Middle Class of China: Glamorous Outside, Glassy Inside

NewAmerica

Senior Member
Mandarin
Background:

By "Middle Class of China: Glamorous Outside, Glassy Inside", I mean that today's middle class in China has had a relatively generous income and stable job and family in the appearance, but such status is actually as crispy as glass, easy to be broken.

For example, a family in Shanghai, husband, 45, monthly income 20,000 yuan (about monthly 3,000 USD), wife, 43, monthly income 8,000 yuan, with a son reading in high school, looks sweet and perfect. Yet recently their aging parents (both mother side and father side, unable to get around on their own), made calls to them, requesting that they want to move from their country home to Shanghai to live with them. No doubt that the living cost would soar for the family as to the brink of economic collapse. Because the old parents are poor Chinese farmers with no pension (some areas of China the government would give them monthly 70-300 yuan - about 10 to 40 USD per month per person, nearly zero - but you would not starve to death, right?). (You may inquire why the parents have no other children to lean on - because the hubby and the wife are the products of China's "One Child" planned parenthood policy)

The question of this thread is whether "Glamorous Outside, Glassy Inside" is proper English.

Source: English scenario making practice by me.
 
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  • kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I think the word you're looking for is fragile. Glassy means smooth (and shiny), like very calm water in a lake.
     

    farzan

    Senior Member
    Standard Iranian Persian
    Hi. I can’t judge whether your suggestion is or isn’t English-sounding enough, though to my ears it does sound good. How about “smooth as glossy paper, yet inwardly breakable as glass”? (I am not sure that my suggestion can be said to constitute standard journalistic style, or good English, for that matter! It is best to wait for what native speakers will contribute.)
     

    NewAmerica

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Thank you. :)

    I think the word you're looking for is fragile. Glassy means smooth (and shiny), like very calm water in a lake.
    Okay now the headline is:

    Middle Class of China: Glamorous Outside, Fragile Inside

    I think the match "glamorous - fragile" is not neat enough. So,

    Middle Class of China: Fair Outside, Fragile Inside

    Does the above work as a decent English news title?
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    That's actually not a bad idea, Farzan:

    Glamorous outside, fragile as glass inside
     

    kentix

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    Maybe it would work in the U.K. but the only common meanings of fair in the U.S. are the opposite of unfair and so-so.

    Do you think the contest was fair?
    No, the rules gave some people an unfair advantage.

    How would you rate the movie?
    - Excellent
    - Good
    - Fair
    - Poor
    - Terrible
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    The structure works best with words that naturally contrast with each other. Glamorous outside, ugly inside. Strong outside, fragile inside. It's not interesting that something is both glamorous and fragile - many things are.
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    If you decide to give up the effect of alliteration ("gl-" ... "gl-")
    then you are free to choose two words based entirely on their meaning.
    Otherwise, kentix is right about "glassy": it suggests "smooth" and "reflective", but not "fragile".
    "Fragile" has the meaning that you want, but—again kentix is right—"fair" is not sufficiently positive.
    It seems to me that—if you want alliteration—
    your task is to scan your dictionary for words with "f-" with a positive meaning like that of "glamorous".
    Or choose "vulnerable" for the negative meaning and another "v-word" for the positive.
     

    NewAmerica

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Or choose "vulnerable" for the negative meaning and another "v-word" for the positive.
    Well, that is theoretically possible and practically hard to find one.

    vulnerable - vulture-like? ;) :cross:
    vulnerable - venerable? :warning:
    vulnerable - valuable? :cross:
    vulnerable - victorious? :warning:
    .............................

    Would you like to recommend one?


    PS. I got a substitute for "glamorous outside, grassy inside", but it is...um... far from being graceful. It is rather coarse yet it seems to work:

    .........Shinning Outside, Shitty Inside

    For street-corner tabloids?;)
     
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    dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I think you mean "shining" (bright, like the moon), not "shinning" (climbing a pole). But "shining" and "shitty" definitely contrast!

    "Virtuous" has a positive meaning, but isn't the opposite of "vulnerable". One means "honest; good", the other means "weak; unprotected".
     

    NewAmerica

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    Oops! I did use "shinning" to mean "shining", unaware of the fact that the former is another word with completely different meaning.

    Thank you. :)

    Would "Middle Class of China:Shining Outside, Shitty Inside" like Trump's shit hole comment cause a political uproar?

    It seems likely, or not likely. I am not sure because the former sounds relatively modest.
     

    Cenzontle

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    I returned to this thread to say "Give up on the alliteration and just choose some words purely on the accuracy of their meaning."
    But these last two suggestions by kentix (#14) are pretty darn good. Please don't say "shitty".
     
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