How Much is Your Year-end Bonus?

 

年会(nián huì) is an annual meeting held by most Chinese companies or institutes.  The spectacular event aims at marking an end for the past year and inspiring employees to work harder in the coming new year. With an atmosphere similar to a family party, 年会 is where people can enjoy a talent show from their colleagues, and sometime expect a bit more (for example, prizes or bonuses).

xià zhōu wǒ men jiù yào kāi nián huì le nǐ zhǔn bèi le shén me ná shǒu xì?
Simon: 下周我们就要开年会了,你准备了什么拿手戏?
Next week we will have the annual meeting. What talents are you going to showcase?

jīn nián méi yǒu  jiù děng zhe zuì hòu gōng sī fā nián zhōng jiǎng ne.
Xiao Lin: 今年没有,就等着最后公司发年终奖呢。
Nothing in particular this year. I’m just waiting for the year-end bonus.

hā hā zhè kě shì zhòng tóu xì a
Simon: 哈哈,这可是重头戏啊
Haha, that would be the climax of the party.

bú guò jīn nián de nián zhōng jiǎng gāi bú huì pào tāng ba nà jiù tài sǎo xìng le
Xiao Lin: 不过今年的年终奖该不会泡汤吧,那就太扫兴了。
But I am concerned that the year-end bonus might be up the spout. If so, that would be such a bummer.

 

“拿手”(ná shǒu) means “be expert in or good at (something)”. For example, “拿手菜” is specialty (dish). “我们的乐队在演奏拿手歌曲时表现出众。(Our band shines when we play the songs we know best.) In the dialogue, “戏” means “performance”, so “拿手戏” refers to “a certain performance one is good at”. By extension, it means “skills or talents one is known for”.

“年” is “year”, “终” is “end”, and “奖” is “bonus”, so the word 年终奖(nián zhōng jiǎng) is year-end bonus.

 

“重头戏”(zhòng tóu xì), literally meaning “heavy head drama”, refers to the most important or the best part of an event. For example, 我不想错过这场比赛的重头戏。(I don’t want to miss the best part of the game.) 在北京观光的重头戏就在紫禁城。(The highlight of traveling in Beijing has to be the Forbidden City.)

 

“泡汤(pào tāng )” literally means “to soak in soup”. If something is soaked in soup for a long time, it becomes useless or dissolves. Therefore, this word means “to have one’s hopes dashed”, “fall through” or “up in smoke”. For example, 又一份好工作泡汤了。(Another nice job goes down the drain.)

Singer’s Cornea Donation

In January 15th, Chinese pop singer Yao Beina offered to donate her corneas to those in need, only one day before she lost her 4-year-long battle against breast cancer.
一月十五号中国流行歌手姚贝娜捐献了自己的眼角膜,第二天病逝,结束了与乳腺癌四年的抗争。

One patient in need was 23-year-old Dong, who suffered from conical cornea disease and was almost blind(失明). The 2-hour procedure to restore(恢复) his vision(视力) went underway on Saturday afternoon. A day later Dong was happy to find that his vision had improved(提高) from 0.05 to 0.26. Doctors say his eyesight is expected to(有望) continue to recover.

The pop singer(流行歌手) Yao was born on Sept. 26, 1981 in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei. She became well-known to the public(被公众熟知) after making a series of songs for the hit TV drama(热播电视剧) “The Legend of Zhenhuan” in 2012, and the mandarin version(中文版本) of Let It Go”(随它吧 from Disney’ s “Frozen”.

Her popularity received a boost from the Chinese reality talent show(真人秀)The Voice of China”(中国好声音) in 2013. Yao was diagnosed with(被诊断为) cancer in May 2011 and died at Peking University Shenzhen Hospital last Friday. Her memorial service(追悼会) will be held Tuesday at Shenzhen Funeral Home(殡仪馆).
重点词汇 Key Words:

 

捐献 juān xiàn
“捐” means “to donate”, and “献” means “to contribute”, so the word is “to contribute/to donate/contribution/donation”.
Eg.

  • v.他们每年都向红十字会捐献大笔的钱.
    They donate large sum of money to the Red Cross every year.
  • n. 所有捐献, 不论数量多少, 我们都将非常感谢.
    All contributions, however small, will be greatly appreciated.

