Context: I asked my coworker if she could help me with my folklore collection and if she knew any proverbs that she could share. She gave me an example of one that her older sister used to tell her all the time.
Roman Phonetic: “Yin ye fei shi”
- Transliterated Proverb:
- yin: because
- Ye: choke
- fei: abandon or give up
- shi: food
Full Translation: The literal translation is “because choke abandons food”, with the meaning behind it meaning giving up food because of the fear of choking.
Explanation: The meaning behind this proverb is to say that one does not simply stop eating food just because there is the possibility of choking. The broader application would be to not let fear stop someone from living their life. This proverb was very important to my coworker when she was nervous about big decisions in her life in high school and college, and her older sister would tell her this proverb to tell her to just go for things because there is a risk in everything, but if she never took those risks, she would never be able to start to accomplish anything.
Thoughts: I found this proverb pretty inspirational and applicable to my life as well. It is also similar to a proverb my mom would tell me about not worrying too much about what could go wrong and focus more on how to do things right. My coworker said this proverb to me on my first day of work when I was a little nervous about interacting with customers. The context she used was to tell me to go out and just talk to the customers and to greet them without thinking too much about what bad things could happen. The proverb also gives insight into Chinese culture, because there is often an environment that creates go-getter attitudes.