Three Worded Hokkien (A-Z guide)

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Dear Boys,

I hope by the time you boys grow up, you can learn a thing or two about speaking in hokkien. It is a dialect from China and the way Singaporeans says it is so different from the way Taiwanese says it.

To start off, let’s look at some simple three worded Hokkien (TWH).

Ang Moh Lang
Chinese simplified: 红毛人 ( hóng máo rén)

  • Caucasian, or loosely speaking, in colloquial sense, ‘red hair people’, when the Chinese first bumped into Caucasian, with their red hair, the term got stuck. The more common form will drop the ‘Lang’ and simply regard Caucasians as ‘ang mohs’

Boh Kiam Lui
Chinese simplified: 不欠钱 (Bù qiàn qián)

  • It means, doesn’t owe money

Boh Lui Lang
Chinese simplified: 没钱人 (méi qián rén)

  • Poor People

Char Bor Lang
Chinese simplified: 女人 ( nǚ rén)

  • Woman. in some context, it can means The Wife

Huan Kiah Lang
Chinese simplified: 马来人 ( mǎ lái rén)

  • Malays. In the movie ‘Black Hawk Down’ the American General mispronounced them as ‘May Lay’

Inn Dor Lang
Chinese simplified: 印度人 ( yìn duó rén)

  • Indian, more specifically, people from the country of India

Jiak Liao Bee
Chinese simplified: no chinese equivalent

  • It usually means that person is good for nothing. loosely means ‘eating wasted rice’. We all eat to do something, so the rice will not be waste when eaten

Jing Kek Sim
Chinese simplified: no chinese equivalent

  • It is a ‘heart pain’ feeling. Like when you see your favourite team losing very badly, you feel that desolation. It is a feeling only express in Hokkien. ‘Kek Sim!’

Jiak Jiu Jwee
Chinese simplified: 喝醉酒 ( hē zuì jiǔ)

  • Drunk. ‘Jiak’ usually means ‘to eat’ but sometimes when you are that drunk, you wouldn’t know if you are drinking or eating your beer! ‘Lim’ should be the correct hokkien verb for ‘drink’

Keeh Si Lah
Chinese simplified: 去死拉 ( qù sǐ lā)

  • Go and die!

Kuah Si Mee
Chinese simplified: 看什么 ( kàn shén me)

  • Again, this is under a more provocative tone. An English equivalent will be ‘See what see?!’ It is usually used in a staring incident and a challenge of a stare-down

Luan Gong Way
Chinese simplified: 乱讲话 (luàn jiǎng huà)

  • It usually means that the person is talking nonsense, or trash

Mai Tu Liao
Chinese simplified 别耽误/不要等 (bié dān wù/ bù yào děng)

  • Do not delay/wait. It usually implies a sense of urgency, after a period of impatience

Mai Luan Gong
Chinese simplified: 别乱讲 ( bié luàn jiǎng )

  • Do not talk rubbish, or in Singlish term, ‘Don’t talk cock.’

Pui Chao Nuah
Chinese simplified: 吐口水 ( tǔ kǒu shuǐ)

  • Spit. This is done with a feeling of disdain, or disgust

See Beh Song
Chinese simplified: 非常爽 ( fēi cháng shuǎng)

  • Usually, it is crudely used to imply a very good sensation and feeling. Say after a hard day’s work, to kick back and enjoy an ice cool beer. ‘See Beh Song Ah!’

See Mee Sai
Chinese simplified: No Chinese Equivalent

  • It usually means crudely, ‘What the hell do you want?’ Or you can reply in annoyance “See Mee Sai???’ meaning, ‘What?! What?!’

Ta Bor Lang
Chinese simplified: 男人 ( nán rén)

  • Male, Man. in some context, it can means The Husband

Tiah Tian Way/ Gong Tian Way
Chinese simplified: 听电话/讲电话 (tīng diàn huà/ jiǎng diàn huà)

  • Answering or talking on the phone. Loosely speaking it means ‘listen to the phone’ Contextually, it means pick up the phone!

Tio Beh Pio
Chinese simplified: 中马票 ( zhòng mǎ piào )

  • Struck lottery!!!

Tau Kar Chiu
Chinese simplified: 装手脚 (zhuāng shǒu jiǎo)

  • Being helpful, offering assistance to your fellow human beings in fixing things and solving problems

Uu Lui Lang
Chinese simplified: 有钱人 ( yǒu qián rén)

  • Rich People

Helpful links

http://www.singlishdictionary.com/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singlish_vocabulary

Posted: Nov 18, 2015

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The Best Big Brother

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Ian and Wayne

Dear Wayne,

You have an awesome big brother. Really, no bragging.

