Archive for July, 2008

We’re covering a lot of chengyu (ancient Chinese idoms) at the moment… my favorite so far: (using phonetic spelling rather than pinyin…)

画蛇添足 hwa sheuh tien zoo : draw a snake then add feet (go too far with something you say)

画龙点睛 hwa long dien jeeng : add eyes to a painted dragon (clinch a point)

对牛弹琴 dway nyo tahn cheen : play lute for a cow (fruitlessly engage in a futile action / misjudge the audience)

班门弄斧 baan min nong foo : use an axe at the gate of Lu Ban, the master carpenter (show one’s scanty knowledge in the presence of an expert)

孤掌难鸣 goo zhaang naan meen : a lone hand cannot clap (it’s difficult to achieve anything without company)


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Corn yoghurt

“Yoghurt with big fruit pieces”… Except the “fruit” is corn. It tastes just like you would imagine. (If you can’t imagine it, take a can of cream corn and mix it with a container of sweetened vanilla yoghurt…)

We’ve had thunderstorms on and off for the last three weeks and it’s currently pouring with rain. I went out and walked around with an umbrella, and it was some of the heaviest rain I’ve seen in a while. Every flat surface had at least 1-2cm of water covering it, flowing like a wide, shallow river.

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Fifteen of the highest-profile hostages held by FARC were rescued in a spectacularly successful sting operation.  I hope for the sake of the Colombian people that FARC doesn’t last much longer.  Only 2000 or so more hostages to go.

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My inspiration

List of problems solved by MacGyver.

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For some reason HBA decided to cram twice as much into each lesson this week, and also decided we should study older (i.e. unused) literary forms the same week. We’re reading some 1920s texts written by some famous authors, as well as covering Chinese medicine in all its weirdness, and also have a lesson that’s cram-packed full of ancient four-character idiomatic expressions. I have to decide whether it’s better to be clueless but lucid, because I didn’t preview the material but slept, or clued-up but wasted because I covered everything at the expense of sleep.

From Harvard Beiji…

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Convincing the world there is a problem in North Korea is a difficult task.

See short documentary segments about the plight of NK refugees in China here (the two video links are at the bottom of that blog post)… the videos are heart-wrenching in a couple of places.

A new docudrama movie was just released in South Korea, called Crossing.  Looks to be phenomenal, I’ll have to see it when I pass through Seoul on my way back to the US.  Hopefully this will stir up South Koreans at least to caring about the plight of their own people in the North, before many more people die.

And in almost completely unrelated news, NK detonated the cooling tower of their Yongbyon nuclear reactor on Friday.  (In other words the government has now achieved its purpose of using the reactor as a bargaining chip for food and energy aid, and have secured another steady source of refined plutonium that they can continue making weapons with.)

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Came across an interesting short article today on Wikipedia about the Beijing Language and Culture University (BCLU), whose campus facilities Harvard is using to run HBA (the Harvard Beijing Academy).

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