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Intermediate

Fable:《和尚背女人》Monks carrying a woman

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.

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Intermediate

Essay:《爱》Love by Zhang Ailing (Eileen Chang)

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.

Categories
Intermediate

Mythology: 八仙过海 – The Eight Immortals Cross the Sea

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.

Categories
Intermediate

Communist folk tales: 《水缸的秘密》- The secret of the water jug

Our last Communist-themed post for the week: a classic revolutionary-era story about the man himself, Chairman Mao. HSK 4-5.

Categories
Intermediate

Communist folk tales: The good deeds of Lei Feng

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.

Categories
Intermediate

Essay: 《感谢困难》Thanking Life’s Challenges by Lin Qingxuan

You can skip your Instagram yoga gratitude break today, here’s another one from Taiwanese Buddhist essayist Lin Qingxuan (林清玄). HSK 4-5.

Categories
Intermediate

Story behind the idiom: 画龙点睛 – Perfect words at a critical moment

This is the legend that underpins the idiom “画龙点睛”, which typically describes the use of a couple of perfectly-chosen words or sentences, added a critical moment in written works or spoken arguments, which illuminate a deeper meaning and give the content more power. The story itself, though, it about dragons, and is only tied to that concept in the loosest way.

Categories
Intermediate

Essay: 《蝴蝶的种子》Seed of a Butterfly by Lin Qingxuan

Taiwanese Buddhist essayist Lin Qingxuan marvels at the wonders of nature, time, space, and reincarnation. This piece is all about awe of the natural world, and you’ll learn some Discovery Channel vocab, like “pupa”, “mate”, “breed”, “spawn”, and lots of animal names.

Categories
Intermediate

Fable: 《上帝的铲子》God’s Shovel

A devout Christian explains the benefits of charitable giving to his neighbors. A short, 7-sentence read, but a little dense on new vocab with harder sentence structures (suitable around HSK 4-5).

Categories
Intermediate

Letter: Ba Jin’s Correspondence with “Young Friends Searching for Ideals” – Part I

In the first of a two-part post, we’ll look at a letter sent in 1987 from a group of elementary school students to the anarchist writer Ba Jin (most famous for his 1931 novel The Family) as they struggle to cope with China’s changing social values. In Part II, I’ll translate Ba Jin’s reply.

Categories
Intermediate

Mythology: 《精卫填海》 from the Classic of Mountains and Seas

This one’s pretty cool, guys. Today, we’re going to take look at a short text that’s almost 2000 years old. This passage comes from the 《山海经》shān hǎi jīng, or The Classic of Mountains and Seas, an ancient compendium of mythological beasts that was formalized during the Han Dynasty – that’s around the same time as the Roman Empire.

Categories
Intermediate

Children’s Story: The Little Polar Bear and the Doll Dance Together

Feels like it’s been a hundred years since I threw something up here. Rest assured I carry the shame of an un-updated blog around with me constantly, so – yay, guilt. I’m actually taking intensive classes in Chinese (yet again) to push my reading level higher, hence the lack of posts. I’m more active on […]

Categories
Intermediate

Guest Post: Story Behind the Idiom: 塞翁失马 – A blessing in disguise

Hey hey, lookie here, an excellent guest post submitted by native Chinese speaker Yang from Learn Mandarin Now. This story tells us a bit about the Chinese chengyu (idiom),塞翁失马, which can mean “a blessing in disguise”, or can conversely mean “bad luck disguised as good”. It’s used to point out the hidden positives or negatives […]

Categories
Intermediate

Novels: Start Reading 《最后一个阴阳师》The Last Yin Yang Master

Happy Year of the Sheep! Couple of days ago, I stumbled across the Book “The Last Yin Yang Master”, aka “The Last Onmyoji” 《最后一个阴阳师》, a supernatural ghost story available for free online. Grab the whole thing Zhuaji.com.

Categories
Intermediate

Story Behind the Idiom: 专心致志 – Single-minded devotion

Story behind the Chinese idiom 专心致志 zhuān xīn zhì zhì, which means “to do something with single-minded devotion”.

Categories
Intermediate

Guest Post: The History of Chinese Americans

Hey, whaddaya know! A guest post. Been a while since we got one of these. Many thanks to Ryan, who submitted recently. Ryan tells us: “This is a very interesting article about Chinese-Americans that shouldn’t be too hard for intermediate-level readers. The grammar in this article is fairly simple, and I could understand most of […]

Categories
Intermediate

Essay: Desk-chairs of the Future

This kid was asked to imagine the perfect desk-chair of the future – what it would look like, and what it would do – and boy, does he ever. The chair turns into all kinds of utopian machinery. It flies, it helps you sleep, and it carries your books to school. Sentence structure is pretty […]

Categories
Intermediate

Children’s Story: Little Bear’s Beautiful Dream

Little Bear is sad to know his dream was just a dream… or was it?

Categories
Intermediate

Fable: 《沉默的狗》The Silent Dog

Welp, I swore I would never do this again but I found this (and several other short stories) in Hainan Airlines’ in-flight magazine (I’m in Prague!) and couldn’t resist typing it up (as opposed to copy-pasting from an online source). I’ve checked and checked for typos, but I’m not always the best at that, so […]

Categories
Intermediate

Essay: Papa, Please Don’t Smoke!

In this essay, a child desperately (and very angrily) pleads their father not to smoke. Though this is classified as “Intermediate”, beginners should definitely try this read, leaning heavily on the hover word-list. The difficult parts are the mid-level turns of phrase, which are all explained below.