Learning Cantonese: 2021 香港約章 Hong Kong Charter 2021

“Hongkongers are a unique community with their own distinctive culture, history, experiences and values. We shall maintain our unique identity and continue to create its timely significance to perpetuate these precious characteristics; our identity, history and cultural values shall be respected and safeguarded, in writing and in recording, to be preserved in multiple ways to counter the biased perspectives fabricated and propagated by the authorities” — these are the opening sentences of the next part of the Charter, simply entitled 香港篇 Hēung1 Góng2 Pīn1 or “Hong Kong Section”.

I will tackle the remaining two parts of the Charter (dealing with mainland China and the international community) in another post, but you can view the entire bilingual document here, together with some information on the initiators. For other help with the Chinese, please consult the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary.


7.  香港人是一個獨特的共同體,擁有獨特的文化、歷史、經歷以及價值觀。我們應該維持獨特的身份認同,持續創造其時代意義,以傳承這些珍貴的特質;我們的身份丶歷史和文化價值應該受到尊重、保護,以各種方法書寫、記錄、保存,抗擊官方諱言捏造的史觀。

8.  香港人有權決定香港的前途和事務,包括民生丶政制丶憲制等改革。同時,香港人應享有民主、自主和自由的制度:民主包括由人民直接選出丶沒有篩選的政府和議會;自主包括本地事務免受中共干預;自由包括《世界人權宣言》丶《公民權利及政治權利公約》和其他國際公約內列明人民應享有的政治丶社會及經濟權利。

9.  香港政府應實行三權分立,司法丶行政及立法機關互不統屬。法治制度應以限制公權力、彰顯公義為最高原則,法官判決應合乎人權及法治的標準,另外本地最高法院應享有憲法解釋權,不受中共干預。

10.  港版國安法是侵害港人言論自由、人身安全、政治自由的惡法,理應馬上廢除。政府應停止以言入罪、釋放在囚的政治犯,並保障所有港人遊行、示威、結社、出版、言論的權利,並撤銷所有針對流亡人士的政治檢控。

11.  中共肆意侵蝕香港公民社會,破壞各個專業領域的價值、原則以及道德,逼使有良心的香港市民臣服於他們無理專橫的管治。我們呼籲市民盡量捍衛自身底線,不與政權同流合污。

12.  在中共的直接指揮和港府官員盲從上意下,警隊已淪為極權打壓市民訴求和權利的武器。警政系統必須改革,在人民充分的監督及授權下,建立真正為民服務的治安自理體系。

● 共同體 guhng6 tùhng4 tái2 = community | ● 身份認同 sān1 fán6*2 yihng6 tùhng4 = (?) identity cf. 身份 = status; identity + 認同 = to identify | ● 傳承 chyùhn4 sìhng4 = to impart & to inherit | ● 抗擊 kong3 gīk1 = to resist; to beat back | ● 諱言捏造wáih5 yìhn4 nihp6 jouh6 = ? cf. 諱言 = dare not or would not speak up + 捏造 = to fabricate; to concoct; to trump up | ● 事務 sih6 mouh6 = affairs | ● 世界人權宣言 sai3 gaai3 yàhn4 kyùhn4 syūn1 yìhn4 = the Universal Declaration of Human Rights | ● 公民權利及政治權利公約 gūng1 màhn4 kyùhn4 leih6 kahp6 jing3 jih6 kyùhn4 leih6 gūng1 yeuk3 = the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights | ● 三權分立 sāam1 kyùhn4 fān1 lahp6 = separation of powers (i.e. the legislative, executive and judicial powers) | ● 統屬 tung2 suhk6 = ① subordination ② to be subordinate | ● 公權力 gūng1 kyùhn4 leih6 = (?) public rights | ● 彰顯公義 jēung1 hín2 gūng1 yih6 = cf. 彰顯 = to bring out conspicuously + 公義 = justice | ● 解釋權 gáai2 sihk6 kyùhn4 = right to interpret | ● 理應 léih5 yīng1 = ought to; should | ● 以言入罪 yíh5 yìhn4 yahp6 jeuih6 = roughly, “to regard speaking out as a criminal offence” | ● 結社 git3 séh5 = to form an association | ● 撤銷 chit3 sīu1 = to cancel; to rescind; to revoke | ● 檢控 gím2 hung3 = to prosecute | ● 臣服於 sàhn4 fuhk6 yū1 = to submit oneself to the rule of; to acknowledge allegiance to | ● 捍衛 hóhn5 waih6 = to defend; to guard; to protect | ● 底線 dái2 sin3 = the base line; the bottom line | ● 同流合污 tùhng4 làuh4 hahp6 wū1 = wallow in the mire with sb.; to associate with an evil person | ● 上意 seuhng6 yi3 = (?) the wishes/will of those higher up  | ● 授權 sauh6 kyùhn4 = to empower; to authorize | ● 治安自理 jih6 [ng]ōn1 jih6 léih5 = ? cf. 治安 = law & order

7.  Hongkongers are a unique community with their own distinctive culture, history, experiences and values. We shall maintain our unique identity and continue to create its timely significance to perpetuate these precious characteristics; our identity, history and cultural values shall be respected and safeguarded, in writing and in recording, to be preserved in multiple ways to counter the biased perspectives fabricated and propagated by the authorities.

8.  Hongkongers shall have the right to determine the future and affairs of Hong Kong, including any social, institutional and constitutional reforms. Hongkongers shall enjoy a democratic, autonomous and free system. Democracy entails a government and legislature directly elected by the people. By autonomy, it means local affairs are free from the Chinese Communist Party’s interference. Freedom entails the provision of social and economic rights for the people as stipulated by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

9.  The Hong Kong government shall implement separation of powers. The judiciary, the executive and the legislature shall not be subordinate to one another. The legal system shall have restricting public power and manifesting justice as the supreme principles. The judges shall adjudicate in accordance with human rights and the rule of law. The highest court shall enjoy the power of interpretation of the constitution.

10.  The Hong Kong National Security Law is a draconian law that violates Hongkongers’ freedom of speech, freedom of the person and political freedom, and shall be repudiated immediately. The government shall stop criminalizing speeches, release all political prisoners and guarantee Hongkongers freedom of demonstration, protest, association, publication and speech. The government shall drop all charges against the political exiles.

11.  The Chinese Communist Party has been arbitrarily encroaching on Hong Kong’s civil society, destroying the values, principles and moralities of each professional sector, and forcing conscientious Hongkongers to submit to its despotic governance. We urge citizens to hold their bottom line, resist association with the Chinese Communist Party and its evil deeds.

12.  Under the Chinese Communist Party’s direct orders and the blind submission of Hong Kong officials, the police force has become an arsenal used by the totalitarian regime to oppress people’s aspirations and rights. The police system must be reformed. A democratic policing system, which truly serves the people, has to be established under the people’s supervision and with the people’s mandate.


Perhaps it’s just that the human mind is incapable of imagining anything that doesn’t begin.

— Diana Athill, “Whistling in the Dark”

He says, “Latch the old door well
before we both catch cold, son. . . .”
Seated in a square of light spitting image of the frost
we watch together through a warped timber window-frame
Moon muse in a museum of stars
and dark artefacts:

Something beginning with . . .

Somewhere foxes do their rounds regardless,
marking with telltale brown turds highlights of the chill territory
and hares lope nose down over scent-trails,
doubling back where the smell ties itself in knots —
no, a hare is never tangled by such tricks.
After the moon has gone, the house cracks
loudly of its own accord —
it doesn’t split our connection with concentration,
but it’s hard not to get lost in imaginary after-shocks
courtesy of the head’s echo-chamber.
I hear him ask me in a hoarse whisper,
as he nudges me with a boot, “Hey, you still all there?”
The way I say nothing through the air
gives him just as good as the answer he expects:

Something beginning with . . .

Learning Cantonese: 2021 香港約章 Hong Kong Charter 2021

Recently, mainland China unilaterally terminated its “One Country, Two Systems” arrangement with Hong Kong. This, its failure to abide by the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which states that the “basic policies of the People’s Republic of China regarding Hong Kong . . . will remain unchanged for 50 years”, and its refusal to fulfil the terms of the Hong Kong Basic Law, especially Instrument 23, which envisages that “the selection of the Chief Executive and the election of all members of the Legislative Council by universal suffrage will be realized in accordance with the Hong Kong Basic Law and this Decision” has caused great dismay and concern in the Special Administrative Region. In response, a group of Hongkongers now living in exile have formulated the 2021 香港約 章Hong Kong Charter 2021 in the hope of finding a way to ensure the honouring of promises made to the people of Hong Kong.

Below, you can read the first part of the Charter in Chinese and English, together with some notes on vocabulary and grammar. The English reads more like a separate version rather than a translation, and you can learn a lot about how written Chinese works by pondering the differences in the two texts.

I will tackle the remaining two parts of the Charter in another post, but you can view the entire bilingual document here, together with some information on the initiators. For other help with the Chinese, please consult the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary.


1.  自1980年代中英談判起,香港人一直爭取民主制度,以期選出代表香港市民的首長以及立法機關。惟中共一黨專政本質不變,除了阻撓香港人商討香港未來,自九七主權移交後,中共更屢次破壞《中英聯合聲明》和《基本法》精神,從未兌現承諾,落實民主與自治。直至二零一九年反送中運動爆發,港人奮起爭取民主自由,卻被暴政以赤色恐怖打壓,數以萬計示威者被捕。《港區國安法》實施後,港人言論、集會自由盡失,在港者動輒被囚,被政治逼害者流亡海外;2021年中共強加的政制改革更摧毀了香港選舉僅餘的民主成份,一國兩制名存實亡。

● 以期 yíh5 kèih4 = roughly, “in the hope of”; cf. 期望 kèih4 mohng6 = hope; expectation | ● 立法機關 lahp6 faat3 gēi1 gwāan1 = legislative body | ● 惟 wàih4 = but | ● 專政本質 cf. 專政 jyūn1 jing3 = dictatorship + 本質 bún2 jāt1 = essence; nature; innate character; intrinsic quality| ● 阻撓 jó2 nàauh4 = to obstruct; to thwart; to stand in the way of | ● 主權移交 jyú2 kyùhn4 yìh4 gāau1 = transfer of sovereignty | ● 屢次 léuih5 chi3 = time & again; repeatedly | ● 兌現 deui3 yihn6 = to honour (a commitment, etc.); to fulfil; to make good | ● 暴政 bouh6 jing3 = tyranny; despotic rule | ● 赤色恐怖 chik3/chek3 sīk1 húng2 bou3 = (?) red terror | ● 數以萬計 sou3 yíh5 maahn6 gai3 = by the tens of thousands; numbering tens of thousands; cf. 計 gai3 = to number | ● 盡失jeuhn6 sāt1 = cf. 盡 = to the utmost; to the limit + 失= to lose | ● 動輒 duhng6 jip3 = easily; frequently; at every turn | ● 囚 chàuh4 = ① to imprison ② prisoner; convict | ● 逼害者 bīk1 hoih6 jé2 = cf.  迫害 bīk1 hoih6 = to persecute | ● 強加 kèuhng4 gāa1 = to impose; to force | ● 摧毀 chēui1 wái2 = to destroy; to smash; to wreck | ● 僅餘gán2 yùh4 = roughly, “(those) few remaining” | ● 名存實亡 mìhng4 chyùhn4 saht6 mòhng4 = cease to exist except in name; exist in name only

1.  Ever since the Sino-British negotiations in the 1980s, the people of Hong Kong have been striving for a democratic political system, the right to elect truly representative legislators and Chief Executive. Notwithstanding, despite barring Hongkongers to determine their future, the Chinese Communist Party, with its unchanging one-party dictatorship, has been also tightening its totalitarian grip on Hong Kong. Sino-British Joint Declaration and Basic Law have been repeatedly breached by the Chinese Communist Party after the handover in 1997, and their promises of democracy and autonomy – have never been fulfilled. Hongkongers gathered in resistance to the Anti-Extradition Bill Movement in 2019. Facing more atrocious oppression than ever, tens of thousands were arrested. After the imposition of the National Security Law, Hong Kong’s freedom of speech and assembly has been exsanguinated. Numerous Hongkongers have no choice but to leave in exile, while those remaining in their city are living with the constant fear of being politically persecuted on any day. The 2021 electoral reform imposed by the Chinese Communist Party further annihilated the democratic elements in our elections, putting the last nail in the coffin for “One Country, Two Systems”.

2.  港人的勇敢和犧牲使國際社會尤其關注香港的民主運動,國際倡議工作如雨後春荀,港人離散族群無不為建立民主香港而爭取國際盟友支持,護港抗共。在二零二一年之初,我們希望透過《香港約章》來凝聚港人國際戰線的力量,團結海外港人社群,為光復香港的長遠之路籌謀和準備。我們矢志對抗中共霸權及壓逼,爭取港人民主自由;守護並延續海內外港人的自主意志;呼籲國際社會對抗中共威權擴張,共同守護民主自由的價值。

● 倡議工作 = advocacy cf. 倡議 cheung3 yíh5 = to propose | ● 如雨後春荀 yùh4 yúh5 hauh6 chēun1 séun2 = spring up like bamboo shoots after a spring rain | ● 離散族群 lèih4 sáan2 juhk6 kwàhn4 cf. 離散 = (?) to leave & become scattered + 族群 = ethnic group | ● 盟友 màhng4 yáuh5 = ally | ● 護港抗共 wuh6 góng2 kong3 guhng6 = roughly “to protect Hong Kong and to resist the communists | ● 凝聚 yihng4 jeuih6 = ① to condense ② to crystallize | ● 社群 séh5 kwàhn4 = community; social grouping | ● 光復 gwōng1 fuhk6 = to recover (lost territory) | ● 籌謀 chàuh4 màuh4 = to devise strategies | ● 矢志 sāt1 ji3 = to pledge one’s devotion | ● 霸權 baa3 kyùhn4 = hegemony; supremacy | ● 壓逼 [ng]aat3 bīk1 = to oppress; to repress | ● 自主意志 jih6 jyú2 yi3 ji3 = cf. 自主 = act on one’s own; decide for oneself + 意志 = will | ● 威權 wāi1 kyùhn4 = authority; power | ● 擴張 kong3 jēung1 = to expand; to enlarge; to extend | ● 守護 sáu2 wuh6 = to guard; to defend

2.  With unwavering courage and altruistic sacrifices, Hongkongers have placed the Hong Kong democratic movements under the international spotlight, and Hongkongers have increasingly engaged in international political advocacy. Diasporic Hongkongers will always be garnering support from global allies, to further our cause for freedom and democracy in Hong Kong and to resist the Chinese Communist Party. With the 2021 Hong Kong Charter, we shall unite the diasporic communities, to come together at the international front, for the eventual Liberation of Hong Kong. We vow to stand against the oppression from the Chinese Communist Party, to strive for freedom and democracy in Hong Kong, to continue safeguard our determination for Hong Kong’s autonomy both locally and overseas, to advocate for international collaboration in countering the Chinese Communist Party’s global aggression, and to safeguard the universal values of freedom and democracy.​

離散港人信念 | The belief of the Diasporic Hongkongers

3.  離散港人會繼續為香港人整體福祉着想,為香港人共同利益出發。離散港人亦應善用海外的自由空間,積極發聲及倡議香港議題,尤其是因政治暴力而難以在香港發表的言論。

4. 抗爭運動應積極尋找更多盟友支持,團結更多香港人,避免派系之爭和海外運動泡沫化,將能量消耗在內部角力。

5. 離散港人發揮互助精神,協助被逼離港者在各地建立並融入在地的互助社群,匡扶個人及同儕的身心體魄,使香港精神不滅。

6.  政治倡議工作以港人利益為依歸,旨在促進香港的政治轉型,體現港人珍重的自由、自主和民主精神。

● 福祉 fūk1 jí2 = blessings | ● 善用 sihn6 yuhng6 = be good at using something | ● 發聲 faat3 sīng1/sēng1 = usu. to make a sound | ● 言論 yìhn4 leuhn6 = opinions on public affairs; expression of one’s political views | ● 團結 tyùhn4 git3 = to unite; to rally | ● 派系之爭 paai3 haih6  jī1 jāng1/jāang1 cf. = 派系 faction + 爭 = to contend | ● 泡沫化 póuh5 muht6 faa3 = (?) to turn into foam cf. 泡沫 = foam; froth | ● 角力 gok3 lihk6 = to have a trial of strength; to wrestle | ● 發揮 faat3 fāi1 = to bring into play; to give play to; to give free rein to | ● 被逼離港者 beih6 bīk1 lèih4 góng2 jé2= those who have been forced to leave Hong Kong | ● 在地 joih6 deih6 = (?) local (lit. “on the ground”) | ● 匡扶 hōng1 fùh4 = to assist | ● 同儕 tùhng4 chàaih4  = usu. “a peer” | ● 身心體魄 sān1 sām1 tái2 paak3 = ? | ● 旨在 jí2 joih6 = for the purpose of | ● 轉型 jyún2 yìhng4 = to be in transition | ● 珍重 jān1 juhng6 = to highly value; to treasure; to set great store by

Notes: The text uses some written expressions involving the co-verbs 為waih6 and 以 yíh5. Firstly, 為 . . . 着想 means “to consider (the interests of sb. or sth.)”, with the somebody or something coming after the 為: 為香港人整體福祉着想 = “to consider all that is good for the people of Hong Kong”. Secondly, 為 . . . 出發 is roughly equivalent to “to start from/proceed from”: 為香港人共同利益出發 = “to proceed from the common good of the people of Hong Kong” or even “to proceed with the common good of the Hong Kong people as our starting point”. Finally, 以 . . . 為依歸 is a similar kind of expression, and means “taking sth. as both the starting point and destination”, perhaps with the suggestion of dependence (依歸 yī1 gwāi1 can mean “to depend on”): 以港人利益為依歸 = “take the interests of the people of Hong Kong as the starting and the end point (for one’s work)”. Expressions of this kind play a big part in more formal, written Chinese and probably have their origins in Classical Chinese.