 

恢复 huī fù
restore/recover/regain/recovery/resume
Eg.

  • 他做了一个手臂复位手术,正在恢复
    He is recovering from an operation to reset his arm.
  • 预期很快能恢复交通。
    Traffic is expected to be resumed shortly.

 

诊断 zhěn duàn
diagnose/ diagnosis
Eg.

  • v. 他被诊断患有严重的阅读困难症,但是却绝顶聪明。
    He was diagnosed as severely dyslexic but extraordinarily bright.
  • n. 她开始四处寻医,但每个医生的诊断都不相同。
    She began to consult doctors, and each had a different diagnosis.

腊八节 Laba Festival

 

What is Laba ( 腊八节 là bā jié)?

The Laba Festival is celebrated on the eighth day of the 12th month in the Chinese lunar calendar, marking the start of preparations for the Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year.

In ancient China, Laba Festival was not set on a specific day in the 12th lunar month but fell on the day three weeks after the Winter Solstice.

After the Southern and Northern dynasties (420-589) when Buddhism was widely spread in China, the Laba Festival was fixed to the eighth day of the twelfth month for the enlightenment day of the Buddha, the Bodhi Day.

Under the influences of Buddhism, many customs of the festival are related to Buddhism and the spirit of being kind to other people.

 

Laba congee (腊八粥 là bā zhōu)

The biggest element in the day is Laba congee, a kind of multi-grain congee with dried fruits and nuts.

The ingredients of the congee may differ from regions and preferences. But most homes would definitely include dried dates, peanuts, lotus seeds and sugar.

Traditionally, the congee was prepared by the women of the household at first light, with the first bowl offered to the family’s ancestors and the household deities. Every member of the family was then served a bowl, with leftovers distributed to relatives and friends.

Temples would also establish a congee kitchen to distribute free Laba congee to people.

The custom is also widely used among social institutions, as a way of showing gratitude and good wishes to others, as the photos show.

Laba garlic (腊八蒜 là bā suàn)

In northern parts of China, people start to preserve Laba garlic on the day of Laba Festival.

Garlic gloves are pickled in black vinegar for roughly two weeks.

The garlic is ready to eat when the whole glove has turned green and tastes sour and slightly spicy.

The Lunar garlic is a perfect side dish for dumplings or jiaozi and meat that are eaten during the Spring Festival.

The vinegar is also not something to be wasted. It has a unique garlic-fused flavor and a delicious dressing for dumplings and meat.

Yang Liping — China ‘s most beautiful dance celebrity

楊麗萍,雲南大理白族人。從小酷愛舞蹈卻未進過舞蹈學校,憑藉著驚人的舞蹈天賦和創造力,成為享譽海內外的舞蹈藝術家。一九八六年以自己創作的獨舞雀之靈一舉成名,一九八八年被北京日報評為當年十大新聞人物之一。多年來她出訪世界很多國家進行藝術交流,沉醉于舞蹈藝術的傳播和探索。相機為觀眾奉獻了《兩棵樹》、《火》、《女兒國》等作品二零零一年後更以她編導和主演的《雲南印象》、《藏迷》、《雲南的聲響》等歌舞集驚艷全國,成為舞台不老的傳奇。

Yang Liping is a native of the Bai ethnic nationality  of  Yunnan and developed a passion for dance when she was young. Although never formally trained in any dance academy, she is naturally gifted and, powered by an unusual imagination, she has become the internationally renowed dance artist of today. She came into prominence with Spirit of the Peacock, which she choreographed and performed herself, in 1986 anzd was named one of the ten persons of the year by beijing daily in 1988. over the years , Yang has been on many artistic exchange tours to various parts of the world, in a bid to promote and explore dance as an art form. Her notable works include two  trees, fire and A Female-dominant World. Since 2001, she has dazzled the nation with her song and dance spectaculars Dynamic Yunnanin search of shangri-la,Tibetan myth and Echoes of Shangri-la, and with an evergreen image that she never ages.

