O Melbourne . . .

2019-09-13 Brick Building Chinatown RESIZED

Black plastic linings shiver in public rubbish bins.
Dust, dust
is swept off its feet by traffic.
Out of nowhere one semi-trailer steals world peace for a second.
The phone booth confesses:
I say what I’m told to say
for the few coins they force down my throat
In Clayton, an old Vietnamese man,
nose running in the wind,
hobbles on a crutch tattooed in purple ink
with a mobile phone number.
By the platform, crows play at their own kind of fare evasion.
A taxi smuggles Punjabi pop music
down a dead, echoey side-street.
Brickwork mesmerizes sunlight.
Clouds snail across the sky leaving no paths of silver.
Shrubs hold up green gloss leaves, mimicking glass,
waving surrender.
A dirty flag flutters itself ragged on an empty house.
A pizza box claps its jaws shut in the gutter.
Sparrows rain down from a tree
before — magically — raining back into it.
Illegible rainbow graffiti
dissolves miles of grateful wall
the length of the unswerving railway.


Photograph: Brick warehouse, Little Bourke Street, Melbourne


Unidentified Shrine Lantau Island_27 NOV 2017


How does she go
putting herself into words written in water
on a slab-sheet of smooth park-paving
with a monster
brush thick as her unbangled
ten-year-old arms?
Goodness gracious.
To bring out a better
best in herself,
she is wearing Sunday’s finest gear —
ribbons and glitter even in her hair —
and, while she watches
her lifesize
last character fade and erase
naturally by slow evaporation in the sun,
she dips
the thirsty furring of her brush
back in a spotless, lifeblood-red bucket neat as a hospital corner.
from her each and every tremor,
down to the fine print of her fingers —
and completely without outlines —
she is braced for the tug of writing’s next irresistible surge
and for signing herself
by calligraphy’s deftest ligature
onto our unread Earth.


Photograph: 香港大嶼山 Unidentified Shrine, Lantau Island, Hong Kong

Special Books on Hong Kong: Economic Man in Sha Tin by Göran Aijmer (1980)

Peter Varney_Paddy Fields East of Yuen Long_1 JAN 1958


The ritualization of the lineage ideology and the ritualization of the rice cultivation are inseparable in that both are focused on dead forefathers. Giving up rice production will for traditionalist villagers mean a break-up from a social situation dominated by traditional lineage aspirations and goals. The cultivation of rice has formed, to a very great extent, the essence and rhythm of life in the villages. The intimate connexion between the calendar, the cycle of festivals, and the process of rice cultivation gives a meaning to the rhythm of life which reaches far beyond what can be measured in terms of production and other economic categories. The transplantation of the first crop cannot be done before the Qingming festival; Duanwu precedes the first rice harvest and the sowing of the second crop. Chongyang precedes the second harvest. These important festivals are entirely isolated from the context of vegetable gardening which does not in the same way provide a fixed, seasonally repetitive pattern of activities. Through the use of many different species of vegetables, which can, in accordance with their ecological requirements, be introduced into a year-round production, the market gardener lives in a uniform and constant progression of acts concerned with his land. There is no peak season and no off season. There is nothing particular to look forward to, nor anything to talk about in retrospect on dry and cool winter days with fallow fields. (p. 89)


Photograph: Paddy Fields East of Yuen Long by Peter Varney, 1958

Cantonese through News Stories: Joshua Wong Disqualified from November Elections

Joshua Wong Speech_29 OCT 2019


District council elections are (at the time of writing) still expected to go ahead in Hong Kong this Sunday, on 24 November. Joshua Wong Chi-fung, the young politician who has played an important role in the advocacy of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act in America has, not surprisingly, been prevented from contesting. The reason for his exclusion? Perhaps the Orwellian word 思想警察 sī1 séung2 gíng2 chaat3 is a hint to us all . . .


13 new words:

裁定 chòih4 dihng6  = to rule (in a legal sense); ruling
曲解 kūk1 gáai2 = to misinterpret
政治理念 jing3 jih6 léih5 nihm6 = political belief(s)
審查 sám2 chàah4 = to investigate; to examine
政治篩選 jing3 jih6 sāi1 syún2 = political screening
理據 léih5 geui3 = argument
摒棄 bing3 hei3 = to discard; to reject; to abandon
綱領 gōng1líhng5 = programme
提倡 tàih4 chēung1 = to advocate; to promote
迫不得已 bīk1 bāt1 dāk1 yíh5 = have no other choice; have no alternative
詮釋 chyùhn4 sīk1 = to elucidate
擁護 yúng2 wuh6 = to endorse; to support

效忠 haauh6 jūng1 = to devote oneself heart & soul to; to pledge oneself to

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



Joshua Wong, a candidate in the district council elections for South Horizons West has had his nomination ruled as invalid by the returning officer. He is the only person running in this round of elections to have had his nomination ruled as being invalid on account of [his] political position.
Note: 屆 gaai3 is a measure word used with activities that occur on a regular basis. It is reminiscent of the English word “round”. In Cantonese 今屆 gām1 gaai3 = “this round”. It is also used in the sense of “this year’s . . .”, as in 今屆嘅香港小姐 = “this year’s Miss Hong Kong” and 今屆「狀元」 = “this year’s [crop of] ‘number one scholars’”.

Wong said he suspected it was political examination (? = witch-hunt), and was of the opinion that the returning officer had misinterpreted his political beliefs.
Continue reading “Cantonese through News Stories: Joshua Wong Disqualified from November Elections”

In Darra

Evette KWOK_Lam Tsuen_NOV 2019

There’s space, a place for every-
thing, a place for you,
in Darra.
With more sky in the street
and a quiet that doesn’t take to heart
the ka-chunk-a-chunk of trains,
you can spend time unwisely
on conversation, with a cup
of chai and a cool breeze
sweeping gardens sound asleep
on birdsong bedrock.
Forget what you meant
to do in Darra: you can put your feet up
on the kitchen table,
take Satoshi Kitamura’s UFO Diary
down from its hook on the wall,
and get agreeably lost
in life’s fine details, nothing to clutter
whatever you wish to make
of them. In Darra,
things remind you
with quirks and gentle colour
that seriousness and solemnity
are never exactly the same thing — ever,
as the sun, Great Photon Beachball,
laughs long yellow light-years
“endlessly” down the hall.

Photograph: Evette Kwok, Lam Tsuen (2019)

Hong Kong Footpath: Interview in Cantonese with Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chee (Part 1)

Professor Chan Siu Chee IMAGE RESIZED

“Hong Kong Footpath” or 舊日的足跡 Gauh6 Yaht6 Dīk1 Jūk1 Jīk1 is a weekly interview program broadcast on Sunday mornings on RTHK Radio 1. Featuring outstanding people from all walks of life, the interviews are a fabulous source for spoken Cantonese: spontaneous, lively, and often dealing with those crucial make-or-break points in an individual’s pursuit of a chosen career. The downside is that they also feature all those typical difficulties encountered by learners of the language: rapid speech, difficult accents, and unfamiliar vocabulary as well as hesitations, interruptions, two or more people speaking at once and a slurring of words (I believe the technical term favoured by linguistics is “apocopation”).

For this reason, I have begun to transcribe some of the interviews with the help of a native speaker. The first interview is with 陳肇始 Chàhn4 Siuh6 Chí2 Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chee, current Secretary [局長 gūk1 jéung2] for Food and Health, and was aired on 10 March 2019 to celebrate International Women’s Day. She speaks fairly clearly for most of the interview, but is very fond of sentence particles: so far, I have counted 43 uses of 噉 and 79 uses of 呢!

Here, I present approximately a quarter of Part 1, but will continue to add further instalments as we complete them (as well as correct any mistakes or gaps!). Note that the podcast version of the interview begins with part of the news broadcast, followed by some ads as well as interview highlights; the interview proper doesn’t get underway till just after the three-minute mark. The interviews are also broken up with songs: you’ll be overjoyed to learn that the transcript omits these.

