Cantonese through News Stories: Demonstrators Break Into Legislative Council Complex

Capture_Wire-mesh Trolley_1 JUL 2019

Here is one version of events that led to the so-called “storming” of the Legislative Council Complex. I recently came across the quote “There are years that ask questions and years that answer” (Zora Neale Hurston). Perhaps this is just such a question-asking year for Hong Kong. In several parts of this report, it is impossible to hear what people are actually saying. I have provided a translation based on the subtitles, but these are in Standard Written Chinese rather than Cantonese. Watch out for the use of the verb 撞 johng6 = “to strike” and its use in various compounds: 撞爛, 撞擊, 撞裂 and 撞破.

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12 new words:

露面 louh6 mihn6 = to make an appearance
汲取教訓 kāp1 chéui2 gaau3 fan3 = to learn a lesson; to assimilate; to imbibe
民情民意 màhn chìhng màhn yi3 = public feeling & the will of the people
平息 pìhng4 sīk1 = to calm down; to blow over
鐵籠車 tit3 lùhng4 chē1 = wire-mesh trolley (?)
勸阻 hyun3 jó2 = to dissuade sb. from; to advise sb. not to
防毒面罩 fòhng4 duhk6 mihn6 jaau3 = gas mask
石灰粉 sehk6 fūi1 fán2 = powdered lime (?)
調停 tìuh4 tìhng4 = to mediate; to intervene
角力 gok3 lihk6 = to have a trial of strength; to wrestle
上彈 seuhng6 dáan6*2 = to load (a gun with bullets)
對峙 deui3 sih6/chíh5 = to stand facing each other; to confront

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(Introduction)

香港回歸22週年,行政長官林鄭月娥,近兩個星期以嚟首次公開露面。
[On the occasion of] the twenty-second anniversary of the Handover of Hong Kong, the Chief Executive Carrie Lam made her first public appearance in two weeks.

佢話會汲取教訓,日後施政更加貼近民情民意。
She said that she had learned from what had happened, and that from now on the management of government affairs would adhere more closely [貼近 tip3 gahn6] to public feeling and the will of the people.

不過示威者嘅抗議未有平息。
However, the protests of the demonstrators have not yet stopped [平息 pìhng4 sīk1].

晏晝多次衝擊立法會大樓,多塊玻璃門被撞爛。
This afternoon, assaults were made on the Legislative Council Complex many times, and many glass doors were smashed.
Note: The verb 撞 johng6 features several times in this report. It means “to bump against; to run into; to strike; to collide”. When 爛 laahm6 is added to it, it suggests result: “to strike so that it is broken”.

到挨晚嘅時候,示威者轉到近立法會示威區一邊衝擊,大樓內一度見到火光。
As it was getting dark, demonstrators went [instead] to the protest area of the Legislative Council Complex and made fresh assaults there, and fire [火光 fó gwōng] was seen inside the building for a time.
Note: The subtitles use 傍晚時 for “as it was getting dark”, but I think the announcer says 到挨晚嘅時候, using the Cantonese 挨晚 āai1 māan5*1 = “evening; dusk”.

示威者又拆立法會外牆嘅鐵枝。
Demonstrators also removed long strips of metal from the outside walls of the Legislative Council.

政府強烈譴責示威者以極暴力手法衝擊立法會,並表示深切遺憾。
The government roundly condemned demonstrators for assaulting the Legislative Council using violent methods, and expressed [its] deep regret.
Note: Here, 以 yíh5 to express means, 暴力手法 = violent methods. Remember too that 並 bihng6 is used with the meaning of “and” to link two verbs.

Anchor speaks freely:
噉,先睇吓立法會晏晝受衝擊嘅情況。
And now, let’s take a look at what happened [情況] during the assault on the Legislative Council this afternoon.

(Main story)

下晝嘅衝擊由呢[一]個戴帽同口罩嘅男人開始。
The assault this afternoon was begun by this man, who was wearing a helmet and a face-mask.
Note: Here, 由 yàuh4 is employed to indicate the initiator of an action.

一點幾多用粗鐵管撞擊立法會大樓嘅玻璃門。
Some time just after one o’clock, (he) made much use of a thick iron pipe to strike the glass door of the Legislative Council Complex.

多名示威者試圖阻止,但係唔成功。
Many demonstrators tried [試圖 si3 tòuh4] to make [him] stop [阻止 jó jí], but they did not succeed.

佢繼續將玻璃門撞裂。
He went on cracking the glass door.
Note: Here’s another use of the verb 撞 johng6, this time paired with a second verb 裂 liht6 = “to crack” to show the result of the first. This combination, “to strike so that it cracks”, can be roughly translated as “to crack”.

一批示威者就接力,推[去]一架裝著紙皮嘅鐵籠車再撞門,來來回回不停撞擊。
A group of demonstrators then took over [接力 jip3 lihk6], pushing over a wire-mesh trolley [鐵籠車] loaded with cardboard [紙皮 jí2 pèih4] and rammed it into [the glass door] time and time again without stopping.
Note: I am not sure about the meaning of 接力in the context of this report. Its usual meaning is “(in) relay”, perhaps suggesting that the demonstrators took it in turns to push the trolley. I wonder though whether here it means to take over from where the first demonstrator started, or to build on his efforts with a new initiative.

民主派立法會議員梁耀忠先企喺玻璃門前勸阻,但係被其他示威者拉走。
Leung Yiu-chung, a legislative council member from the Democratic Party, stood in front of the glass door first of all to dissuade [them], but he was pulled away [拉走 lāai jáu] by other demonstrators.