楊麗萍的舞蹈藝術來自民間和土地,從天地造化與各門類藝術中汲取養分,附身于土地而超然于物外,以自然的天性觸及靈魂,被譽為舞蹈詩人、靈魂舞者。在一個舞者的身份之外,她更是一個身體力行的傳播者,從未停止過對民間藝術的收集整理與傳承傳播,為民族民間藝術做出了卓越貢獻。開闊地視野和開放的意識,令她自由往來于東西方傳統文化和當代藝術之間,四十年藝術生涯的沉澱,成就了今天的楊麗萍,一位生命的舞者,一位觸類旁通而富有創造力的藝術家。

As a choreographer and dancer, Yang has taken her inspiration from folk culture, nature, the earth, and various forms of art. She stays close to her own soil but, in spirit, she is a born transcendentalist. This has won her the accolades as a dance poet and the spirit of dance. Other than the dancer ego, she is also a collector and bearer of ethnic and folk art. in this regard, she has never stopped in her pursuit and as a result, she has made tremendous contribution to these forms. Her broad vision and open-mindedness have lent her boundless freedom between East-Wwst cultures and contemporary art. Her career of forty years has shaped Yang to what she is today – a dancer in celebration of life, an artist who sees the interrelationships between things and therefore is continuously inspired to create the new.

主要成就包括:

  • 一九七九年主演大型民族舞劇《孔雀公主》,榮獲雲南省表演一等獎
  • 一九八六年憑獨舞《雀之靈》榮獲第二屆全國舞蹈比賽創造一等獎、表演第一名
  • 一九九二年成為中國大陸第一位赴台灣表演的舞蹈家
  • 一九九四年憑獨舞《雀之靈》榮獲中華名族二十世紀舞蹈經典作品金獎
  • 一九九七年參加日本大阪國際藝術節,大阪國際交流中心授予最高藝術獎、菲律賓國家民間舞蹈協會贈予她為終身會員
  • 一九九八年編導并主演電影《太陽鳥》,榮獲蒙特利爾國際電影節的評委會大獎
  • 二零零三年出任藝術總監和總編導,并領銜主演大型原生態歌舞集《雲南印象》
  • 二零零四年憑大型原生態歌舞集《雲南印象》,獲第四屆中國舞蹈荷花獎舞蹈詩金獎、最佳女主角獎、最佳編導獎、最佳服裝設計獎和優秀表演獎
  • 二零零七年出任藝術總監及總編導,并領銜主演大型原生態歌舞集《藏迷》
  • 二零零九年出任藝術總監及總編導,并領銜主演大型原生態打擊樂舞《雲南的聲響》
  • 二零一一年獲鳳凰衛視世界因你而美麗—影響世界華人盛典大獎。同年,參與《中國國家形象片—人物篇》的拍攝、獲文化部評為十佳優秀藝人及獲首屆中華藝文獎
  • 二零一二年獲二零一一網易女性傳媒大獎成長女性榜樣

The following are the milestones in Yang’s artistic career:

  • The ethnic dance drama Peacock Princess won  a Class One Award for Performance in Yunnan Province in 1979
  • The solo dance Spirit of the peacock won a Class One Award for originality and the First Prize in Performance at the 2nd All China  Dance Competition in 1986
  • The first ever dancer from the Mainland to perform in Taiwan in 1992
  • Her solo dance version of Spirit of the Peacock won the Gold Award at the Dance Classics of the 20th Century in 1994
  •  She participated in the Osaka International Festival in 1997, wher she was presented the Highest Arts Award by  the Osaka International House and was made a life Memer by the Philippine Folk Dance Society
  • ‘Sun Island’, a film in which she choreographed and starred, won the Judges’ Prize at the Montreal International Film Festival in 1998
  • In 2003, she was the Artistic Director, Chief Choreographer and star of the ethnic musical spectacular, Dynamic Yunnan – In Search of Shangri-la, with which she won a Gold Award for Dance Poem and other awards inculding Best Female Lead, Best Choreographer, Best Costume Design and Outstanding Performance at the ‘ Lotus Awards ‘  in 2004
  • In 2007 and 2009, she was the Artistic Director and Chief Choreographer of the ethnic song and dance musical Tibetan Myth and the ethnic percussion music and dance production, Echoes of Shangri-la
  • She was presented the You Bring Charm to the World Award by Phoenix TV in 2011. She participated in the filming of the National Image Building Film Series- Personalities for China, and was named one of the Ten Best Artists by the Ministry of Culture: she also won the first China Arts Award in the same year
  • She was presented in the 2011 Women’s Media Award as a role model for mature women in 2012