Regrettably, the podcast of this interview was removed from the RTHK site in 2020.




Part 1a【3:12】


婦女節  fuh6 léuih5 jit3 = International Women’s Day

嘉賓 gāa1 bān1 = distinguished guest; special guest


Note: Adding 姐 jē1 after a woman’s name, as Betty Hung points out in Speak to Me in Cantonese, is to show respect. For a man, the title 哥 gō1 is used (p.116).




陳肇始:重視,當然重視呢,作為即係一個婦女呢。我諗每一年三 • 八呢,大家都有好多唔同嘅活動嘅。噉,都係尤其是係一啲嘅女性團體呀、組織呀咁。噉,都係興祝翻即係女性,我諗,對嗰個社會嘅貢獻。噉呢都係好重要嘅,亦都係令大家去即係記得呢個日子呢。噉但係呢我諗即係每一次三 • 八呢,都會諗一諗【4:00】一啲即係女性嘅問題㗎。我諗喺香港呢,我哋自己婦女人口呢,同男士都係差唔多吓,咁呀多少少咁一樣。噉有時候會衍生帶嚟啲乜問題呢咁?噉都係諗嚟諗去又諗翻啲工作, 例如我哋好多時而家醫生,女醫生嘅數目有開始多喇咁樣,好好呢,我哋而家讀大學喇,其實呢,女性學生呢,都係多過男仔嘅 . . .

三 • 八 is the date 8 March, on which International Women’s Day is celebrated

Note: 興祝 hīng1 jūk1 means “to celebrate (a particular occasion”). In Lesson 1 of Current Cantonese Colloquialisms, it crops up in 母親節嗰日,你哋點同阿媽興祝呀? = On Mother’s day, how will you celebrate with your mum? (p.11). The adding of the aspect marker 翻 fāan1 suggests that something is brought back or recalled on that day (for example, the contribution women have made to society).

衍生 hín2 sāng1 = to derive; to come out; to flow from

Note: In 諗嚟諗去又諗翻啲工作, the aspect marker 翻 fāan1 suggests a kind of return: roughly, “I think about this and I think about that and I link things back to work in my thoughts”.



配套 pui3 tou3 = package; support (I often hear government officials using this term. Perhaps “support” is the closest translation here. Something less definite than concrete “arrangements” [安排] seems to be the main implication).

兼顧 gīm1 gu3 = to give consideration to two or more things. Perhaps the implication here is that most doctors in future will only work part-time.

母乳餵哺 móuh5 yúh5 wai3 bouh6 = breast-feeding



車淑梅:好呀。咁呀即係唔怪得呢我哋香港呢係一個真係非常之咁令人羡慕城市呀,譬如話呢,就喺醫療服務方面呢,就係全世界最平最靚最正架吓,即係各方面都係細心去照顧到。唔怪得喇, 我哋成爲全球最長壽嘅嗰個地方咁樣。咁既然女嘅即係醫生越來越多呢,但唔知點解局長就即係嗱啱啱上任局長嘅時間 2017年 7月1號呢,你當時嘅全個班子裏邊,得一個女士嘅啫。你當時嘅心情係點樣樣呀?

全球最長壽嘅嗰個地方 = that place with the longest life-spans on earth. The noun 長壽 chèuhng4 sauh6 = longevity

班子 bāan1 jí2 = “organized group”, according to Sheik Cantonese. Here, it seems to refer to what Carrie Lam now calls her 問責團隊 mahn6 jaak3 tyùhn4 déui6*2 or “accountability team”, a group comprising senior officials in charge of a whole department.

陳肇始:其實,當時嘅心情【6:00】,亦都冇乜好特別嘅,因爲呢,我都習慣咗,即係過去我做副局長嘅時候呢,就多啲即係女性嘅副局長啦 咁。噉但係其實有好多同事都係男男女女都有嘅,所以我又冇一個好特別嘅話,呀作爲女性,咁又有冇咩特別呢咁。噉當然而家就我特別呢,多一啲婦女嘅團體呀、組織呀咁,都係好希望呢,我哋去支持佢哋。噉所以呢,我亦都即係特別呢,係因爲我係第一個女性嘅局長呢,我都覺得呢,佢哋嘅工作呢,係可以俾多啲支持、多啲鼓勵佢哋囉。

車淑梅:係。有冇諗過自己係一個政府嘅架構裏邊係做得咁高層呢,即係 細個嘅時候會唔會諗呢啲呀?

