Ban Tu Er Fei -- Giving Up Half Way

The Story behind the Idiom

Once upon a time, a Chinese scholar named Yang Tse left home to study with a master far away. After one year, he missed his wife terribly; so, he decided to go home and see her. Extremely excited, he stepped into his house to find his beloved wife weaving quietly beside the door. She was surprised to see him and asked if he had finished his studies. Thinking that she would be deeply touched, he told her he came back early because he missed her very much.

To his bewilderment, his answer seemed to upset his wife tremendously. She took out a pair of scissors and said, "Look, I work on the loom day after day and week after week to weave those single threads of silk into an entire piece of cloth. If I cut the cloth now, all my efforts would be wasted. Your job as a student is to accumulate knowledge day after day, week after week and year after year. If you give up now, isn't it the same as cutting my threads?"

Yang Tse was shocked and moved. He went back to the school and didn't return home again until seven years later when he finally obtained his degree.

The Idiom

The Chinese idiom ban tu er fei, which comes from this story, means 'to give up at half way.'
The story is well-known in every Chinese household. While it might seem exaggerated from a modern perspective, it reinforces a deeply respected virtue in Chinese culture: persistence, especially in the face of challenging circumstances .

Example: If you ban tu er fei now, you will never become the great basketball player that you want to be.

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