《新心界》:「同長洲嘅『東堤小築紅衣女鬼』打招呼」

To find more clues about her birth father — an enigmatic painter — 阿綠 Ah Luk was all set to make the trip out to Cheung Chau. At the last moment, however, she scrapped her plans, succumbing to the doubt that 陳之一 Chan Chi-yat had planted in her mind: What happens if the father you have so vividly imagined turns out to be impossibly different in real life? The trip goes ahead nevertheless, with the ever-considerate Ah Luk thinking that a day-visit to the “dumbbell island” will help her friend get over his recent trauma sustained during clashes between police and protesters at Sha Tin’s New Town Plaza. Cheung Chau’s four Tin Hau Temples will surely bring some healing to his bruised body and soul . . .

Soundtrack: An Out-of-the-Ordinary Quietly Magical Mood

到而家仍有待揭開嘅秘密,長洲可以話係有唔少嘅。譬如,構成長洲嗰兩個獨立嘅島仔,係幾時被波浪帶嚟嘅海沙實一實咁連埋一齊?或者海盜張保仔曾經綁架嘅外國「鬼婆」究竟係邊個?又或者,地質學家彭祺瑞喺1970年發現嘅石刻圖案,到底有乜嘢宗教意義?講到宗教,點解呢個小島上居然會有四座天后廟?神祇蒞臨,群魔則一定要跟隨;長洲另外一種神秘係,喺東堤小築發生嘅自殺事件同謀殺案件會唔會同猛鬼有關?不過,對阿綠嚟講,唯一想揭露嘅奧秘淨係得一個:父親莊梓喺呢個地方有冇留低過痕跡?「啞鈴島」嘅某一個鈴鐺係咪仍然能夠發出有關過去嘅一啲微弱嘅叮噹聲?

不過人心難測,去到最後一刻,阿綠莫名其妙咁改變主意、態度發生變化,同良德玻璃鏡店嘅前老闆、長洲鄉事委員其會中兩個成員同埋另外同長洲文藝圈子入便嘅人士士通通取消咗原定嘅會面;通知佢哋嗰陣就解釋返話,佢心入面仲未做好準備去面對呢件咁重要嘅事,唯有希望再過一段時間之後,可以慢慢獲得足夠嘅勇氣再試吓。其實,呢個原因喺阿綠下定決心放棄尋父扮演住一個相當大嘅角色,但係除咗呢樣之外,仲有另一個主要原因:本來佢為陳之一着想,假如自己喺男人仲未揾返父親嘅情況下成功同莊梓取得聯絡,咁樣嘅結局一定會為澳洲朋友增添多一份痛 苦、絕望、心悒。另外,佢當時仲未充分消化完自己母對親嘅新鮮認識:日記同埋《獨行詩》嘅内容依然有力量令綠髮女人感到驚訝。再者,阿綠又喺呢一方面受到陳之一嘅影響:佢幾次同阿綠講過話,萬一心想事成,但係見到嘅父親同想象中落差太大,可能會構成另一種難以承受得住嘅打擊——換言之,尋父嘅故事未必個個都會有美滿嘅結局。不過,雖然阿綠已經取消咗呢啲安排,但係佢最尾應承咗陪陳之一一齊去長洲玩返日,希望可以幫男友人儘快忘記佢喺沙田新城市廣場所經歷嘅磨難。

兩個人喺中環五號碼頭上咗渡輪之後,過咗冇幾耐,陳之一居然主動提起嗰晚喺沙田新城市廣場發生嘅事;令人驚喜嘅係,佢使用嘅口吻好淡定,講嘢嘅方式好似同講述一次去德興粥麵店食早餐一樣咁平凡。其實,最終被醫護人員發現嗰陣,呢個澳洲沙田友一早喪失咗知覺,但其後好快恢復常態;十字車送佢到醫院接受治療嗰陣,佢差唔多就已經神志清醒。經過醫生仔細檢查之後,除咗身上有幾處瘀痕之外,就冇發現任何問題。再經過幾個鐘頭嘅醫學觀察,陳之一就出院搭的士返屋企(佢仲趕得切幫白波士嘅忙㖭)。離開醫院之前佢同一位護理人員傾咗兩句偈,嗰個人順口話俾澳洲惹禍精聽,開頭見到呢個未受傷嘅受害者,驟眼睇完全係符合所謂「被人打到血流披面」嘅標準,但係完成清理之後,並冇喺男人身上揾到丁點傷口。嗰啲血話係示威者嘅也好,話係警察嘅也好,話係其他咩嘢途中人嘅亦也好,就係冇一滴屬於陳之一本人。

