Mean, sick, and poor is no way to go through life, son.

Wise Words from the far Orient don't make any sense

Theres an old chinese proverb that says:

The wind might blow from the east
The wind might blow from the west
But keep your eyes upon the red
there you will prosper with the Gods of nature

This sounds more like the riddle than wise words to me. Why are the chinese so mysterious?
Permalink I don't get it 
March 23rd, 2005
Are you sure it's not "keep your eyes upon the reed"?

Permalink Philo 
March 23rd, 2005
There is no such Chinese proverb.

The original message is a steganographic message.

Attacks will follow.
Permalink Rich Rogers 
March 23rd, 2005
Imagine how the Chinese would view some of our lyrics. ;)

Underneath the bridge
The tarp has sprung a leak
And the animals I've trapped
Have all become my pets
And I'm living off of grass
And I'm drippings from the ceiling
But it's ok to eat fish
Cause they don't have any feelings

Not to mention Nik Kershaw's "The Riddle."
Permalink Tayssir John Gabbour 
March 23rd, 2005
I think it is Taoist, though its not from the Tao Teh Ching itself, and that Philo is right. Taoism became current during a time when there were many wars and conflicts and the average man didn't know who would be his ruler from day to day. A lot of Taoist pacifism is actually more about keeping your head down and bending like the reed before the wind.

That it was also resonant with how to live a life in general and in harmony with the Universe gave it permanence.
Permalink Simon Lucy 
March 23rd, 2005
Might be to do with the red soils in China, ie concentrate on working the land, not the weather, and the Gods will reward you.
Permalink el 
March 23rd, 2005
The Chinse have been around for a long, long time. So have foreign devils:
Permalink trollop 
March 23rd, 2005
> Theres an old chinese proverb that says

What you quoted was at best a translation; perhaps "red" is a [dubious] translation of a chinese word that has other connotations too (e.g. "soil").
Permalink Christopher Wells 
March 23rd, 2005
I don't know, the meaning seems fairly transparent to me: the winds change daily, but you shouldn't respond impulsively to those transient changes; stay focused on the long-term goal and you'll ultimately prosper.

Of course, there may well be deeper meanings and symbolism that, as a waiguoren (foreigner), I just don't get. Chinese art is notorious for this, and the language in general is suffused with symbolism conveyed by homonyms. (The word for fish, yu, is phonetically the same as that for welath and abundance; hence, the fish symbolizes wealth.) Such nuances are more likely than not to get lost in translation.
Permalink John C. 
March 23rd, 2005
> stay focused on the long-term goal ..

... or, perhaps, stay focused on the here-and-now; or focussed on that-which-is-within-your-power-to-affect: or whatever it is that "the red" means in this context.
Permalink Christopher Wells 
March 23rd, 2005
I tnink we've found a new niche for Philo. Improving Oriental wisdom. Now if he could get his mateas at MS to automate it!

Red is a lucky color in China (which I know from reading all the billboard ads for HSBC, which presumably has a red logo for that reason).

Nevertheless Philo's version is more to my liking.
Permalink Stephen Jones 
March 23rd, 2005
Old chinese proverb?

#Scratch my head#
Permalink Rick Tang 
March 23rd, 2005
Good point. Like how come there ain't no New Chinese Proverbs? And since they are all Old, what's the chance of them having any relevance to today?
Permalink Crazy Old Guy 
March 23rd, 2005
Use your brain, old guy :)
Permalink Rick Tang 
March 23rd, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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