The Reputation of Dogs 狗的名声

Many Westerners don’t understand why Chinese people eat dogs. After some of them have studied Chinese, they realized that the word “dog” is used in many derogatory expressions. Some of those expressions are “a running dog”, “stinky dog droppings,” or “like a dog who bites on the strength of its master’s power.” This last one describes a person who takes advantage of someone else’s strength to bully others.Why do dogs have such a bad reputation in China? My guess is that for hundreds of years in rural China, dogs have been used to guard houses. The more they bark at the sight of strangers, the more generous their owners are in rewarding them. That in turn makes the dogs even more aggressive. In the old days, a scholar visiting a village would knock on the door of a farmer’s house, hoping to be greeted with hospitality. Often, to his dismay, he would be greeted by a barking dog that would sometimes bite him. The scholar would be scared and run back home and, out of anger and frustration, coin phrased to curse dogs. That’s a very imaginative story! However, it seems that people have begun to like dogs in recent years. You’re right. As people are becoming more and more affluent, the role of the dog has changed from a sentinel to a favorite pet. Nowadays, a lot of people are breeding dogs as pets and for sale. Many others still dislike dogs because dogs have invaded the already very crowded human space. Chinese cities are densely populated and a lot of people live in pigeonholes in high-rise apartment buildings. Usually, over 100 households share a couple of elevators or the same flight of stairs. Imagine the elevator door opening and a dog running out and barking at you. Would you still consider dogs lovely if you had to face that every day? To look after the dogs properly, the owners have to walk their dogs everyday and, they end up leaving dog droppings all over the place. In this case, “stinky dog dropping” become a reality and not just a curse. You can step on them any time of aren’t careful. That’s why more and more people feel offended by dogs. Unfortunately, some dog owners don’t seem to care about all these problems. I heard that some people are so frustrated that they put poison on public lawns to kill the poor dogs. Recently more than 50,000 dogs were rounded up and killed in a county in Yunnan Province. In Beijing, more than 70,000 people were bitten by dogs during 2006. Reports of rabies throughout the country have increased sharply. It’s unfortunate that dogs become responsible for the bad behavior of their owners. In fact, none of the derogative expressions related to dogs actually apply to the dogs. They really refer to people. In this sense, dogs have a chance to finally get back at the humans.
A:许多西方人对中国人吃狗肉很不理解。学了中文以后,发现“狗”这个字被用于许多贬义词汇:“走狗”、“臭狗屎”、“狗仗人势”等等,为什么狗的名声在中国这么坏? B:我猜大概是因为在数百年前的乡土中国,狗是用来看家护院的,见到陌生人越是狂吠主人就越给予褒奖,狗们就更具攻击性。读书人想到农家看一看,就敲响了农户的门,期待农人以礼相待,令他沮丧的是,迎接他的是一条狂叫的狗,然后又扑过来撕咬。读书人惊恐地回到家中,愤怒之下,就造出了那些贬损狗的词汇。 A:一个很有想像力的故事。但是这些年,中国人好像开始喜欢狗了。 B:对,我们的生活越发富裕,城市里的狗从看家变身为宠物,现在许多人都养狗,或作宠物或作买卖。同时讨厌狗的人也随之增多。原因在于狗侵犯了人们本来就拥挤的生活空间。中国城市的人口密度大、空间小,多数市民住在空间不大的高楼里,上百户的人共用一两部电梯或一道楼梯。想像一下,电梯门打开后,一条狗突然跑出来冲你狂叫的情形。如果天天如此,你还会觉得狗可爱吗?狗主人们为了照顾好自己的狗每天都要出去遇狗,可是他们却任由自己的狗到处排泄。这种情形之下,“臭狗屎”不再是咒骂,而成为现实,不小心就会踩到。这就是越来越多的人讨厌狗的原因。不幸的是,一些狗主人似乎并没有意识到这些问题。 A:我听说有些人一怒之下在小区的草地上下毒杀那些可怜的狗。在云南省的一个县曾经扑杀了5万只狗。2006年仅北京就有7万人被狗咬伤,全国患狂犬病的人数急剧上升。 B:不幸的是,狗主人的过失全部由狗承担了。事实上,那些贬损狗的词汇,从来都不是用来骂狗而是用来指人的不良行为的。对可怜的狗来说,这也算扯平了。