忽然間,成個船身往下墜,感覺同搭緊𨋢跌落嚟十分相似,即刻中斷咗乘客哇哩哇啦嘅閒談聲。當時,彼此之間對緊話嘅係海風、波浪同埋渡輪隆隆作響嘅引擎。

沉默嘅阿綠心中覺得男人呢次真係行大運,想必係因為過往去過拜訪過咁多次天后古廟為佢累積咗唔少善因緣,所以遇到關鍵時刻,男人就好似奇跡般受到蒼天嘅恩惠庇護。咁橋,長洲嘅廟宇比任何離島都多,於是陳之一有充足嘅機會去「還神」,親自感謝天后嘅庇佑,「去來自在任逍遙,無有恐怖也無愁」。同一時間,同樣唔開口嘅吊門桔喺度諗緊,雖然佢明白點解阿綠會無啦啦做出摒棄尋找生父嘅決定,但係佢不禁擔心,萬一有朝一日佢後悔莫及咁點算?不過,雖說如此,佢由其他人尋找生父嘅經驗得知,喺呢個非常特殊嘅情況底下,「有」話唔定係好過「冇」呢。

啱啱落船嗰刻,陳之一喺碼頭附近偶然見到一個女人,於是喺四圍我接你送嘅人群之中專心望住佢,女人身穿嘅上衣顔色紅當蕩,令到男人有少少驚。但係為咗避免得罪陌生人(假如係繁益翻譯公司嘅重要客戶咁點算?),收尾佢好膽怯咁向嗰個人揮一揮手,而女人居然十分甜蜜咁向佢微笑,作為冇膽鬼嘅陳之一就冇再將「東堤小築紅衣女鬼」嘅種種傳聞放喺心上。

呢個時候,新興海傍街迫滿啱先上岸嘅遊客,人潮洶湧,所以兩人行到國民路就心照不宣咁向右轉,跟住又左轉入到去北社街,沿住呢條既闃寂又樸素嘅狹窄小街漫步。當佢哋經過「郭錦記餅店」嗰陣,阿綠低聲叫停男人俾啲時間佢買平安包,作為兩人早前喺沙田街市早前買到嘅食物嘅補給。陳之一見到餅店展示嘅烘焙品當中仲有核桃酥出售,就趁機另買六粒。

「嘩!除咗係沙田友、蝴蝶愛護者、揚州炒飯迷、天后崇拜者之外,原來你都係核桃酥粉絲喎!」綠頭髮嘅女人十分溫和咁驚歎。聽到呢番說話,男人臉上隱約露出半羞怯半慚愧嘅表情。然後,佢就補一句:「你粗心大意唔記得咗兩個好重要嘅項目呀——蛋撻狂熱愛好者同埋贊美綠頭髮主義者!」,令到阿綠一聽只好「黐線!」咁樣對付佢嗰個亂噏嘢嘅朋友。

喺背囊入面放好甜品之後,佢哋就繼續往前行,一路步行到遊樂場隔籬嘅北帝廟。呢個時候,八月上晝嘅陽光已經好曬,所以兩個人都覺得行一段、唞一陣係最為明智嘅做法。佢哋一捐入主殿裏邊,男人就揾返張櫈仔踎低休息,一邊欣賞廟内嘅氣氛,一邊喺度諗緊北方真武玄天上帝嘅特徵:披髮、冇着鞋、腳踏龜蛇。雖然北帝基本上係以掃蕩群魔著稱嘅,但係喺男人嘅心目中,玄帝嘅造型又有佢平易近人嘅地方:長頭髮同埋唔着鞋暗示一種類似海灘遊民嘅人物,一方面征服野心(即係蛇),另一方面又係摒棄普通家庭生活(龜嘅象徵意義)嘅瀟灑嬉皮!更何況,根據道經嘅記載,北帝本來係淨樂國嘅王子!另外,澳洲瘦骨仙忽然諗到,北帝亦都有抗疫嘅能力。幾百年前,喺瘟疫猖獗嘅情況下,長洲居民別無選擇之下向玄天上帝求助先至得以倖幸免於難。想必當「沙士」威脅緊香港嗰陣,長洲亦都有人曾經為呢件事特登嚟到呢間廟虔誠拜神。「將來呢?」陳之一忍唔住再進一步思考。「唔知將來某一日長洲會唔會再度面對病毒所帶嚟嘅恐怖呢?」