架構 gaa3 kau3 = ① infrastructure, framework; ② architecture (Sheik Cantonese). In this context, perhaps “within a government structure” or even “within the make-up of a (particular) government” (?).

陳肇始:細個嗰陣時冇嘅,其實真係冇,我其實喺我嘅 . . . 即係 . . . 一路人生嘅每一個部分呢吓,我嘅工作呢,尤其是其實都冇特別安排嘅 【7:00】。基本上都係我非常之努力去做。噉亦都係 . . . 有一啲唔同嘅機會就出現咗。噉於是乎,噉我又去嘗試。噉,呢個又亦都係 . . . 盡 . . . 我覺得係 . . . 即係 . . . 最緊要係盡力呀,出盡我嘅全力吓,一百嘅 percent,二百嘅 percent 咁去應對,吓,我每一日嘅工作。噉我覺得呢個係最緊要。 其實嗰個做咗出嚟呢,嗰個效果呀、結果呀,嗰啲呢,其實呀 . . . 當然我哋都有個目標嘅,噉但係呢,我覺得唔係咁 . . . 唔係最重要嘅。對我嚟講呢,盡全力,吓,去做呢,係最重要呢。

Note: Chan Siu-chee at first uses 盡 jeuhn6 on its own (which sounds a bit incomplete), before going on to use the expressions 盡力 jeuhn6 lihk6 and 出盡我嘅全力 chēut1 jeuhn6 ngóh5 ge3 chyùhn4 lihk6, both of which mean something “to give one’s all; to do one’s best”.


Note: The question 少年志願係乜嘢嚟架呢 is basically equivalent to “What did you want to be when you grew up?” The key word in Cantonese 志願 ji3 yuhn6 = aspiration; goal; ideal; desire. I get the impression that the host Chē1 Suhk6 Mùih4 likes to ask her guests this question!

陳肇始:少年志願?其實呢,我諗唔同嘅時間都有啲唔同嘅志願嘅。好奇怪嘅,即係 . . . 好細嗰陣時候【8:00】我媽咪係醫生呢,噉我都就係想做醫生嘅。噉細個屋企有好多聽筒嗰啲咁呀都係同我妹妹玩嗰啲嘢。噉就亦都 . . .

聽筒 tēng1 túng4*2 usually means “earphones, headset, headphones”, but in this medical context, “stethoscope” is clearly indicated.

車淑梅:. . . 爸爸呢?



陳肇始:係呀,係呀。噉但係呢,亦都係有一個階段好鐘意做先生嘅,因爲呢,就開始返學嘅時候呢,我覺得呀,先生改簿嗰啲都好得意嘅。噉呀係 成日自己係攞啲公仔書呀嗰啲嚟度改呀嘗試咁樣。噉所以即係唔同嘅時間都會想做唔同嘅嘢咁樣囉。

Note: 改簿 gói2 bóu6*2 literally means “to mark a notebook”. In this context of teachers [先生] and schoolwork, I am guessing that Chan is referring to the marking of student work written out in exercise books.


醉心 jeui3 sām1 = to be engrossed in; to be infatuated with



Note: 麻麻哋 màah4 máa4*2 déi6*2 is commonly used as an adjective meaning “so-so”, indicating a less-than-enthusiastic response to something. Here, intriguingly, it is used as a verb meaning “to regard something as being so-so”. What Chē1 Suhk6 Mùih4 says can therefore be translated as “Actually, someone told me that you regarded your own name ‘Chan Siu-chee’ as only being so-so”. She then goes on to ask: “How is it that you could say ‘so-so’ (about your personal name)?”