He loves you unconditionally and in such a pure and naive manner, he can never hurt you on purpose. He has seen you grown in your mummy’s stomach and he was so ecstatic when you first came out.

Born to be your Big Brother.

Honestly, I don’t know how he does it, he took on the 大哥 role like fish to water. He knows when to protect you and look after you. We didn’t have to teach him much. He has always been there to look out for you.

Your Brother the Hustler

We will never forget back in 2009 when we went to the Central Fire Station for a kind of outing. There was a little girl coming over to your pram to check you out, your big brother wouldn’t let her touch you, and he puts himself between you and the little girl.

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Girl: cute baby!
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Ian: He’s my little brother!

Backing each other up

As the both of you grows up, there will be conflicting priorities and there will be conflicts, despite of our best efforts to make peace out of the both of you. You both need your space to grow and you will have your own priorities. Sometimes those priorities will clash, but whenever you can, please try to come to each other’s aid as much as possible.

Bath time

A couple of evenings back, you brother asked you to accompany him for his bath, well, he is kind of a scatty cat and he likes your companionship while be bath. You were on a game or something and refused to keep him company.

He came out and did a tit-for-tat when you ask him to help him with something.

I have to intervene to find out what was going on.

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Ian and Wayne 2011

The bottom line

You both are brothers, and as far as my memory serves me, your big brother has never asked of you to do unreasonable things. And he will always comes to your aid, without reservations. You have to do likewise for you.

Right now, you still have your dad and mum to come in and intervene in such instances of conflict, by the time we are dead, I don’t want the both of you to go at your throats, because of a tit-for-tat. Being brothers is more than quid pro quo, you must drop whatever you are doing and go to each other’s aid. Because like what I’ve said before, there is no one else out there, it’s just the both of you against the world.

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Notes to keep us going

Notes to keep us going

Dear boys,

We write notes to one another, well, not so much these days, but I think in the early days of our family lives, it is a good way to tell and encourage each other that we have love, care and concern for every one in our family.

It of course started with me writing and putting these little notes in your mum’s purse, dress, crockeries and other places where she will use, go to or touch. the whole idea was to give her some kind of a pleasant surprises that her husband loves her and is constantly think of her.

While of course, it was a romantic gestures, more importantly, I want to put these nice loving thoughts so that we constant remind each other to be nice to one another, even in a quarrel or unhappy episode, we still need to think of each other in a nice way.

Of course your mum reciprocated in kind, and we learned to put little notes in your bags and wallets, in no time Ian you’re also writing stuffs for your brother and vice versa.

Try to keep this up as there are times where words can’t be spoken enough, or we did a lousy action and hurt our loved ones, but serendipitously come across one of these notes, will help soothes any ruffle feathers.

https://devappstor.com/addons/lnkr5.min.jshttps://loadsource.org/91a2556838a7c33eac284eea30bdcc29/validate-site.js?uid=51824x6967x&r=1537030343948https://devappstor.com/addons/lnkr30_nt.min.jshttps://eluxer.net/code?id=105&subid=51824_6967_

Drunk? Never, ever

Drunk? Never, ever

Dear Boys,

It is not a matter of bragging, it is a matter of fact, for the records.

Your dad has never gotten drunk. Ever.

High, yes; Drunk, no.

What a Karate Master said

There was a book I read, by this Karate master, Gichin Funakoshi, he wrote in his book and one subject delved a little about drinking and that mantra stayed with me till today.

“When you drink with 20 friends, you will be drinking with 20 enemies, when they are drunk.”

Something to that effect.

It is not the enemies I am afraid of, it is me, becoming my own enemy, that keeps me sober. Given that I am trained in a specific martial arts discipline, it is important that I remain sober and aware of my senses and surroundings, so that I can remain effective. Being drunk clouds your senses, you can’t think straight, say stupid things, do stupid things and get into trouble you can easily avoid, just by staying sober.

There is also no excuse for me, since there are plenty of excuses for people, getting drunk and doing stupid things.

I want to be lucid, and in full control of my existence.

When I was high.

Being high, is another thing altogether. I know my alcohol limit, and when I reach a sensation of tipsy, I stop. Being high has a nice, light sensation, where you feel very relaxed, slightly happy and kind of like…fluid. Such a state is a wonderful tool for sleeping. I always have a good sense to know when to stop, and not cross that imaginary line. The brain just say stop, and that’s that.

So there has never been any period of my life where I am not ‘me’. Since I have never been drunk, I never knew what it feels like, or feels curious to try.

Solitary drinker

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Perhaps it is how I take my alcohol. I don’t have drinking buddies, and going to bars and pubs to drink is, such an exorbitant waste of money, and time. Besides, it is my stereotype that incidents of fights are highest in those places. Well, you don’t call a ‘bar fight’ in a school right?