阿綠好耐冇嚟長洲嘅北帝玉虛宮,所以十分願意獨自一人四處睇吓廟入面嘅文物。作為藝術家嘅佢,當然被其中唔少巧奪天工嘅香爐、香案、牌匾、彩擋、石柱、寶劍等等深深震撼。行到左側偏殿嘅時候,佢發現牆上面有一幅壁畫,於是戙喺度仔細觀賞。畫面描繪嘅兩隻老虎塑造得特別吸睛,主要係因為成張畫用咗好多打碎嘅瓷片嚟砌成圖案,視覺上嘅效果十分獨特;加上呢啲瓷片既平滑又上咗釉,令到畫入面嘅種種色彩顯得極為斑斕。呢個時候,諗到陳之一一嚟就冇出過聲,一頭綠髮嘅發暗家不由得為朋友擔憂起嚟:佢會唔會係因為喺新城市發生嘅警民衝突而坐喺度,沉陷入一啲不愉快嘅回憶當中,煩悶不樂?正正出於咁嘅考量,阿綠低聲叫男人行過嚟,同佢一齊分享壁畫。「真係充滿生活嘅歡樂,」陳之一嘴喐喐咁話俾阿綠知。過咗冇幾耐,佢又一次隨口噏:「好啦,下一站呢?請勿靠近車門!」

Cantonese Podcasts: A Postman’s Gaze (2)

Here is a second short clip in the “Postman’s Gaze” series from the Journey of the Isle website about Cheung Chau. In this one, 李達成 Léih5 Daaht6 Sìhng4 talks about a photograph of a bicycle he took when lit up by the first, early rays of the dawn. The image is certainly a memorable one, and made all the more poignant, especially in light of the current situation in Hong Kong, by the fact that the bike was parked outside a cemetery.

Grammar points:

A. The use of 咪 maih6 has been puzzling me for ages, especially when there is no accompanying 囉 lō1 at the end of the clause! My informant for this text added the following helpful notes:

Actually, 咪 has several meanings in Cantonese. Below I mentioned a few I could think of, but there might be more possibilities.
Firstly, it means “don’t” e.g. 咪笑我啦 = Don’t laugh at me, 咪走呀! = Don’t/ Stop running away! [Note: This 咪 is pronounced in the low-rising tone, máih5]
Secondly, in this transcription, you are right about the use of 咪 being similar to that of 就, but using 咪 helps you to emphasize more on the fact you are going to say. In 啫係有架單車咪插咗啲花, 咪 is used to emphasize or to state that there are flowers stuck on a bicycle. The situation is similar for 噉佢咪隨意咁樣泊架單車喺路中間囉. 咪 is used to link the subject and his action: 佢(subject) +咪+ 隨意咁樣泊架單車喺路中間囉 (action/fact). [Note: Because the final particle 囉 is added in this case, the use fits the explanation of “obvious conclusion” suggested by Yip and Matthews in Intermediate Cantonese, Unit 23。]
Lastly, it means “is” e.g. 佢咪我隻貓 = She is my cat.

Bear this in mind as you listen to Lee’s voiceover. There are some expressions in English such as “well, if it isn’t (noun)?” that use a kind of negative expression to achieve a sense of emphasis and/or surprise, and perhaps 咪 maih6 works in a similar way.

B. There is a type of verb in Chinese called a “verb-object compound”, made up of a verb and a noun. These verbs often behave in unusual ways. For example, the perfect aspect marker 咗 jó2 is routinely inserted between the verb and the object rather than at the end of the verb as is usual (at the end of the explanation, Lee says 影咗依張相 = photographed this; took this photo). Another kind of modification is found involving the VO compound斷氣 tyuhn5 hei3 = to be short of breath (or, more colloquially, “to run out of puff”). In this case, the object is put before the verb with dōu1 to indicate extreme degree:  氣都斷 = completely out of breath. I believe the rule of thumb is that any verb in which the second element is a noun can be classed in this category.

C. Cantonese uses a number of double final particles with a specific meaning such as 嚟㗎 for explanations (係墳場掃地嘅叔叔嚟㗎 = he’s the old man who goes and sweeps the cemetery grounds) and 吖嘛 for obviousness (this is used by Lee in 冇人㗎嘛, where 㗎嘛 is a contraction of 嘅吖嘛). A less common one is 咁滯 gam3 jaih6, which has the meaning of “almost; nearly”. So, 一路爬坡咁踩到氣都斷咁滯呀 means something like “ I kept on going up the slope until I was almost out of breath”. Sheik Cantonese also lists 飯熟晒咁滯。 = “The rice is almost done” and 佢啲錢差唔多輸晒咁滯。 = “He has almost lost all his money”. It can also be written 咁濟.

D. 零鐘 lèhng4 jūng1 is a colloquial term which usually comes after and modifies a certain time. It means “around” or “-ish” e.g. 8 點零鐘 = around 8 o’clock or eightish.

Vocabulary:

相冊 sēung1 chaak3 = photo album
朝頭早 jīu1 tàuh4 jóu2 = morning
爬坡 pàah4 bō1 = to climb a slope; to go up a hill
斷氣 tyúhn5 hei3 = ① to stop breathing; to breathe one’s last; to die ② to cut off the gas supply
唔係呀話 is used to express your emotion when you are surprised, often but not always, in a negative way. It can be translated as “What! / What’s going on?” or anything that suits the emotion.
主人 jyú2 yàhn4 = the owner (of a bicycle)
墳場 fàhn4 chèuhng4 = cemetery; graveyard
叔叔 sūk1 sūk1 = respectful term to address an older male
開工 hōi1 gūng1 = to start work
食正 sihk6 jeng3 = the bicycle was right under a ray of dawn light.
曙光 chyúh5 gwōng1 = the light of dawn (Measure word: 道 douh6)
依 yī1 is a common variant of 呢 nī1 = this
干擾 gōn1 yíu2 = to disturb; to interfere; to obstruct; to jam
畫面 wáa6*2 mín6*2 = usually “display; screen (of a monitor/TV)”; here perhaps “the composition” | Note that both characters change their tone in this compound.

You can watch the video here. If you’d like to read the Cantonese transcription together with an English translation, please keep scrolling down.

● 郵差的眼睛(2)

李達成:自己呃係個相冊裏面呢,風景係相對少嘅,嗄。又好似有一張呀,呃,啫係有架單車咪插咗啲花,啱啱有個光缐咁打落嗰張。噉嗰張呢,我朝頭早,就,踩單車練習。噉我就爬坡啦,一路爬坡咁踩到氣都斷咁滯呀 。 噉,啫係我當時,「呃唔係呀話,點解有架單車喺前邊路中心㗎?」咁。噉我睇真啲,「咦, 呢架單車我知道個主人係邊個架喎」咁 。而佢呢,就係一個,係墳場掃地嘅叔叔嚟㗎。噉佢開工呢,就當時你知啦 7 點零鐘,冇人㗎嘛。噉佢咪隨意咁樣泊架單車喺路中間囉。咁橋, 就係食正一道嘅曙光。噉我就落車,影咗依張相。噉佢又啱啱唔喺架車附近個度好喎,啫,冇干擾到個畫面。

Michael Lee: In my own, ah, photo album, there aren’t many images of scenery. But there is, it seems [好似], one picture, of a bicycle with flowers stuck on it, one in which a ray of light just happens to be falling [across] [打落嚟] it. That photo . . . I was out riding my bike in training [練習] one morning. I was climbing up a slope, all the way up a slope, until I was almost out of breath. Well at that moment, I [thought to myself]: “Ah, oh no [唔係呀話]. Why is there a bike in the middle of the road up ahead?”. When I looked a bit more closely, [I thought]: “Huh? I know the man who owns that bicycle!”. Now he, he’s, he’s the old man [叔叔] who goes and sweeps the cemetery grounds. He had started work. You know, it was only around 7 in the morning and there was no one [around]. He had casually parked his bike in the middle of the road. Just by chance, it just happened to be under a ray of dawn light. So, I got off my bike and took this photograph. As it happened, he was nowhere near his bicycle at the time, so didn’t spoil [干擾] the image.

