"고래 싸움에 새우 등 터진다" (Shrimp's Back Breaks in a Whale Fight):
Origin: The Korean proverb “고래 싸움에 새우 등 터진다” translates to “A shrimp’s back breaks in a whale fight” in English. This proverb illustrates a situation where a small, weak entity gets caught or damaged in a conflict between much larger and more powerful entities. The metaphor draws attention to the vulnerability of a small participant when larger forces clash.
Meaning: The proverb “고래 싸움에 새우 등 터진다” conveys the idea that when powerful and influential entities or individuals engage in a conflict or competition, smaller or less significant parties can suffer unintended consequences. It underscores the notion that when two formidable forces clash, those who are less influential or less equipped are often the ones who bear the brunt of the negative outcomes.
In a broader sense, this proverb serves as a cautionary tale against getting involved in disputes or conflicts that are beyond one’s capacity or influence. It encourages individuals to be mindful of their limitations and to avoid becoming collateral damage in larger conflicts.
Usage: “고래 싸움에 새우 등 터진다” is often used to advise people against getting involved in situations where they may be overpowered or overwhelmed by more significant forces. It’s a reminder to assess the potential risks and consequences before engaging in situations beyond one’s capabilities.
This proverb is applicable in various contexts, whether in personal relationships, business dealings, or societal matters. It emphasizes the importance of strategic thinking, understanding power dynamics, and making informed choices to protect oneself from unfavorable outcomes.
In summary, “고래 싸움에 새우 등 터진다” illustrates the vulnerability of smaller entities in the midst of a conflict between larger forces and serves as a cautionary message to be mindful of one’s position and choices in challenging situations.
Today's Chinese Character
검은 현/ Black Hyun
“The character 玄 (xuán) means ‘black’ or ‘dark,’ ‘deep red’ or ‘dark red,’ and ‘subtle’ or ‘mysterious.’ The character 玄 is composed of the radicals 亠 (pig’s head, representing a lid) and 幺 (small, representing a thread). It depicts the combination of a lid and a thread. In its original form, 玄 depicted a ‘line’ or ‘thread.’
The traditional bowstring-making process involved applying the sap of lacquer trees or pine resin to extend the life of the bowstring. The color of the processed bowstring was dark, resembling black, which led to the extended meanings of ‘black’ or ‘dark’ being associated with the character 玄. However, when used as a component, 玄 still retains its original meaning related to ‘line’ or ‘thread.’ As 玄 began to be associated with the color ‘black,’ the character 弦 (xián), which includes the radical 弓 (bow), came to represent the meaning ‘bowstring.’
Interestingly, 玄 also depicts a bow and an arrow, indicating that the character originally denoted ‘bowstring’ or ‘line.’ The addition of 弓 to 弦 now conveys the specific meaning of ‘bowstring.’ Over time, 玄 took on various nuanced meanings related to color, subtlety, and the concept of depth.”
Please note that certain interpretations may vary, and this translation provides a general understanding of the text’s content.