What does 㷩 mean?

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Hey there world~ So I just came across the character 㷩. I was typing up some class notes and one of the suggested characters on my keyboard for some pinyin I was typing was 㷩. I selected the word because I felt like if I didn’t I’d lose the chance to interact with such a strange character (full on nerd mode). Naturally I went to look it up online and as you can see in the opening photo, it does not have a definition. 

What does this lead me to then? Defining it myself of course.

In some of my previous posts focusing on radicals I have explored the notion of discussing possible meanings behind Chinese characters, however this character in particular gives me the opportunity to share with you one of my greatest fascinations with the Chinese language.

The fact that this character does not have a dictionary definition gives us the chance to dissect the radicals comprising it in order to seek out the overall meaning for ourselves. We may be guessing and it may be inaccurate, but its a fun exploration. I think it’s through exercises like this that we can truly appreciate the art of the Chinese language. Maybe that’s just me.

So let me show you what I mean.

㷩 is comprised of the radicals 臣, 已 and 火. There is a stroke on the left of the character that I cannot make out but I’m hoping it’s not largely significant. Anyhow, each of these radicals are also independent characters which several meanings. The commonly used meanings are as follows: vassal, already and fire. Is there any way we can combine these meanings to create a holistic story? Maybe ‘the vassal has already burnt’. Now that you get the idea I have been proposing, I’ll leave it to you to find a meaning.

As I wrote out my ‘definition’ I realised that the concept is minutely similar to the work we tackle in Classical Chinese lessons. Speaking of which, I shall try and ask our professor if she knows the meaning of 㷩 in our next Classical class and then report back to you!~~

This is the kind of stuff that goes on in my head. It’s interesting to explore and reflect on but it can get a bit much. Have you got suggestions for other characters this can be done with?

If you try to define a word with no meaning, good luck 世界。

此致敬礼,欣妍 – From Xinyan.

I was originally going to title this post “words with no meaning”, but then I know that would lead to a philosophical discourse on quantifying meaning and I don’t want to get into that right now.

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Distress above and below the heart

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Hey! I wanted to briefly talk about a new word I encountered in my morning news class; ‘忐忑’.

I find it to be such a cool character! Yes, I can be a nerd sometimes😛. Also this reminds me of a post I wrote when I first started this blog which similarly dissects a character that merges the radicals 上 and下. I’ll leave a link here for your reference.

忐忑(tǎntè) means ‘distressed’. It’s also part of the phrases 忐忑不安/忐忑不定 which means ‘uncertain’. I like this character because it couples the two opposites 上 and 下which mean ‘on top’ and ‘underneath’ respectively, and joins them as a meaningful pair. The repeated 心, meaning ‘heart’ at the bottom of the characters is also significant in relaying meaning. When these radical components are combined I feel that the visual result is also beautiful.

Now maybe we can consider how these individual characters came together to convey the meaning ofdistress. My initial response is that when your heart is fluctuating it would lead to distress. I sensed this from the hinted directional meanings of 上 and 下which could indicate the changing ‘phases’ of the heart. 心 in Classical Chinese (from which Modern Chinese derives its meaning) combines the meaning of both the heart and the mind. Therefore we could read this ‘fluctuation’ as an internal distress, similar to when you mull over a decision in your mind.

So there’s my reading, what’s yours?

If you muse over the reading of a character, good luck 世界。

此致敬礼,欣妍– From Xinyan.

Happy Birthday Jason,

Jason this post is my small gift to you. Happy 30th birthday.

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Today I bumped into someone I met almost a year ago. I was leaving ‘Westfield’, a shopping centre in Stratford. It’s ironic that this encounter is laced by a symbol of materialism. Anyhow, as I walked across the bridge to exit the centre I saw a man I knew I recognised. He was there sitting in the middle of the bridge with his backpack and a hot drink. I approached him and told him that I had spoken to him last summer and whilst he probably doesn’t remember me, I would not forget him.

Last summer I was creating a digital picture as a submission to my friend’s magazine. The theme of the zine submission was ‘Home’, but all I could think about was home-lessness. At the back of my mind this may be what inspired me to create Pray It Doesn’t Rain. I decided to photograph some homeless people and use the portraits for some sort of collage. After having dinner with a friend at Westfield one evening last summer I came across a man I wanted to speak to about my collage. He was sitting in the middle of the same bridge with his backpack and a sign asking for donations. It was cold and I had little to offer but we spoke for some time. Before I left I took his photo and explained the concept behind my project. When I went home I wondered if I would see him again to show him the collage when it was finally completed.