3.  The diasporic communities shall put Hongkongers at the core and work for our wellbeing, for our common interests and values. Diasporic Hongkongers shall speak what cannot be spoken in Hong Kong now, utilizing the precious freedom we have, to voice out for those silenced by the rule of terror in Hong Kong.

4.  The Hong Kong resistance shall be making allies and not enemies. Diasporic Hongkongers shall stand united and not fall into the trap of internal conflicts.

5.  Diasporic Hongkongers shall lend our helping hands to one another, facilitating the integration of other Hong Kong exiles. Having one another’s back, with the strongest will and the greatest strength, we shall perpetuate the spirits of Hong Kong resistance, until the day we see the Liberation of Hong Kong.​

6.  Hongkongers’ wellbeing and values shall be the core of our political advocacy work. We strive for Hong Kong’s democratic transformation, to realize the freedom, autonomy and democracy that were promised to Hong Kong.

Learning Cantonese: A Tuen Mun Love Story . . .

Beyond the Dream is a novel by the Hong Kong writer 蔣曉薇 Jéung2 Híu2 Mèih4. The thing that first got me interested in it was the setting: there aren’t too many books in any language set in the new town of 屯門 Tuen Mun! To me the place evokes a discordant mix: the concrete river channel that splits the town geometrically in two, the massive architecture of the MTR stations, both at Siu Hong and the terminus, the incessant traffic streaming down the vast Tuen Mun road, the shuttling, metal clatter of the light-rail trains, and towering over it all in the distance, the jagged green ridge of the Tsing Shan Mountain (Castle Peak).

In this 4-minute video put together by 文化者 The Culturist and 網上閲讀平台 the SHKP Reading Club, Jeung gives us some insight into the themes of the book, its two main characters, the young woman 葉嵐 Yihp6 Làahm4 (嵐 means “haze; vapour; mist”) and 阿樂 Aa3 Lohk6, and its subsequent transformation into a very successful film. The Chinese title 《幻愛》 is much more interesting than the English version: to me it suggests a kind of hallucinated love, the word echoing 幻想 “fantasy” (literally, “an unreal thinking”) and 幻聽 “hearing voices” (“an unreal hearing”). You can see how it might have defeated even the most determined translator . . .

The Cantonese highlight in this video is an example of the verb 㧬 [ng]úng2 = “push forward with both hands or body” — you don’t hear it that often, so every encounter is a treat! My trusty 《香港粵語大詞典》 gives two examples of its use, 㧬開度門 = to push open the door, and 㧬㧬去 = (roughly) to push and shove one another. Other treats include the word 鎅 gaai3, used both as a verb meaning “to cut” and in the compound noun 鎅刀, a kind of small knife, somewhat like a Stanley knife (at least, in some contexts); 抌 dám2, a verb with a number of meanings including “to throw away (rubbish)”; and the very Cantonese 第時 daih6 sìh4 = “in the future, another day”. Jeung also reads a passage from her novel at the 2-minute mark. Learning to understand Standard Written Chinese read aloud in Cantonese is a real challenge, and any opportunity to work on this (uneasily mastered) skill is worth taking.

You can watch the video here (Chinese subtitles only). If you want to take a look at the (rough in places) transcription, notes and English translation, please scroll down.

And if you would like to take a look at the trailer for the film with English subtitles, you can view that here.

And remember, if you want the standard jyutping romanization or to check any of the Chinese in the text, please consult the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary. You might also like to make use the Ekho Text to Speech Converter if you have trouble matching any part of the transcribed Chinese text to the spoken version. Just make sure you select “Cantonese” under the language menu before you paste cut and text into the relevant box.


蔣曉薇:呢個好糾結内心世界係 | 啫,係我去寫嘅時候我自己都覺得痛呀

● 糾結 gáu2 git3 = to entangle; to tangle together; to be in a knot

Jeung Hiu-mei: This tangled-up inner world is one that give me pain myself when I set out to write [about it].

Caption: 幻愛 | 小説作者 | 蔣曉薇 Beyond the Dream | Fiction Writer | Jeung Hiu-mei

我覺得電影其實都係主要係阿樂嘅視點嘅 | 去到我自己作爲創作嘅時候呢 | 我覺得,呃,葉嵐呢個角色呢 | 喺個電影度仲有好多發揮嘅空間 | 可能係因爲自己係女性 [㗎嘛] | 我係好容易去代入到女性嘅角度同埋視點去寫 | 好多時候,葉嵐嘅内心世界 | 佢,佢嘅過去係點樣成長㗎 | 佢同媽媽之間嗰個命運嘅連擊係點樣㗎 | 呢度我係花咗啲心思去,去諗啦,去構思啦【1:00】

● 視點 sih6 dím2 = perspective | ● 發揮嘅空間 faat3 fāi1 ge3 hūng1 gāan1 = (?) room to give free play to | ● 代入 doih6 yahp6 = (?) to put oneself into the shoes of another person | ● 連繫lìhn4 haih6 = (?) connection; link | ● 心思 sām1 sī1 = ① thought; idea ② state of mind; mood | ● 構思 kau3 sī1 = (of a writer) work out the plot of a literary work

It is my feeling that the film is in fact mainly [from] the perspective of Ah Lok. To me, as the creator [去到我自己作爲創作嘅時候呢], I think that in the role of Yip Lam there is still plenty of room in the film for development [發揮嘅空間]. Perhaps because I am a woman too, it is very easy for me to insert myself when I write into a female role and perspective. I spent a lot of time thinking about and plotting Yip Lam’s inner world — what her past was like when she was growing up, and what kind of destiny linked her and her mother together.

噉我記得喺電影裏面呢,有一幕呢,就係 | 葉嵐同阿樂呢,就喺屋企樓下撞到 Uncle Wong | 然後佢哋就觸發咗一個衝突 [喇] | 就係葉嵐,呃,啫,覺得自己好 . . .  [佢] 嘅過去好不濟好不堪 | 佢覺得自己好唔配得,呃,阿樂嘅愛 | 然後佢就㧬咗阿樂出,呃,屋企嘅 | 噉然後葉嵐瞓到半夜嘅時候就扎醒咗 | 然後佢就望住手上面嗰條紅繩 | 就,呃,鎅刀鎅,鎅斷佢 | 然後抌咗落垃圾桶 | 啫,呢一幕,呃,可能係好短 | 大概十秒八秒咁樣呢 | 噉但係,啫,我都要一個,賦予佢一個心理狀態,就係 | 佢做乜醒咗之後係要做呢件事 [嘅] 呢,咁 | 噉我就寫咗喺書裏面嘅【2:00】

● 一幕 yāt1 mohk6 = an act (in a play); perhaps here “a scene (in a film)” | ● 屋企樓下 [ng]ūk1 kéi5*2 làuh4 haah6 = lit. “downstairs of one’s home”, but in the case of a housing estate probably “outside the building one lives in” | ● 撞到 johng6 dóu3*2 = to bump into; to encounter | ● 觸發 jūk1 faat3 = to spark; to trigger | ● 不濟 bāt1 jai3 = useless | ● 不堪 bāt1 hām1 = cannot bear; unbearably; cannot stand; “have had it up to here” | ● 好唔配得阿樂嘅愛 hóu2 mh4 pui3 dāk1 Aa3 Lohk6  ge3 [ng]oi3 = not at all worthy of Ah Lok’s love  | ● 㧬 úng2 = push forward with both hands or body | ● 扎醒 jaat3 séng2 = wake up suddenly; wake up with a start; startle from sleep | ● 紅繩 hùhng4 síng4*2= a red cord/string | ● 鎅刀 gaai3 dōu1 = a knife blade, a razor blade; a paper cutter | ● dám2 = ① beat (with fist); bang; pound ② smash; shatter; stamp (a chop) ③ throw; discard; abandon | ● 賦予 fu3 yúh5 = to bestow on; to endow with; to vest with

I remember that there is a scene in the film in which Yip Lam and Ah Lok bump into Uncle Wong outside the building she lives in [屋企樓下], which sets off conflict between the pair. Yip Lam feels that she is quite . . . // in the past she was both useless and fed up [過去好不濟好不堪]. She felt that she was quite unworthy of Ah Lok’s love for her. After that, she pushes Ah Lok out of her house. After that, she suddenly wakes up at midnight and, seeing the red cord on her wrist, picks up a knife, cuts the cord and throws it in the rubbish bin. This scene may be quite brief, lasting around 8 to 10 seconds, but in it I invest her with [a certain] psychological state. Why it is that she wakes up and does this is something I wrote about in the book.

