On 24th of March I posted an article written by a Bloomberg correspondent entitled “Google Faces No Hong Kong Censors After China Retreat” at my blog at Wordpress. It seems that Google has upheld its stance on internet freedom. The fact is that Google only passes the ball to China’s court. It is now the China authorities who are doing the censorship. It is confirmed that China has screened Google’s contents and blocked those topics which they do not like. The Chinese netizens (net users) still do not have access to such sensitive topics on Tiananmen Massacre, Tibet,, Dalai Lama, Falun Gong etc. I am a big Google fan and I am all for Google’s intent and purpose. However, I have reservation the way they handle the matter. What Google doing is akin to an ancient Chinese metaphor, 掩耳盗铃. More on this below.
掩耳盗铃 (yan er dao ling) literally means “covering one’s ears to steal a bell” in English or “Taperse los oídos al robar una campanilla” in Spanish. It actually means “deceiving oneself” or “engañarse a sí mismo“. It has similar meaning to “bury one’s head in the sand” or “esconder la cabeza debajo del ala“
The origin of the metaphor can be traced back to the ancient China’s Spring and Autumn Period (476BC to 770BC). History had it that a thief at the time tried to steal a big and heavy copper bell from a house. He could not move it so he had to break it into pieces. The thief found a big hammer and tried to do so. He realized that it would produce a very loud noise and would draw others’ attention. To avoid that he stuck some fabrics into his ears. He thought others, like him, could not hear it when he hit the bell with the hammer. Needless to say that was not the case and he got caught.
There was a frog that lived in a shallow well.
” Look how well off I am here ! ” he told a big turtle from the Eastern Ocean. ” I am master of the water and lord of this shallow well, What more can a fellow ask for? Why do I want to leave the well ? “
It was only until the turtle took the frog outside of the well (or told the frog what were outside) that the frog realized how big the world was.
It means a person who cannot see the world or things in big picture
- A son who was born and raised in a small place like Hong Kong told his father ”I do not want to be a frog in the well. I want go t o a university in the United States to further my studies and see what life is like outside Hong Kong.”
- A member of Italki or LiveMocha wrote in his profile “I do not want to me a frog in the well. I am learning Chinese so that I get to know more about the Chinese culture and the people of China”.
- A New Yorker laughed at a man from a small town “You are a frog in a well. You don’t know how big New York is.”
- A teacher told his students “You must study hard and read more otherwise you will be a frog in the well.”
- A person thought the bank of his country was the biggest bank in the world. He was told “You are a frog in the well. Don’t you know that the three largest banks in the world by capitalization are Chinese banks”.