Hongkong will release a set of children stamps on the theme of “Chinese Idioms and Their Stories”on 28th June 2011.Chinese idioms are set phrases which have evolved over thousands of years of use. They are succinct and expressive, vivid and figurative. Often originating from fables, literature and historical facts or personages, their stories are full of references and the wisdom of the ages. Hongkong Post’s first issue of Chinese idioms stamps was received eagerly by philately enthusiasts and the general public in 2006.
The set of stamps is themed on five Chinese idioms.
$1.40 – Mutual help in hard times
This idiom originates from Zhuangzi (369 – 286 BC), the famous Daoist philosopher born in the ancient China. It literally means that when the spring water dries up, the fishes stranded on land moisten each other with their saliva. The idiom is now used to describe people coming to each other’s assistance during difficult times.
$1.80 – Water drops wear away rocks
According to the observation of a scholar of the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279 AD), water drops, small and soft as they may be, can hollow out hard rock over time. The idiom carries the message that perseverance and determination breed success.
$2.40 – Practice makes perfect
Dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD) , this idiom refers to the repetitive heating and hammering during the iron forging process, alluding to the polishing of a piece of writing in the most meticulous manner in the quest for perfection. It is also used to describe one’s experience of numerous trials and challenges.
$3 – Save to give
This idiom originates from an article in the Tang Dynasty. It advises that governing officials should economise on resources so that more can be given back to the people for a better life.
$5 – As deft as a master butcher
Zhuangzi described in this story how a butcher used his superb skills to cut up an ox effortlessly for Lord Wenhui. It illustrates the fact that with constant practice and thorough knowledge, one can deal with everything with ease.