佢同郭家麒想再勸退示威者,都係唔成功。
Together with Kwok Ka-ki, he again tried to persuade the demonstrators to withdraw, but to no avail.

梁耀忠就被人拉跌。
Someone dragged Leung Yiu-chung to the ground.

喺立法會大樓嘅警員亦都擧紅旗,希望叫停佢哋。
As well, police inside the Legislative Council Complex raised the red flag in the hope that they could tell them to stop.

• Police woman speaks over loud speaker:
Subtitles: 請你立即停止這個行為。
Please stop this behaviour at once.

期間有煙霧傳出
During this time, smoke [煙霧 yīn1 mouh6] came out [from the Complex].
Note: The verb here is傳出 chyùhn4 chēut1 = to spread; to come out. There is a sense here of the smoke being “transmitted” from the inside of the building to the outside.

大樓入便嘅警員隨即後退,部分嘅警員咳,並且戴上防毒面罩。
The police inside the Complex immediately retreated. Some of the police coughed and put on gas masks.

據了解,係示威者掟一啲嘅會刺眼嘅石灰粉。
It is understood that what this was a demonstrator throwing [掟 deng3] some powdered lime (?), which irritates the eyes.
Note: The very Cantonese verb 掟 deng3 = “to throw; to hurl” is used here. The subtitles have 撒 saat3 = “to scatter” instead.

幾名民主派議員之後到立法會外調停
After this, a number of legislative members [belonging to] the Democratic Party went outside the Legislative Council to intervene.

  • People speaking indistinctly:
    你冷靜啲,冷靜啲
    Just calm down a bit, calm down

Subtitles: 我們預了被人拘捕了
We expect to be arrested
Note: I think 預了 is equivalent to 預料 yuh6 liuh6 = “to anticipate” here.

Subtitles: 交給我們吧
Give it to us (?)

Subtitles: 不值得了
It’s not worth it (any more)

胡志偉同示威者理論。
Wu Chi-wai tried to reason with demonstrators.
Note: Wu Chi-wai is another legislative council member. 理論 léih5 leuhn6 usually mean “theory”, but it is clearly being used as a verb here, perhaps with the meaning of “to try and reason with sb.”

  • 胡志偉Wu Chi-wai speaks:

Subtitles: 你是否想坐一世監?
Do you want to spend the rest of your life in prison?

Subtitles: 會議已死了
The Legislative Council is dead

Subtitles: 你撞了過去連你也死
If you keep on banging away like that, you’ll be dead, too

Subtitles: 全被人拘捕了有甚麼好處?
What’s the good of all of you getting arrested?

議員同埋示威者互推鐵籠車角力
The legislative council members and the demonstrators both pushed at the trolley in a trial of strength.

  • People shouting:
    Subtitles: 夾到了,很危險
    (We’re) pinned in, it’s very dangerous

民主黨林卓廷跪低,希望示威者唔好再衝。
Democratic council member Lam Cheuk-ting fell to his knees, in the hope that demonstrators would not make another assault.

• Lam Cheuk-ting speaks:
我求求你,好危險。
I am begging you. It’s very dangerous.

但係仍然無功而退。
But still he withdrew without getting a result.
Note: I am not sure about the phrase 無功而退 mòuh4 gūng1 yìh4 teui3, but it seems to mean “to withdraw without getting a result”. 無功 is more commonly encountered in the expression 無功受祿 mòuh4 gūng1 sauh6 luhk6 = to get a reward without deserving it.

  • People shouting:
    香港人加油、加油。
    You can do it, Hongkongers, you can do it

喺示威者衝擊立法會大樓期間過百名嘅防暴警察喺大樓入便戒備。
While demonstrators were making their assault on the Legislative Council Complex, over a hundred anti-riot police were on guard (?) inside the Complex.

部分人仲手持可以發射催淚彈嘅防暴搶,亦有警員裝(?)橡膠子彈搶上彈。
Some of them were holding anti-riot guns [防暴搶 fòhng4 bouh6 chēung1] capable of firing tear-gas cannisters, and there were also police loading guns that fired rubber bullets.

示威者就繼續用鐵枝同埋鐵通敲打玻璃門。
Demonstrators continued to hit the glass door with long strips of iron and iron bars (?).
Note: I am not sure what a 鐵通 tit3 tūng1 is. It seems to be a metal bar of some kind, often wielded in one hand. I get the impression that 鐵 tit3 = iron tends to be used with the more general meeting of “metal”.

喺個半鐘後,近下晝三點,玻璃門終抵受唔到被撞破。
After an hour and a half, just before three o’clock in the afternoon, the glass door was finally shattered, unable to withstand it (any more).
Note: The structure 抵受唔到 expresses potential, “unable to withstand”. The positive form is 抵受得到, “able to withstand”. The sentence concludes with another variation on the verb 撞 johng6. The addition of 破 po3 suggests that a hole is made, that the door is broken right through.

半架鐵籠車楔喺大樓入便。
Half of the wire-mesh trolley was wedged [楔 sit3 = to wedge] inside the Complex.

雙方持續對峙。
The two sides continued their stand-off.

示威者(久不久)就用唔同嘅硬物撞擊幕牆,毀爛多塊玻璃。
The demonstrators now and then struck the curtain walls with various hard objects, and shattered many of the panes.
Note: For 久不久 = “now and then”, the Cantonese is probably 間唔中gaan1*3 mh̀4 jūng, but the speech is too rapid at this point for me to be sure. Also, the noun幕牆 mohk6 chèuhng4 is a technical architectural term meaning “(glass) curtain wall; (glass) block screen wall”.

無線電視記者張家灝報道
Report by TVB News reporter Jēung1 Gāa1 Houh6

2019年7月1日

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