Tomorrow heralds the Lunar New Year for the Chinese, and the animal that takes centrestage is HORSE 马. The New Year buzzword is definitely 马上 Mǎshàng or horseback, which figuratively means immediately. In the past, there was a general who was riding a horse and was told that Emperor was gravely ill, and he did not dismount from the horse but went ahead to the capital on his horse. Hence the meaning of at once.

The sentence construct is 马上…, so you can wish the other person 马上有钱 Mǎshàng yǒu qián (To have money immediately), 马上结婚 Mǎshàng jiéhūn (To marry immediately) etc. Better still, you can illustrate it by picture. For example, you can put money on the horseback for 马上有钱.

The most interesting picture I have come across is a pair of elephants on the horseback. A pair is 对 duì and elephant is xiàng, but pairing them up 对象 means boyfriend/girlfriend. 对 also means opposite and  is similar to 相 (face) in sound and meaning (象 also means appearance). So 对象 means someone who can face everyday and henceforth it means partner.

Here’s wishing everyone 心想事成 Xīn xiǎng shì chéng or to have one’s wishes come true in the Year of the Horse!


A pair of elephants on the Horseback

6 thoughts on “A pair of elephants on the Horseback

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