Cantonese through News Stories: Benny Tai Goes to Jail

Capture_Occupy Central Sentencing_24 APR 2019

Students of Cantonese watching the news in recent weeks have enjoyed an absolute field day in terms of legal vocabulary. In this report on the jailing of civil disobedience activist Professor Benny Tai, 趙嘉韻 Jiuh6 Gāa1 Wahn6 at TVB provides us with a very competent update on the basics of penitentiary vocabulary. The way things are going in Hong Kong, familiarity with the following twelve new words is set to become essential learning . . .

12 new words:

1. 押送 aat3 sung3 = to escort; to take … under escort
2. 監獄 gāam1 yuhk6 = prison; jail
3. 服刑 fuhk6 yìhng4 = to serve a prison sentence
4. 囚衣 chàuh4 yī1 = prison clothes
5. 囚車 chàuh4 chē1 = prison van
6. 懲教署 = chìhng4 gaau3 chyúh5 = Correctional Services Department
7. 收押所 sāu1 aat3 só2 = detention house; reception centre
8. 紀律程序 géi2 leuht6 chìhng4 jeuih6 = disciplinary procedures
9. 革除 gaak3 chèuih4 = to dismiss (from employment)
10. 判囚 pun3 chàuh4 = to sentence (someone) to go to prison (?)
11. 公民抗命  gūng1 màhn4 kong3 mihng6 = civil disobedience
12. 爭取民主 jāng1 chéui2 màhn4 jyú2 = to struggle for democracy

*For jyutping romanization, you can cut and paste any Cantonese vocabulary in this post onto the Sheik Cantonese website for checking.

「佔領中環」發起人之一戴耀廷被押送監獄服刑。
Benny Tai, one of the people who initiated Occupy Central, was taken off to prison under escort to serve his sentence.

身穿囚衣,判監十六個月嘅戴耀廷由懲教署人員押上囚車,離開荔枝角收押所。
Wearing a prison uniform, Benny Tai — who has been sentenced to sixteen months in prison — was escorted onto a prison van by staff from the Correctional Services Department and taken away from the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre.

Note: Just as Cantonese says “[my] stomach is hungry” for “I am hungry”, here we have “[his] body was wearing”. Also, 由yàuh4 here seems to indicate agency, identifying the “doer” of a particular action. Possibly it is used here in preference to the passive marker 被beih6 which (at least traditionally) was associated with unpleasant or adverse consequences

據了解,佢編配到大嶼山石壁監獄服刑。
It is understood that he has been allocated [編配 pīn1 pui3] to the Shek Pik Prison on Lantau Island to serve his sentence.

早前已經轉到監獄服刑嘅陳健民同埋黃浩銘分別編配到壁屋同埋赤柱監獄。
Chan Kin-man and Raphael Wong, who had been transferred to prison earlier to serve their sentences, were allocated to Pik Uk Prison and Stanley Prison respectively.

Note: My understanding is that 早前 jóu2 chìhn4 refers to an indefinite time in the past.

民間團體「新年代」到港大請願,促請校方啓動紀律程序,盡快終止戴耀廷嘅法律學院副教授教席。
The non-governmental organization New Millenarian went to Hong Kong University to [present a] petition, demanding that the University begin disciplinary procedures to terminate Benny Tai’s position of associate professor in the Faculty of Law as quickly as possible.

  • Woman speaks: 黃勵賢 Wòhng Laih6 Yìhn4(新年代副召集人)

非法去「佔中」,非法鼓勵人哋嘅子女出嚟參與,害到[喇]人哋嘅子女前途盡毀。
The illegal going off to “occupy Central”, and the illegal encouragement [鼓勵 gú2 laih6] of people’s sons and daughters to go out and participate, has damaged people’s sons and daughters and ruined their prospects.

包括立法會議員何君堯嘅二十幾嘅港大校友同埋教職員亦都聯署去信校方要求革除戴耀廷.
More than twenty friends of HKU, including the Legislative Council member Junius Ho, as well as teaching and administrative staff, jointly sent a letter to the University [校方] demanding the dismissal of Benny Tai.

Note: My impression is that 去信 heui3 seun3 is a formal/literary expression. The usual way of saying “to send a letter” is 寄信 gei3 seun3.

何君堯批評港大網站以「和平佔中」發起人介紹戴耀廷係唔恰當。
Junius Ho criticized the HKU website, [saying that] it was inappropriate to use [the words] “initiator of the peaceful occupation of Central” to introduce Benny Tai.

Note: Here, 以 yíh5 is a co-verb expressing an abstract kind of use. It links up with the main verb gaai3 siuh6 = to introduce with/by means of/by using.

  • Man speaks: 何君堯 Hòh4 Gwān1 Yìuh4,議員(新界西)

2013年嘅「佔中」,佢係用「愛與和平」嘅手段,導致到大型嘅一個叫做公民抗命嘅活動。
In the Occupy Central [movement] of 2013, he used the methods of “love and peace”, leading to what was called a civil disobedience activity on a broad scale.

佢應該要謹慎啲避免用呢一句。
He ought to be more careful and should avoid using this phrase [句].

點解?因為社會裏邊有唔同嘅解讀。
Why? Because there are other readings of the event [out there] in society.

社會人士有啲係認為,呢一個根本係表面上講和平,實際上係充滿暴力罪行。
There are people in society [OR “Members of the general public”] who think that despite the superficial description [of the movement as] peaceful, it was fact full of violence and crime.

Note: Observe the common contrasting pairs: 表面上 bíu2 mihn6 seuhng6 = “on the surface/superficially” followed by 實際上 saht6 jai3 seuhng6 = “in reality/as a matter of fact/actually”.

  • Woman speaks: 毛孟靜 Mòuh4 Maahng6 Jihng6,議員(九龍西)

肯定係可以保留佢嘅教席。
But of course [he] can retain his teaching position [教席 gaau3 jihk6 = lit. “teaching mat”].

戴耀廷教授啦,佢係以和平、理性嗰啲公民抗命手段係進行過爭取民主嘅運動。
Professor Benny Tai conducted a movement for the struggle for democracy using the peaceful and rational methods of civil disobedience.

噉,大家都睇到佢對香港民主運動嘅貢獻。
Everyone has seen [for themselves] his contribution [貢獻 gūng1 hin3] to the Hong Kong democracy movement.

港大話會了解外界對網頁內容嘅關注,又重申根據相關規則處理戴耀廷被判囚嘅事宜。
HKU said that they could understand concern outside the university [外界 ngoih6 gaai3] about the contents of the website, and reiterated that they would handle Benny Tai’s being sentenced to prison in accordance with the relevant regulations.

Note: The noun 外界 ngoih6 gaai3 is a bit hard to translate because context is so important. Its basic meaning seems to be “any parties not directly involved”. 又 yauh6 is often used to indicate parallel circumstances (HKU both understood the concern and restated their response).

根據《香港大學條例》,終止聘任教師需要由校務委員會同埋教務委員會調查。
According to the Legislation of Hong Kong University (?), the termination of an appointed teacher requires a [joint] investigation by both the university administration committee and the teaching administration committee.

Note: Once again, 由 yàuh4 is used to express the agent of an act, clearly identifying “who” needs to carry out the investigation.

無線電視記者趙嘉韻報道
Report by TVB News reporter Jiuh6 Gāa1 Wahn6

2019年4月29日

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