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Work Unselfishly for the Common Good in Chinese / Japanese...

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Work Unselfishly for the Common Good

China kè jǐ fèng gōng
Work Unselfishly for the Common Good

This can also mean: "Place Strict Standards on Oneself in Public Service."
This Chinese proverb is often used to express how one should act as a government official. Most of us wish our public officials would hold themselves to higher standards. I wish I could send this scroll, along with the meaning to every member of Congress, and the President (or if I was from the UK, all the members of Parliament, and the PM)

The story behind this ancient Chinese idiom:
A man named Cai Zun was born in China a little over 2000 years ago. In 24 AD, he joined an uprising led by Liu Xiu who later became the emperor of the Eastern Han Dynasty.

Later, the new emperor put Cai Zun in charge of the military court. Cai Zun exercised his power in strict accordance with military law, regardless of the offender's rank or background. He even ordered the execution of one of the emperor's close servants after the servant committed a serious crime.

Cai Zun led a simple life but put great demands on himself to do all things in an honorable way. The emperor rewarded him for his honest character and honorable nature by promoting him to the rank of General and granting him the title of Marquis.

Whenever Cai Zun would receive an award, he would give credit to his men and share the reward with them.
Cai Zun was always praised by historians who found many examples of his selfless acts that served the public interest.
Sometime, long ago in history, people began to refer to Cai Zun as "ke ji feng gong."


See Also:  Unselfish | Selflessness | Altruism

Courage to do what is right

China jiàn yì yǒng wéi
Courage to do what is right

The title says it all.

This could also be translated as:
"Never hesitate to do what is right."


See Also:  Justice | Bravery

Unselfish: Perfectly Impartial

China dà gōng wú sī
Unselfish: Perfectly Impartial

This Chinese proverb comes from an old story from some time before 476 BC. About a man named Qi Huangyang, who was commissioned by the king to select the best person for a certain job in the Imperial Court.

Qi Huangyang selected his enemy for the job. The king was very confused by the selection but Qi Huangyang explained that he was asked to find the best person for the job, not necessarily someone that he personally liked or had a friendship with.

Later, Confucius commented on how unselfish and impartial Qi Huangyang was by saying "Da Gong Wu Si" which if you look it up in a Chinese dictionary, is generally translated as "Unselfish" or "Just and Fair."

If you translate each character, you'd have something like,

"Big/Deep Justice Without Self."

Direct translations like this leave out a lot of what the Chinese characters really say. Use your imagination, and suddenly you realize that "without self" means "without thinking about yourself in the decision" - together, these two words mean "unselfish." The first two characters serve to really drive the point home that we are talking about a concept that is similar to "blind justice."

One of my Chinese-English dictionaries translates this simply as "just and fair." So that is the short and simple version.

Note: This can be pronounced in Korean but it's not a commonly used term.


See Also:  Selflessness | Altruism

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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...

Title CharactersVarious forms of Romanized Chinese
Work Unselfishly for the Common Good克己奉公kè jǐ fèng gōng
ke4 ji3 feng4 gong1
ke ji feng gong
kejifenggong
k`o chi feng kung
kochifengkung
ko chi feng kung
Courage to do what is right見義勇為
见义勇为
jiàn yì yǒng wéi
jian4 yi4 yong3 wei2
jian yi yong wei
jianyiyongwei
chien i yung wei
chieniyungwei
Unselfish: Perfectly Impartial大公無私
大公无私
dà gōng wú sī
da4 gong1 wu2 si1
da gong wu si
dagongwusi
ta kung wu ssu
takungwussu
In some entries above you will see that characters have different versions above and below a line.
In these cases, the characters above the line are Traditional Chinese, while the ones below are Simplified Chinese.



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All of our calligraphy wall scrolls are handmade.

When the calligrapher finishes creating your artwork, it is taken to my art mounting workshop in Beijing where a wall scroll is made by hand from a combination of silk, rice paper, and wood.
After we create your wall scroll, it takes at least two weeks for air mail delivery from Beijing to you.

Allow a few weeks for delivery. Rush service speeds it up by a week or two for $10!

When you select your calligraphy, you'll be taken to another page where you can choose various custom options.


A nice Chinese calligraphy wall scroll

The wall scroll that Sandy is holding in this picture is a "large size"
single-character wall scroll.
We also offer custom wall scrolls in small, medium, and an even-larger jumbo size.

A professional Chinese Calligrapher

Professional calligraphers are getting to be hard to find these days.
Instead of drawing characters by hand, the new generation in China merely type roman letters into their computer keyboards and pick the character that they want from a list that pops up.

There is some fear that true Chinese calligraphy may become a lost art in the coming years. Many art institutes in China are now promoting calligraphy programs in hopes of keeping this unique form of art alive.

Trying to learn Chinese calligrapher - a futile effort

Even with the teachings of a top-ranked calligrapher in China, my calligraphy will never be good enough to sell. I will leave that to the experts.

A high-ranked Chinese master calligrapher that I met in Zhongwei

The same calligrapher who gave me those lessons also attracted a crowd of thousands and a TV crew as he created characters over 6-feet high. He happens to be ranked as one of the top 100 calligraphers in all of China. He is also one of very few that would actually attempt such a feat.


Check out my lists of Japanese Kanji Calligraphy Wall Scrolls and Old Korean Hanja Calligraphy Wall Scrolls.

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