Cantonese Podcasts: A Postman’s Gaze (1)

Cheung Chau Temple_APR 2016_REDUCED

Journey to the Isle is an innovative WordPress website dedicated to the Hong Kong island of Cheung Chau as experienced by a cross-section of its inhabitants. All of them have their own deeply personal stories to tell. There are numerous written anecdotes transcribed into Cantonese (a good source of information about written Cantonese, but unfortunately not translated into English) and also quite a large number of short videos in which project members talk about their very individual experiences of this place.

In this 3-minute clip, 李達成 Léih5 Daaht6 Sìhng4, one of Cheung Chau’s postmen, talks about his passion for photography which led to a picture he took of “the Doctor” [「博士」bok3 sih6], an old man who seems to come and go as he pleases, without attachments, and who has an unsuspected interest in books and music. Lee talks about how he gradually came to know the man and what he learned about this unusually self-contained character.

In terms of grammar and usage, there are a few points worth noting. Firstly, you’ll hear a couple of examples of the progressive aspect in 做緊嘢 (“doing things”) and 都係我喺轉緊嘅 (“I was turning things over [in my mind]”). Secondly, the postman says 擺啲時間 = to make the time to do sth. Thirdly, at the end, you’ll hear 啦 lā1 to enumerate the items in a list. Finally, and most interestingly, 李達成 also makes use of 開 hōi1 as an aspect marker in the final paragraph, added to verbs to indicate habitual action. In my own limited experience of the language, I have seldom come across this marker.

In recent weeks, I’ve been wondering a bit about the various uses of 呢 nī1/ne1. Like many common bits of Cantonese, 呢 is put to a range of uses. Pronounced as nī1 or lī1 (and sometimes even reduced to yī1), it generally means “here; this” etc.:

呢一個人 = this person

Pronounced as nē1 or lē1, it is routinely encountered as a question particle used especially for information question (for yes/no questions, 呀 aa3 is preferred):

然後呢 = then what happened?
佢係咪一個好窮嘅人呢? = Was he a poor man?

More elusively, it also seems to play a role in marking the topic of a sentence, and is often attached to more than one phrase, perhaps to signal to the listener that we have not yet arrived at the comment part of the sentence.

當時,其實,因爲「博士」呢,佢好多時,大家見面呢,佢就會撩吓我呀。 = Well . . . at that time, actually, because the Doctor, on many occasions, would, when we saw one another, say something to tease me
噉其實呢,啲問題呢,都係我喺轉緊嘅。= So I was actually turning these questions over [in my mind].

It is certainly true, too, that 呢 is regularly attached to what might be called “discourse markers”, that is, short phrases that link parts of the sentence and establish logical relations. Some of these (from sources other than this video) include: 噉所以呢; 嗱,其實呢; 你可以話呢; 同埋呢; 因爲呢 . . . I suspect that there are other, additional uses of 呢 (including one for “continuous states), just to make life interesting!

Needless to say, there is also some very worthwhile vocabulary in the piece: 有型 yáuh5 yìhng4 = smart; stylish (see Current Colloquial Cantonese: p.15); 身水身汗 sān1 séui2 sān1 hohn6 = to be dripping with sweat; to be drenched in sweat; sweating profusely; 可造之才 hó2 jouh6 jī1 chòih4 = a person suitable for training; a promising young person; 第一開始 daih6 yāt hōi1 chí2 = at first; from the outset; from the very beginning; 流浪者 làuh4 lohng6 jé2 = a drifter or wanderer; 疏 sō1 = ① sparse; thin; scattered ② distant; not familiar; and 自由自在 jih6 yàuh4 jih6 joih6 = carefree; free; (to enjoy one’s own company?)

You can watch the video here, as well as see a copy of the photograph Michael Lee took. If you’d like to read the Cantonese transcription together with an English translation, please keep scrolling down.

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郵差的眼睛 / A Postman’s Gaze

主持人:呢一個人 . . .  一定有嘅。
Questioner: Such a man . . . certainly exists.

李達成:有啦。頭先你講ah「博士」嗰張相呢。好似頭先你講「博士」嗰張相。噉 . . . 當時,其實,因爲「博士」呢,佢好多時,大家見面呢,佢就會撩吓我呀。我做緊嘢身水身汗咁樣,佢都會撩我傾一兩句計架。

● The common word 好似 hóu2 chíh5 is usually translated as “to be like”, but it sometimes seems to introduce a note of uncertainty or reduced certainty: “I seemed to remember you saying” or “I was under the impression (but I may be wrong)”.
● 撩 lìuh4 = to tease; to tantalize; to provoke. By extension, it may perhaps also refer to the act of saying something in order to strike up a conversation.