 

中国“吃”文化 – “Eating” in China

 

在中国呆久了你就会发现,中国人见面打招呼的方式之一是:“你吃了吗?”尤其是在吃饭点,这样的对话很常见:
If you stay in China for a long time, you will find out that some Chinese people greet others by saying “have you eaten already?” (你吃了吗 nǐ chī le ma?)  ,especially at meal time, this dialogue can be heard anywhere.

 

Jim: Hi, Lucy, nǐ chī le ma?
Hi, Lucy, 你吃了吗?
Hi, Lucy, have you eaten?

Lucy: Chīle, nǐ ne ?
吃了,你呢?
        Yes, and you?

Jim: wǒ yě chī le。
我也吃了。
      I have, too.

 

这是因为过去物质匮乏,能吃饱成了彼此最朴实的愿望,所以这样问以显示关心。如今中国人再也不用为衣食担忧,但这样的问候方式却延续了下来,而且这种“吃文化”在人们如今的生活中还扮演了很重要的角色。小编为你盘点一下。
In the old days, when food was more scarce, this traditional greeting means you care for the person you are addressing. In modern China, food is plentiful, but the greeting has become commonplace, as well as other “eating terms”. We will learn more here:

 

English meaningChinese termsLiteral translationExample
have difficulties吃力     chī lìeat hardships他学习很吃力。
He has difficulty in his studies.
be popular吃得开     chī dé kāieat well他在社会上很吃得开。
He is popular in the community.
enjoy privilege吃小灶  chī xiǎo zàoeat a small stove课后老师总给他吃小灶。
After class, the teacher always gives him special attention.
live off one’s past gains吃老本  chī lǎo běneat the original capital他不做生意光吃老本。
He doesn’t do business, but lives off his savings.
take advantage of吃豆腐 chī dòu fǔeat bean curd不好意思,我不是故意要吃你豆腐。
Sorry, I did not mean to take advantage of you.
too much吃不消  chī bú xiāoeat but not digest全天工作她恐怕吃不消。
A full-time job may be too much for her.
to suffer losses吃亏  chī kuīeat losses跟他作生意你是要吃亏的。
You will stand to lose if you do business with him.
be jealous吃醋 chī cùeat vinegar当他发现她爱别人的时候,他吃醋了。
He was jealous when he discovered that she loved someone else.
live off others吃干饭 chī gàn fàneat cooked rice我们不需要吃干饭的。
We don’t need those who live off others.
cause trouble吃苦头 chī kǔ tóueat bitterness少管闲事,要不你会吃苦头的。
Mind your own business, or you’ll cause trouble.

 

Types of Chinese Tea

China was one of the first countries to grow and process tea in the world. Chinese tea can be divided into black tea, green tea, scented tea, Oolong tea, white tea and tea lumps.

  • Green Tea
Green tea has the longest history and still ranks first in production and variety in China. Famous green tea include Longjing Tea from the West Lake of Hangzhou, Maofeng Tea from Huangshan Mountain, Yinzhen Tea from Junshan Mountain, Yunwu Tea from Lushan Mountain and Biluochun Tea from Jiangsu.
  • Black Tea
Black tea also enjoys a good reputation both at home and abroad. Different from green tea, black tea is thoroughly fermented.
  • Oolong Tea
Oolong tea possesses the freshness of green tea and the fragrance of black tea. In recent years, it has become popular with more and more people for its effects in helping to reduce high blood pressure, lower the cholesterol, prevent coronary heart disease and aid digestion.
 
  • White Tea
White tea is as white as silver. The major producing areas are Fujian’s Zhenghe and Fuding. Famous varieties include Yinzhen(Silver needle) Tea and White Peony Tea.
  • Scented Tea

Scented tea (also called Flower Tea) is a variety unique to China, having the smells of flowers. When put in boiled water, the dried flowers spread as fresh as they were just picked up. Sweet osmanthus, jasmine, rose, orchid and plum flowers can all be used.

