Saturday, October 1, 2011
Friday, September 30, 2011
What a scary look of this door guardian! It is a folk culture among the older Chinese to post on the entrance door two posters each of a door guardians. If you have a chance to see an exhibition of the Chinese relics, and there are archaeological finds of ancient tomb guard statues, check them out. Then you will see the resemblance between the door guardians and those tomb guards in the facial features. Protruded eyeballs, gnawing teeth, angered look. And there is a reason for these – to scare intruders away. That's why they are there for.
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Hong Kong has the tropical cyclone, or known as typhoon in this part of the world, signal 8 hoisted (out of a scale to 10) for half a day today. All schools and offices have been closed. But we have an interesting social phenomenon here that people take it as a windfall holiday and dash to have yumcha and the movies.
The word typhoon has its root in a Cantonese term meaning Great Wind. The Answer.com gives a clear account of the word history:
"The history of typhoon presents a perfect example of the long journey that many words made in coming to English. It traveled from Greece to Arabia to India, and also arose independently in China, before assuming its current form in our language. The Greek word tuphōn, used both as the name of the father of the winds and a common noun meaning "whirlwind, typhoon," was borrowed into Arabic during the Middle Ages, when Arabic learning both preserved and expanded the classical heritage and passed it on to Europe and other parts of the world. Ṭūfān, the Arabic version of the Greek word, passed into languages spoken in India, where Arabic-speaking Muslim invaders had settled in the 11th century. Thus the descendant of the Arabic word, passing into English (first recorded in 1588) through an Indian language and appearing in English in forms such as touffon and tufan, originally referred specifically to a severe storm in India. The modern form of typhoon was influenced by a borrowing from the Cantonese variety of Chinese, namely the wordtaaîfung, and respelled to make it look more like Greek. Taaîfung, meaning literally "great wind," was coincidentally similar to the Arabic borrowing and is first recorded in English guise as tuffoon in 1699. The various forms coalesced and finally became typhoon, a spelling that first appeared in 1819 in Shelley's Prometheus Unbound."
Here is a pictorial illustration of the word typhoon, great wind: