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Malay, Chinese and English Proverbs That Share The Same Meanings

Updated on July 4, 2014

The Malays, Chinese and British differ greatly not only in their physical appearances but also cultures, religions, languages, and values.

However coincidentally, they have some proverbs, idioms or sayings that contain the same or nearly the same meanings. This shows that they share some common values.

Translating those sayings in other languages is a tedious task since the 3 races have very different histories, customs and environments.

Attractive Malay woman -  Lisa Surihani
Attractive Malay woman - Lisa Surihani
Foxy Chinese Woman - Kitty Zhang
Foxy Chinese Woman - Kitty Zhang
Lovely British Woman - Miranda Kerr
Lovely British Woman - Miranda Kerr

Some Examples In 3 Languages

These are some of the examples.

Kalau bertepuk sebelah tangan tidak akan berbunyi.

孤掌难鸣

It takes two to tango.

Berfikir sebelum berkata, berunding sebelum dibuat.

三思而后行.

Look before you leap.

Batu yang selalu bergolek dalam sungai itu tiada dihinggapi lumut。

滚石不生苔,转业不聚财

A rolling stone gathers no moss.

Berpahit-pahit dahulu supaya manis kemudian.

先苦后甜

He that will have egg must endure the cackle of hen.

Biar lambat asalkan selamat.

宁求稳,不后悔。

Better be safe than sorry.

Masuk kandang kambing mengembek, masuk kandang kerbau menguak

入乡随俗

When in Rome, do as the Roman do,

Payah-payah dilamun ombak, tercapai juga tanah tepi

苦尽甘来

Every cloud has a silver lining.

Bagaimana acuan begitulah kuihnya

虎父无犬子

Like father like son.

Bumi mana tak ditimpa hujan

人非圣贤

To err is human.

Cakap sejengkal dibawa sehasta

To make a mountain out of a mole hill.

小题大作

Nasi sudah menjadi bubur.

米已成炊

Don't cry over spilled milk.

Di mana ada kemahuan, di situ ada jalan.

有志者事竟成

Where there is a will, there is a way.

Hutang darah dibayar darah, hutang nyawa, nyawa padahnya.

血债血还

Blood demands blood.

Jiwa bergantung di hujung rambut

一发千钧

To hang by a thread.

Air yang tenang jangan disangka tiada buaya

人不可貌相

Still water runs deep

Jangan difikir air pasang sahaja.

好景不长在

All good things must come to an end.

Diberi betis nak paha.

得寸进尺

Give (someone) an inch and they will take a mile.






Some Examples In 2 Languages

Biar pecah di perut, jangan pecah di mulut

Bite your tongue.

Berjagung-jagung dahulu sementara menantikan padi masak

騎牛找馬

Gajah mati meninggalkan tulang, harimau mati meninggalkan belang, manusia mati meninggalkan nama

人死留名,豹死留皮.

Ada ubi ada batas, ada budi ada balas

善有善报

Gunung yang tinggi akan runtuh jika setiap hari digali

坐食山崩

Harimau menyembunyikan kukunya

大智若愚

Ini hari orang, esok hari kita

天有不测风云,人有旦夕祸福


Sebesar-besar bumi ditampar tak kena.

知易行难


Conclusion

The list does not stops here.I will add more examples in futures.

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