Proverb – Cái Khó Ló Cái Khôn

Literal Translation: In times of trouble, wise solutions will appear.
English Equivalent: Adversity is the mother of wisdom.

In 2008, British film Slumdog Millionaire, directed by Danny Boyle, dominated the box office and snagged numerous international film awards. The story was of an 18-year-old boy named Jamil who, despite growing up in the Juhu slums of Mumbai, appeared on India’s version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire and used his childhood experiences on the streets to successfully answer all the quiz show questions. Similar to the film, our September proverb means that when faced with obstacles, wise people find out-of-the-box solutions. “Cái khó” refers to circumstances or conditions that impede our goals, “cái khôn” refers to long-term plans, while “ló” means to appear/ surface. But “Cái khó ló cái khôn” is actually an adaptation of an out-dated and negative proverb, “Cái khó cái khôn,” that means “Difficult circumstances restrict one’s ability to carry out a plan.” On a grander scale, the proverb points out that difficult environments breed wisdom. It implies that there is a certain intelligence and determination resulting from having been raised in poor conditions. The West has a term for wisdom gained from living on the streets that they call “street smarts.” This is awareness and trust in your own judgment of people or situations.

As Jawaharlal Nehru has said, “The hand that you are dealt represents determinism; the way you play it is free will.” You cannot change the circumstances of your birth, but you can change how you deal with it moving forward.

This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt




Proverb – Chiều chiều ra đứng ngõ sau, Trông về quê mẹ, ruột đau chín chiều.

Literal Translation: Late in the afternoon stand at the back gate, facing my mother’s country, my heart aches many times.English...

The Sudden Growth Of Vietnamese FMCG Industry Amid The COVID-19 Pandemic

In 2019, the Vietnam economy showed remarkable growth with the total value of the gross domestic product (GDP) had exceeded the...

The Five-Fruit Tray of Tet

Every Lunar New Year, on the family altar of every Vietnamese family, there is a five-fruit tray as an offering to...

Winnie-the-Pooh is Coming to Canada in 2020

The Royal Ontario Museum, has announced that it will be the exclusive Canadian venue for Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic, opening in...

An adventure to the wild beauty of Nam Du Islands

Nam Du is a glistening archipelago of 21 tropical islands in all sizes. They are all nestling in the peaceful Gulf of Thailand...

This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt