Quick linguistic factoid: Chinese ‘crisis’


Hugh Paxton’s Blog was writing an article and remembered hearing that the Chinese word for crisis was comprised of two words. One meaning ‘danger’, the attached word meaning ‘opportunity’. Just to confirm I was going to misleading my trusting readers I contacted my old friend Quentin. He works in the field of international shipping in Hong Kong with the West of England and a crisis in one form or other – ship collisions, sinkings, piracy, groundings, mutiny, stowaways, fraudulent insurance claims, highly suspicious cargo thefts etc – is never far from his desk. He is also fluent in several Oriental languages. He came up trumps as I knew he would and provides us with today’s confirmed linguistic factoid!

Over to Quentin in Hong Kong!

Dear Hugh, good day! Great to hear from you. I hope yours is better than ours. We are currently contending with cold wet rain. It’s like being back in London only with cheaper public transport.

Your musings on the Chinese word for Crisis are spot on. The words are pronounced “wei” (as in English word “way”) and “Ji” (pronounced like the letter “G”). The former does mean “danger” and the latter does indeed mean “opportunity”. I will send you the relevant characters from my IPhone as I can write Chinese on that.

I am also happy to say that there currently seem to be no crises affecting us, but, of course, now that I have said that…

Love to the girls,


One Response to “Quick linguistic factoid: Chinese ‘crisis’”

  1. Stella Says:

    I rather like this way of thinking about crises. Not all crises contain an opportunity, but I try to look for the opportunity and quite often I find one.

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