陳肇始:其實 . . . 又 . . . 都唔係麻麻哋,只不過細個陣時候呢,讀小學呢,噉我哋讀小學嘅時候呢,小學中學都係,我哋用英文名嘅。噉所以呢,大家都其實基本上唔係咁知道大家啲同學嘅中文名。噉先生呢,就 尤其是小學嘅時候呢,就耐唔時呢,會叫每一個同學企起身,就講你嘅中文名俾大家聽吓啦咁。噉但係每一次當我講嗰陣時候呢,噉我先生呢,一定「吓?」咁「吓」我一次。噉,我就覺得,咦,係咪有好怪,係唔係有乜問題呢?【10:00】其他同學都冇「吓」,但係呢,我講完又吓, 我要再講多一次。噉呢個感覺呢,就好似覺得我個名點解咁嘅,點解先生好似有啲懷疑嘅咁。噉點解我又唔好似其他同學改嗰啲名。點解我媽媽又改呢個名嘅。噉其實有少少呢個咁樣嘅感覺嘅。

耐唔時 noih6 mh4 4*2 = now and then; from time to time

Note: 吓 háa2 is equivalent to “huh?” in English and is used to express the sense of being puzzled by something. Here, with creativity, Chan Siu-chee turns it into a verb, with the approximate meaning of “to respond to something by saying ‘huh?’”!

Note: Don’t forget that 改嗰啲名 just means “the names given to (other students)”. 改名 gói2 méng2 means “to name (a child); to give (a child) a name”.




陳肇始:我諗個原因係佢話呢,就都係一個開始呢,個「肇」字係一個開始咁解,個「始」字,噉我係 . . . eh . . . 我有兩姊妹,噉我大女嚟㗎。噉所以呢,係開始咁樣呢。噉所以呢,就後來我好鐘意我個名,因爲我覺得,啫,係一個好嘅開始呢,都係一件好嘅事嚟㗎。

Note: Chan Siu-chi uses the double final particle 嚟㗎 lèih4 gaa3 to add an “explaining tone” to what she says.


陳肇始:Eh,最初嘅時候呢,就唔係嘅,我eh其實eh,啫,護士訓練課程呢,畢業之後呢,其實就响瑪嘉烈醫院,啫,工作咗一年嘅。噉之後呢,後嚟就轉翻嚟瑪麗醫院呢咁。噉我其實已經係好想讀兒科嘅,因爲我都 eh 比較鐘意呢個專科。噉所以後來呢,就做咗喺瑪麗醫院呢,做咗一陣呢,我就去咗英國,就去讀兒科護理。當時都係一個無薪嘅,啫,假期咁樣樣去呢,吓,咁。 喺倫敦,吓, Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital 嗰度就讀兒科護理咁樣。咁攞一個專業嘅資格。【12:00】噉嗰陣時候,讀完返嚟香港之後呢,就係做兒科嘅深切治療部喇。Eh,我諗喺深切治療部嗰度工作呢,就嗰個感受係好深,因爲我喺英國讀完兒科返嚟呢,噉就,啫,眾志成城覺得呢,呀就要將我學咗嘅嘢,係要貢獻出嚟呢咁樣。噉所以呢,到瑪麗醫院嘅深切治療部兒科嘅深切治療同埋,啫,嗰個嬰兒,嗰個深切治療部呢。噉就好開心,因爲啲同事又好好呢,同埋呢,係有一啲嘅醫生亦都係喺,都喺英國同一間醫院嗰度深造嘅呢咁。噉所以大家呢,就係一個團隊,好上進嘅,大家覺得呢,哎,我哋要點一樣呢,就我地成日都開會。噉就點一樣係為嗰啲病人係做好啲,又我哋又 點樣樣做多啲培訓呢,俾啲同事呀,點樣樣去增强我哋嗰個醫院或者服務同病人家屬溝通等等。【13:00】

响 héung2 is sometimes used like 喺 hai2 to create place expressions: 响瑪嘉烈醫院 = at Princess Margaret Hospital
專科 jyūn1 fō1 = specialized subject
攞一個專業嘅資格 = obtain a professional qualification
眾志成城 jung3 ji3 sìhng4 sìhng4 = unity of will is an impregnable stronghold; unity is strength
深造 sām1 chou3 = to take a more advanced course of study or training; to pursue advanced studies (Note: In this word, 造 is not pronounced jouh6 as it is in other contexts)

[Brief break]

車淑梅:我「凝」住呢,啲小朋友喺深切治療病房應該好痛苦,好辛苦嘅。噉你點樣可以令到呢一個情況係,啫 eh快啲好翻 ,快啲好翻咁?

