Huh? China stumped by Ivanka Trump's 'Chinese proverb'

Ivanka Trump Donald

Ivanka Trump Donald

"Those who say it cannot be done, should not interrupt those doing it", Trump tweeted Monday morning from the Asian island nation, citing it as a Chinese proverb. Her six-year-old daughter, Arabella Kushner, became an online sensation by singing ballads in Mandarin and reciting Chinese poetry in a video that was shown to President Xi Jinping during Mr Trump's visit to Beijing last year.

In China, as the tweet made the rounds, many people were baffled, with some calling it a "fake proverb".

Her tweet came on the eve of the day when her father, Donald Trump, met the North Korean leader at Capella Hotel in Singapore's Sentosa Island to hold talks, in a bid to resolve the decades-long nuclear stand-off between the two countries.

Countless Twitter users claimed the proverb was not Chinese, while a number of experts told The Independent there was no evidence the proverb had originated in China.

There was no agreement in the responses, although some people suggested Ivanka was alluding to a tale about a man who tried to dug up a mountain that he found in his way, according to the Telegraph.

Some suggested classic idioms like "A true gentleman should keep silent while watching a chess game". "Some said, 'maybe Ivanka saw it on a fortune cookie, ' which despite the name isn't of Chinese origin either".

Only catch? Chinese Twitter users couldn't recognise the "proverb" as one of their own.

She hired a Chinese-speaking nanny to tutor her daughter.

It's not the first time she has incorrectly described a quotation as Chinese.

The website Quote Investigator looked into this saying a few years ago and the earliest usage they could find was in 1903 in a Chicago periodical. "To be fair, the Chinese language has hundreds and arguably thousands of times more proverbs and sayings than any other language", Herzberg said.

The quote Ivanka invoked on Tuesday has also been attributed to non-Chinese sages like George Bernard Shaw, the Irish playwright.

"But why are Trump WH (White House) aides giving our proverbs to China, increasing our proverb deficit?" he quipped.

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