This dialogue between a man and a sailor drives home a quick life lesson: there’s risk in anything you do, so there’s no point in trying to avoid danger entirely. HSK 2-3.
Hey crew – we’ve had some pretty nasty technical difficulties over here at CRP when moving a server. I’m working to get all these stories back online. Data was corrupted in the middle of a server switch, and the posts are a bit of a mess. Hoping to have it fixed by the end of the week. Sorry for the wait!
An elder monk gives a younger monk a quick lesson in following the spirit of the law, rather than the letter of the law. HSK 4-5.
In this cutsey-face story intended for kindergarteners, Grandma Bear (熊奶奶 – xióng nǎi nai) comes down with an illness that can only be cured by seeing a rainbow (彩虹 -cǎi hóng), and Uncle Frog (青蛙大叔 – qīng wā dà shū) jumps in to make it happen. HSK 2-3.
Binge drinking, breakups and air travel don’t mix, people. HSK 6 and up.
A not-too-bright fellow heads to the market to buy a pair of shoes. Includes a beginner’s introduction to classical Chinese. HSK 3.
A tragic, dreamlike little essay from writer Zhang Ailing (张爱玲, English name Eileen Chang) about love and destiny. This is one of her more well-known works of micro-prose, written in 1944. HSK 5-6.
A man tries to make his treasured hunting bow (弓 gōng) even more perfect than it already is, but learns an obnoxious life lesson instead. HSK 3-4.
An essay from Chinese lit diva Zhang Ailing about a scene of police brutality she witnessed in Shanghai in the 1940s. HSK 6 and up.
In this HSK 3-4 story, a crafty fox (狐狸 hú li) escapes being eaten by playing a cunning trick on a mighty tiger (老虎 lǎo hǔ).
I’ve got a good, but challenging, read for HSK 6 readers today: the Eight Immortals mess around in the Dragon King’s domain, almost starting a cataclysm in the process. HSK 5-6.
A young man tries to copy the way people walk in the city of Handan (邯郸), but only succeeds in making a fool of himself. HSK 3-4.
In my most challenging post yet, you’ll read the first chapter of controversial literary bad boy Wang Shuo’s dark plunge into the criminal underbelly of Beijing. HSK 6+, not suitable for children.
A gentleman named Buzi (卜子) asks his wife (卜妻) to make him a new pair of pants (裤子), but he doesn’t give her very clear instructions. HSK 3-4.
Our last Communist-themed post for the week: a classic revolutionary-era story about the man himself, Chairman Mao. HSK 4-5.
Zhu De (朱德) is an early Communist folk hero, and the founder of the People’s Liberation Army (解放军), also called the Red Army (红军). This popular revolutionary story highlights his willingness to toil alongside the rank and file soldiers. HSK 3-4.
In June, 1984, thirteen years before the Hong Kong handover, he gave this speech, addressing critics of the “One Country, Two Systems” （一个国家，两种制度）policy, which determined China’s approach to the handover. The policy maintained that different political systems would concurrently be implemented under one government. In other words, that mainland China would remain socialist, and that Hong Kong would remain capitalist (until 2047, anyway), but both would be ultimately overseen by the CCP. It was a radical notion at the time, and it still is in many ways. His words here are a fascinating look into the past.
This song is a relic of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). The melody was adapted from an old farmer’s folk song back in 1942, and became popular when Mao Zedong’s (毛泽东) cult of personality was in full swing.
It’s Communism Week at CRP! I’m kicking off with some classic stories about the good deeds of Communist folk hero Lei Feng, the ultimate socialist Boy Scout. HSK 4-5.
One picky little horse doesn’t appreciate the food he is served, until he sees what everyone else is eating. Upper-beginner, bordering on intermediate, HSK 4.