凝 yìhng4 jyuh6 = 心裏懷疑;覺得; (?) to suspect; to imagine

陳肇始:噉當然呢,我諗喺深切治療呢,尤其是喺,啫,嬰兒深切治療呢,噉有好多係唔足月嘅BB仔咁樣,咁eh好輕呢,吓,噉同埋呢,要咁就要喺,喺嗰啲暖箱嗰度,incubator 嗰度呢,係去護理㗎。噉爸爸媽媽係非常之擔心嘅。噉所以我哋當時一方面呢,我哋要有自己嘅專業呢,係去護理好,呢啲嘅病嘅BB呢,但係另一方面呢【14:00】,我哋亦都要照顧呢,爸爸媽媽,佢哋嗰個焦急嘅心情呀,同埋佢哋對於BB嗰個情況,嗰個擔心,同埋呢,係佢哋呢,每一日都喺度㗎,好多時呢都會係留喺度想了解吓佢哋嘅情況。噉喺嗰個期間呢,其實都係有好多家長呢,eh啫,大家係成爲好熟嘅,吓,因爲每一日都見,每一日呢,都傾計,每一日呢,都係同佢,啫,了解翻佢BB嘅情況,同埋呢,係盡量呢,係安慰佢咁囉。

唔足月 mh4 jūk1 yuht6 = 早產嬰; premature (baby)
暖箱 nyúhn5 sēung1 = incubator
安慰 (ng)ōn1 wai3 = to comfort; to console; to offer consolation to sb.


陳肇始:係呀,好開心,好開心同埋最開心就係有啲已經大個咗都返嚟 探我哋嗰啲呢,就好開心。



車淑梅:後嚟呢,其實呢,局長亦都係有獎學金去到外國進修嘅喎。嗱 ,因爲你係孜孜不倦,喺1991年呢,修讀咗理大醫療教育學深造文憑之後呢,其實你不斷就去外地嗰度呢,去吸收外邊嘅,啫,訊息咁樣。【15:00】中間有冇啲特別嘅經歷可以同我哋分享吓?

獎學金 jéung2 hohk6 gām1 = scholarship
孜孜不倦 jī1 jī1 bāt1 gyuhn6 = diligent(ly); indefatigable
理工大學 Léih5 Gūng1 Daaih6 Hohk6 = Hong Kong Polytechnic University

陳肇始:噉我諗,啫,三個外國嗰個,啫,學嘢嘅階段呢,係第一個係我頭先講咗兒科護理呢。噉當時都係好細個嘅。噉就係專科嘅訓練呀,去讀兒科咁樣。噉當年嗰陣時候就好多嘢都係 . . . eh 係照顧自己方面呢,其實都係未必係做得好嘅。噉嗰個呢,係磨練嚟㗎,因爲呢,去到外國呢,吓,噉好多嘢都要自己照顧自己呀,又自己連 even 煮飯都要都要呀 . . .

未必係做得好 = not necessarily done very well
磨練 mòh4 lihn6 = to temper oneself; to steel oneself (perhaps even here “to put oneself to the test”)


Note: The interviewer is quite fond of using what Matthews and Yip call “dislocation” (Intermediate Cantonese, Unit 24). Usually, 初初 chō1 chō1 would probably come at the start of the sentence after 你, but here it is tacked on at the end, as a kind of qualification or modification of what has gone before.

