On Time by Xi Murong~《时间》(席慕蓉) with English Translations


On Time


Xi Murong

(李运兴 译)


A pot of cooked rice, if left out overnight, will become a bit dry because of loss of water. On the third day, it may not taste as good; and on the fourth day, as you’ll discover, it becomes sour. If kept even longer, it will surely get mouldy.


Why? What has made this happen?


It is time.



However, there is another story about it. In Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, young parents brew a kind of wine with rice and store it underground in jars when they have a daughter. When the girl grows to the age of marriage, the wine is used to entertain guests at the wedding banquet. So it is given a fascinating name Nü Er Hong, literally “Daughter Red”.


What turns the ordinary grains of rice into good wine?


The answer is also time.

到底,时间是善良,还是邪恶的魔术师呢?不是,时间只是一种简单的乘法,使原来的数值倍增而已。开始变坏的米 ,每一天都在不断的变得更腐臭。而开始变醇的美酒,每一分钟,都在继续增加它的芬芳。

Is time a benevolent magician, or a wicked witch? It is neither. It only serves as a multiplier, which makes the original number increase by several times. When cooked rice begins to go bad, it will become worse with each passing day; however, when it begins to turn into wine, it will become mellower minute by minute.


Our society has witnessed how naïve and innocent young men become detestable villains: once they begin to degenerate morally, they sink deeper and deeper into the mire of sin and cannot get out. Yet for those in constant pursuit of kindness, time is a factor that makes them wiser and more mature, ever more ready to extend warmth and understanding to the people around them.


ce may grow mouldy, yet it may also turn into good wine. What is it that makes the difference? It is the tiny bit of yeast mixed in.


We were all born to be human, yet some sink as low as beasts and some attain perfection of character. What again makes the difference? It is the desire for truth, kindness and beauty so dearly cherished in our hearts.


In which way do you want time to produce its effect on you? It all depends on what you expect of yourself.


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *