Who is your daddy?
Shortly after I started to learn Chinese I tried to show off my cultural understanding to my co-worker Maven, of my co-workers she seems to be the most knowledgeable on the widest range of things. I wanted to know about the Tao Te Ching.
At a very basic level Tao Te Ching could be translated as The way of life. Te or de is of, depending on the tone and character. However that’s not the de used in the title, it is the same de I use in my name and it means virtue. Ching doesn’t actually mean life, it means classic. So the title actually is “Way of Virtue Classic.” That’s more than you need to know and in fact more than I really knew at the time.
“Maven,” I asked, ” do you know the tao te ching(dao de jing)?” All of this of course in an atonal accent, somewhat resembling Chinese. We then drifted off for awhile talking about how some words, while appearing to have similar meanings, in fact were quite different. Eventually we got to this point.
“Laozi wrote that didn’t he?”
“Wade, you can’t say it like that.”
“Why? What does it mean?”
“It’s like…I’m your father!”
I immediately thought of replacing this classic line(see below) with just one loud “LAOZI!”
On a related note Taiwan Mama doesn’t like Star Wars. What’s up with that?