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2014中石油职称英语选读文章:The Subject of Smiling

2014-01-08 19:14:00 来源:新东方在线论坛发表评论


  The Subject of Smiling 微笑问题

  1. In the spring of this year, a Beijing television channel produced a program called, "Smile." It televised the reaction of people on the street when confronted with a smile from an unknown person, chosen at random. Most people were either surprised or seemed a little worried. A few more enthusiastic people even muttered that the person who smiled was "crazy". The number of people who actually returned the smile could be counted on one hand.


  2. It seems Chinese people don't really like to smile and that's the impression they convey to the world.


  3. What is not understood by outsiders is that smiling in China is a very meaningful and subtle thing. Around 781 BC, there was a monarch called Zhou You Wang, who cared little for ruling his country. Instead, he much preferred to chase women. One of his Ministers gave the Emperor a beautiful woman, whom the Emperor really liked, except for the fact that she would never smile. After trying countless different methods to get her to smile, a Minister came up with an idea. He suggested the Emperor light the twenty or so signal fires which were spread around the capital city to warn people when the country was in danger of war. The Minister thought the fires would summon the Warlords and Dukes to bring their armies to the capital and, when the woman saw the chaos caused by tricking the armies, she would surely laugh.


  4. The Zhou Emperor tried this idea and, sure enough, it made the beautiful woman laugh. Later, when a real enemy came and the Emperor lit the signal fires, the Generals didn't respond, thinking it was just another trick. Thus, the Emperor and his beautiful woman were both captured. Today, the Chinese refer to this story of Emperor Zhou as, "Signal fires joke with the Generals".


  5. There are four main Chinese classical stories that deal with this problem of smiling. The books are A Dream of Red Mansions, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Water Margin, and Journey to the West. The main character in A Dream of Red Mansions is a young master, no older than 15 0r 16, named Jia Baoyu. When trying to get a servant girl to smile, he prepared a bunch of paper fans for her to rip. When the servant heard the ripping sound, she couldn't contain her happiness and broke into a smile. The mother of the young master took a dislike to the girl and found an excuse to cause her death.


  6. In the 8th century AD, there was an Emperor named Tang Ming Huang who doted on one of his concubines. A famous poet of the time, Bai Juyi, wrote a poem describing the beauty of this concubine. The poem says, "If she but turned her head and smiled, there were cast a hundred spells, and the powder and paint of the Six Palace, faded into nothing." However, a tragic ending to the life of this beautiful concubine came about when a few Generals rose up against the Emperor. The Emperor needed a gesture to boost the morale of his loyal soldiers and urge his concubine to provide the gesture by committing suicide.


  7. From some of the examples above, it seems the ideal taught is, "Women aren't allowed to smile, and men aren't allowed to demand that they smile." Besides these examples, there are some ancient idioms related to smiling, sun as "Hide a dagger behind a sharp smile" and "put on a false smile." These idoms could refer to the sinister plans of an unexpected enemy or the indiscretion that sometimes occurs in the world. The saying, "smiling adds ten years to your life", sounds good, and is true if one gains a physical or mental benefit.


  8. I remember in the 1980s, I interviewed the Vice President of a high class hotel, which was state run, but eventually became a joint-venture between a Chinese and foreign ownership. At the time, everything was in short supply and the foreign guests gave the hotel staff a nickname of "No" because the standard reply to most inquiries was always, "No. We don't have it." The attitude of the hotel staff was usually downbeat and smiles were extremely hard to come by.


  9. In the course of my interview with the Vice President, we came to the subject of smiling. The Vice President, who came from a military background, resolutely told me, "In my Hotel, we want a 'proletariat' smile and, definitely, don't want a 'capitalist' smile. After all, my employees are people too, why would they want to smile at a guest unless they had reason to?"


  10. Smiling, and not smiling, according to some people, is a form of respect.


  11. David Lamb is a reporter who wrote about the Vietnam War for the L.A. Times, and later wrote a book describing Vietnam's development during times of peace. In his book, he wrote, "During my first encounters with the Vietnamese during a time of peace, what struck me was the smile. Faces aglow, their smiles seemed natural and spontaneous, not a forced, mechanical flash of politeness, but rather an expression straight from the heart. A European businessman told me he had rejected a posting in China for one in Vietnam because in China, people are distant and somber. They frown all the time. In Vietnam, I walk out my door in the morning, and people are smiling. They make you feel welcome. They're approachable. They act as though life's pretty good."


  12. After reading this, it is easy to feel that smiling is a very simple, yet wonderful thing.


  13. According to the papers, the director, Zhang Yimou, looked for 10,000 smiling children from around the world to feature in a program for the opening ceremony of the 2008 0lympics. Mr. Zhang deserves to be called a "Maestro of China," because he completely understands how much those smiling faces will impact the world.


  注释:作者显然可以称得上是“中国通”,但是在这里也犯了一个错误,白居易长恨歌中“六宫粉黛”是指代皇帝后宫中的嫔妃们,作者却把粉黛按字面意思翻译成了the power and paint。

本文关键字: 2014 中石油 职称英语



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