PREFACE: this morning in the Pucillo Gym's swimming pool, my friend Ying held his fingers against his pulsing throat so I asked him if he counted beats in Chinese or in English. He said in Chinese and I told him how in the 1950's when I worked in a Bank in Bangkok, we had to read out all bank account balances every night comparing cashier's records with bookkeeping files.
Whenever two Dutch (or English, for that sake) clerks competed with two Chinese, Chinese always won... so we Dutch switched to Chinese, too.. Dutch is even more of a handicap with bisyllable numerals 'zeven' and 'negen' than English or German with only one: 'seven" or "sieben' - if you know what I mean.
Ying then commented on the difficulties teaching Chinese expressions to foreigners, so I challenged him and he came up with ma = horse and hu = tiger, but "ma hu" = careless and "ma ma hu hu" (Indonesians would writer 'ma2 hu2") = comme ci come ca or so - so.
I asked him why, but he did not know, so I gave him my instant explanation which I will repeat at the end of this story... because that's what I am up to now...
First to find an appropriate heading or title -
which required some initial googling later in the day.

talking about titles and serendipitous coincidences of celestial omens (omina?):
....(Oct.2010): "ROC Red Cross Society President Chen Charng-ven
who said the annual event could be a venue for a meeting between

President Ma Ying jeou
and his Chinese counterpart
Hu Jintao.
For now I won't touch that with a 10 foot Pole,
so let's continue searching for alternative titles - like :

"old" Chinese
for MA = horse

"new" Chinese
for MA = horse
Ben Oostdam story # 688

No horsing around with tigers!
just googling around...
Beware of (tar) pitfalls...

take your pick...


Reiterating, in Chinese, "ma" = horse, "hu" = tiger (how to write "tiger" in Chinese),
and "mahu" = ??? ,
let's google it to make sure Ying knows his stuff:

"Mahu" is also Malaysian/Indonesian for mau, to want,
while in other, Pacific islands, Mahu = transgender, transvestite
I am going to give my explanation for this interesting juxtaposition
in a minute or so, but first want to get the doubling up to ma2hu2 out of the way:

Another very common idiomatic expression is ma ma hu hu. Literally it means 'horse horse tiger tiger' (ma means horse and hu means tiger). Some people say it came from an old story in which a horse and a tiger got into a fight. Neither animal could outdo the other. In time, the two animals mentioned together came to symbolize the fight that had no definitive result -- and ma ma hu hu came to mean 'so so.' ...But I'm not entirely convinced. My own personal theory is that, a long time ago, someone tried to draw an animal. He asked other people what the animal he drew looked like. Some said it looked like a horse and others said it was a tiger. They said, 'ma -- ma -- hu -- hu' because the drawing was just 'so so.' OK, OK, have you got a better explanation?

OR do you need to be democratic and vote on it
(both of you 100% readers?):

WOW, I am finally approaching midnight's denouement, or my simple explanation of horse-tiger = careless.
We go back some tens of millions of years when the North American Plate collided with the South American, and some fascinating migrations occurred both ways. Evidence of carelesness amongst proto-fossil mammals have been carefully preserved in various tarpits in Venezuela. So what does that have to do with the death of horses and tigers in China? The geological assurances that "The Past is the Key to the Present" and "Scientific Evidence must be Replicatable". Thus having witnessed - a few nights ago - with my own eyes NGS's fantastic Eo-videos of a careless (proto)horse getting stuck in a tarpit while being chased by a (sabretooth) tiger, I can testify to the utter carelesness of the tiger which, in hot pursuit and without further deliberation jumped onto the horse's back and while devouring his (or her, more likely) prey, sank into the tarry black future of preservation c.q. conservation and eminent expert explanation following excavation! The subtle interconnection of geopolitical, socioeconomic as well as chronophylogenous implications will be immediately obvious to the attentive reader. Others do or need not apply.

BLO fecit 20110218 Carla's jirje - stories