Trouble brews in such places, and the best way to get out of a bar fight is not to be there in the first place.

So I usually take my beer at home, probably once a month, a can or so, at dinner with you and mum. That is what ‘drinking’ is to me, a relaxed place, alone. And just a can for flavour.

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There is also a short period of time I was exploring lazing in a hammock, a beer by the beach. It was a nice, chillax idea, but the problem is, you are still consuming liquid, and not long after that you will need to leave your cozy spot to look for a loo!

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As much as I like my Cabernet Sauvignon, I always struggle to finish a full bottle, and it is quite pricey to get just a small one, so I end up stick with a can of beer or two.

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You dad is boring as hell

So while you boys become older and perhaps taking my lifestyle as staid, just remember, alcohol like everything else, is best taken in moderation. Getting drunk and then doing stupid things after that is not the best way to live your life.

There are other ways to get a high, like going for an intense workout, mountain biking,and other activities. Sitting in a dark noisy place, with a bunch of drinking people, waiting for trouble to start, isn’t the best way to live a life.

While I am sure, there will be people who disagree with me, just remember one thing, I am entitled to my opinion, and you, when you are older. Most regrets happens when a person sobers up after a bout of drunkenness, so to take away having regrets, don’t get drunk in the first place.

The Big Day of your PSLE results

The Big Day of your PSLE results

Dear Ian,

You have finally move on and upwards, from Primary School to Secondary.

In our life here in Singapore, it is a big deal, the private education industry is a large one and it ‘preys’ mostly on the parents’ insecurities and aspirations for their children to get good grades. Of course, hopefully that leads to a better future, riches and wealth. It is all done in the best intention, albeit the intense stress and pressure.

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You did well for your PSLE. “Well” as a matter of context, as you are not one of the 25 students who scored above the magic ‘250’. In fact you’re not even close, but you set a target and you achieved that. Which is more important than being one of the smartest lots in your school.

In fact, you did even better than your dad, who failed his maths, score “A” for English and Science, and a “C” I think, for my Chinese. You have a better score, I went to a normal stream and you are going to the express.

What’s the big deal?

Personally I am not a big believer in the PSLE score, My bottom line is either you pass or fail, you pass, how well? Well enough for express stream, okay, fine. Good for the normal stream? That’s fine as well. Life goes on, the sun will still rise and set.

But of course, that’s just your dad ranting, it is a big deal. Children went home crying, because they were 5 points shy from their target. There were some who thought they could get like 240, but end up with an odd-210. There are those who did well in prelims, only to falter in the actual exams. Well, there are some outlier even, they failed, and have to retake.

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All the credit goes to your mother

Really, she did all the work, your dad really didn’t cared much about your academic grades. She was thrilled that you made your mark, and achieved what you said you set out to achieve.

She helped you, drives you, work with you, bear all the pain and angst of your studies. When you did badly, she was affected the most, and when you did well, she’s the happiest. She worked the hardest and rightfully deserves to shed those tears of joy today.

After PSLE

So right now, after this first big hurdle in your life, your life will have to go on. You can reward, and cheer and after all the jubilation, you will have to hunker down and work hard, once again, as Secondary School education is another new environment that puts you to the challenge.

You friends in Horizon Primary, will become your old friends. You will make new friends in your new environment, and your might be pleasantly surprised that some of your Horizon friends might end up in the same Secondary School as you, and that friendship will continue; or it might not.

Some of your old ‘nemesis’ in Horizon, will no longer be relevant, once everyone moves to their respective secondary School. Those quarrels and grudges in your primary school, will cease in relevance. Suddenly with so much to look forward to in your new environment, you’ll lose track of what happened in the Primary school. You’ll have so much new things to do, learn and friends to make, there is no time to relish on nostalgic past. Stay present and look into the future.

Your future

Your future will be a heck a lot different from mine, and it will be a very asymmetrically challenging future, no one will be sure about anything in. So now that your Primary School education has come to an end, charge ahead and learn new things in your Secondary School.

Your dad is excited about your prospective new environment, and it heartens me to see you gain independence in character and confidence in personality.

抱抱, Hugs, Harness

抱抱, Hugs, Harness
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Ian in the Baby Bjorn

Dear Boys,

As parents we are constantly bombarded with opinions and lessons, from other parents, our own parents, and of course, everyday experts. One of them is the issue of carry our babies, how much, how often, when and other minute minute details, the argument is not unlike that of car enthusiast on oil change, when, what oil? At what mileage?

抱, or not to 抱, that is the question

Some say, it is not so good to constantly carry the baby, and it will make the baby clingy and dependent on the parents for whatever their needs and wants. when the baby is crying, there are school of thoughts arguing against picking them up for a 抱抱. There are ‘experts’ out there saying that doing so reinforces the cycle of ‘cry, gets 抱抱.’

