Chinese Proverbs


When I was a small, my parents made me memorize some classic proverbs:

Men, at their birth, are naturally good

Their Natures are the same; their habits become widely different

“What do they mean to you?”

hmmm. I think there was a very high value on education and being conscious of my surroundings. I put family as a very high value, or I was socialized to be.

Informant & Context:

My Informant is a Chinese-American student at the University of Southern California, who speaks Mandarin at home with his family members. These traditional Chinese proverbs were translated by him.


These proverbs really stress ideas of optimism. The first proverb, blatantly so, the second one does so by emphasizing the impact of ones surroundings on an individual. My informant definitely takes this as a positive thing—a call to be conscious and observant rather than morose that difference has arisen.