I sorely regretted not getting his name.

So today by some miracle there he was. In the same place in the middle of the bridge. And after almost a year I found out that his name is Jason. I feel that a name is a powerful thing. It’s tied closely to our identity and one thing no one can take away. I gave Jason some biscuits I had in my bag and we spoke for a while. I reminded him about the photo I took of him the last time we met but unfortunately, I did not have a copy on me to show him. I also told him about the film I made recently that sheds light on the problem of homelessness in Oxford. He said he would watch the film using a public computer at a library and also share some of his personal perspectives.

Yesterday was Jason’s birthday. I told him he does not look 30, and he said that I don’t look like I’m 21. He said that last night he spent his birthday crying on that same bridge. It really hurt to hear that. As we were speaking he was wiping blood off of his nose. He told me he had a nasty encounter last night and I can infer that people had attacked him on the bridge. He was assaulted on his birthday. Jason, I’m truly sorry. I’m sorry that people can be cruel and that your situation has not improved since the last time we spoke. I am certain that things will get better by the time we next cross paths, should we meet again.

I have no means of contacting Jason to share this with him so I shall simply leave this in the comments of my film in hopes that he may see it one day. The photo at the start of this post is the collage that I mentioned earlier. I hope you can now finally see the result. The details of the photo are well thought out (inspect it closer to see a few) but I can’t deny that the end product is not what I had hoped for. At the time I did not have Photoshop and I used Microsoft Powerpoint to make that. Yes…Powerpoint. I’m not actually sure what happened with the zine, but nonetheless the meaning behind my picture is there indeed.

Thank you for reading, and happy birthday again Jason. If readers take away anything from this post then I hope you can just be kind to those around you. How many Jasons will it take for the rain to stop?

If you create a birthday message for someone you may never see again, good luck 世界。

此致敬礼,欣妍 – From Xinyan (Nabeela).

Ps. As I am just uploading this post I received a notification that my article for the Oxford Cherwell about my film has just been released. Let’s read it together. Here’s a link~

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Punish a Muslim Day

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Peace be on to you.

Today is ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ and whilst I have so many views on this, with God’s Grace I aim to keep this brief.

Readers of my blog will probably know that I am a Muslim (amongst many other things) and so I feel quite strongly about the topic in question. I was asked as a Muslim student of the University of Oxford to share a statement about my thoughts on ‘Punish a Muslim day’ (3rdApril 2018) for OXSTU (the Oxford Student). As only an extract from my statement was published, in this post I will be sharing with you the full writeup. I could write more on the topic, but as I am still dealing with admin for my previous post, I will for now simply share my given statement.

“First of all, I think the concept is horrendous. Some people have told me it has been found out to be a ‘practical joke’, but even if this were true I don’t think we should take it lightly. The conception of this campaign (or whatever you want to label it) is quite telling of the times we live in. Unfortunately popular media often paints Islam in a misleading and distasteful way. Propaganda and scare mongering are powerful tools, and we have seen the results of this countless times in the past. Throwback to Brexit or the election of Trump if you need reminding. Therefore, sadly I’m not too surprised that this has happened. However I think we need to focus on punishing real criminals, such as those who carry out hate crimes. I also strongly believe that we do not deserve to give in to fear and so I feel quite conflicted when I hear people advising Muslims to stay indoors today because of what could happen. Ask yourself though, what will happen on the 4thApril? Problems will not be solved in a day. However we can certainly pray for people to become more understanding of one another.

In short I would personally advise for you to continue your lives as usual but with added vigilance. You can call it an inconvenience but this ‘campaign’ has already sparked hate crimes directed at Muslims (and those who are confused as being Muslims); which has even spread to places outside of the UK. So please do your best to stay safe.

Love your neighbour and pray for peace.”

If you live in times that seem darker than the wizarding world of Harry Potter, good luck 世界。

此致敬礼– From Xinyan.

