Sunday, May 3, 2009

无 (wú, mó: negative, not)

OK, so 每日汉字 was on hiatus a little more than one month. Meantime, we moved back the U.S., bought a house, made a person, and I started working for Mercy Corps.

But I feel a little guilty that my proficiency with 汉字 has slipped so far.

Friday at work I noticed a shared library on the iTunes network called 无为而无不为, which was chuckyjam full of brilliant music, about half of it in Chinese. But to my horror, I recognized every single character in "无为而无不为" ... and yet could translate only one of them (不 [bù: no, not]). Meaning: I had learned 无 and 为 and 而 and then forgotten them.

So, today's 汉字:

无 (wú, mó: negative, not) might be one of the first Chinese words I ever learned, from Tao of Pooh. It's one half of wuwei, the concept of doing without knowing, or natural action. But translated directly, 无为 means simply “inactivity.”

Bonus 汉字: 为 (wéi, wèi: do, handle, act; be)