  • Leicha and Oil Tea
Besides the famous brands of tea in China, there are special kinds of tea among the minority people- Leicha( Pounded Tea) in Hunan and Oil Tea in Guangxi.

Leicha has a history of more than 1,600 years. It can stimulate body energy and is believed to be good for the liver and stomach.

Oil tea, popular among the Miao and Dong minority nationalities in Guangxi, has a similar procedure of making the leicha. The local people often entertain their guests with oil tea on festivals and holidays. Refreshments, such as cakes, sweet potatoes, peanuts and fried soybeans are often served with the tea.

Tea and Chinese

Tea-drinking is a nation-wide custom in China.It is a daily necessity for the Chinese to have three meals and tea a day. When any guest comes, it is a rite to present a cup of tea to him/her. There are numerous teahouses in every town and city.
Tea-drinking is an art, a skill in China. In some places the way of making tea is very complicated. And the tea utensils-the teacup, tea saucer, teapot, tea tray-are works of art. Diansin(pastry), which goes with tea, both tasty and appealing, is loved not only by the Chinese but also by the people all over the world. There are hundreds of famous teas in China and there are a great many famous springs and streams to provide water to make tea. And the tea fields or tea mountains are also marvelous sights to add beauty to the scenery.
It is said that the literary artists of Ancient China were inspired either by tea or by wine. Those who were fond of wine were said to write in a passionate and heroic style; those who preferred tea tended to be sentimental and romantic. In China, one can discover that romantic spirit for oneself, enjoying a cup of imperial tea in a peaceful setting with good company.

  • Origin of Tea
Origin of TeaAccording to Lu Yu’s Tea Classics, tea-drinking in China can be traced back to the Zhou Dynasty (1100- 221 B.C.): Tea was discovered by Shennong and became popular as a drink in the State of Lu because of Zhou Gong.
Tea drinking in China has a history of four thousand years. As the legend has it, Shennong, a legendary hero, tasted hundreds of wild plants to see which were poisonous and which were edible, so as to prevent people from eating the poisonous plants. It is said that he was poisoned seventy-two times in one day but was saved by chewing some tender leaves of an evergreen plant blossoming with white flowers. Since he had a transparent belly, people could see how the food moved throughout his stomach and intestines. When they saw the juice of the tender leaves go up and down in the stomach as if it were searching for something, they called it “cha”, meaning search in Chinese. Later it was renamed “cha” having the same sound of the present one.

Usage of Tea

Tea has been used as one of the sacrificial offerings to gods and ancestors at the memorial ceremony from ancient times in China. Tea was also used as a funerary object in ancient times. Moreover tea has had close connection with religion in China. In the history of China tea is usually regarded as a kind of drink that would refresh oneself and make the mind calm. In Buddhism tea is praised as a sacred thing given by God.

In modern time, people still keep drinking tea as their daily drinking. From the study, tea can also has effects on some modern illnesses. To those groups who have to work with computers for a long time, drinking a cup of tea can help them to build up a wall to the computer radiate gradually. To those people who may find too much fat, drinking tea can help them to re-create a new balance in their bodies. And to those aged people, drinking tea is also a good way to keep a calm mood for a longer life.

Mandarin Buzzword-“正能量(zhèngnéngliàng)”

 

Are you the kind of person who is desperately overcommitted and suffering from exhaustion? Are you still upset about your most recent failure? Are you living with terrible pressure? If so, you’re the victim of negative emotions. To resolve these problems, you need some “正能量(zhèngnéngliàng),” which can save you from feeling constantly disappointed or drained and can enable you to live a more hopeful and vibrant life. So, what is “正能量(zhèngnéngliàng)?”

 

“正能量(zhèngnéngliàng),” or positive energy, is a physical term originating from the theory of Quantum Electrodynamics proposed by the British physicist Paul Dirac. Nowadays, the term is widely used in psychology and first became widely known thanks to Rip It Up written by the British psychologist Richard Wiseman. The book’s title is translated as “正能量(zhèngnéngliàng)” in Mandarin, which refers to a kind of healthy, optimistic and positive emotion and motivation. Anyone who is ambitious and positive, or anything that provides people with encouragement and hope can be labelled as “正能量(zhèngnéngliàng).”