最教她無法原諒的 | 是母親任憑自己的男朋友 | 隨便進出她們的家裏 | 任由他們隨便在自己女兒的身上摸 | 並沒有及時出來保護她 | 當 Uncle Wong 的事被母親揭發 | 她以爲自己有救了 | 母親卻是狠狠地摑了她一巴掌 | 葉嵐不斷哭著 | 不是,不是這樣的 | 但母親卻不容她解釋 | 直罵她的祖宗 | 罵她的基因 | 罵她生來就注定是個便宜貨 | 她跪在地上看著母親的眼神 | 那裏只有暴戾與嫉妒 | 再沒有關懷、真誠與愛 | 佢諗返呢個過去 | 佢 [都係] 覺得佢無辦法原諒媽媽 | 所以佢就用鎅刀鎅咗嗰條手繩仔 | 媽媽答應佢同佢祈福,就係 | 第時佢哋將來會過好日子嘅一個承諾 【3:00】

● 任憑 yahm6 pàhng4 = at one’s convenience; at one’s discretion | ● 任由 yahm6 yauh4 = to allow sb. free reign; jumping over; ignoring | ● 摑 gwaak3 = to slap; to smack | ● 暴戾 bouh6 leuih6 = ruthless & tyrannical; cruel & fierce | ● 嫉妒 jaht6 dou3 = to be jealous; to envy | ● 第時 daih6 sìh4 = in the future, another day

“What she found most difficult to forgive was that her mother let her boy-friends come and go as they pleased, and put up with their touching her whenever they felt like it, never appearing in time to protect her. When her mother found out about her and Uncle Wong, she thought she would be saved, but instead her mother slapped her hard. Weeping, Yip Lam kept repeating, no, no, it’s not what you think, but her mother had no time for her explanations, cursing her ancestors, her genes, cursing that fact that she gave birth [to a child] who was destined to become cheap goods. She knelt down on the ground and looked into her mother’s eyes, but all she saw there was cruelty and jealousy. There was no more care, sincerity or love.” She thinks back over her past, and also thinks that she cannot forgive her mother. And so, she takes the knife and cuts the cord on her wrist. Her mother accepts Yip Lam’s (?) promise to pray for her, and for a future in which they can live together happily (I am not sure if I have understood this sentence correctly).

好多,呃,影迷係好錫,呃,《幻愛》呢套戯 | 噉啊因爲疫情嘅緣故呢 | 呃,啫,戲院唔開 [喇] | 噉大家得入戲院去支持啦 | 呃,知道大家係好失望啦 | 或者係好著急嘅 | 好想戲院快啲開 | 就繼續可以支持導演 | 支持成個《幻愛》嘅團隊 | 噉嗯噉我諗《幻愛》團隊除咗電影之外 | 都包括,呃,小説創作嘅一部分嘅 | 噉大家都可以,呃,花啲時間去閲讀小説嘅 | 我覺得都係一個,一個思考嚟㗎 | 你睇完之後可以之後將佢 *jeui 同電影做返一個對讀對比 | 都係一個有趣嘅經驗 [呀]

● 影迷 yíng2 màih4 = film fan | ● 緣故 yùhn4 gu3 = cause; reason | ● 著急 jeuhk6 gāp1 = to worry; to feel anxious | ● 導演 douh6 yín2 = ① to direct (a film, a [play, etc.] ② a director | ● 團隊 tyùhn4 déui6*2 = a team; perhaps in this film context, “a crew” | ● 思考 sī1 háau2 = to think deeply; to ponder over; to reflect on | ● 對讀對比deui3 duhk6 deui3 béi2 = (?) to compare and contrast the book with the film

Many film buffs are very fond of the movie Beyond the Dream. Owing to the Covid-19 situation, cinemas are not open. No one can get into a picture theatre to show their support. I know that everyone is very disappointed about this, or worried, and hopes that the cinemas reopen soon so that they can continue to be able to support the director, and support the whole crew of Beyond the Dream. Apart from the film [side of things], I think that the crew for Beyond the Dream also includes the creation of the novel, [so] everyone can spend some time reading the book. My sense is that this reading is also a kind of deep thinking about things. When you’ve finished the novel, you can make a comparison with the film version — another interesting experience.

探訪:張美珠 Jēung1 Méih5 Jyū1  | 攝影、剪接:陳昶達 Chàhn4 Chóng2 Daaht6 (Note: 昶 chóng2 = long day)

《新心界》: 第七章 「“我”不過係一道門:伸手推開便是全世界」




「. . . 結婚之前,真係覺得我真正嘅生活即將開始,好似啱啱化咗嘅美眼蛺蝶咁,心界充滿一種又熱烈又辦法用言語表達嘅盼望,動作遴迍嘅幼蟲經過呢一次蛻變之後,就一定會達到前所未有嘅境界、一種七彩繽紛嘅嶄新世界 。令人極度失望嘅係,等我由嗰隻裂開蛹殼露出唔耐嘅時候,便發現自己畢竟並未有蛻變,反而係被困於一種比蟲仔嗰樣更狹窄更愚蠢嘅生存空間之中 . . . 」

「. . . “富與貴,是人之所欲也”呢一諗法對於我講係我曾經完全讚成過嘅主張。邊個都唔想享有富貴,成日沉溺於奢侈生活當中?同我結婚嘅嗰個男人(其實,原先應該係“結魂”,事後先之發現佢好似乜“魂”願意同我“結”!)成日鍾意話“我個收入”、“我間公司”、“我間豪宅”、“我架私家車”等等,理所當然,亦都喐啲話“我個老婆”,主要嘅係呢個“我”,後面只不過係一啲嘅裝飾呢個“我” 嘅優越感,包括可憐嘅我在内 . . . 」

「我突然間意識到一件事:除發明家以外,人類仲需「發暗家」。我完全唔適合過呢種過度光明嘅生活,心裏渴望嘅恰恰係幽暗、朦朧、無知、本能、喺最爲黑暗時刻先見到嘅星星般嘅燦爛。我想活得更加模糊啲,咁樣令到自己擺脫電燈、熒光、屏幕、時間表、豪華酒店嘅毫無人情味嘅照明 . . .」










Learning Cantonese: Democracy as “Subversion”

Heartbreak and outrage for the families of the 47 individuals accused of “subversion” for taking part in a peaceful political poll. You can watch the video here (there are no subtitles), or scroll down for the transcript, English translation and notes. Since this video was first aired, four of the accused have since been granted bail, including Hendrick Lui Chi Hang.


● 劉頴匡女友 Emilia Wong

呢啲(保釋)條件基本上係已經係非常之嚴苛、苛刻,嚴格,基本上被告、啲政治犯,要遵守呢一啲保釋條件,實際上佢哋係等於,我覺係等於,社會性死亡,根本上呢,佢哋唔會喺公共領域上面存在喇,基本上係等於唔再存在個社會咁滯 // [有]嗰啲保釋條件係令到佢哋。


● 嚴苛 yìhm4 hō1 = harsh (administration of law) | ● 苛刻 hō1 hāak1 = harsh | ● 嚴格 yìhm4 gaak3 = strict; rigorous; stringent | ● 公共領域 gūng1 guhng6 líhng5 wihk6 = the public domain/sphere | ● 咁滯 gam3 jaih6 = almost, nearly | ● 政權 jing3 kyùhn4 = regime | ● 法庭嘅程序 faat3 tìhng4 = (?) the procedure of the court; court procedure | ● 夾埋 gaap3 màaih4 = ① to collude; to conspire ② to pool together | ● 遲吓 chìh4 háah5 = (?) later | ● 夠膽 gau3 dáam2 = courage; (?) to be brave enough | ● 寄予 gei3 yúh5 = to place (hope, etc.) on/in | ● 厚望 háuh5 mohng6 = great expectations | ● 撐住 chaang3 jyuh6 = to put up with; to keep up| ● 崗位 gōng1 wái6*2 = a post; a station

● Emilia Wong, girlfriend of Ventus Lau (劉頴匡 Làuh4 Wihng6 Hōng1):

Basically, these (bail) conditions are extremely harsh, stringent, strict. Having to adhere to these bail conditions basically makes the defendants — the political prisoners — in actual fact tantamount to dead in a social sense and, basically, they cannot exist anymore in the public domain. Basically, it is tantamount to their virtually [咁滯] no longer existing in society anymore. // the bail conditions have already made them.

What exactly is this regime afraid of? [Are they] afraid of dead people continuing to endanger national security? The so-called “procedure” of the court in these past four days [呢咁多日] is, from my perspective, is a piece of theatre that everyone has performed in collusion. Fundamentally it is a pre-written script. So, when you ask me if I have faith in the appeals [which will be heard] later [遲吓], I don’t have the courage to have any hopes for it, because it is nothing but play-acting. Everyone just has to keep on going. There’s nothing else one can say. We just go on at our posts, supporting both ourselves and the people nearest and dearest to us.

● 呂智恆養母 Elsa

【1:24】呢 47 個人,全部都係為我哋香港,// 香港 // 而家就係被 // 呢個政權,係將我哋香港搞壞咗 . . .


● 教導 gaau3 douh6 = to instruct; to teach; to give guidance | ● 良好 lèuhng4 hóu2 = good; well

● Elsa, foster mother of Hendrick Lui Chi Hang:

All these 47 individuals have [acted] for our Hong Kong [UNCLEAR]. Now // by this regime // has ruined this Hong Kong of ours . . .

