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Carve on the Moving Boat to Find the Sword

The Chinese idiom "Ke Zhou Qiu Jian " means carving on the moving boat to look for the sword. It is used metaphorically to mean that a person sees things as static and takes measures without thinking about changing circumstances.

This idiom is from a fable in Lv's Commentaries of History: There was a man from the state of Chu. His sword fell into the water when he was taking a boat across a river. The man was flustered, when suddenly an idea occurred to him. He notched in the edge of the boat and said, "It is the very place where my sword has dropped."

As soon as the boat came alongside, the man got off the boat, then dived into the water by the place he had marked, searching for the sword. However, he couldn't find it at last.

The man didn't realize that the boat kept moving but the sword stayed still, so he made a mistake and failed in the end.

The story also enlightens us that we should see the world in the light of its development. As the world is changing, getting stuck in a groove is foredoomed to result in failure. Furthermore, it is crucial for a country to embrace reform and innovation by adapting itself to changing circumstances.