I found this proverb in a translated article:「如果做某事太慢,還不如乾脆停下來。」Does anyone know its original form? I have searched several Chinese proverb sites but couldn't find anything remotely related to it.

  • It doesn't ring any bell. It's somehow against Chinese culture. Chinese promotes the idea of "不怕慢,就怕站", which is opposite to the one you are looking for.
    – dan
    Sep 28 at 7:32
  • @dan I found the one you mentioned when doing online search.
    – joehua
    Sep 28 at 8:08
  • To me it seems to be a proverb about someone who does things so half heartedly that he might as well not do it at all. Sep 28 at 9:23

There is a saying: "一不做,二不休"(either don't do or don't stop).

It means "Either not doing it, or see it through to the end once you started"

In other words: "If you are not ready to finish what you started (too slow to finish), then don't do it (stop)"

Maybe it is the origin of this translated proverb

  • Thanks for the answer. When I see "一不做,二不休", the first thing that comes in my mind is kidnappers saying "一不做,二不休, we'll just kill the hostage." Evidently, I have watched too many crime movies.
    – joehua
    Sep 28 at 7:20

I really have not heard of such original proverb. But there is one really close, but it is a funny modern phrase, used in southern China or Hong Kong:


it means

if the business (such as a mom and pop grocery store) is so low, we may as well play some mahjong or do a little bit of gambling

but this is the closest one I can think of, similar to what you wrote down as 如果做某事太慢,還不如乾脆停下來

There is another phrase that is close:


It means

Either we don't do it, or we do it the best

but it has different connotation as your phrase because your phrase is suggesting stop when things are slow, while the phrase above is more like choosing between not doing it or doing it the best.

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