EPISODE 21: 呆若木鸡 Dumb Like A Wooden Chicken


This story took place during the warring states in the country of Qi. The leader of Qi was Qi Xuan Wang. We can call him King Qi for short. He enjoyed raising roosters for cock fights. Terrible sport, but that's because there were no street racing, boxing or other competitions for him back then.

He hired a cock-fighting expert named Ji Sheng Zi to train his pet roosters. But King Qi was an impatient dude so a few days after training began, he went to bother Ji Sheng Zi. The trainer said "No, this rooster is not ready."

King Qi returned a few days later to check on his roosters hoping that they'd be ready for fighting. He bothers Ji Sheng Zi again who responded, "This rooster is still not quite ready, he's easily angered and still needs more training."

King Qi's patience grew weary and he returned a few days later to ask the trainer. This time, he was surprised that Ji Sheng Zi said "Yes! This rooster is mature enough to fight!"

Finally, King Qi was able to bring his prized rooster to the fighting pits. 

Fighting between roosters is more than just aggressively attacking each other. There's also a mental aspect. You can't tell but the roosters are silently insulting each other and playing psychological mind games with each other. 

This particular rooster was so well-trained that he would maintain his composure no matter how much the opposing rooster would instigate it. King Qi's rooster would stay so still that it looked like a wooden chicken! The opposing roosters would stare at King Qi's chicken and be confused at its wood-like demeanor and all be too afraid to fight. That's how King Qi's rooster would go on to win numerous victories. Thus, the story behind "Dumb Like A Wooden Chicken."

Moral of the Idioms: Just because something looks dumb does not mean you should neglect its potential

Episode 20: 东施效颦 Dong Shi Imitates Frown

Dong Shi Xiao Pin

Dong Shi Xiao Pin

说春秋时候,越国有个名叫西施的姑娘,她非常美丽、漂亮,一举一动也很动人。她有心口疼的疾病,犯病时总是用手按住胸口,紧皱眉头。因为人们喜欢她,所以她这副病态,在人们眼里也妩媚可爱,楚楚动人。 西施的邻村有个丑姑娘叫东施,总是想方设法打扮自己。有一次在路上碰到西施,见西施手捂胸口,紧皱眉头,显得异常美丽。她想难怪人们说她漂亮,原来是做出这种样子。如果我也做这个姿势,肯定就变漂亮了。于是她模仿西施的病态。结果人们见了原来就丑的她,现在变成这种疯疯癫癫的样子,象见了鬼一样,赶紧把门关上。

During the Spring and Autumn period, there was a beautiful girl who lived in the country of Yue. Her name was Xi Shi, one of the 4 beauties in Chinese history. She was so freakin' beautiful that everything she did was perceived to be beautiful. Even when she winces from her chest pain she looked gorgeous...painfully gorgeous. Because everyone in the village loved her so much, whenever she was in pain and grabbed her chest, people thought it was rather adorable. 

A few houses away, there lived her girl named Dong Shi. She was on the entire opposite spectrum as Xi Shi. Dong Shi was not very beautiful to begin with, but was someone who kept trying to improve her outer beauty. One day, Dong Shi saw Xi Shi grab her chest on the street, and assumed that it was something "beautiful" people do. So, Dong Shi began to grab her chest for no reason at all. Instead of people perceiving Dong Shi as beautiful, people only saw her as crazy. Whenever they saw Dong Shi running around the street, they'd run inside their homes and shut the front door.

MORAL OF THE IDIOM: Improper imitation CAN have the reverse effect than what you're trying to achieve