ASTRO bab­ble

Whether you be­lieve in it or not, astrol­ogy has a huge fan base in Chi­na聊星座其实是一种社交技巧

The World of Chinese - - Bookmark - BY SUN JIHUA (孙佳慧)

For those with an open mind to­ward astrol­ogy, hu­man so­ci­ety seems pretty sim­ple. As long as they know some­one’s birth­day, they can be­come ex­perts on any­one: For ex­am­ple, Sagittarius is an ad­ven­turer, Pisces a dreamer or healer, and a Capricorn is a vari­able worka­holic.

Horo­scopes are sta­ple read­ing ma­te­rial on­line. Posts on Tong­dao Dashu, a Weibo ac­count ded­i­cated to the 12 zo­diac signs, gets thousands of shares each, and the ac­count has gained nearly 15 mil­lion fol­low­ers since its cre­ation in 2013. In 2016, the com­pany be­hind this ac­count sold 72.5 per­cent of its stake at a jaw­drop­ping value of over 200 mil­lion RMB, which prob­a­bly gives some clue to how pop­u­lar astrol­ogy in China is.

But even those who are aware that there are more than just a dozen per­son­al­ity types in the world can’t get enough of astrol­ogy talk. That’s be­cause, in many cases, the zo­diac signs can be use­ful tools for so­cial­iz­ing. Con­sider meet­ing a stranger for the first time: You don’t want to get too per­sonal, nor ask clichéd ques­tions about the weather, so a con­ver­sa­tion about their star sign can help break the ice.

A: What's your star sign? N@ sh# sh9nme x~ngzu7 de? 你是什么星座的? B: I'm a Taurus. W6 sh# J~nni% Zu7. 我是金牛座。 A: I heard that Tau­ruses are very good at man­ag­ing fi­nan­cial mat­ters. Is that true? T~ng­shu4 J~nni% Zu7 de r9n d4u h0n sh3nch1ng l@ c1i. Sh# zh8nde ma? 听说金牛座的人都很擅长理财。是真的吗? B: Not me. I al­ways lose money in in­vest­ments. W6 ji& b% sh3nch1ng. W6 t5uz~ z6ngsh# p9iqi1n. 我就不擅长。我投资总是赔钱。 Talk­ing about star signs might even be a short­cut to best-friendship:

A: You are a Gemini? That's great! N@ sh# Shu`ngz@ Zu7? T3i h2o le! 你是双子座?太好了! B: Why? W-i sh9nme? 为什么? A: I'm a Sagittarius. It's said a Sagittarius al­ways gets along with a Gemini. W6 sh# Sh-sh6u Zu7. J&shu4 Sh-sh6u Zu7 h9 Shu`ngz@ Zu7 t-bi9 h9del1i. 我是射手座。据说射手座和双子座合得来。

On the other hand, when a so­cial in­ter­ac­tion turns sour, astrol­ogy can be used to ex­cuse one’s less-thanpos­i­tive traits—“it’s not my fault, the stars made me this way!”

A: Come on! You have been look­ing through the menu for ages! Can't you or­der quicker? B3itu4! N@ k3n c3id`n d4u k3n le y! g- sh#j# le! N9ng ku3i di2nr di2nc`n ma? 拜托!你看菜单都看了一个世纪了!能快点儿点餐吗? B: As a Libra, I was born with dif­fi­culty mak­ing up my mind. Zu7w9i Ti`nch-ng Zu7, w6 ti`nsh8ng xu2nz9 k&nnan. 作为天秤座, 我天生选择困难。 It’s even ap­pli­ca­ble to the work­place:

A: You've asked me to mod­ify a de­sign draft over 10 times! You're so picky! N@ d4u r3ng w6 g2ile sh! bi3n sh-j# c2og2o le! N@ zh8n­shi t3i ti`oti le! 你都让我改了十遍设计草稿了!你真是太挑剔了! B: Sorry. I am a Virgo, there­fore a per­fec­tion­ist. B3o­qi3n, w6 sh# Ch^n) Zu7, w1n­m0izh^y#zh0. 抱歉,我是处女座,完美主义者。 The stars can also help shut down an­noy­ing ques­tions or pro­pos­als:

A: Why aren't you mar­ried yet? You know, I can fix you up with some­body nice. N@ z0nme h1i m9i ji9h$n? Q!sh! w6 k0y@ g0i n@ ji- sh3o ge h2odu#xi3ng. 你怎么还没结婚?其实我可以给你介绍个好对象。 B: Thanks, but the true love of an Aquarius is free­dom. Xi-xie, d3nsh# Shu@p!ng Zu7 de zh8n'3i sh# z#y5u. 谢谢,但是水瓶座的真爱是自由。

Skep­ti­cism about astrol­ogy never van­ishes. In case it’s not ob­vi­ous, there is no sci­en­tific ba­sis be­hind th­ese stel­lar stereo­types; but even so, when conversing with the gullible, it’s easy to ma­nip­u­late one’s signs to suit one’s own in­ter­ests.