My whole family, my husband, we have all given him proper instruction. He is a fine young man and what he has is only love, and the pursuit of justice. He is a credit to me.

● 梁國雄太太陳寶瑩


律政司提供嘅材料呢,係非常之薄弱,// 但係,令,要令到被告要係還押三個月,就話係進 // 一步證實到呢,而家嘅司法制度呢,基本喺國安法嘅之下嚟講,係完全呢,係一個我哋言論嘅保障,我哋亦都,都完全冇埋喇。我想提一點就係,好多被告,啫,佢,佢哋接受嘅嚴苛條件,係寧願[係將] 犧牲佢哋嘅言論嘅自由,自己言論嘅自由,但係法官呢,都係唔會接受,啫話呢,根本上呢,我係對於未來嘅審訊亦都係毫不樂觀嘅。

● 審訊 sám2 seun3 = ① to interrogate; to try ② a trial; a courtroom hearing| ● 出奇 chēut1 kèih4 = ① unusually; extraordinarily ② extraordinary | ● 司法制度 sī1 faat3 jai3 douh6 = the judicial system | ● 扭曲 náu2 kūk1 = to distort | ● 顛倒 dīn1 dóu2 = to turn upside down; to reverse | ● 律政司 leuht6 jing3 sī1 = Department of Justice | ● 法官 faat3 gūn1 = a judge | ● 毫不 hòuh4 bāt1 = not in the least; not at all

● Chan Po-ying (Chàhn4 Bóu2 Yìhng4), wife of “Long Hair” Leung Kwok-hung (Lèuhng4 Gwok3 Hùhng4):

There’s nothing extraordinary at all about the result of the trial. It’s what we expected. Because we know with the introduction [立咗] of the National Security Law, the judicial system of the whole of Hong Kong has become completely distorted, and has been turned completely upside down.

The material provided by the Department of Justice was extremely meagre // but it has caused the defendants to be detained for three months, which further proves that the present judicial system under the National Security Law has basically, has completely, is no guarantee of our freedom of speech, we have none at all now. One point I’d like to mention is that many of the defendants accepted some harsh (bail) conditions, preferring to sacrifice their freedom of speech, their own freedom of speech, but the judge couldn’t accept this, and this means that, fundamentally, I am not in the least bit optimistic about the future court trial.

● 岑敖暉太太余思朗

【2:56】警方呢,係提早咗個幾月進行呢個拘捕嘅行動呢,將 47 名被告全部帶上法庭,進行 4 日嘅審訊,而期間呢,佢哋係禁止任何家屬,係任何家屬,係一庭度旁聽,呢個係我哋權利,但係我哋冇。各被告呢,喺 4 日審訊以嚟,係冇見過、完全冇見過自己嘅親人。

另外,控方而家係要求呢,將審訊押後成 3 個月呢,去進行搜證,對所有嘅被告同所有被告家屬講呢,都係非常唔合理,唔合比例,同唔公平嘅,我喺度表示,我係非常傷心同憤怒嘅。最後呢,想呼籲大家,繼續支持佢哋。香港加油,香港人加油!

● 禁止 gam3 jí2 = to prohibit; to ban; to forbid | ● 控方 hung3 fōng1 = the prosecution; the prosecuting party | ● 押後 [ng]aat3 houh6 = to postpone; to adjourn | ● 搜證 sāu1 jing3 = cf. 搜 = to search + 證 = evidence | ● 唔合比例 mh4 hahp6 béi2 laih6 = out of (all) proportion, cf. 比例 = proportion

● Yu Si-long (Yùh4 Sī1 Lóhng5), wife of Lester Shum (Sàhm4 Ngòuh4 Fā i1)

The police carried out this arrest operation three months earlier than [originally planned], and took all 47 of the accused off to court for a trial lasting four days, during which they forbid any family member, any family member, to listen to the proceedings in Courtroom 1. This is our right, but we did not have it. Since the trial [began] four days ago, we have not been able to meet with any of the defendants, and they have not had any opportunity [完全冇] to see their own family.

Furthermore, the prosecution has demanded that the trial be adjourned for a whole three months while a search for evidence is carried out. This is totally unreasonable for the defendants as well as for their family members. It is also out of all proportion and unfair. Here I would like to say that I am extremely saddened and angry. Finally, I would like to call on everyone to continue to support them. Hong Kong Add Oil! Hongkongers Add Oil!

● 朱凱廸太太區佩芬

【3:50】呢個係一班改變香港,改變香港政治,亦都係改變香港我哋一個現狀嘅一個…香港去一個倒退政治現狀,倒退我哋言論自由一個嘅重要嘅案件,我希望世界各地,亦都希望香港人,我哋一齊去繼續關注。同埋作為一個家屬,我就好希望,呃,我哋除咗傷心、除咗憤怒之外,我哋要堅強,除咗我哋自己堅強,我哋嘅,我哋嘅丈夫,我哋嘅妻子,我哋嘅仔女,我哋嘅,呃,學生,我哋嘅朋友,啫,喺呢一個,呃,收押所裏面嘅人,嘅朋友,佢哋全部都要繼續係好堅強,同埋大家我哋而家係同坐一 [條] 船,我哋希望可以同舟共濟 . . .

● 倒退 dou3 teui3 = to go backwards; to fall back | ● 堅強 gīn1 kèuhng4 = strong; firm; staunch | ● 收押所 sāu1 [ng]aat3 só2 = reception centre (here referring to the Lai Chi Kok Reception Centre, where the defendants are being held), literally “place for receiving the detained” | ● 同舟共濟 tùhng4 jāu1 guhng6 jai3 = cross a river in the same boat — people in the same boat help each other

● Au Pui-fan (Āu1 Pui3 Fān1), wife of Eddie Chu (Jyū1 Hói2 Dihk6):

This is a group of . . . that is changing Hong Kong, changing Hong Kong politics, as well as changing our current situation in Hong Kong. Hong Kong is headed for a backward falling political situation, and they are pushing back [倒退] the important case of our freedom of speech. It is my hope that [people] all over the world, as well as the people of Hong Kong continue to keep a close eye on this. In addition, as a family member, I hope very much that apart from sadness and outrage, we must be strong. Apart from being strong ourselves, our, our husbands, our wives, our sons and daughters, our students, our friends — our friends inside the reception centre — all of them have to be strong. Now all of us are sitting in the same boat, [so] let us hope that we can all help each other.

我們必須在一起 | We Must Be United



● 審判 sám2 pun3 = to bring to trial; to try | ● 被告席 beih6 gou3 jihk6 = the defendant’s seat; the dock| ● 甘願 gām1 yuhn6 = willingly; readily | ● 盡一己之力 jeuhn6 yāt1 géi2 jī1 lihk6 = to do all one can cf. 一己 = “oneself” and 盡力 = “do all one can; try one’s best” | ● 水火 séui2 fó2 = extreme misery | ● 行事磊落 hàhng4 sih6 léuih5 lohk6 = (one’s) behaviour/conduct is open & upright | ● 義人 yih6 yàhn4 = ? cf. 義士 yih6 sih6 = a person who upholds justice

My friends, we are well aware that this present major political trial represents and enormous blow to us all. This is the biggest political trial in Hong Kong’s history, and the 47 individuals who stand in the dock come from different political parties and social sectors [界別]. Some are young and some are old, and some of them are unknown to one another, [but] at a time of great difficulty in Hong Kong they chose to take part in a poll for the LegCo elections and were willing to face unknowable political risks, not for the sake of fame or personal gain but in the hope of doing all they could to save our city from extreme misery. As people, they are honest, their conduct is open and upright, and as upstanding citizens [義人] they are worthy of our respect.


● 當權者 dōng1 kyùhn4 jé2 = someone who is in power; someone who holds power | ● 撲殺 pok3 saat3 = (?) to pounce on & kill off | ● 囚禁 chàuh4 gam3 = to imprison; to put in jail | ● 磨損 mòh4 syún2 = ① wear & tear ② (?) to wear down | ● 斷絕 tyúhn5 jyuht6 = to break off; to cut off; to sever | ● 懲罰 chìhng4 faht6 = to punish; to penalize | ● 歷史關口 lihk6 sí2 gwāan1 háu2 = historical juncture | ● 應對 ying3 deui3 = to reply; to answer; a response

No one could have expected that those who hold power would charge all those 47 people with “conspiracy to commit subversion” in order to crack down on [撲殺] this democracy movement. By putting [democracy supporters] in prison, [the people in charge] hope to wear down their wills, and cut them off from participation in politics, handing them the greatest penalty, while giving the people of Hong Kong the greatest warning. We stand at an important historical juncture. How we respond to this major trial, what we hold onto, what we retain, will have a decisive influence on the political development of Hong Kong as well as how future generations [後人] will come to see us.