 

The reason why the concept of “正能量(zhèngnéngliàng)” is so popular these days is that people are now living under extremely heavy pressure. Fast-paced lives drive people to rush around, which consequently make them suffer from chronic exhaustion. The overwhelming pressure coming from employment, house purchasing and marriage brings people many worries. They may get angry, disappointed or scared. What’s more, the development of social networks such as “微博(wēibó),” one of China’s most popular microblogs, spreads people’s complaints and dissatisfaction like wildfire. This, in turn, generates a kind of negative vibe that expands throughout the whole of society.

 

“正能量(zhèngnéngliàng)” is used as a noun, and the term always collocates with “传递(chuándì),” “充满(chōngmǎn),” etc. We usually say someone “充满正能量(chōngmǎn zhèngnéngliàng)” or “满满的都是正能量(mǎnmǎnde dōushì zhèngnéngliàng),” meaning that someone is full of positive energy. For example, if a person has an optimistic and confident outlook on his or her life and remains peaceful and happy in the face of hardship, we say that[Learn More2] he or she “充满正能量(chōngmǎn zhèngnéngliàng).” Also, if there is something in your life that makes you keep hoping for the best and confident or feeling that life is meaningful and beautiful, you can also say that you“满满的都是正能量(mǎnmǎnde dōushì zhèngnéngliàng).”

 

Examples

Tā shì yígè chōngmǎn zhèngnéngliàng de rén!
他  是  一个 充满          正能量                的  人!
He is a person who is full of positive energy!

 

Jīntiān lǎobǎn biǎoyáng wǒ le,   xiànzài wǒ quánshēn dōushì zhèngnéngliàng!今天    老板      表扬        我 了, 现在     我  全身          都是    正能量!
Today my boss praised me, so now I am full of positive energy!

 
Xiànzài hěnduō míngxīng xǐhuan cānjiā císhàn huódòng, zhè kéyǐ gěi quánshèhuì chuándì zhèngnéngliàng.

现在     很多       明星        喜欢     参加   慈善     活动,     这   可以 给  全社会         传递       正能量。
Now many superstars enjoy taking part in charitable activities, which spreads positive feelings throughout the whole of society.

 

“负能量(fùnéngliàng)” is a term that means the opposite of “正能量(zhèngnéngliàng).” It essentially means negative energy, which brings with it negative emotions such as desperation, complaint, grief, and so on.

 

Example

Nǐ búyào lǎoshì bàoyuàn shēnghuó le,   nǐ zhèshì zài chuándì fùnéngliàng!
你 不要   老是    抱怨         生活        了,你 这 是    在 传递       负能量!
Don’t keep on complaining about life. You are spreading negative energy to others!

新西兰女孩艾玛-学艺记 Emma’s Juggling Ac

 

Emma Phillips has overcome major hurdles to realize her dream. She shows off her new skills juggling parasols at the Wuqiao Acrobatic School. [Photo: China Daily]

 

训练馆内,十几岁的孩子们身手敏捷,轻巧地翻飞,活力四溢,他们训练时发出的喊叫声回荡在整个房间内。喧闹声中,一位年轻的金发女郎正躺在长椅上,全神贯注地用双脚旋转着一顶阳伞。
There is a lot of energy in the large training hall, with the swift figures of teenage students flitting everywher. Their yells as they train fill the room. Amid the noise, a young brunette is lying on her back on a bench, totally focused on juggling a parasol with her feet.

这里便是河北省吴桥杂技学校
This is the circus school in Wuqiao, a rural city in Hebei province.

23岁的艾玛?菲利普斯来自新西兰北岛,在最近一对芬兰夫妇到来前,她一直是学校里唯一的外国人。她也是学校里唯一的成年人,吴桥杂技学校大部分的学生从6岁开始训练,最大的年仅17岁。
Emma Phillips, 23, is from a city on the north island of New Zealand, and she was the only foreigner in the school until the recent arrival of a Finnish couple. She was also the only adult in a school wher most of the students start training at the age of 6.The oldest was only 17.

