A Spring Festival Tale - The Legend of the Beast 年
So, why does New Year’s Eve in any Chinese city sound like a fire in the local munitions factory? Why is the colour red so auspicious at this time? Why the couplets of poetry hung on either side of every doorway? And why is it so important to see in the Chinese New Year together with your family in a brightly lit room?
According to legend, it’s all to do with a ferocious beast called, by strange coincidence, 年 (Nian).
Here's the link to the story. I’ve tried to emulate Tal’s excellent format. The translation is my own attempt so not necessarily the best choice of words - I’ve tried to keep the English natural; hopefully I’ve preserved most of the meaning/feeling of the Chinese, but it doesn’t always follow word-for-word.
The original Chinese is taken from the
Confucius Institute website (which – despite the sometimes dodgy English) looks like an interesting resource. You can even download an MP3 of the story from that site.
Happy New Year!
bodaweiFebruary 02, 2011, 11:23 PM
I can't get this link to work, is it me?
Just wanted to say I love the story anyway - remember doing it in class when I first started learning Chinese. I remember thinking 'this is so weird', but now I realise compared to many other stories and traditions in China it isn't so weird. Like an old friend.
no worries. Ah, yeah, probably also due to the fact that it looks like toianw's story is hosted on a Chinese site. I've found Chinese sites in general slower to access. CPod is on American servers I believe so no problem with speed there.
I've never heard that stated before - you would have lots of experience. But there are a host of variables. The nature of the site, your location, your own Internet service speed? Personally I have never noticed that Chinese sites are in general slower to access .. I have suggested the reverse here but that is just as controversial. What I notice is that Australian newspaper sites are generally slow, particularly their videos, some don't play at all for me. Whereas in China, newspaper sites are fast and their videos usually play immediately no problem. There is one Chinese site I go to with lots of photos and videos that is particularly slow. I wonder what other people find and whether it matters where you are?
The other thing I have mentioned before here is that the Chinese sites with feature length films are particularly fast - like magic they can play the movie as soon as you click on the link. I watched IP Man 2 on one of those sites.
ah yeah, I just meant in my experience from here in Australia. I have no doubt that it's fast in China. I find sites elsewhere very fast to load. One's [sorry,hehe] own internet speed can of course vary with traffic but generally my speed is very fast [broadband]. Mobile broadband is generally not as fast as regular broadband.
Yes, it's the foreign websites we have problems with here:) in fact, I originally tried to host in on Zoho, but I've not been able to access any of my documents on there for a while now so had to look for something else.
While we're on the subject, are other poddies in China having problems with google these days? I usually use google.co.uk, but for months now (maybe since the google pull-out from China) it's been playing up. It only allows 3-5 searches in a row and then gives up. I have to wait five minutes and then it works again (for another 3-5 searches) - very annoying!
Is this a problem across all of China? Why should this be? Is it deliberate "sabotage" from somewhere within China to make google less popular? Any ideas?
'since the google pull-out from China'
Hey toianw, can you explain in non-technical language what happened in the much publicised 'pull-out'? I used to go to co.uk before I realised I can go anywhere - how is it different to before the pull-out? Perhaps more to the point, how am I disadvantaged by the 'pull'out'?
If using Google I usually search on .com.au; not so much co.hk so maybe that is why I haven't noticed the problem you mention. You are not restricted to co.hk.
First, thanks for the great work you've done on 'The Legend of the Beast Nian'. I'm deeply gratified that you've both found this group useful and interesting, and that you've chosen to support it by making such a fine contribution. (By the way, just to be fair, the format you've admired and reproduced was originally thought up by tvan!)
Secondly, re. Google. Down here in Guangdong, I certainly do experience the things you mention, and I do not doubt that these problems are due to interference with how the search engine operates. Sometimes it works reasonably well, sometimes it doesn't, and personally I find it makes no difference which flavor of Google you go for, (unless you are using it through a VPN of course.) It is just basically hamstrung in China, and unless one 'votes with one's feet' or uses a VPN one has to just learn to live with that.
I greatly hope that these little groups I started will continue to attract interest and contributions. As for me my CPod subscription expires at the end of this current month, and I have decided I will not be renewing it this time, so this post is a kind of farewell. Thanks very much to everyone who has made my time here a pleasure, my very best wishes goes out to those people.
I don't know what to say, except a big thankyou. You're contributions have always been so valuable, so insightful and so enjoyable to read. You leave behind not only your own comments but a legacy of great groups such as this one which have inspired us. I can only hope that even though you're not renewing your subscription at this stage, we may still benefit on occasion from your presence on the boards. Again, a big thankyou and wishing you all the best in every endeavour. Jiayou pengyou !
I thought we'd lost you, hadn't seen you much and then your avatar went - things looked serious. And now you are going, I'm sorry to hear that. I'm not sure that we always agreed on everything, but we did more often than not, and I enjoyed your insights on society from fairly long experience on the mainland. And your contributions on the language. Not to mention those emoticons, which must be your real legacy, assuming they are not going to follow your avatar? :)
You know it is quite a while since I saw it now, and all I can remember is a lot of violence. I am sounding old fashioned I know. I need to look out for IP man 1 and give it all another go. My appreciation of wushu is all Jacky Chan, I am not an educated audience.
I've really appreciated your contributions to the ChinesePod forums. Aside from the general interest and humor of your posts, you appear to have been able to "cast a cold eye on life" in China, and your reports have helped me get a more balanced sense of what it might be like. Thank you.
Baba - Late evenings particularly weekends they run old Jackie Chan and Jet Li and Chow Yang Fat films on the local TV - how many films did they make, really? They often look like mere boys in these films. They have had such very long careers, already. Sometimes these famous guys appear together in the same film - double the fun. The films made originally in Cantonese are dubbed into 普通话。
Hi bodawei - All I know about the pull-out is that if you tried to visit the Chinese version of google, you were redirected to the Hong Kong site. In theory, this shouldn't have affected me as I've always, out of habit, used the UK version. But it's definitely playing up for me now. It's particularly noticeable on image searches. After ever few images I open, I then get the "page not found" message. After that I can't get anything more out of google at all unless I leave it alone for 5 mins or so. Then I can refresh a page and it will open fine again (if it's not a blocked one!).
I'll have a try with the Aussie site though and see if it's any better. Perhaps this just affects some regions of China. I honestly don't know.
So maybe a VPN is the way to go. I've been considering it for a while as then I should be able to watch some BBC TV and even listen to the cricket (if I get a UK based IP and my internet is fast enough!). Does using a VPN affect your internet speed at all? I don't know much about how they work.
Also like to add my thanks for your contributions to our community here. I've been reading your (and a lot of the regulars') comments for a lot longer than I've been posting here and learnt a lot about so many things from everybody. I also hope you'll log-on from time to time and leave us the occasional message. Best Wishes!