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SHANGHAI SAYINGS | The Art of Personal Finance Management


07 April 2019 | By By Chen Nuo, Fu Borui, Zhang Yan, Yang Yukai&Wang Yuewen | Supervised by Zhao Bi

C

hina is such a vast country that the local culture in one place could be hugely different from that of another. But that diversity is little observed by many foreign people. In fact, the local culture of a certain place, like Shanghai, may have much in common with the rest of China, but it may also have many distinctive features.

We are a team of five freshman students from the School of English Studies of Shanghai International Studies University. We want to help foreign people know more about the local culture of Shanghai, our home city. Our approach is to translate and explain selected Shanghai sayings which embody local history, customs, and values.


 

When it comes to personal finance, the virtue of diligence and frugality has long been a commonplace but indispensable theme in Chinese culture.

The root of this theme should be traced back to Chinese history. In the agrarian age, peasants were at the bottom of the society, and their material life was so poor that they had to tighten their belts to live. In 3/4 of the 20th century, China experienced countless wars and economic bottlenecks, and had a long period of material scarcity. It was not until the reform and opening up that China's economy developed rapidly and gradually became the world's second largest economy. This is why Chinese people have long taken frugality and diligence as virtue.

To help you cope with the trouble of personal finance, we have prepared two sayings this week for you. Hope to provide you with some enlightenment.

1. 坐吃山空。

Sit idle and eatand in time a mountain of wealth of his will be used up.

To sit idle and eat means only to consume but not to produce. If one puts diligence behind  his mind, by doing so he will eventually run out his last coin. For example, there is another proverb to support this opinion, which is '富不过三代( Clogs to clogs is only three generations.)'. People who are born with a silver spoon in his mouth take everything for granted, but if they therefore become lazy and squander their fortunes, they themselves or their offspring will end up in poverty.

As a traditional Chinese virtue, diligence always warns us: no matter how big a fortune one owns at present, to sit idle and stop working hard, poverty will come down to you.

2.吃弗穷,着弗穷,算计弗通一世穷。

Never attribute poverty to eating and clothing but the squandering.

This saying emphasizes the importance of setting aside money in a planned way in daily life, for it helps one to keep a balance between income and outcome. Based on anticipated revenues and the virtue of frugality, a frugal budget means to limit regular expenses to allow for any unforeseeable expenses. Therefore it always helps avoid impetuous consumption and keep a balance between income and expenditure, which ensures the capacity of a family to cope with emergency. To avoid financial problems, a rational consuming plan plays a crucial role. 

 

The supervisor, Dr. Zhao Bi, is a lecturer of translation studies at School of English Studies, SISU. 

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Press Contact

SISU News Center, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Tel : +86 (21) 3537 2378

Email : news@shisu.edu.cn

Address :550 Dalian Road (W), Shanghai 200083, China

Further Reading