Don’t be mad in Chinese

It’s human nature to get angry sometimes for various reasons. The Chinese word for getting mad or angry is 生气 (shēngqì) or 发脾气 (fāpíqi). (pí) is the spleen. It seems the ancient Chinese viewed anger as being a sort of qi coming out of the spleen when one gets fumed. Therefor losing one’s temper is apt to be bad for one’s health.

When a friend is mad about something, you are apt to advise him:

不要生气.
Bùyào shēngqì.
Don’t be mad.

At some small local Chinese eateries, you may see plastered on the wall a paper poster with the following lines on it. The colloquial verses are meant to help reduce quarrels between married couples, but the unknown author speaks truth that applies to everyone else as well.

莫生气 (Mò Shēngqì Don’t Be Mad)

人生就像一场戏;
Rénshēng jiù xiàng yī chǎng xì,
Life is like a theatrical play;

因为有缘才相聚.
yīnwei yǒu yuán cái xiāng jù.
we’ve met because of fate.

相扶到老不容易,
Xiāng fú dào lǎo bù róngyì.
It’s not easy to have come thus far through thick and thin,

是否更该去珍惜?
shìfǒu gèng gāi qù zhēnxī?
shouldn’t we cherish our relationship the more?

为了小事发脾气,
Wèile xiǎoshì fāpíqi,
Getting mad over trivial things,

回头想想又何必?
huítóu xiǎng xiǎng yòu hébì?
when you think about it, what for?

别人生气我不气;
Biérén shēngqì wǒ bù qì.
Others may get mad, but I won’t;

气出病来无人替.
Qì chū bìng lái wú rén tì.
’cause if I get sick, who’s to replace me?

我若气死谁如意?
Wǒ ruò qì sǐ shéirúyì?
Should I die from fury, who will benefit?

况且伤身又费力.
Kuàng qiě shāng shēn yòu fèilì.
Besides, it’s too exhausting and strenuous to get mad.

邻居亲朋不要比.
Línjū qīn péng bùyào bǐ.
Don’t try to measure up to neighbors, relatives and friends.

儿孙琐事由他去.
érsūn suǒshì yóu tā qù.
As for the petty bothers of the children, let them be.

吃苦享乐在一起,
Chīkǔ xiǎnglè zàiyīqǐ.
Together we’ll share our joys and hardships,

神仙羡慕好伴侣.
shénxian xiànmù hǎo bànlǚ.
and let the gods envy our good companionship.

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