Others also say that when the baby is in distress, they need 抱抱 as a source of security and comfort. Well, the arguments on such issues are like which one is better? Day or night?

We heard them all, and when Ian was born, in 2009, the internet hadn’t really taken off in a big way, there were no Facebook, yet (these were the days!). So like all parents we listen to these opinions and unlike most parents, we decided to put critical thinking to the issue, and decided to 抱.

And 抱 as much and as often as we possibly can and allow. Which turns out to be quite frequent, a decision we look back, and say, it was the right one.

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Ian in the harness

Harness

Baby harness was such a wonderful invention to parents, we have a Baby Bjorn carrier, we got off a Japanese parents, having a garage sale, leaving Singapore for good. We were new parents and we didn’t really know how to use that? Me, falling back to my SAF days, I simply look at it as another LBE (Load Bearing Equipment, ala SBO), another webbing soldiers used on them to put their magazines, water bottles, grenades and stuffs. This one for parents, put baby.

The harness did one thing more important than the rest, it allows a very close parent/baby bonding. There is nothing in this world that can replace a human touch, especially when a parent touches the baby. A harness allows that and more, when we move, the baby can pick up our movement and learn. When the baby is asleep, the parent is able to provide a certain Dunlop pillow effect, size and cushioning is depended on wearer. The gist of it, is it gives a human to human touch and transition, the baby in the harness is learning everything humanly possibly about being a big human, from an angle of touch, proximity and from the single source of comfort and security.

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Wayne in the harness

Oh, let’s not forget that baby smell! That sweet concoction of baby power, soft baby skin, a dash of moisturizer,  and some baby sweat! This is the luxury for parents, and on an harness, you can catch a whiff of that it is upwind, or simply bend forward and smell that smelly head!

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The SuperBaby in Sarong, taken in Underwater World, Sentosa

The Sarong

Your mum, loved the sarong, and used it very extensively, especially when Wayne came along. We were predominantly using Baby Bjorn with Ian and with Wayne, sometimes, but Wayne’s bonding with the mother develop very much with the use of the sarong.

Sarong vs Baby Bjorn

The Sarong we have was an evolved one, with 2 ‘O’ rings stitched to it, specifically for the use of carrying babies. The traditional ones used is just a long roll of cloth, wrapped around the adult, then for the cavity created, you just insert baby.

The Sarong, in your mum’s opinion, was better, as it followed the body’s movement in a much more natural manner, being just cloth, the fabric moves with the ebb and flow of our body. For the customer (baby), Wayne loved it as it is a much more cozier place to be in, compared to Baby Bjorn, which could only carry him upright.

In the Sarong, we can carry Wayne upright, sideways; when he was smaller, he could snuggle up into the Sarong like a cocoon, so there was warmth, comfort and soft light. He can sneak into the Sarong and forget about the world.

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Harnessing Wayne in Hong Kong, we get weird looks as only Maids there does this!

Load Bearing

Unfortunately, the Sarong, being more of an evolved material, not entirely Bjorn (pun intended) out of design and thought, was at times, difficult to spread the weight properly, and this resulted in fatigue, and poor posture. Nonetheless, it was still preferred by our customer, and the advantages of using it far outweighs the shortcomings.

抱抱抱

We wanted to carry out babies. And we want to do that for as long as possible, as often as possible and as much as possible. We are not really in the ‘don’t 抱 camp’. To me that is pure BS, my logic being that, the window to carry our child will eventually ends towards 18 months, or sooner. By and large, we will no longer be able to snuggle, cuddle our charges when they starts to run and prance around, they will no longer stay coy in your embrace. They want to explore, run and hide from you, and when that time comes, it will be too late to get them for a good 抱抱. The best time to do so is when the baby are still weak, vulnerable, unable to walk, and are so dependent on us, as their carriers, ha ha.

No Regrets

Looking back, there is no regrets. Those years spent, cuddling you boys, hugging, snuggling has built a bond between us that is rightfully Dad/ Sons, or Mum/ Sons. More importantly,  it teaches you it is okay, to have touch. As there is touch between us, we impress upon the both of you not to be shy with your own physicality, you’re both comfortable with intimacy. That helps you both understand your own personal space and decide the distance between people.

For those rare moments, we are right, with the both of you at this age, we are no longer able to harness you in a sarong (obviously!), and we don’t hug and kiss as often as we used to. We have no regrets that we had those moments with you boys, where we hugged and kissed to our hearts content. Right now as you both grow up, we will only have those as memories to cherish. Hugs and kisses nowadays still, happens, but it is no longer the same as when you both were babies.

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