My late father was from China. In that part of China that he came from (Jiangsu province), there is a saying ” da zhong nian bi chong pang zhi’. Dont worry if you cannot pronounce that sentence because it simply means that “hitting the face to make it puffy so that the face appears fatter”.
In the old days in that part of world, to be fat means a person was prosperous whereas to be thin means that a person was struggling with his life and hardly had enough to eat. So some thin people tried to don many layers of clothes to appear fatter but how to make the face look fatter? Well, some of them resorted to hitting the face to make it appeared swollen and thereby fatter and more ?prosperous. Whether this was really practised , I have no way of verifying this.
Of course we know now that the fatness of a person has nothing to do with whether he is rich or poor. It has more to do with genes as well as eating habits and activity level..
To understand the gist of the meaning of this saying, it is best to use real life examples. One of the best examples may be this: to spend hundereds of millions to buy a seat in a space craft of another country in order to send one of its citizens to space, just so because it can boast that it has a cosmonaut in the country which has no space program , not even an aeronautical program, is like a poor person trying to masquerade as a successful prosperous person. When you have not reached that level, but spend precious maney to pretend that you have attained that level, it is like a thin man hitting the face to make it look fatter.
I hope now you have a better understanding of what this saying means.
There are many other examples. Recently, the announcement of spending 1 billion to finance a F1 team to compete in the F1 circuit , when there are still so many people living below poverty lines and many household without basic amenities such as water and electricity, is akin to a poor person trying to look successful.
To have a F1 team would definitely make the nation more famous. No doubt about it. So can spending a fraction of the money to promote the country overseas with well made advertisement films.
The contention here is therefore not whether spending a billion would make the country more famous., but rather whether this justifies the huge initial cost of haivng a F1 team, not to mention the maintenance which would not be cheap. Is this the right way of managing our finances ? Are we rich enough to support this sports? What about those hard core poor that are still aplenty?
Tell this to the hard core poor when each day is a struggle to keep themselves alive. Tell this to the odd job worker who does not know when and where the next meal will come from. Tell this to the parents of those students who could not pursue their education simply because they have no money. Tell this to those people who have no pipe water but have to cart water from kilometers away. Tell this to those who have to use kerosene lamps at night to light up their houses.
One of my commentators, klm, think that there is an agenda behind this move. This is what he commented:
The F1 program is another political move to create the feel good atmosphere.
What the BN govt is doing is akin to what the Roman emperors were doing in staging spectacles like Gladiators fight in the Coliseum. These expensive spectacles were staged so that the emperors could gain favour and support from the Romans. It was like feeding them opium to numb their feelings. It was creating a feel good atmosphere to divert miseries from the Romans mind.
Maybe he is right. In that case, it would be worrying, because Roman Empire disintegrated after having this sort of sports..
BUt whatever the reasons behind the setting up of this team, this is a clear case of hitting the face to make it look more prosperous.
Knowing our leaders’ mentality, this will not be the last case either.