● 真相 jān1 sēung1 = the real/true situation; the real/actual facts | ● 鏡頭 geng3 tàuh4 = ① camera lens ② a shot; a scene | ● 善用 sihn6 yuhng6 = (?) to use properly; to make proper use of | ● 時事 sìh4 sih6 = current events; current affairs | ● 懷憂 wàaih4 yāu1 = (?) to harbour worries; to worry cf.  懷 = to keep in mind; to cherish (a positive emotion); to harbour (a negative emotion) | ● 立志 lahp6 ji3 = to resolve; to be determined; to endeavour | ● 臉書 Líhm5 Syū1 = Facebook | ● 懼於 geuih6 yū1 = to fear/dread to do = | ● 評論 pìhng4 leuhn6 = a comment; a commentary; a review

What are we able to do? Journalists can record the real historical facts for us. Documentary film-makers can capture [留下] invaluable scenes for us. Those of you working in the legal profession can make proper use of your speciality to help out as much as you can. Teachers can tell their students about what is happening in Hong Kong right now. Parents must not be afraid to talk about current affairs with their children. Those engaged in study [正在讀書的] [should] endeavour to become individuals with both si seung [ideas] and lei seung [ideals]. And users of Facebook must not be afraid to share various reports and commentaries.


● 用心 yuhng6 sām1 = diligently; attentively; with concentrated attention | ● 可著力之處 hó2 jeuhk6 lihk6 jī1 chyu3 = (?) areas in which one can make an effort, cf. 著力 jeuhk6 lihk6 = to put forth effort; to exert oneself | ● 堅韌 gīn1 ngahn6 = firm & tenacious | ● 退一萬步 tēui1 yāt1 maahn6 bouh6 = even if (such and such were the case); this term appears to imply a high degree of concession | ● 不屈的姿態 bāt1 kūk1 dīk1 jī1 taai3 = ? cf. jī1 taai3 = attitude; pose + bāt1 kūk1 = unyielding; unbending| ● 砥礪 dái2 laih6 = ① to temper ② to encourage

It is my belief that, as long as we are diligent, there are areas in which each of us can exert ourselves and live our lives with a little more tenacity [堅韌]. And even if we accept that is true that we cannot make any immediate changes to the current situation, by living our lives with an unyielding attitude, we ourselves will become different. If we live our lives differently, Hong Kong will also change accordingly, and because we all live on the same patch of land, we see each other, and encourage one another.

這樣的審判,雖然對我們是難以言說的折磨,但同時也是一個重要的契機,讓政權的不義暴露於天下,讓世界更同情我們的處境,也讓我們更加團結。 我們可以傷心,可以憤怒,但不要絕望,不要放棄。我相信,這也是此刻正在受苦的四十七位朋友對我們的期望。我們要和他們一起,寫下這歷史的一頁。

● 難以言說 = nàahn4 yíh5 yìhn4 syut3 = indescribable | ● 折磨 jit3 mòh4 = to cause physical or mental suffering; to torment | ● 契機 kai3 gēi1 = turning point; juncture | ● 暴露 bouh6 louh6 = to expose; to reveal; to lay bare

Although a trial of this kind is an indescribable torment to us, at the same time it is an important turning point, exposing the government’s injustice for all to see [暴露於天下], helping the rest of the world to feel greater sympathy for our plight, and bringing us even more closely together in unity.  We are allowed to feel sadness. We are allowed to feel outrage. But we must neither despair nor give up. Our 47 friends, who are now undergoing hardships, are expecting this of us, I believe. Together with them, we must write this page of history.

Professor 周保松 Chow Po-chung

This article originally appeared on Stand News here.

Learning Cantonese: Dickson Chan and Welcome to My World!

Within a week of his life, Dickson Chan went from earning 30,000 dollars a month as a banker to delivering takeaways meals for Foodpanda. In this Apple Daily video from January this year, we follow him in his efforts to bounce back from his disappointment.

He is a challenging speaker for Cantonese learners, using dislocated syntax in places as well some very intense code-switching that includes not only the use of “last day” as a verb but short English linking expressions such as “so far” and “and then”. This serves as a reminder that sometimes when we come across new things in Cantonese, occasionally it turns out to be English in a slightly unexpected context!

Apart from his speech habits, Dickson employs some noteworthy grammar. One segment contains an instance of the structure 冇得 móuh5 dāk1. The Chinese scholar 彭小川Peng Xiaochuan devotes a chapter to this structure in her book 《广州话助词研究》(2010) and identifies six different meanings, but of these the most common are to express (1) the objective possibility of an action [行为的客观可能性] and (2) reasonable permission or otherwise to realize a certain verb-action [情理上允许不允许实现某种动作行为]. However, please keep in mind that she writes specially about the Cantonese of Guangdong province, and so some of her conclusions may not apply to Hong Kong Cantonese. When Dickson uses it in 我唔摺埋架單車 | 就冇得入閘 it roughly means “I couldn’t go through the turnstiles unless I folded up my bike”.

We’re also treated to another instance of the aspect marker 開 hōi1. I talked about this in the post on Alfred Chan, as an indicator of habitual action, and here it is again in 以前冇洗開車呀, meaning “in the past, when [I] wasn’t in the habit of washing cars”. As I mentioned in the Alfred Chan post, Yip and Matthews present a basic introduction to this marker in Intermediate Cantonese, and give the examples 我哋做開呢行 = We have been in this profession for some time, and 佢用開嗰隻牌子 = He regularly uses that brand.

You might also enjoy this clip for the musical soundtrack: they’ve done a brilliant job of matching sound to image here.

Apart from the banking terminology, you’ll hear the following vocabulary items: 幻想 waahn6 séung2 = illusion; fantasy; 長命斜 chèuhng4 mehng6 che3 = a steep slope; 騰空 tàhng4 hūng1 = (?) to leave space to do sth.; 遜於 seun3 yū1 = inferior to; and 孭鑊 mē1 wohk6 = take the blame for the fault of others; bear the responsibility of sth. gone wrong.

Please scroll down if you want the transcription, notes and English translation. Otherwise, you can view the video here. Since it is a YouTube video, you can slow down the playback speed if you wish: at 0.75 and 0.5, the sound quality is still good. And remember, if you want the standard jyutping romanization or to check any of the Chinese in the text, please consult the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary.

You might also like to make use the Ekho Text to Speech Converter if you have trouble matching any part of the transcribed Chinese text to the spoken version. Just make sure you select “Cantonese” under the language menu before you paste cut and text into the relevant box.


我都曾經有過,即係 *je,希望 | 或者幻想 | 可以係,即係 *je,仲有嘅彎轉 | 仲有份工手囉 | 頭嗰一兩日都會有諗 | 點解係我啊,咁樣 | 但係 *daai 既然過兩日都係我喇 | 咁不如就唔好諗啦,做啦,咁樣 | Caption 疫情下的 ibank 人 | 我係喺銀行入便做金融法規範疇嘅工作 | 喺11月初啦,公司就同我講話,呃,即係 *je,有個解雇嘅通知 | 噉然後就,一個星期之後,就已經 last day 咗 | 呃,我失咗業之後呢,除咗我就送外賣之外呢 | 我都有幫人洗車啦 | 同埋幫人砌電腦啊

● 幻想 waahn6 séung2 = illusion; fantasy | ● 法規 faat3 kwāi1 = laws & regulations | ● 解雇 gáai2 gu3 = to discharge; to dismiss; to fire | ● 外賣 [ng]oih6 maaih6 = ① to provide a takeout service ② takeaway; carryout | ● 砌電腦 chai3 dihn6 nóuh5 = (?) to put a computer together from parts

Note: In verb-object verbs such as 失業 sāt1 yihp6 = “to lose one’s job; to become unemployed”, aspect markers such as jó2 come between the two parts rather than at the end of the verb: 失咗業 = lost my job; became unemployed.

Once I entertained the hope, or the fantasy, that there might be another turn [of luck], that I might get my hands on another job. For the first one or two days, I was constantly thinking “Why me?”, But since, after one or two days, it was still me, [I said to myself] “Don’t think [about it] any more. Do something!” | Caption: An ibank Worker during the Time of Covid-19 | I work in a bank in the area [範疇] of financial laws and regulations. At the start of November, the company told me that there was a notice to dismiss staff. After that, one week later, it was my last day. After I became unemployed, in addition to collecting and delivering takeaway meals, I washed cars for people and helped them take apart computers and put them together again [砌電腦].

【1:00】烏溪沙去馬鞍山呢 | 基本上係全馬鞍山最 beep 條路嚟㗎 | 隔條長命斜啦 | 踩上去都要兩三個字啦 | 搭馬鐵都要一個站 | 啱喺馬鐵站長俾人趕 | 話我唔摺埋架單車 | 就得入閘 | 噉呃,焗住唔入囉 | 因爲我,攞咗嘢食喇嘛 | 噉攞咗嘢食點摺埋?| 好,我今次好彩喇 | 可以直接喺利安邨執到個麥當勞 | 噉即係喺隔籬啫 | 首先我哋睇吓今日賺到幾多錢先 | 唔錯喎!| 兩個鐘有138,都 | 最好試過賺百五蚊 | 即係 *je,約莫  77蚊一個鐘 | 試過最差嘅話5,50蚊一個鐘㗎咋,圍返開 | 50蚊一個鐘就真係低喇 | 平均每個星期呢,都 around 做十個鐘到嘅 | 噉有平日盡量騰空返呢 . . .