陳肇始:係呀,係呀,唔係幾識咁。噉所以呢,就,都係一個鍛煉同埋 最主要就有啲問題發生嘅時候呢,就要自己去判斷同埋呢,係自己去處理。

鍛煉 dyun3 lihn6 = 1 to take exercise 2 to steel/temper oneself (cf. 磨練 mòh4 lihn6)

車淑梅:(interrupts) 大個女咗嘞!

Note: This means something like “You were a big girl now/by this stage” (with the implication of being able to fend for oneself). Aspect markers get a work-out here: 咗 jó2 suggests that a certain state had been realized (perfect aspect), while 嘞 laak3 is generally used to report a change of circumstances.

陳肇始:係啦。噉當然,第二段呢,係當我已經 um 瑪麗醫院兒科嘅深切治療部呢,都做咗一段嘅時間,吓。【16:00】噉亦都喺理工大學修讀咗 ah 嗰個教育深造嘅文憑。噉嗰度呢,係,eh . . . 諗住出嚟係做老師嘅,因爲我喺深切治療部嗰陣時候呢,就被揀選咗呢,出嚟呢,去幫手呢,係去做一啲嘅培訓課程俾啲同事嘅,新嚟嘅同事呀,或者有一啲嘅係 . . . 好似 refresher 嗰啲嘢要去再 . . . 再 . . .(車淑梅:再培訓)係,再培訓咁一樣呢。噉所以呢,就變咗令我喺產生咗對於,啫,教學有啲興趣,吓,咁。噉所以到讀完理工之後呢,我就覺得都係好想再去外邊深造。噉因爲好似覺得當時就學海無涯咁,咦,仲有好多嘢唔識喎,都係應該要去 um 要去讀嘅。

修讀 sāu1 duhk6 = to take a course in sth.
諗住 lám2 jyuh6 = to intend; to plan
學海無涯 hohk6 hói2 mòuh4 ngàaih4 = learning is an endless process

Note: I am not sure how to translate 變咗. My sense is that it conveys something like “as it turned out”, but I am still collecting examples . . .


陳肇始:係啦,繼續深造嘅。噉所以就去咗英國呢,要讀碩士學位呢(車淑梅:Ah)咁樣,第一就係攞咗一個獎學金啦,第二呢,亦都係特別去讀一個基層醫療嘅【17:00】,啫,護理嘅一個課程,吓,係一個教育嘅碩士。噉所以嗰陣時呢,就係另外 . . . 另外一樣嘢嘞,就唔係一個,啫,深切治療部或者喺醫院,而係一個比較預防性呀、發展性嘅一個學科嚟㗎,吓。噉亦都當然呢,eh 讀碩士嘅時候呢,亦都係對於理論呀、或者係要做論文呀、或者係有一啲嘅初步嘅研究嘅理論呀,亦都要開始學囉,就唔係淨係臨床嘅專業知識呢。

第一 . . . 第二 . . . daih6 yāt1 . . . daih6 yih6 = firstly . . . secondly (used for enumerating reasons)
基層 gēi1 chàhng4 = basic level; grassroots
預防性 yuh6 fòhng4 sing3 = preventative (預防 = to prevent)

車淑梅:嘩,你好鐘意上堂嘅喎,睇嚟,你 . . .

Note: Another example of the interviewer’s penchant for dislocation: “Golly, you really like going to class, by the looks of it/it seems, you!”

陳肇始:因爲,其實,每一次,啫,係能夠係得到 . . . eh ,啫,多啲唔同嘅知識,而覺得嗰啲知識呢,係非常之有用,亦都係可以將來呢,係諗吓點一樣呢,係回饋 . . . eh 我個專業呀、回饋社會呢。呢個嘅感覺呢,係非常之開心,吓。

回饋 wùih4 gwaih6/kwáih5 = ① to give back; to requite; to give in return ② feedback; to report back to

Note: According to Sheik Cantonese, the standard pronunciation for 回饋 is wùih4 gwaih6, but people have reported hearing a variant, wùih4 kwáih5, which seems to match Chan Siu-chi’s pronunciation of the verb here.


(To be continued . . .)


