• Mon
  • Jul 28, 2014
  • Updated: 5:52pm

Translation may say it all

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 September, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 September, 1998, 12:00am

In the first page of Chris Patten's book East and West the author quotes from The Analects of Confucius - but it seems the translation is not that desirable. Mr Patten's understanding and his version is that 'Weisheng Mu said to Confucius: 'Hey You! What makes you run around like this all the time? Is it to show off your clever tongue?' Confucius said; 'I don't flatter myself with having a clever tongue; I simply detest pig-headedness'.' I looked at the original Chinese and suggest the following translation by Sinolingua of Beijing would be more apposite. 'Weisheng Mu said to Confucius 'Why you rush preaching all over the place? Are you showing off your talent?' Confucius said 'I am not so impertinent as to show off my talent. I just detest those with incorrigible obstinacy'.' It is important to note that Confucius never used phrases like 'clever tongue' or 'pig-headedness'. Confucius said he hated/detested incorrigible obstinacy.


Perhaps during his tenure our last Governor either misunderstood the Chinese or was misunderstood by them because of language and culture barriers.


LOUIS KO Discovery Bay

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