“学校里的人们和镇上的居民都对我感到很好奇,他们不知道为什么一个外国人要大老远地跑到乡下的县城来学杂技,但我知道自己想要什么,而且我会坚持下去。”她说道。
“People from the school and residents in town are curious about me, wondering why a foreigner will come all the way to a rural county and learn acrobatics. But I know what I want and I’ll keep at it,” she says.

“我想将东方的技巧和西方的音乐融合起来,为观众表演一个故事。”
“I will put the Oriental skills to Western music, and perform with a story for my audience.”

艾玛?菲利普斯2012年来到中国,她已经在吴桥杂技艺术学校训练了5个月。她坐了很长时机的飞机来到中国,但她已经适应了长距离的旅行——正如她为实现童年的杂技梦想所走过的艰苦道路一样。
She came to China in 2012, and has already been training hard for five months at the Wuqiao Acrobatic Art School in the small town famous for its circus arts in Hebei. Her flight to China took a long time, but she is used to long journeys – like the hard road she traveled to realize her childhood dream of becoming an acrobat.

菲利普斯13岁时,观看了来家乡巡演的马戏团的演出。
Phillips was 13 when she saw a performance by a circus troupe visiting her hometown.

“当我看到演员们表演的令人惊讶的柔身术时,我觉得这棒极了!”她回忆道,双眼流露出别样的光彩,尽管这已经是十年前的事情了。
“When I saw the amazing contortions by the performers, I thought it was fascinating,” she recalls, her eyes shining from the memory even though it’s been a decade since then.

她之前练习爵士舞、卡巴莱和芭蕾舞,随后由舞蹈转向杂技,并且立志成为一名杂技演员。
She made the change from dancing – jazz, cabaret and ballet – and was determined to become an acrobat.

在她的家乡旺阿雷,孩子们大多将杂技作为课外活动,而不是终身的志愿。菲利普斯没有气馁,而是借助网上的视频帮助自己练习。
In Whangarei, wher Phillips comes from, children took up acrobatics more as an extra-curricular activity, rather than a full-time pursuit. Phillips was not daunted, and turned to videos on the Internet to help her train.

菲利普斯17岁从中学毕业后,进了当地一所杂技学校学习了两年,但学校并未给她带来想要的东西。
After she graduated from high school at 17, she enrolled in a local circus school for two years. Even so, it did not offer what she wanted.

学校的课程包括舞蹈、戏剧和表演,但菲利普斯想学到更多的东西,因此她决定毕业后继续学习更多的杂技技巧。
The school gave the students lessons on dance, theater and performance, but Phillips had expected more. She decided to further her skills after graduation.

她听说了中国的杂技学校,2010年决定亲自来看一看,周游了数月。2012年5月,她回到了北京,最终在杂技的发源地——中国,开始准备训练。
She heard about the circus schools in China and decided to see for herself in 2010, traveling around for months. She returned to Beijing in May 2012, and then started preparing to train, finally, in the country wher acrobatics had its origins.

起初,她进入了一所北京的杂技学校训练,并且结交了许多志趣相投的异国好友。但她想要的更多,所以便来到了吴桥杂技学校。
She first attended a circus school in Beijing, wher she made many friends from abroad, all sharing the same vision. But she wanted more, and so she enrolled in the school in Wuqiao.

“训练很辛苦,我筋疲力尽,但是很开心。”在短暂的训练间隙,她在宿舍对记者说道。
“The training is really hard. I am exhausted but happy,” she says in her dormitory during a short break.

教练每天指导她训练5个小时,一周6天,有时晚上还要加练3个小时。这样紧张的课程安排将持续到12月底。
The instructor coaches her five hours a day, six days a week. Sometimes she will continue her training for another three hours at night. This tight schedule will last until the end of December.

菲利普斯已经练坏了6把中国阳伞,现在她正在练习更高难度的动作——用双脚旋转一张一米见方的桌子——这一动作在中国之外很少有人能表演。
Phillips has already worn out six Chinese parasols, and now she is moving on to something even harder – juggling a 1-square-meter table, an act that is seldom performed outside China.

训练的时间长,强度大,菲利普斯经常受伤,但对家人和朋友的思念更使她倍感折磨,她已经有一年时间没有回家了。
Often bruised or in pain from the long, intensive training, Phillips says what hurts her more is missing her friends and her family, whom she has not seen for a year.

