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commonly/['kƆmənlɪ]/ ad. 一般, 普通, 通常...

Keeping Fit

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Foreigner: People used to think that the Chinese are not as healthy and fit as the people in the west, but I find that’s far from the case. I suppose that’s another example of our prejudices of western superiority.

Chinese: No, I wouldn’t say that’s a case of prejudice. We were indeed poor in health and weak in physique in the old days. In fact we were known as the sick men of Asia.

Foreigner: That’s certainly insultingly derogatory. No one, not even those prejudiced and unfriendly, would dare to use such a term to describe the Chinese people now. Just look at all those gold medals you’ve won at the Olympics!

Chinese: Yes, I must admit our performances at the Games are something we’ve reasons to be proud of, especially when we think of our miserable past performances. In the few games we participated in, we not only won no medals at all, but also put up very poor show even at the trials.

Foreigner: Impressive as your sports performances have been, it’s the general improvement in people’s health and fitness that impressed me most. China is still supposed to be a developing country, so I was surprised when I saw all the people looking as strong and healthy as people in any developed country.

Chinese: It’s all due to the general improvement of living conditions and the concern of the government. How could you expect people to be healthy and fit when they were having a hard time to keep body and soul together? In fact life has become so good and easy that now we face the danger of over-nourishment, especially for the children. Go to any classroom in a school and you are sure to see at least two or three little fatties in a class of say fifty children.

Foreigner: But I don’t see so many overly fat people in China as I see in the west, though there are quite a lot of fat children, as you’ve just mentioned. How do you explain that?

Chinese: As I see it, the difference in our style of living explains it. Your food is too rich and fattening and you don’t take enough exercises.

Foreigner: Ah yes, I see people of all ages taking exercises both in the mornings and also in the evenings. The parks every morning are always full of people doing all sorts of exercises. Younger people mostly do jogging, which is most popular in the west too because it’s so simple to do. The older people do taiji, which has been introduced to the west recently, but not many people can do it yet.

Chinese: Yes, it’s originally a school of Chinese martial arts. It differs from all other schools of martial arts in that it relies not on one's own physical strength, but on the physical strength of one's opponent. Its famous maxim is: “With my four liang I’ll remove your thousand jin.” Of course most people do taiji today not as a martial art, but as a form of physical exercise. It calls for synchronization of deep breathing and slow rhythmic movements, and requires high concentration. Its slow pace makes it specially suited to older people.

Foreigner: Yes, I find it fascinating to watch them. Another sight that impresses me greatly is to watch those colorfully dressed elderly ladies doing the yangge dance to the loud rhythmic music of cymbals and drums. Their lively spirit is very catching.

外国人:过去人们认为中国人没有西方人健康,但我发现情况绝非如此。我想这又是我们西方优越感带来的偏见。

中国人:不,我不认为这是偏见。过去我们确实健康不佳,体格也弱。事实上,我们被称为“东亚病夫”。

外:那真是诬蔑性的诽谤。现在,即使那些有偏见不友好的人也不敢用这样的词句来形容中国人。只要看看你们在奥运会上赢得的那么多金牌!

中:对,我承认我们有理由为我们在奥运会上的表现而感到骄傲,尤其是想到我们过去蹩脚的表现。在我们参加过的几次奥运会上,我们不但没有拿到任何奖牌,就连在预赛中也表现得极差。

外:尽管你们的体育成绩很令人钦佩, 但人们健康的总体改善最令我难忘。中国按道理来说还是个发展中国家,所以,看到中国人强壮、健康,与发达国家的人无异,我很惊讶。

中:这全是由于生活条件的改善和政府的关怀。人民如果总为温饱问题操心,怎么能有健康的体魄呢?实际上,我们现在的生活太优裕了,人们甚至会营养过剩,尤其是小孩。学校里任何一个50人左右的班里少说都会有两三个小胖子。

外:但我好像没看见中国有像西方那么多的胖子,尽管像你说的,有不少肥胖儿童。这怎么解释呢?

中: 依我看,东西方生活方式的差异就是解释。你们吃的东西过于油腻,而且你们缺乏足够的体育活动。

外:对了,我看见不同年龄的人早晨、晚上都在锻炼。公园每天早上都有做各种运动的人。年轻人大多是跑步,这在西方也是最普遍的运动方式,因为简便易行。上年纪的人打太极拳。太极拳最近传到了西方,但会打的还不多。

中:是的,太极拳原来是中国武术的一派。它和其他派别的武术的不同之处就是,太极靠的不是自己的力量,而是依靠对手的力量。太极的名言是:“四两拨千斤。”当然啦,现在多数人练太极不是作为武术,而是作为一种体育运动。打太极拳要协调深呼吸和缓慢、有节奏的动作,并且要聚精会神。它的节奏缓慢,很适合老人练习。

外:的确,看人打太极拳太有意思了。还有一个给我印象深刻的情景是,那些衣着鲜艳的老太太锣鼓喧天地扭秧歌。她们高涨的情绪非常具有感染力。
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