Learn Chinese words about feeling bad

Sad Moon

Moon Taking Pity on the World

Another year is slipping away, this one having been particularly challenging for many of us. Life does not promise us sunshine everyday; we must sometimes deal with hail, thunderstorms, floods, fires, diseases and pandemics. Therefore, this seems a good time for us to familiarize ourselves with a few Chinese words that pertain to pain, sadness, disappointment and other negative feelings.

不舒服 (bú shūfú) could mean not feeling well physically or feeling uncomfortable emotionally.

我今天不舒服, 不去上班了.
Wǒ jīntiān bú shūfú, bù qù shàngbānle.
I’m not feeling well today, so I won’t go to work.

他说约翰的坏话, 我听了心里很不舒服.
Tā shuō yuēhàn de huàihuà, wǒ tīngle xīnlǐ hěn bú shūfú.
He spoke ill of John,and I felt uncomfortable about it.

To feel is 感觉 (gǎnjué) or 觉得 (juéde).

他不能与朋友相聚, 感觉孤单以及郁闷.
Tā bùnéng yǔ péngyǒu xiāngjù, gǎnjué gūdān yǐjí yùmèn.
Not being able to get together wtih friends, he feels lonely and depressed.

期末考快要到了, 他觉得很紧张.
Qímò kǎo kuàiyào dàole, tā juédé hěn jǐnzhāng.
The final exam is near; he feels very nervous.

Tā jídù wǒ de chéngjī bǐ tā hǎo.
She is jealous that I have better grades than she.

Wǒ hòuhuǐ méiyǒu jiēshòu tā de jiànyì.
I regret not having followed his suggestion.

今年的销售量低, 颇令人失望
Jīnnián de xiāoshòu liàng dī, pǒ lìng rén shīwàng.
This year’s sales are low, quite disappointing.

他失业了, 前途茫然.
Tā shīyèle, qiántú mángrán.
He lost his job, and his future is uncertain.

她不敢去看电影, 怕得到病毒感染.
Tā bù gǎn qù kàn diànyǐng, pà dédào bìngdú gǎnrǎn.
She is afraid to go to the movies for fear of getting the virus.

Tā tǎoyàn chāduì de rén.
She despises people who jump the queue.

天黑了, 他还没回来. 我有些担心.
Tiān hēile, tā hái méi huílái. Wǒ yǒuxiē dānxīn.
It’s getting late, but he has not yet come back. I’m somewhat worried.

如果他出了事, 我们会很伤心.
Rúguǒ tā chū liǎo shì, wǒmen huì hěn shāngxīn.
If something happens to him, we will be very sad.

When you are sad or worried, try singing a song, such as “Worried Man Blues” presented at the end of Chapter 25 in “Learn Chinese through Songs and Rhymes“. It just might make you feel better.

Sometimes things are not as bad as we think. As a Chinese saying goes:

天下本无事, 庸人自扰之.
Tiānxià běn wú shì, yōngrénzìrǎo zhī.
Nothing is the matter with the world, except in one’s own imagination.

天下 (tiānxià) means land under heaven, or the world.
(běn), as used here, is the abbreviation of 本来 (běnlái), which means originally.
庸人 (yōngrén) refers to an average person.

And suppose the world is actually riddled with problems, like the pandemic and unrest we are experiencing, we could hope that the pendulum will soon swing the other way. This is what the Chinese refer to as 否极泰来 (pǐjítàilái), namely when misfortune reaches its limit, things will start to look up.

圣诞快乐, 新年如意!
Shèngdàn kuàilè, xīnnián rúyì!
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!


The Red Cliff in Chinese

Some of you may have watched the movie titled “Red Cliff”. This film depicts a famous battle that took place in ancient China at 赤壁 (Chìbì Red Cliff). 赤壁之战 (Chìbì zhī zhàn Battle at the Red Cliff) has been much talked about among the Chinese through the ages because it demonstrates the possibility of victory of the ill-equipped few over the poweful many. Whether Zhuge Liang actually came up with the idea of using staw-stuffed decoys to “borrow” the enemies’ arrows, and whether he was actually able to summon the winds to fan the fire in the direction of the enemies, luck and ingenuity in strategy likely played a role in bringing about the success of his campaign.

(chì) is the formal word for the red color, and (bì) is a wall, or something that looks like a wall, such as a cliff.

Tā qǐng rén bǎ qiángbì xiūlǐ hǎo le.
He had the wall fixed by someone.

(zhàn) means war, warfare, battle or to fight. Warfare or a war are also referred to as 战争 (zhànzhēng). 战士 (zhàshì) is a soldier or a warrior. 作战 (zuòzhàn) is to do battle.

Zhàshì men zài qiánxiàn yǒnggǎn de zuòzhàn.
The soldiers fight bravely at the front line.

The location of the battle can be referred to as 战场 (zhànchǎng battlefield), 战地 (zhàndì battleground), or 战区 (zhànqū war zone).

战略 (zhànlüè) is a strategy.

战败 (zhànbài) is to be defeated, and 战胜 (zhànshèng) is to triumph or to overcome. 战利品 (zhànlìpǐn) are the spoils of war.

战斗 (zhàndòu) also means to do battle. However, 战抖 (zhàndǒu) means to tremble or to shiver. You might associate shuddering with the fear of wars. So, 冷战 (lěngzhàn) has two meanings. It may refer to a cold war, or a bout of shivering.

挑战 (tiǎozhàn) means a challenge or to challenge.

Wǒ yuànyì jiēshòu zhègè xīn de tiǎozhàn.
I’m willing to accept this new challenge.

(xú) means slowly or gently. (Notice the double-person word radical on the left side?) This character also serves as a common Chinse surname.

Zuótiān wǒ qù jiàn le Xú xiānsheng.
Yesterday I went to see Mr. Xu.

In the 11th Century, 苏轼 (Sū Shì), a statesman of the Song Dynasty who was famous for his outstanding essays, poetry, paintings and calligraphy, came to visit the Red Cliff along with a friend. He documented this excursion in a composition titled 赤壁赋 (Chìbì Fù Poetic Essay on Chibi). As the small boat carrying him and the other tourists floated by the Red Cliff, 苏轼 (Sū Shì) took in the scenery. The calm ambiance was captured in this line:

清风徐来, 水波不兴.
Qīngfēng xú lái, shuǐ bō bùxīng.
A cool and refreshing breeze gently wafts over, rousing no waves.

(bō) are waves. 水波 (shuǐ bō) are water waves, while 电波 (diànbō) are electric waves.

不兴 (bùxīng) as used here is the negation of (xīng), which means to rise, to start, or to be popular.

The author, who was also known as 苏东坡 (Sū Dōng pō), then went on to comment on the battle at the Red Cliff and the vicissitude of life. When his friend sighed and felt sorry about the transient nature of life, the author comforted him with the observation that people are actually part of nature and when we enjoy and appreciate nature, at those moments nature truly belongs to us. The friend brightened up.

One of the advantages of studying classical Chinese is being able to appreciate great literature like 赤壁赋 (Chìbì Fù) in its original form. For those of you who believe they will need another lifetime in order to embark on such an endeavor, do not despair. Much of the wellk-nown Chinese literary pieces have been translated into modern Chinese. It’s just a matter of Googling for them.

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