Luen On Tin Hau Temple 2018


What the shoulder in its hearing borrows from the ears:
that distinct listening curve
as it makes its descent ever so gently down
to the armed socket. Against
the eyes of the edifice of the face —
self-conscious into the light — these shoulders attend
attuned in concentration to a rich global symphony
just outside the range of human hearing.
We are seconded to the task
by the boulder beauty of their shape;
we too wish
to hear what our ears openly deny us
beyond the broad beach of all auditory nerve:
something greater than the sense-attentive greatness of our own bodies, even:

a universe setting itself to itself through all its “parts”
to rights.


Photograph: 香港小欖聯安天后廟 Luen On Tin How Temple, Siu Lam, Hong Kong

Cantonese through News Stories: Hundreds of Dead Fish in Kwun Tong


Kwun Tong Dead Fish Image Two_19 OCT 2019


Most of the news in recent months has been pre-occupied with the human realm. Here is an environmental story concerning the fish of Hong Kong and a recent incident in Kwun Tong, where hundred of dead fish appeared in mysterious circumstances.


12 new words:

對出 deui3 chēut = on the outside of; next to the outside of
漂浮 pīu1 fàuh4 = to float
烏頭 wū1 táu4*2 = grey mullet (fish)
嚟㗎 lèih4 gaa3 = a final double particle
承辦商 sìhng4 baahn6 sēung1 = contractor
跟進 gān1 jeun3 = to follow up
每逢 múih5 fùhng4 = every time; whenever
換季 wuhn6 gwai3 = change of season
水質 séui2 jāt = water quality
魚類  yùh4 leuih6 = fish (a general term)
排除 pàaih4 chèuih4 = to exclude; to rule out (the possibility of . . .)
惡劣 ok3 lyut3 = vile (in this context = hazardous to fish)


A large number of dead fish appeared on the surface of the sea at Kwun Tong.
Note: 大批 daaih6 pai1 is commonly used to refer to a large number or a large amount of something. You occasionally also hear 分批 fān1 pāi1 = “in batches”.

Continue reading “Cantonese through News Stories: Hundreds of Dead Fish in Kwun Tong”

All My Thoughts are by Themselves (II)

Sun Face Sai Kung_2012-09-05 09.40.40 crop

•  Simon to Simon


In the first tangle of self-consciousness
I work doubly hard to make sure
that I’m not simply talking out loud to myself.

Then, less maddened by coincidence,
I sense viscerally the clash of two instincts:
the territorial versus car parks of selflessness.

As I call you again by our personal name,
I try tacticfully to undo
a subtle defensiveness in my make-up.

Persona temporarily wrong-footed,
I hear in a “background” that will never speak its mind
the buzz of our intimate no one.

New YouTube Site in Cantonese

Berlin Goes Cantonese 2_1 NOV 2019

Berlin Goes Cantonese is an innovative YouTube channel that presents news and information about Germany in Cantonese. The channel was recently launched by Toby, a resident of Berlin who spent five years in Hong Kong in the 1980s and has since gone on to become a dedicated and highly proficient speaker of the language. In his first programme, he says that his aim is 通過 Berlin Goes Cantonese 首先我想分享同德國有關係嘅消息, and this is precisely what he does! But he is also keen to pass on information about Germany’s culture, tourist sites, as well as introduce some typical examples of German cuisine.

Program One kicks off with a famous comment from a former mayor of Berlin, who once said that 柏林好窮,但係好性感 (Berlin is poor, but it is sexy)! Toby goes on to explain that although Berlin is not as economically successful as other German cities, it enjoys a rich cultural life, is “a very green city” [好綠嘅城市], and attracts large numbers of younger people. He shows us some of the sights of Berlin, including its most beautiful street [柏林最靚嘅街], Unter den Linden, Museumsinsel (a whole island of museums), Checkpoint Charlie, and Eastside Gallery, among others. He concludes with a brief introduction to a popular German snack-food.

Toby is planning to put out new episodes of Berlin Goes Cantonese on a regular basis. Anyone interested in learning Cantonese should take a look and be inspired by Toby’s example. He certainly brings great energy to his language studies!

Please visit Berlin Goes Cantonese.