Friday, August 06, 2004

Cantonglish vs Singlish

HKSAR 's biliterate (English and Chinese)and trilingual (English, Cantonese and Putonghua) language policy 两文三语 has caused confusion among the Hong Kong people.

There are many Hong Kong Chinese who can speak VERY Good english and there are many more who speak Very BAD English. There are so many forms of English spoken by non native speakers - english spoken by Philippinos, thais, malaysians, singaporeans etc. I don't think it is fair to laugh at Singlish or Cantonglish. Why can't we accept English as spoken by non native english speakers as "World English"? (There is "World Music") instead of making snooty comparisons with British or American or Australia or any White English?

Of cos my amor patriae HK friends often argued with me whenever I commented that the Lingua Franca of HK is not English but Cantonglish or Engtonese. For example, students copy "node-see" (notes) , attend "Tiew Tor" (Tutotial) and borrow books from the "Mad Lie" (Medical Library) and they get mad when the "Pwin Tah"(printer) is jammed.

HK has cleverly cantonised the english words.

Cantonese is the dominant "language" used in HK. Cantonese is even used as an instructional language in schools up to the university. Students are taught to navigate on web pages by kicking - Please "kick" (click) the mau-see (mouse) and "kick" this link. A plan is a pan. The pan falls mainly on the pan. Cantonese is also used in the Legislative Council, media and government.

I am not criticising the use of cantoglish. In fact, I love it! Efficient and creative bilingualism. The comic and wit of spoken and written Cantonese is uniquely HK.

The use of contraction and truncation of cantonese terms is equally facinating!

腩粗走油走青,奶茶走糖,油菜全走 (beef brisket with mee pok, leave out the oil and spring onions; milk tea, no sugar please. Steam veg, no oil, no osyter sauce and no whatever you are about to add to my plate of veg)

里汁叉鸡跟意粉,跟署菜 (curry sauce on spaghetti with char siew and chicken, and potato with veg )

旧中银 (old Bank of China Building)

机铁 (Airport Express MTR station)


See you LAY TAH!

[Post 27/1997]

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

To kill a roach

Roaches. Lovely things to look at, a joy to crush. I am the official roach and critters crusher in my family. Even the men I know would squirm shamelessly. Of course a few of them would salvag their ego by telling me that they were not afraid of roaches, just could NOT tolerate the smell of them or some stoopid lame reason.. like I am a vegan. I kill them not eat them!

I am also the roach buster for my friends who would risk MY life by opening the car door and dashing into the traffic whenever they thought they saw a roach inside the car.

I love roaches. I would trail them with my roving eyes each time I see a roach. There was one in my room last night. 6.9 cm long (post mortem). Let me share with you the secret of immobilising a roach. YOU DON'T USE B*YGON or M*RTEIN or any kind of pest spray.

The trick - use any SPRAY - lemonpledge, hair spray, 1 to 99 bleach/water DIY spray (HK advocated this combo during the SARS outbreak), Dettol spray, even EDT from a cheapy boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse.

Like some Chow Yuen Fatt movies, I put on my roach eaten B&rberry trenchcoat , I armed myself with 2 nice cans of Dettol spray and position myself to spray that damn roach. Die! Roach Die! The roach slowed to a painful wriggling stop, flipped over (I am not exaggerating) and I continued to administer that last fatal spray into its limp body.

If I wasnt in the chow yuen fatt or john wayne mood, I would be merciful and offer it a quick death by clubbing it swiftly with rolled up newspapers or my enhanced roach killer slipper. When I wanted the roaches dead, I want them very dead.

I left the gun and took the cannolis. All the time, I was smiling.

[post 26/1997]