My friend, Zhang M., has commented on my post about Google's possible pull out of China and its directing the Mainland China's search traffics to Hong Kong. Zhang shares my view what Google is doing is "covering one's ears to steal a bell"  掩耳盗铃. Having said that, Zhang does not agree with China's policy of censoring internet contents. Again, he and I  share the same view. Zhang asked me to write about the Chinese idiom "自欺欺人" (literally means "cheating yourself, cheating others") referring to the authorities' censorship. What Zhang is afraid of is that one day he would not have access to international social nets like this one (Weebly), like what is happening to Facebook, Wordpress, Bloggers, YouTube and etc.. 

Frankly, I do not intend to do that because I do not want to annoy the Chinese authorities and get myself into trouble. The reason I moved my blog from Wordpress (WP) to here is that WP is blocked in the Mainland. My fellow Chinese friends cannot have access to my WP blog. If my blog here gets too political you know what would happen. The worst case scenario is that I may cause Weebly to become another Wordpress.What I do instead is to write about one of the famous 36 strategems  (三十六計) of the South Qi Dynasty (479-502), which one foreign scholar aptly called them "smart-ass strategies". These strategies were at the time meant to be used in politics, wars and civil interactions, often through unorthodox or deceptive means. The one strategem that I am going to write is the 26th strategem, which is 指桑骂槐 (zhǐ sāng mà huái). It literally means pointing at the mulberry tree but cursing the locust tree. Metaphorically, it means that you criticise John but in fact you are criticising Mary, or in simple English, innuendo or insinuation. This strategy is applicable when a person intends to criticize the authorities, or another person more senior than him, or to whom he has a special relation, he names another person as the subject in order to avoid direct confrontation or retaliation.

My friends, I will make it a rule that when you want to criticise our motherland or the authorities please don't mention names, instead substitute it with "you-know-what" or "YKW" in short. This is akin to 指桑骂槐. This "smart-ass" term was used by Zhang in his comments to my post. When I replied to his comments I used the same term. It seems to work well and interesting too. Having said that, please note this is an academic blog and should not be used as a forum to air your political grievances, please keep the tone down.  

我早前在这里写了一篇有关谷歌可能退出中国市场及将国内搜索服务转到香港之文章, 我的好友小张同意我该文章所讲谷歌其做法是掩耳盗铃  ,话虽如此,小张对国内审查互联网内容与我看法一致同样亚不支持,他担心这一网站(Weebly) 命运跟其他国际社交网站 Facebook,WordPress, Blogger, You Tube 一样,到时他看不到这网站,他提议我写写「自欺欺人」这句中国成语,反映有关当局做法是自欺欺人, 我才不自找烦恼,我刚由wordpress 搬过来,就是因为那边被中国封锁,我的中国朋友上不到该网站,如果我在这里得罪有关方面,你们知道后果如何, 最坏的情况是,我可能会导致Weebly成为另一个WordPress。

我想较好的方法是偷偷古人三十六计其中一计指桑骂槐,英文是 innuendo 或 insinuation, 中国朋友对这一计都耳熟能详,我不再多讲。好吧,认我定下一规则,当你批评祖国或有关当局,不可提名字,取而代之用英语 “You-know-what" 或简写“YKW”,类似指桑骂槐。这一词我是从小张处学的,在他的评论他是用这一代语, 当我回答他时我用同样的代语,似乎效果良好和有趣。尽管如此,请注意这是一个学术博客,不应该被用来作为一个舒發政治不满的平台,请保持低调。
Meaning 意义

Speak of the devil (and in he walks). This idiom means “talk about certain person and he appears”.  A similar Spanish idiom is “”Hablando del Rey de Roma, por la ventana se asoma” (Speaking of the King of Rome, through the window he appears). In Chinese, it is 说曹操,曹操到 (“shuō Cáo Cāo, Cáo Cāo dào”), which translates as “Speak of Cao Cao and Cao Cao arrives. Cáo Cāo is the a well known historical figure of ancient China during the Three Kingdom Period (220-265CE).

Example 例子

  • Hey, I haven’t seen Bob for a long time. Speak of the devil, here he comes.
  • Hola. hace tiempo no he visto a Bob. Mira, hablando rey del Roma, aquí viene Bob ahora.
  • 喂,我很久没有见过Bob. 说曹操,曹操到, 他正走过来!