S2E05-A Man of Great Inability-滥竽充数

Everybody knows of someone who can be described by this Chinese Saying. In this week’s musical Chinese Saying we look at the lazy poser Mr. Nanguo and his brief career as a Yu player in an all-Yu Orchestra and the wonderful story that gave us a nice useful saying.


King of Qí (Qí Xuān Wáng) 齐宣王 King of the Qi State, reigned 319 to 301 BCE

Shāndōng   山东   Coastal province in the north

Línzī   临淄   Ancient capital of Qi

Zībó   淄博 City in Shandong where Linzi was located

Mèngzǐ   孟子   Mencius, one of the great philosophers

Yuán Mù Qiú Yú   缘木求鱼 to climb a tree to catch a fish from Season 1

Hán Fēi   韩非子   Master Han Fei, philosopher and father of Legalism

Qín Shǐhuáng   秦始皇 The First Emperor and Qin Dynasty founder

Nèi chǔ shuō shàng   内储说书   The section of the Han Feizi from which our Chinese Saying sprang forth

Làn Yú Chōng Shù   滥竽充数 To indiscriminately choose a Yu player to fill out the orchestra

Làn 滥 to overflow, excessive, indiscriminate

 竽 a kind of ancient Chinese woodwind instrument with multiple bamboo pipes all attached together.

Chōng  充 sufficient, full, to pretend or pose as something

chōng nèiháng   充内行   to pretend to be an expert.

shù   数 number or amount.

Mr. Nánguō   南郭先生 The star of our episode…a man of great inability

Fùxìng  复姓 two character surnames

King Mǐn (Qí Mǐn Wáng)   齐泯王   Last king of Qi, reigned from 300-284 BCE

làn yú   滥竽   a Yú player indiscriminately chosen

chōng shù   充数 to make up the necessary number required….


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