Iain: I cannot improve on Prof. Mair’s demolition job.
That character ji the good Prof. goes on about is also the first in jiguanqiang = “machine-gun.” This was my wife’s nickname at college. She used to talk a lot, and very fast. She has since slowed down, thank God.
When I first got my hands on a good Chinese-language book of Chinese proverbs, I made it a habit, every time I saw some apothegm or other described (in an English newspaper or magazine article, I mean) as “an ancient Chinese proverb,” of sifting through the Chinese book to see if I could find it. I never could.