Try say­ing this in a job in­ter­view:

WHEN CONVERSING WITH THE GULLIBLE, IT'S EASY TO MA­NIP­U­LATE TH­ESE SIGNS TO SUIT ONE'S OWN IN­TER­ESTS

I am a Capricorn, so I am al­ways hard­work­ing. W6 sh# M5ji9 Zu7, su6y@ w6 g4ngzu7 y!xi3ng f8ich1ng n^l#. 我是摩羯座,所以我工作一向非常努力。 Or on a first date, when dis­cussing com­pat­i­bil­ity:

A: Fam­ily al­ways comes first for us Cancers. Du# w6­men J&xi- Zu7 l1i shu4, ji`t!ng y6ngyu2n sh# d# y~ w-i de. 对我们巨蟹座来说,家庭永远是第一位的。 B: Well, I'm a Sagittarius. Though I wouldn't call my­self a play­boy, I'm not re­ally into a mo­not­o­nous life. Zu7w9i Sh-sh6u Zu7, su~r1n w6 b%sh# su6w-i de hu`hu` g4ngz@, d3n w6 qu-sh! b% t3i x@huan n3zh6ng y# ch9ng b% bi3n de sh8nghu5.作为射手座,虽然我不是所谓的花花公子,但我确实不太喜欢那种一成不变的生活。

When turn­ing down an un­wanted suitor, astrol­ogy is once again use­ful. Though it sounds ex­treme to re­ject some­one based sim­ply on their star sign, many peo­ple feel it’s kinder than giv­ing out the real rea­son:

You are a good per­son, but an Aries and I are to­tally in­com­pat­i­ble. N@ r9n h0n h2o, d3nsh# w6 g8n B1iy1ng Zu7

w1n­qu1n ch^bul1i.你人很好,但是我跟白羊座完全处不来。

Usu­ally, peo­ple can take a hint, but some­times one may en­counter re­ally se­ri­ous astrol­ogy ex­perts who won’t eas­ily buy your as­tral mum­bo­jumbo—that’s OK, though, be­cause the stars are noth­ing if not al­ways am­bigu­ous:

A: I don't think Aquar­iuses are all that free-spir­ited. Many of them re­ally re­spect rules, and value or­der. W6 r-nw9i Shu@p!ng Zu7 b& d4u n3me z#y5u s2n­m3n. T`men d`ngzh4ng h0ndu4 r9n d4u z$nzh7ng gu~z9, ch5ng­sh3ng zh#x&.我认为水瓶座不都那么自由散漫。他们当中很多人都尊重规则,崇尚秩序。

B: That's true, be­cause the sun sign doesn't de­ter­mine ev­ery­thing. Peo­ple are also in­flu­enced by their moon and rising signs. Qu-sh! r%c@, y~nw-i t3iy1ng x~ngzu7 b#ng b&n9ng ju9d#ng y!qi-. T`men h1i sh7u yu-liang x~ngzu7 h9 sh3ng­sh8ng x~ngzu7 de y@ngx­i2ng.确实如此, 因为太阳星座并不能决定一切。他们还受月亮星座和上升星座的影响。

The trick­i­est group to deal with is the astrol­ogy haters, who may have been the un­for­tu­nate vic­tims of bias, and even dis­crim­i­na­tion, due to their signs: a Virgo turned down for a job, af­ter be­ing la­beled an in­tractable para­noid and con­trol freak; a Gemini sus­pected of cheat­ing on their spouse; a Scorpio scorned as a cold-blooded grudge holder; a Taurus called an emo­tion­less miser…

When meet­ing some­one who gets sniffy about any con­stel­la­tion-based talk, it’s good to pre­pare a path of re­treat:

A: Astrol­ogy is com­plete non­sense! I am a Leo, but when have I ever been ar­ro­gant, bossy, or self-cen­tered? X~ngzu7 w1n­qu1n ji&shi w%j~ zh~ t1n! W6 sh# Sh~zi Zu7, d3n w6 sh9nme sh!hou 3om3n z#d3, y!zh@ q#sh@, y@ z#w6 w9i zh4ngx~n le? 星座完全就是无稽之谈!我是狮子座,但我什么时候傲慢自大、颐指气使、以自我为中心了? B: Sure, I'm a Pisces, but I don't spend all my time day­dream­ing, ei­ther! It's just for fun, no one takes it se­ri­ously. Sh#' a, w6 sh# Shu`ngy% Zu7, y0 m9i ch9ngti`n ch9nm! y% hu3nx­i2ng a! B%gu7 d3ji` ji&shi shu4zhe w1n de, m9i r9n d3ngzh8n.是啊,我是双鱼座,也没成天沉迷于幻想啊!不过大家就是说着玩的,没人当真。

One term, though, seems safe to use:水逆 ( shu@n#), short for 水星逆行( Shu@ x~ng n#x!ng, Mer­cury in ret­ro­grade.) Feel free to blame 水逆 for any­thing un­pleas­ant, since it’s the com­mon en­emy of all the signs.

A: It was the worst week of my life. Ev­ery­thing went wrong! Zh- sh# w6 zu# d2om9i de y# zh4u le! Sh9nme d4u b% sh&n! 这是我最倒霉的一周了!什么都不顺! B: It must be caused by Mer­cury's ret­ro­grade. But this will end soon. K0nd#ng sh# Shu@n# y@nq@ de. D3nsh# Shu@n# h0nku3i ji&y3o ji9sh& le. 肯定是水逆引起的。但是水逆很快就要结束了。 And on so­cial me­dia, here’s a phrase sure to up­lift your friends and your­self:

Mer­cury's ret­ro­grade be­gone! Shu@n# tu#s3n! 水逆退散!

A sim­ple call to the stars can dis­pel bad luck and make or break your en­tire so­cial life—like magic! Or maybe it’s a sign…

THOUGH IT'S EX­TREME TO RE­JECT SOME­ONE BASED ON THEIR STAR SIGN, IT'S KINDER THAN GIV­ING OUT THE REAL REA­SON

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