“训练结束后,我会给他们打电话或是在网上聊天。”她看着家人和家乡的照片说道。除了对家乡的思念,菲利普斯还有许多困难需要克服。她只会说几个汉语词,而她的教练刘琳也不会说英语。
“I call them or chat online after training,” she says, looking at photographs of her family, and the town wher she came from. There are other hurdles apart from her homesickness. Phillips cannot speak more than a few words of Chinese, and her coach, Liu Lin, does not speak English.

“最初的几个月里,我们之间的交流很困难,”刘琳说道,“然后我在手机上下载了一个翻译软件,所以现在我们能在肢体语言的帮助下顺利交谈了。”
“It was hard to communicate during the initial months,” Liu says. “Then I downloaded a translation application on my cell phone, so now we can talk, helped by body language.”

菲利普斯下了很大功夫学习汉语,现在她已经能说一些句子了。
Phillips has also made serious attempts to learn Mandarin and she can now master some sentences.

“我还想找一位汉语老师,这样我就能更加深入地了解杂技的传统和文化了。”她说道。
“I still want to have a Chinese teacher, so I can understand more about the traditions and culture of acrobatics,” she says.

年龄也是一重障碍
Age was also another barrier, Liu Lin says.

“与年纪更小的学生相比,艾玛能更好地吸收和理解训练的指导方针,但她却不具备身体方面的优势。”
“Compared to the younger students, Emma can absorb and understand the guidelines better, but physically, she does not have the advantage,” Liu says.

然而,尽管面对重重挑战,菲利普斯依然坚信,有一天能够与中国的杂技团合作,进行全球巡演,将杂技、戏剧表演和舞蹈结合起来。
Yet despite all the challenges, Phillips is very committed to her dream of one day performing with a troupe in China, touring the world and combining circus, theater and dance.

“像艾玛这样的留学生很欣赏我们的训练课程,这已成为了中外教育交流的重要渠道,同时也是宣扬我国传统的绝佳渠道。”吴桥杂技艺术学校负责留学生管理的李清民说道。
“Foreign students like Emma appreciate our lessons very much. It has been an important channel of education exchange between China and other countries, and an excellent channel through which to spread our traditions,” says Li Qingming, who is in charge of foreign student management at the school in Wuqiao.

他说20多名来自非洲的学生将于五月份抵达该校,并进行为期一年的训练。
He says more than 20 student from African countries will arrive in May to study for a year.

菲利普斯听到这样的消息很高兴。“很快我将交到更多的外国朋友,能跟他们交谈并一起训练实在是太棒了。”
Phillips is happy to hear the news. “I will have more foreign friends soon, and it will be nice to be able to talk to them, and train with them.”

词汇:
杂技学校
circus school
唯一的外国人 the only foreigner
舞蹈 dance
戏剧 theater
表演 performance
下载 download
障碍 barrier

Why the “blessing” symbol is upside down?

 

 

If you’re living in China or near a Chinese neighborhood, or if you have a Chinese friend that does celebrate Chinese New Year, or you aren’t close to anything Chinese but are able to surf Chinese web sites (who don’t anyways ? 🙂 ), you might have noticed the following festival decoration that is hanging on people’s doors, cars, or walls etc.

Have you ever thought about why it’s hanging upside down? It’s definitely not a random mistake if everybody does that.

Well, before we reveal the mystery, you need to learn these three characters first. Yes, only three characters for this post, I’m easy on you guys due to my festival mood today. 🙂

dàodào
福 (blessing, luck) 到 (come)倒 (turn upside down)
1. T2-fu
2. T2-dao
3. T2-dao

It’s fairly easy to translate the meaning of blessing word “到(fú dào)” into English:”Blessings come”.

Do you see the third character that I sneaked in after the first two characters in the table – “倒(dào)”? It has the same pronunciation with “到(dào)”, but with a different meaning:” turn upside down”.

Since “福(fú)” is in itself a completely beautiful symbol that’ll look good in any decoration art alone, adding “到” to the art work is a bit too much. Then how can we express the full word of “到”? The answer is using pun to replac “到” with “倒”. So we can explicitly express this character out loud by turning the art work upside down – 福”到”!