It is from a book I read, but I do not remember the title of it. It looks something like 儒林外史 or 镜花园 or similar title.

Isn't 加纳 a country in Africa? I hear many local people of Nanning, the city where I am staying, went there for gold mining and earn a good fortune.

Is it likely that since ancient times or the time when the book was written or published, there were Chinese people doing the same in Ghana?

  • If you could provide the context it will be much easier to figure it out. Commented Aug 25, 2023 at 10:28
  • google.com/books/edition/…
    – PdotWang
    Commented Aug 25, 2023 at 11:50
  • @PdotWang Thanks. That is the book. The place from which I mentioned people went to work in Ghana is a county named Shanglin上林, which is under the city of Nanning南宁. But about the words, I haven't got the answer even after my search online and your direction. Commented Aug 26, 2023 at 0:56

2 Answers 2


The sentence comes from the first chapter of 《姑妄言》, which is an erotic novel. The full sentence comes as below:


Firstly, it couldn't be the country of Ghana at all. At the time of the book 姑妄言 (1730), most person in Qing Dynasty could hardly have a way to get know about Britain, France or Spain (except being a merchant selling foreign goods or related to one of the merchants), let alone an African colonial. Also at that time the name "Ghana" just don't exist. Westerns call the colonial part of Ghana "the Gold Coast", and there is a native Ashanti Empire in the territory of today's Ghana that is not colonized.

Back to the sentence. “先生” means man with high social status, and “阔佬” means rich man. There is a Chinese blog that specifically analyse the meaning of “效用” and “加纳” in the book. His/Her answer is:



In English, “效用先生” and “加纳大佬” both means vulgar upstarts who buy a position in bureaucracy (to make himself have a higher status), “加纳” means "additional payment" in origin, and in Ming and Qing dynasties it mean the action of buying a position in bureaucracy.

My English isn't very good, so I apologize for the possible grammar or vocabulary mistake in this answer.

  • Quote:- "My English isn't very good" You are too 谦虚 :) Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 1:06
  • Thanks, very informative. I didn't realize the book concerned was an erotic novel, perhaps I hadn't reached that part where there are porn contents. But these two expressions are now obsolete, right? Because it is not easy to find the useful info about them online or from my usual friends here. Commented Aug 29, 2023 at 2:41
  • Actually I just paste 效用先生加纳 into my Bing (Chinese Version) and it comes in the first place
    – Tec99
    Commented Sep 1, 2023 at 9:36


这是从姑妄言书中来的。This image is from the book 姑妄言.


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