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Translate 表面風光、內裏陰乾 in english.

Where is this ancient idiom coming from by the way?

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It is not an idiom, but a typical 順口溜 (Jingle)

表面(on the surface)

風光(look good)* short from 好風光(good scenery)- something look good in people's eyes)

內裏(inside)

陰乾(slowly dry up in dry dark place)

It means 'someone seems well off in the public's eyes, but in reality, is flat broke.'

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I'd like to recommend another.

In simplified Chinese, you can find a similar but different one

金玉其外,败絮其中

金玉其外, on the surface it is gold

败絮其中, but inside it is just rubbish

It's very impolite to describe a person in this way. That means this guy is actually an asshole but masked with a polite, friendly and gorgeous appearance.

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