Today is the start of Chinese New Year. This weekend there will be spectacular and colourful events all around London to welcome in the Year of the Horse.
London has the largest Chinese community outside Asia so it’s no wonder that there will be plenty to see. If you’d like to know more about Chinese New Year, take a look here.
When I was growing up in Malaysia, Chinese New Year was my and my siblings’ (brother and sister) favourite religious festival. (The Chinese are the second largest community in Malaysia.) What we especially loved were the red packets ‘ang pow’ that my parents’ friends would give us when we visited them. These red packets always had money in them and some of my parents’ friends were extremely generous. Our piggy banks would positively swell under the weight of all those ‘ang pow’!
Among the many fabulous things the Chinese have given us over the centuries – rice, paper, pasta, porcelain, printing, holistic medicine, tea – the teachings of the philosopher and teacher, Confucius has had a lasting impact on not only Asian life and values but also the Western world.
Confucius, whose name literally means “Master Kong”, lived in 551-479 BC. He presented himself as a “transmitter who invented nothing” and he really pointed out the importance of learning, which is one reason he is seen by the Chinese as “The Greatest Master”.
One of the best known sources of Confucius are The Analects, a collection of his teachings, which was compiled many years after his death. A fountain of profoundly wise quotes can be found in this collection.
Many of them are universal and timeless in their beautiful and simple truth and they are as valid today as in Confucius’s time. .
Confucius is so well-known that often when people are about to say something philosophical they start with the expression: ‘Confucius says….’This is often said in jest (as a joke).
Jokes apart, I would like to share here with you 10 of my favourite quotes from Confucius.
1. Everything has its beauty but not everyone sees it.
2. It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.
3. Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.
4. What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others.
5. Virtue is not left to stand alone. He who practises it will have neighbours.
6. Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.
7. I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.
8. Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.
9. When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.
10. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.
2014 is the Year of the Horse in the Chinese Zodiac. I was born in this year so I am thrilled to say that 2014 will be my year. I wonder what 2014 has in store for me. Whatever it is, I intend to enjoy it to the fullest.
There are different ways to say Happy New Year in Chinese depending on whether you speak Cantonese or Mandarin or the other dialects.
I will use the expression I’ve always used in Malaysia, so to all my Chinese followers and readers, ‘Kong Hee Fatt Choy’.
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Ciao for now