● 隔 gaak3 = to separate; to partition; to stand or lie between | ● 長命斜 chèuhng4 mehng6 che3 = a steep slope (Sheik Cantonese) | ● 站長 jaahm6 jéung2 = a station master | ● 摺埋 jip3 màaih4 = to fold up | ● 焗住 guhk6 jyuh6 = 《香港粵語大詞典》 gives the meaning as (在別無選擇情況之下被迫;逼迫, that is to be forced (when there is no other alternative)(p. 234) | ● 約莫 yeuk3 mók6*2 = about, around, approximately, roughly | ● 平均 pìhng4 gwān1 = average | ● 平日 pìhng4 yaht6 = usu. “an average/ordinary day” but sometimes also “a working day” as opposed to a day off | ● 騰空 tàhng4 hūng1 = (?) to leave space to do sth.

Native-speaker’s comment: It is difficult to find an equivalent term for 圍返開, in English. I would say it is the action of “to divide (something)” (in most cases it is about mathematical calculations). For example, often in a conversation, we would say “今晚餐飯總共400蚊,我哋有四個人,圍返開每人100蚊”, which means “Dinner tonight cost us 400 dollars. We have four people in total. After splitting the bill, each of us should pay 100 dollars.” However, in the video, I think we need not express the action. We can simply say: An hourly (implied that you divided the total wage on that particular day into hourly wage) wage of 50 dollars is pretty low.

Note: Firstly, the beeped out word is almost certainly 閪 hāi1, better known to many people in the form 自由閪.  (Please feel free to explore all the meanings of this word through the Sheik on-line dictionary.) Secondly, this segment contains an instance of the structure 冇得 móuh5 dāk1, which generally seems to indicate absolute inability [ADD note from Chinese scholar]. And so, 我唔摺埋架單車 | 就冇得入閘 means roughly “I couldn’t go through the turnstiles unless I folded up my bike”. I am (still) wondering whether the use of 冇得 occurs in situations where (a) the prohibition is very strong; and (2) no one (or no particular factor) is being blamed for the inability. Thirdly, after reviewing all the ways of expressing “approximately; roughly” in the introduction to Alfred Chan’s video on dai pai dong’s in Hong Kong, I come across a new one: 約莫 yeuk3 mók6*2 (note the changed tone)! Incidentally, in this segment, Dickson Chan also uses another less common terms for approximations in the phrase 都 around 做十個鐘到嘅, where dóu3*2 is used (I don’t know whether this is the accepted writing). Finally, there’s a couple of uses of 試過 si3 gwo3 towards the end. In ordinary situations, this is just the verb “to try” followed by the experiential aspect marker 過gwo3, but it can take an idiomatic meaning close to the more formal 曾经 chahng4 ging1 = “to have had experience of something”, sometimes reduced in English to a mere “ever”. For this reason, 最好試過賺百五蚊 does NOT mean that Dickson “tried to earn 150 dollars” but that he “once earned” such a princely sum.

The road from Wu Kai Sha to Ma On Shan is the most [beep!] road. A steep slope separates [隔] [the two places]. On the bike [踩上去] it takes [a good (都)] 10 to 15 minutes. By MTR it is a trip of one station. Just now, I was turned away by [俾人趕] the station master at the Ma On Shan MTR Station, who said that I couldn’t go through the turnstiles unless I folded up my bike. Having no choice, I did not enter the station [局住唔入囉], the reason being that I had picked up some food. Why should I fold up the bike when I was carrying food? Good stuff! Today we are in luck. I can go straight to the Lei On Estate to collect a McDonalds. It’s just nearby. First of all, let’s have a look at how much we’ve earned today. Not bad! 138 dollars for two hours [here, 都 dōu1 is dislocated to the end of the sentence]. [My] best ever was 150 dollars, that is, about 77 dollars for an hour [while] [my] worst was only 5-, 50 for an hour. What amounts when divided up to a wage of 50 dollars in an hour has really been the lowest. On average every week I do around ten hours, and try to leave has much time free during work-days . . .

【2:00】. . . 唔報更係因爲 | 萬一如果有 interview 嘅时候 | 噉我可以即刻去 | 比起之前我嘅收入 | 都同之前我諗會接近相差十倍嘅 | 呃,我哋金融法規呢一個範疇呢 | 其實相對哋都比較係所謂「鐵飯碗」呢,銀行入便 | 月入都,呃,三萬到啦 | 因爲,呃,金融法規本身 | 係,即係 *je,因應好多金監管機構嘅要求去設立嘅 | 噉所以基本上都唔會話大規模去裁員嘅 | 嗯,我公司如果根據啱啱上季嘅業績呢 | 其實都係有賺嘅 | 不過就遜於預期呢 | 全球都炒一千個呢 | 但係香港就冇一個實數話炒幾多 | 噉所以其實都好,好彷徨 | 會唔知道下一步 next step 應該要做啲乜 | 因爲都相信自己 | 會冇咁快揾到工嘅 | 噉就 . . .

● 報更 bou3 gāang1 = (?) to let someone know that one is available to do a certain shift | ● 相差 sēung1 chāa1 = to differ | ● 鐵飯碗 tit3 faahn6 wún2 = an “iron rice bowl”, that is, a secure job | ● 月入 yuht6 yahp6 = monthly income | ● 因應 yān1 ying3 = ① to cope with ② to adapt oneself to | ● 金監管機構 gām1 gāam1 gún2 gēi1 kau3 = (?) institutions that supervise financial matters | ● 大規模 daaih6 kwāi1 mòuh4 = on a large scale | ● 裁員 chòih4 yùhn4 = to cut down the number of persons employed; to reduce staff; to retrench staff | ● 上季 seuhng6 gwai3 = the previous quarter | ● 業績 yihp6 jīk1 = outstanding achievement | ● 遜於 seun3 yū1 = inferior to | ● 彷徨 pòhng4 wòhng4 = to feel utterly lost; not knowing what to do; to disorientated and anxious

. . . not putting my name down for any shifts [報更] just in case an interview [comes up]. That way I can head off at the earliest possible time [即刻]. Compared to what I previously used to get paid, I think I earn nearly ten times less [相差十倍] than before. Our field of financial regulation is a relatively secure one, an “iron rice bowl” as they say, in a bank. [My] monthly wage was around 30,000 dollars. This is because, in itself [本身], financial regulation was established to deal with all the demands made by the many [different] financial institutions that play a supervisory role. For this reason, basically there would be no talk of any large-scale reduction of staff. According to the figures [業績] of the quarter that has just finished, my company made money, but this was inferior to the predicted [earnings]. Across the globe, [they] have fired a thousand workers, but there is no actual figure for how many people have been fired in Hong Kong. For that reason, [I] feel in fact quite at a loss, and I don’t know what my next step should be, because I believe that I won’t be able to find another job so quickly. And then . . .

【3:00】. . . 變咗會覺得乜都要做住先 | 佢哋通知我係星期一 | 噉星期二我就登記咗 Foodpanda | 跟住星期三就同我講可以上去裝備 | 呃,最主要因爲冇咗一個固定嘅收入呢 | 噉係靠呢份 ,即係 *je,所謂糧啦 | 或者老底啦,或者賠嘅錢呢 | 其實係冇乜安全感嘅 | 因爲我呢個 moment 被人裁出嚟 | 我都唔會知我係唔係,即係 *je,要等幾耐㗎嘛 | so far 失業之後,都 reach out 過十零個 headhunter 啦 | 呃,我諗 send 都有 send 咗四、五十份 CV 呀 | 即係 *je,一個月内 | 噉有四份工都有見過嘅 | 當時我啱啱一收到公司電話呢 | 就已經同屋企人講咗話有呢個,即係 *je,消息 | 噉屋企人都震驚喇 | 但係又好似都見怪不怪啦 | 因爲都,嗯 . . .

● 攞裝備 ló2 jōng1 beih6 = to get the equipment | ● 老底 lóuh5 dái2 = usu. “basic salary”, but it may also refer to the money Dickson saved/earned from his original job as an ibanker | ● 賠 pùih4 = to compensate; to pay for | ● 震驚 jan3 gīng1 = to shock; to amaze; to astonish | ● 見怪不怪 gin3 gwaai3 bāt1 gwaai3 = not be surprised by anything unusual

Note: Dickson uses another approximation expression 零 lèhng4 in this segment, which is added after numbers somewhat like the English -ish: 都 reach out 過十零個 he-hunter 啦 = I have been in touch with 10 or so head-hunters.

. . . I felt that first of all I must do anything. They notified me on a Monday. On Tuesday I registered with Foodpanda. After that, they told me that I could come and collect the [necessary] equipment. Because I don’t have a fixed source of income, the most important thing is that, frankly speaking, I don’t have a strong sense of security relying on the so-called basic salary I earned from this foodpanda job or the compensation offered by my previous company.. Because I was retrenched at a moment [like this], clearly I don’t have any way of knowing how long I will have to wait [to find another position]. So far, after I became unemployed, I have been in touch with [Dickson uses the English “reach out”] to 10 or so head-hunters and I think I have sent out 40 or 50 CVs in a month. I have had interviews for four jobs. The moment after I got the phone call from the company, I told my family that there was this news. They were shocked, but by the same token they didn’t make a big fuss about it [見怪不怪]. This was because . . .

