Three Chinese Sayings I Live By Every Day.

Three Chinese Sayings I Live By Every Day.

Thanks to my renewed interest in reading.

Summer Lotus
5 min readOct 1, 2021
Author in the 60s

Recently, I developed a penchant for Mandarin.

I grew up in an environment where half of my siblings were schooled in Mandarin. My dad hailed from China in the 1920s as a young immigrant. He was a teacher and I used to be intrigued by his Mandarin accent.

When I was young, I sat in his class sometimes as a kid while he taught in the now-defunct Mandarin Hakka clan school but the language never did catch my fancy.

Until I reach this retiring age.

As I delve into reading about some Chinese idioms and common phrases, I started to fall in love with the metaphors of these expressions of which I am elaborating only three.

They became very meaningful to me and I often applied them in my daily living.

1 我们要雪中送炭不要雪上加霜。

Translated, this beautiful metaphor means we should try to bring charcoal to the snow and not add frost to the snow.

It sounds quite weird in English but the meaning is as follows ;

雪中送炭 – Bringing charcoal to the snow. In this scenario, the charcoal is brought to warm the snow and hence relieves the coldness.

In a difficult situation, it is to do something to alleviate somebody’s pain or discomfort.

For instance, if someone is in trouble and asks you for help, would you ignore or see if you can help? In my case, I will assess if it is within my capacity to assist. If not I could refer to someone who has the knowledge, resources, and willingness to help. By turning away, you are allowing the person to ‘freeze in the snow’, so to speak. Helping him is likened to bringing charcoal to his freezing state.

It would be most distressing to the person to launch into a lecture or a tirade against what he or she has or has not done. Because he has come to sought help in the first place.

If you bring charcoal to the snow ie you help in some way, you will see the relief, the smile, and the peace when the affected person is given hope and you feel happy and fulfilled…



Summer Lotus

Translated from my Chinese name. Interested in life, curious about everything. Challenge seeker, die-hard enthusiast, dental surgeon, ardent Toastmaster.