Example of a Chinese Couplet
The Chinese Community Development Center (CCDC) is hosting a couplet contest. The winning couplet will become a permanent part of the Central Subway Chinatown Plaza. Passengers will see the couplet prominently installed at the station plaza with dimension of 9’ by 11.5’ inches high.
Rendering of the future Chinatown Plaza
The contest kicked off on Monday, April 25 at the Chinatown Community Center. John Funghi, Central Subway Program Director, provided an update on construction, the Chinatown Plaza and thanked the community for their cooperation. Francis So of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce discussed the 20 years of advocacy behind the Central Subway Project and Chinatown Plaza.
The Chinese couplet is a Chinese poem comprised of two lines that adhere to certain rules. Both lines must have the same number of Chinese characters and corresponding characters with the same lexical category. The meaning of the two lines needs to be related, with each pair of corresponding characters having related definitions. Couplets are written in calligraphy on red paper or carved on wooden uprights. They frequently adorn buildings.
Here are some examples of couplet and their English translations:
書山有路勤爲徑 The mountain of books has one way and hard work serves as the path
學海無涯苦作舟 The sea of learning has no end and effort makes the boat
To enter the contest, the poet must compose an original seven character couplet on the official entry form. The couplet’s theme should relate to either transportation or Chinese history and culture. The entry form can be mailed or hand delivered to the CCDC Program Office at 663 Clay Street by 4p.m. on Friday May 20. There is no entry fee and only one entry per person. The contest is focused on the couplet prose, a professional calligrapher will produce the calligraphy. To ensure a fair selection, the couplets will be judged by a community panel. In addition to having the couplet a permanent part of Chinatown Plaza, the winner will receive a $150 dining gift certificate. Contestants with questions about the contest should contact Jerri Diep, CCDC at 415-984-1461.
Good luck to all contestants!