【4:00】. . . 我相信我唔係疫情之下唯一嘅受害者啦 | 噉我自己都唔介意去被人知道 | 我當刻係被人炒 | 對於面子 | 我自己更加重要嘅就係希望得到人哋嘅支持 | 喺 Facebook 公開講咗之後 | 亦都好多好好嘅朋友譬如佢哋會介紹一臨時工、散工我 | 一開頭其實有啲難開口嘅 | 𢯎朋友俾車我洗 | 絕對有啲難開口嘅 | 因爲,呃,當個身份對調咗 | 如果我揾人嚟洗車嘅人 | 你洗花咗或者洗得唔乾净 | 我可以嘈人哋㗎嘛 | 噉如果而家我幫個朋友洗 | 噉洗得唔好、唔滿意 | 或者有啲咩嘢譬如整花咗嘅 | 噉其實係自己孭鑊㗎喎 | 以前冇洗開車呀 | 以前,呃,俾錢人嚟幫我洗 | 而家,呃,收錢幫人洗 | 有乜感想? | 辛苦 | 但係 . . . 都係一個必要時嘅收入

● 當刻 dōng1 hāak1 = approx. “at that time (in the past)” | ● 介意 gaai3 yi3 = to take offence; to mind | ● 臨時工 làhm4 sìh4 gūng1 = casual labourer; temporary worker | ● 散工 sáan2 gūng1 = 1. casual labourer; odd-jobber; odd hands; journeyman. 2. odd job; short-term job; day labour; intermittent/recurring job; short-term labour; freelance work | ● 𢯎 [ng]āau1 = usu. “to scratch” but here with the idiomatic meaning of “to beg; to request; to entreat” (the subtitles have 求 kàuh4) | ● 對調 deui3 diuh6 = to exchange; to swap | ● 洗花 sái2 fāa1= to leave marks or stains when one washes sth. | ● 嘈 chou4 = usu. noisy; clamorous; booming, but 《香港粵語大詞典》 also adds the meaning of 爭吵 = to quarrel; to wrangle (p.591) | ● 孭鑊 mē1 wohk6 = take the blame for the fault of others; bear the responsibility of sth. gone wrong | ● 感想 gám2 séung2 = thoughts; impressions; reflections | ● 必要時 bīt1 yiu3 sìh4 = if necessary; if need be; if the need arises; should it be necessary

Note: Firstly, in this segment, the verb 幫 bōng1 is used quite a bit, but instead of serving as a full verb meaning “to help”, it functions instead as a co-verb expressing the sense of “on behalf of; for”. Examples include 如果而家我幫個朋友洗 = “if now I wash a car for a friend” and 俾錢人嚟幫我洗 = “pay money to people to come and wash [my car] for me”. As is usual with co-verbs, they appear before the main verb in which they work in tandem. Secondly, another interesting point here are the verbs 洗花 and 整花 in the context of car-washing. Here, 花 fāa1 has the meaning of both “anything resembling of flower” and “blurry; dim” and suggests a mark or smudge made by washing. The subtitles have 抹花 maa3 fāa1 = to wipe or rub a mark. Thirdly, I can’t see any real difference between the words 臨時工 and 散工. They both seem to refer to an odd job.

I don’t think I am the only person to suffer during [the outbreak of] Covid-19. Me, I don’t mind if other people know that now I have been given the sack. As for “face”, to me what is more important is the hope of gaining support from people. After I went public on Facebook, many many very good friends also told me about, for instance, some casual work [opportunities] and odd jobs. At first, I did indeed find it a bit hard to open my mouth [and tell people what had happened], to ask friends to let me wash their car, it was a bit hard to do that, absolutely. The reason being that when your status suffers a reversal [對調], if I found someone to wash my car, and you left marks on it, I left it dirty, I would be capable of kicking up a fuss [嘈]. Now [when] I wash a car for a friend, I have to take the blame if I don’t do a good job, or he’s not satisfied, or there are marks left on the car, for instance. Before I started washing cars, I would pay others to wash my car. Now I take money to wash other people’s cars. What do I think about that? It’s painful, but it is also a necessary source of income.

【5:00】記者:自尊心個關其實點過呢 | Dickson Chan: 嗯,當諗到冇錢嘅時候 | 都咩自尊都唔緊要 | 噉我都會係,即係 *je,好 friendly 樣同人講呀 | 呃,,你架車,即係 *je,使唔使幫手洗呀咁樣啦 | 咁樣跟住就話 | 唉,你知啦,我而家冇工開 | 噉,即係 *je,俾個機會呀,老細 | 因爲冇咗一個叫做固定嘅工作喇 | 咁所以喺,呃,消費上個消費習慣係都會改變咗好多嘅 | 就譬如好似啱啱失業之前嗰個星期啦 | 噉其實我都係啱啱先,即係 *je,都會同朋友喺蘇豪區食飯呀 | 跟住就去酒吧度可能飲吓嘢 chill 吓咁樣 | 以往,即係 *je,準時返工 | 準時放工 | 噉 and then 可能會諗去邊度玩 | 去邊度食嘢 | 而家個心態係會 | 我嘅目標:想做到幾多張單 | 噉我 . . .

● 過關 gwo3 gwaan1 = pass a barrier; go through an ordeal; perhaps more colloquially “to get through a difficult time/experience” | ● 自尊 jih6 jyūn1 = self-respect; self-esteem | ● 老細 lóuh5 sai3 = boss; chief; manager; employer; owner | ● 啱啱先 ngāam1 ngāam1 sīn1 = just now; a moment ago; not that long ago (the shorter 啱先 is also used)

Reporter: How did you deal with the issue of self-respect? Dickson Chan: Um, when I think that I don’t have any money self-respect isn’t important. In a very friendly manner, I would say to people: “Hey, your car, do you need anyone to wash it?” And then I would add: “You know, I don’t have a job now, so give me this opportunity, boss”. Because I no longer had a regular job, in terms of consuming things my consumer habits changed drastically. For instance, in the week just before I became unemployed, I had just been to Soho for a meal with friends, and then we went off to a bar for a drink and to chill. In the past, I would go to work on time and finish on time, and then perhaps think about where to go to have a good time and where to go for a meal. Now my attitude is: my aim is to do a certain number of orders [做到幾多張單]. I . . .

【6:00】. . .  踩快囉,行快啲囉 | 當做完之後,我就 OK ,噉我今日就返屋企食飯 | 會想慳返啲錢。噉所以唔會諗咁多,即係 *je,呃,不必要嘅開支喇 | 噉變咗其實個人諗嘢都會簡單咗 | 以前有啲,即係 *je,覺得 | 食好著好就個人就開心喇 | 被人裁員之後啦 | 呃,個心態會唔同咗 | 而家會更加重視人與人之間嘅關係喇 | 當你有事嘅時候 | 始終都係需要身邊,呃,你,即係 *je,建立好嘅人際關係 | 去幫你過渡 | 噉就算你話,我譬如而家咁樣 | 我自己一個去,呃,即係 *je,外賣啦 | 自己一個去洗車啦咁樣 | 噉都係其實有朋友教我送餐攻略 | 都係一樣有朋友肯俾架車我洗

● 慳返 hāan1 fāan1 = to save money, time or effort | ● 開支 hōi1 jī1 = ① to pay (expenses) ② expenses; expenditure; spending | ● 重視 juhng6 sih6 = to attach importance to; to take sth. seriously; to value | ● 人際關係 yàhn4 jai3 gwāan1 haih6 = interpersonal relationships | ● 過渡 gwo3 douh6 = transition; interim | ● 送餐 sung3 chāan1 = (?) to deliver meals| ● 攻略 gūng1 leuhk6 = tactic; perhaps also “strategy”

. . . ride a bit faster, walk a bit faster, and when I’ve finished, I [think] OK, and today (?) I will go back home and eat there. I will want to save some money. And so I won’t have so much to think about unnecessary expenses. And so, a person’s thinking gets simpler. Before, [I] tended to think [有啲,即係,覺得] eating well and wearing good clothes was enough to make you happy. After being retrenched, the state of mind is different, and now [I] attach more importance to my relationships with other people. When you meet with a problem [當你有事嘅時候], you are always going to need to establish good relationships with the people around you to help you get through things. So even if you say to yourself I’ll go off on my own and find [a job delivering] takeaways, actually it was a friend who taught me this strategy, just as friends are willing to let me wash their cars.

Caption: 感謝在逆境中勇往直前的你們 | 香港人加油

● 逆境 yihk6 gíng2 = adverse circumstances; adversity | ● 勇往直前 yúhng5 wóhng5 jihk6 chìhn4 = to march forward courageously; to advance bravely

With gratitude to all of you who advance bravely in the face of adversity | Hongkongers, “Add Oil”

採訪: 文睿芳 | 攝影:倫星楊 | 剪接:倫星楊 | 監製:王秋婷