Chinese Language

Proverbs | 2

Tuo mian zi gan : If anyone spits in your face, let it drip dry

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Zhong wen

Tuo mian zi gan

(Source: from Tang dynasty literature)

This corresponds roughly to the Biblical maxim 'Turn the other cheek'.

The following didactic dialogue is found in a chapter on Tolerance:

Pupil: If anyone spits in one's face, wiping it off will do.
Master: Won't do. To wipe it off would be to provoke further anger. One should let it dry up by itself.

It is common knowledge that one of the classic virtues the Chinese share with the British is tolerance. 'What's bred in the bone will come out in the flesh.' In spite of ten years of 'Cultural Revolution' in China, inner city riots, IRA terrorism in recent years, tolerance is still the name of the game in both countries, thank goodness.

© Copyright Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding (SACU) 2001 reprinted from SACU's China Now 120, Page 41, March 1987

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