Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Some people hide their talents from others

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Writing Time
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3 mins
Word Count
752 approx.

The idiom “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” has several layers of meaning. Apparently, there’re no dragons or tigers, instead, it’s a metaphor. There’re many skilled or talented people amongst us but anyone has yet to notice. Those “masters” don’t show off easily but when their time comes, they’ll be ready.

No pun intended.

Mind you, this is a Chinese old phrase and not about doggy-style sex.

A lot of skilled people mastered their trade and took it seriously. They take pride in their job and hide their strength in plain sight. Those people have special talents that others might not be aware of. Hiding one’s true capabilities and revealing themselves when needed. At the very last minute, they could save the day. There are always “Crouching Tigers, Hidden Dragons” somewhere near you.

Who are they? They could be anyone and at any place. Those individuals could be a waitress, a delivery guy, a handyman, or some random people. “But they’re probably just some nobody, who cares?” I guess you’re right, well, sort of. Maybe a courier from DHL or FedEx has been doing their job for twenty years but turns out who is a Kung-fu Sifu at night. Or an office assistant who works at your office was once a former PingPong world champion. Don’t judge too soon. People with special talents could be around you.

“Master” doesn’t have to be someone who is important. They might not have a fancy job title like you did. They might not have 1% of the income like yours. But they deserve to earn some respect. People tend to think of themselves as “superior” to others. I guess it’s alright. But you’re better than that, amirite?

Don’t underestimate people. They might know some things that you don’t. Or they could do something that you just can’t. Maybe you don’t give a flying fuck about that. Well, I don’t blame you. But could you please hold on for a second and listen?

Sometimes, you might find yourself in a situation where all the knowledge you’ve got couldn’t be used anywhere. Everything you think you’re good at becomes obsolete. Not the skills itself but the moment you’re in simply won’t allow you to do anything with that. I’m asking the big question here, mind you, without your computers, smartphones or internet, what else have you left? What you are truly capable of? Boasting you’re Neo from the Matrix? And that’s all you got? This may seem a bit unfair but you get my point.

Some years ago, the place I worked has a staff canteen. I’ve had my breakfast there for maybe a few months. There was a lady who worked there as a food server. For every morning I saw her, I felt I’m “saved”. Because I don’t need to wait in the line. The queue line was simply non-existence. I felt sad if she’s on her day off. She’s working super fast, efficient and smart about her job. I’m pretty sure most people who had their meals there thought the same as I did. I don’t remember how she looks but her ponytail—dancing fiercely because she’s just moving too quick. I once feared I might somehow slow her down when I was placing an order. She was good at her job. And that’s professional. But what I like most was her attitude. She doesn’t seem to care what others might think of her but is focused on what she’s doing. And I like that.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

I respect people who are being humble. They don’t have the need to prove their skills to anyone. They don’t even need to convince you that they’re good at something. Their abilities, strengths or talents might take years of practice. They are true professionals. Do you think they care about what you think of them? They probably don’t.

Finally, I’m trying to get my point out if you’re still with me. I’m not asking you to do anything. Of course, I’m in no position. Just be nice to people, whoever they’re. It’s more than enough to be polite to someone. You could even take a step further: show some appreciation if you can.

Have you ever met someone who is good at certain things and somehow “saved” you or others? I bet you did.

So, do you want to be a tiger or a dragon? Honestly, I wish I could someday.

This is #Day45 of #100DaysToOffload.


  1. “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” is a literal translation from an old Chinese idiom: 臥虎藏龍. Read more at The phrase “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” via ↩︎