A Positive Chinese Proverb to Use During Dark Times

In the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak, people are scared and worried about what the future holds. Businesses are suffering, flights are canceled, and some countries’ economies are starting to feel the effects. And because governments have placed entire cities on lockdown, many people are stuck at home and are oftentimes unable to go to work. It’s enough to make anyone feel agitated, restless, and hopeless. Because of the various effects of the outbreak, the future seems bleak.

HSK 1 quiz

Yet, in times of crisis, it’s best to focus on the positive aspects lest the news reports and statistics become too much to bear. Every cloud has a silver lining. In Chinese, there is a proverb which has similar meaning –

“山重水复疑无路,柳暗花明又一村 (Shān chóng shuǐ fù yí wú lù, liǔ àn huā míng yòu yī cūn)”

. With this proverb, we can get through this crisis together.
This proverb came from a poem which was written by the famous Chinese poet –

“陆游 (Lù Yóu)”

in Song Dynasty. The name of the poem is –

“游山西村 (Yóu shān xī cūn)”

. It describes an experience of the poet traveling to a village but at the same time it has some philosophical meaning inside.
This proverb can be literally translated as: when you are lost in a deep and mountainous area and almost in despair, then suddenly you find a village under the shade of willow (so finally you are able to get out).

HSK 1 quiz

This proverb is also used in situations where you come across some hardships in your life and feel there is no way to get rid of them. Then suddenly you find some hope from a different perspective.
Let’s look at a few positive aspects that may emerge from the Coronavirus outbreak. The main outcome that is being predicted is the move to more effective and efficient ways to work and learn.

HSK 1 quiz

Since many people across the US, Italy, and anyplace else with mandated quarantine or voluntary quarantine are not able to leave home to either work or go to school, as usual, telecommuting and online classes are being used at full force. In the future, it is possible that we will see big changes in the way that people work and attend class. While has been on the rise in the past few years, working remotely may become the norm instead of an anomaly or privilege.
Individuals along with their entire families may have the freedom to live in a place regardless of where their work headquarters are. As it is now, there are situations where families are split. It has even given rise to the term “weekend marriage” for couples that have jobs in different cities and can only reunite on the weekends. Therefore, it may increase freedom and location independence for some people. The same amount of freedom could be true for students as well.

HSK 1 quiz

The benefits aren’t just for the adults. The children, although largely unaffected by the virus, can expect to see perks from learning remotely as well. It’s no secret that when large numbers of children congregate, they share whatever pathogens or parasites they may carry. Head lice, chickenpox, the flu, and even the common cold are all responsible for missed days of school and not to mention teacher sick days.
Schools across China have reacted to schools closing by holding online classes allowing children to stay home. It may be an option in the future for students to opt-out of attending brick and mortar schools altogether as more students prefer to study from home to maximize their time and effectiveness.

HSK 1 quiz

There is one more notable silver lining that is a direct effect of quarantine practices. Since parents and children alike have not been commuting and factories have been put out of commission, until further notice, the skies have been clearer than ever. With cars and buses off the roads, the amount of pollution has been cut drastically.

Overall, it has reduced fossil fuel use and would reduce fossil fuel dependency. With less traffic, there would be more freedom for innovation with renewable resources instead of being trapped in the cycle of production and consumption.

This is all the more reason to be in favor of moving more and more jobs and classes online. We can literally see the silver lining on the clouds since pollution has cleared up!

HSK 1 quiz

Yes, the situation has been scary but in the face of all of the negative incidents, there are many positives that we can see happening all around us. Skies are clearer, families can be reunited by working online, and children will be less stressed from taking online courses.

With these silver linings in mind, we can look forward to the future together.
祝你们身体健康!(zhù nǐ men shēn tǐ jiàn kāng) We wish you all good health!

There’s the pronunciation you can learn:


(Shān chóng shuǐ fù yí wú lù, liǔ àn huā míng yòu yī cūn)


(zhù nǐ men shēn tǐ jiàn kāng)

Author: Jennifer Zhu, a Chinese teacher from eChineseLearning with 10 years of teaching experience. Add her WeChat: jenniferzhu6 if you have questions about learning Chinese.
Chinese Popular Words
Chinese Culture
General Chinese (Beginner Level) 
General Chinese (Intermediate Level) 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top