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    Jan. 24, 2011

“be more decisive”
…. zugzwang ….

Yuánfèn – “Have fate without destiny” refers to couples who were fated to come together, but not destined to stay together. When one encounters another repeatedly in various locations such that it seems to be more than coincidence, one can refer to yuánfèn. Note that although yuanfen is often used in the context of lovers’ relationships, the concept itself is much broader and can refer to any relationship between people under any circumstance. For example, yuanfen can be thought of as the mechanism by which family members have been “placed” in each others lives. On the other hand, even two strangers sitting next to each other on a short-haul plane ride are also thought to have a certain amount of yuanfen. The line of reasoning follows roughly as such: out of the six billion or so people living on this planet, the odds of two specific persons riding in an airplane together are astronomically small. Thus, two specific persons riding together on a plane have beaten out all odds to end up in those specific seats. If, in addition to their chance encounter, they happen to strike up an engaging conversation and find that they have common interests—perhaps in cinema, music, and/or photography—it makes their meeting all the more precious, and the depth of their yuanfen all the more noteworthy.

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