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OXSTU article: https://oxfordstudent.com/2018/04/03/oxford-students-speak-out-against-islamophobia/ (See if you can spot me~)

Here’s some more 背景:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5569499/British-Muslim-women-told-not-outside-ahead-Punish-Muslim-Day.html

P.s I’m really churning out content right now aren’t I 😋 哈哈!

#Pray it Doesn’t Rain

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Dear readers I have some exciting news for you!~

Today is my 21st birthday, and that’s not even the exciting part. For the past few months (and painstakingly for the past few weeks) I have been independently working on a side project of mine entitled ‘Pray it Doesn’t Rain’. The project is a short film or documentary if you will on the problem of homeless in the city of Oxfordshire. The video has been released today and I would love for you all to watch it.

Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KV_5reA1HVY&feature=youtu.be 

I have to write an article about the film soon and I have other administrative tasks such as sharing the video through emails and so I have decided to devote my time to promoting this video and postponing birthday celebrations for a few days. I am a student at the University of Oxford and I was surprised to walk past homeless people on the streets everyday whilst I am living in Oxford during term time. Sure I attend meetings and I do odd bits to help, but I thought I would attempt to use some of the skills I have so that I may at least help to raise awareness of the problem so that higher powers will be alerted to move closer towards a solution. That’s why I do sincerely invite you to take the time to watch this and share it with others. My aims are to provide a platform for those less fortunate to us who are often not even given the chance to speak, as well as raising awareness on an important issue.

The video was given its name as I have often reflected on how grateful I am to have a roof on my head as I am aware that there are people without shelter who are often rained on and deal with other extremities. Of course, I am also referring to rain in a metaphorical sense as well as in a physical sense, as I wanted to highlight how people are often harsh and unkind to the homeless.

I will edit this post in due time to share the article once it has been (written and) published. I wanted to write on here first, and now it seems like I may have to take inspiration from my musings if I can’t think of what I want to convey.

The news I wanted to share however doesn’t quite end there. Perhaps you may have figured it out for yourself by now but recently I have also been making YouTube videos. I will talk about that in a separate post as that deserves for me to reveal a bit more about my identity. Although you can learn most of that for yourself if you take a look at my videos~

So yes, this year I have been heavily involved in content creation for various University projects (in fact some stem from the past few years) as well as now making videos for my own channel. My channel is called GoodLuckNabs, quite similar to the name of this blog you might even say🤔…Please subscribe to my channel if you would like to see another side to me outside of this blog. In the meantime, as I am yet to write in more detail about some of my video endeavours, if you’re curious you can click here to read about how this blog got its name. My writing style has probably changed a lot since then, but it’s still a cute story~

That’s it for now then. I have quite a bit to do but I wanted to formally write about this video on first on my blog to share with you. Please take a look at #PrayitDoesn’tRain and share the video.

If you have been making YouTube videos whilst keeping it a secret from your blog, good luck 世界。

此致敬礼欣妍– From Xinyan.

The Jade King

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Well hello there!

Lately I’ve been overwhelmed with what felt like an unforgiving amount of academic work and a lot of ‘extra-curricular’ projects and ideas I’ve been working on. Did you know, my blog has pretty much always been on my to do list or at the back of my mind since it was created back in sixth form? Learn something new every day~ I have a lot that I want to write about but I can never find the time, or when I do I get suffocated by the thought of having to fit in all my ideas. The exercise of announcing this is an experiment to allow me to write more freely, kind of like how I used to. If you’re new here, my posts often begin with a little self update. In the future I will hopefully tell you more about some of the projects I’ve been working on which will reveal a bit more of who I actually am. But, back to the title, right?

I’m noticing the start of a series here. Some of my previous posts are linked to Huo Da’s novel “The Funeral of a Muslim“, as is this post. “The Jade King” is the title of one of the english published translations of the “The Funeral of a Muslim” which is originally a Chinese text. When I first spoke about this story I mentioned that I was gifted a copy of the Chinese novel and that I wanted to read it for myself. Since then I have tried finding English translations of the novel as well. The original text is quite famous within China, but strangely there have been few English translations. To my knowledge, the novel has been translated in a few foreign languages. I spoke to a writer who was approached and asked to translate the novel into English, and they said that they declined the task as they did not think they were suitable for the workload. Therefore there may be several English translations of the story, but the only physical copy I could acquire is “The Jade King” translated by “Guan Yuehua”.

