肥水不流外人田

 

A Google knock-off has surfaced in China! The name chosen by the newcomer is a play on words. The final syllable “jje” of the newcomer  sounds like the Chinese word “older sister” (“姐”) while the “gle” syllable of “Google” is pronounced like the Chinese word for “older brother” (Note: older brother is 哥 instead of song: 歌) .  Read here for the full story.

I was reminded of a Chinese proverb: “肥水不流外人田” with its play on the words “brother” and “sister”.

However, I can’t seem to find a proper english translation of this phase. A rough translation could be “One should not let fertile water flow into an outsider’s field”. 

The closest approximate english proverb I could think of was  “charity begins at home”, or “Each miller draws water to his own mill”, but I don’t think these properly capture the meaning of keeping fortunes within a family (to the exclusion of others) and perhaps of nepotism (?) that’s implicit in the Chinese proverb.

But what do I know? I’m a native speaker of neither. 🙂

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