent phrase. Are there other phrases or idioms in English language or Chinese language that you find difficult to translate?


早起的鸟儿 = A bird which wakes up early

有虫吃 = has worm to eat


早起的鸟儿有虫吃 literally means the early bird gets to eat the worm. It means we must rise early to have a better chance of success. In other words, if you wake up late, the worms (the food) will have been eaten by the early birds, you will have little or no food to eat.




* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Today (17 March 2014) is National Breakfast Day. 早起的鸟儿有虫吃, I woke up early to queue for a free Egg McMuffin.


No. 131



Thinking Tuesday


Hang in there!

I have been busy this week. Hang in there! Being busy = more ideas to write, so be patient.

Hang in there is an idiom which means be patient, things will work out eventually. The similar Chinese idiom is 船到桥头自然直。

It also asks a person to continue despite whatever difficulties that he / she may face.


Joneses, can you keep away from me?

You often hear this from your mum: Jenny (the girl next door) is getting the first in the class again, and her Chinese scores 95%! Did you hear me? 95%! And you are only getting 46%, blah, blah, blah…

You may hear this from your wife: Mr. Tan has bought a new car last week, it’s a BMW. When are we getting our old car changed?

You may hear this from your relative: Your cousin is getting married next month. Are you still single? Quickly find someone to marry, you are already old. Don’t be so picky, blah, blah, blah…

You may hear this from your friend: Barbara has given birth to her third child. I can’t imagine that… Wait, you have married for a few years already, right? Still no good news? You should go and see this gynae, I heard he is a good doctor, blah, blah, blah…

You may hear this from your colleague: You remember Mr. Wong? Last time he was just a technician in our factory. Now promoted to director in the new company, damn fast man. Hey, you are still a supervisor? I think you better go and take course, upgrade yourself, then promote faster, blah, blah, blah…

The list goes on…

First things first, why do I need to keep up with people who have a different life from mine? Everyone has his or her own life path that he or she needs to go through. If everyone goes through the same life path, isn’t it a bit dull and boring?

Secondly, if you keep comparing yourself with the Joneses, in the long run, you will find yourself feeling miserable, discouraged and depressed. Unless, you are better than the Joneses; still, you will make other people feeling miserable, discouraged and depressed. It is not a win-win situation either way.

Nonetheless, we are surrounded by all the “kind-hearted” people who will keep comparing us with other people and they will say it is for our own good. We cannot run away from those people, but we can keep ourselves sane by comparing only with ourselves.

If you are a student, keep track on one number, your total marks, your average mark, your Chinese Language mark (If you are poor in Chinese Language and you want to improve it) or any other mark that you like.

If you are an adult, you have more choices, your weight, your bank account balance, how many books you have read in a week? how many calories you have eaten today? etc. It is all up to you. For me, it is how many likes I have collected in a week (Please give me more likes, thanks!)

It is just that simple. The catch is, keep track only one number at a time. By keeping track on only one number, you focus on the one and only thing that you want to improve. Nobody’s perfect, as long as you are improving, even on one single thing, you are on the right track. 

On the other hand, if you think that keeping up with the Joneses will make you have a sense to work harder and a life goal to look forward to, then, it is highly recommended that you keep keeping up with the Joneses 🙂