UPDATE: I just recently found out that JFK was wrong. While he may have been a good president, he was not known for having a good understanding of foreign languages. If you don’t believe me, he once made the statement “Ich bin ein berliner” to people in West Berlin in 1963. He thought he was saying “I am a Berliner”, meaning a citizen of Berlin. What he actually said is “I am a jelly donut“. Well, he managed to mis-translate again in the above quote. The Mandarin word for ‘crisis’ is wēijī. He was half-right in that the first part of the word wēi, does mean danger. Where he is wrong is his interpretation of the second part of the word jī. He said it means ‘opportunity’, it actually means ‘crucial point’ (like final whistle, or starting point). Attempting to tell a speaker of Mandarin that ‘crisis = danger + opportunity’ will probably go about as well as relating to someone from Berlin by telling them ‘I am a jelly donut’. The quote is accurate, JFK did say it. Unfortunately JFK was an idiot when it comes to foreign languages.
- Watch Your Language Or Be Em Bare Assed (leadershipmints.com)