Terms at the University of Oxford are shorter and more intensive than other Universities which is why I am currently on my Christmas break. It turns out that at the end of the Summer holiday I tried translating an excerpt of the novel into English myself. We will return to that in a few moments. This Michaelmas term (the first of three terms in the Oxford academic calendar) I requested for my college (University College) to order a copy of “The Funeral of a Muslim” translated in English as the only copy I could find within Oxford was unavailable for borrowing. They told me that they found a copy at the China Centre (where my lessons for Chinese Studies take place) library that could be borrowed, and that I should use that copy as the book is quite expensive for them to order -.- Anyway, that’s what I did. My aim is to finally finish a good amount of the novel during this vacation. Whilst 595 pages might seem like an easy read to some, sadly I’ve found it difficult to keep up with books since commencing university.

So now I have the Chinese original text as well as an English translation! The photo I included at the start of this post is a side by side comparison of the covers of both books. The English translation is slightly smaller in length than the Chinese text.

In our final Classical Chinese lesson of term, our teacher conducted a short seminar on translations. We considered how the translation of a text would vary according to its purpose i.e to be used in a dissertation or to be published elsewhere etc. We looked at a line of classical Chinese text that had been translated by several different authors and compared the nuances in their choice of vocabulary when translating the same text.

I brought this up because I recalled that experience the other night when I came across my translation of the first page of Huo Da’s novel. It occurred to me that I could compare this to a published translation as I now have a copy of one, and it would be a useful exercise. I will type out the text from the Chinese novel, as well as from ‘The Jade King’, followed by my own translation so that you may also observe the differences. I will note that my translation is only a rough first draft and therefore may not reflect the same standard you will see from Yuehua. This in itself is an interesting comparison between a student translating for ‘fun’, and a translator producing a piece for publishing.

The following excerpts are taken from the prologue.

1) 月梦:清晨,她走来了。

一辆出租车停在路口,她下了车,略略站了站,环顾着周围。然后,熟悉地穿过大街,小巷,向前走去。她穿着白色的短袖衬衫,白色的西服裙和白色的皮鞋,几乎通体洁白,身材纤秀因而显得颀长,肤色白皙,细腻,橄榄形的脸型,双清澈的眼睛,鼻梁略高而直,未施任何唇膏的淡红的嘴唇紧闭着,颏旁便现出两道细细的,弯弯的,新月形的纹路。微微鬈曲的长发,任其自然地舒服卷在耳后和颈根。耳垂,颈项都没有任何饰物。尽管鬓边的黑发已夹杂着银丝。。。[Original text by Huo Da].

2) Dreaming of the Moon: It was early morning when she came.

Stepping out of a white taxi at an intersection, she stopped a moment to take a look around and then went on down the street and entered a lane, with the familiarity of a long time resident.

Dressed in a pearl-grey suit and a cream-coloured blouse and wearing white wedge-heeled shoes, she appears tall and slim. Her complexion is fair and delicate, her face almond-shaped, her eyes limpid, her nose shapely, her lips, though without makeup, a pale red which, when tightly drawn, produce two fine curving creases at the corners of her mouth; her hair long and slightly wavy, hanging about the ears. No earrings, nor necklace, nor any jewelry. Although her black hair is touched with silver at the temples… [Translation by Guan Yuehua].

3) A Dream of the Moon: She came over early in the morning. A taxi stopped at the intersection, she came out the car, and gently stood, looking around the surroundings. Afterwards she crossed the big street with familiarity, she faced the alley ahead and walked through. She wore a white short sleeve blouse, a white western skirt and white leather shoes, almost all her body was pure white. Her figure was graceful and as a result she seemed tall. Her skin was fair and fine, her face was the shape of a Chinese olive, with a pair of clear eyes, the outline of the bridge of her nose was tall and straight, without using any lipstick her light red lips were tightly closed, the side of her chin revealed two thin and winding new moon shaped wrinkles. Faintly curled hair, naturally curled behind the ear and root of the neck. Her earlobe, and neck both had no jewelry whatsoever. Despite the black hairs on the side of her temples being mixed up with silver hair… [My translation].

This is where I would like to end this post for now, I think it was quite interesting for me to finally be able to compare my translation to one that has been ‘approved’.

If you want to tell a story, good luck 世界。

此致敬礼欣妍 – From Xinyan.