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I am looking for Chinese 成语 that generalize 袖手旁观, but indicate complacency with regards to something that could happen, rather than to something that has already happened, or is happening.

Thanks.

EDIT:

Current answers to my post mention war...

May be a strange distinction to make, but I was not talking about war. I was thinking about the occurrence of an undetected natural phenomenon, such as a flood, earthquake, meteorite, volcano eruption, or anything elder of the sort that one could not have accounted for, because there were no signs, and nobody thought about it. So I am looking for a saying imploring to think about a possible calamity when everyone else did not think it was obvious or coming. These things have all happened in history, unaccounted for, until someone was wise enough to think about them and get others to do so as well, and 成语 correct millennia of wisdom, so it seems strange that no-one would exist to describe what I am looking for, with all the 成语 out there.

  • seems to be a strange distinction to make, jukuu:29. The Chinese people will not sit idly by if the flames of war spread to their side. 战火烧到身边时,中国人民不会袖手旁观。 "汉语熟语小词典":同学有困难,我们能帮助的一定要尽力帮助,决不能袖手旁观。 – user6065 Oct 18 '16 at 14:15
  • Thick you for your reply. Please see my updated post. – Jack Maddington Oct 18 '16 at 18:56
  • "undetected natural phenomenon....there were no signs" | "possible calamity when everyone else did not think it was obvious" -- Are you talking about "someone wise enough to see something no one else does?" What does it has to do with 袖手旁观? Are you saying someone wise enough to see something no one else does, but keep to himself? If it is what you looking for, I can give an answer. – Tang Ho Oct 19 '16 at 1:20
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洞燭先機//////未雨綢繆//////防微杜漸//////防患未然

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The Chinese meaning of 袖手旁观 is 把手藏在袖子里,站在旁边看;比喻置身事外,不过问或不参与(含贬义)。 The translation is: Put your hands in your sleeves, stood by and watched; metaphor out of it, don't ask or not to participate (including pejorative).

I think it can used to something could happen or is happening.

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So I am looking for a saying imploring to think about a possible calamity when everyone else did not think it was obvious or coming. These things have all happened in history, unaccounted for, until someone was wise enough to think about them and get others to do so as well

That's called having "先見之明" (wisdom to foresee) or 先知先覺 (foresee / notice early)

If someone has 先見之明 (wisdom to foresee) but not do anything to deal with it, it is called 袖手旁观 (stay idle by the side) or 置身事外 (stay out of it)

  • Isn't 姑息 the "aunt's breath". Seems like 养虎为患。 – Jack Maddington Oct 18 '16 at 18:53
  • Anyways, I have updated my post. Perhaps, if you can take the time, you can answer my question better. Thanks. – Jack Maddington Oct 18 '16 at 18:54
  • @JackMaddington 姑息:為求苟安,無原則地寬容 - being tolerance (to the evils) for the sake of (own) safeness – Alex Oct 18 '16 at 22:10
  • Sorry, I still do not understand. So 姑息 is the evils? What do the individual characters 姑 and 息 mean on their own? Thanks. – Jack Maddington Oct 26 '16 at 15:32
  • Also, @TangHo, "有先見之明" is made up of five characters instead of four, so is not a成语. Is there a four-character one? Thanks. – Jack Maddington Oct 26 '16 at 15:33

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