Michael Lee: Yes, he does. Just now you spoke about that photo of “the Doctor”. I got the impression [好似] that just now you spoke about that photo of “the Doctor”. Well . . . at that time, actually, because the Doctor, on many occasions, would, when we saw one another, say something to tease me [撩吓我]. Even if I were in the middle of something and dripping with sweat, he would say something and start chatting with me.

Michael Lee_The Doctor_9 MAY 2020

李達成:「博士」

主持人:例如係 . . . ?
Questioner: What did he say to you [literally = for instance]?

李達成:例如,例如 . . . 好尷尬架喎。佢話,「啊你真係最有型嘅郵差嘅」(laughter)。
Michael Lee: Well, for instance, for instance . . . I feel very embarrassed about it! He would say: “Ah, you really are the most handsome postman”.

主持人:有咩尷尬啫?好眼光,好眼光!然後呢?

● As a final particle 啫 jē is generally used to downplay the significance of what was said. The implication here, I think, is “there’s nothing so very embarrassing about that”. But 啫 jē also occurs in this conversation with the meaning of “that is; I mean”, something that is also said as a filler when you are trying to think of what to say next.
● 好眼光 hóu2 ngáahn5 gwōng1 = literally “good vision”, but figuratively “good taste”.

Questioner: Why be embarrassed by a little thing like that? He has good taste, he has good taste! Then what happened?

李達成:噉我就俾佢「溝」到啦(laughs)。噉呀 . . .

● 溝 kāu1/gāu1 = to pick/chat up; to cruise (for sexual partner); (?) to pursue (a potential partner). This seems to introduce a vein of sexual innuendo into the conversation, triggered by the Doctor’s comments on the postman’s good looks and perhaps touched on again in the use of 可造之才 in the next part, but I may be reading too much into the Cantonese . . . My Cantonese informant explains 溝 as follows: 至於「溝」,通常講男女關係,「溝」係比較粗俗,但唔係粗口,亦好常用,意思係「追」,想追佢做女朋友或男朋友。例如:呢個男同事對呢個女同事作出咁多攻勢,又送花,又送人哋返屋企,又成日讚佢叻,攞明就係想溝佢啦。不過個女同事冇咩大反應,好似唔受溝。

Michael Lee: Well, I let him catch me [溝]! And so . . .

主持人:你都係好有型呀!
Questioner: Yes, you are very handsome!

李達成:噉呀,跟住開始去去飲茶。噉我經過就同佢嗰陣時去邊度飲茶喇,喺 . . . 而家我唔知叫咩,喺海濱隔離嗰度附近飲早茶嘅。噉我有時經過,噉見到佢同另一個叔叔喺度飲茶。噉我可能坐低搭吓枱呀咁樣,大家傾吓,即係 *jē1,傾吓計咁。同埋我覺得佢 eh 係真係一塊可造之才囉,啫喺影相方面。噉我,我都要擺啲時間嘅,我都要擺啲時間同佢混熟啲呀,嗄。噉亦都出真心嘅,啫唔係話咩 . . .

● 搭枱 daap3 tói4*2 = (?) to share a table with (a party of people already seated). I am often asked whether I would like to 搭枱 when trying to get a meal in a crowded cha chaan teng!
● 混 wahn6 = to muddle/drift along; to get along with; 混熟 wahn6 suhk6 = to muddle along with someone to the point of getting to know them well (熟 suhk6 here is a particle that expresses result).

Michael Lee: And so after that we began to go and have a cup of tea [together]. If I happened to be passing by [經過], I would go and have a cup of tea with him at . . . I don’t know what the place was called now, there was [a place] right next to the praya [海濱隔離嗰度附近] where we would drink our tea of a morning. Sometimes I would pass by, and I would see him there having his tea with some other old fellow [另一個叔叔]. And so I might sit down [with them] and we would have a chat, have a bit of a chat. I also felt that he, eh, really was a promising subject [可造之才], I mean [啫] in terms of a photograph. And so I, I would make the time [to see him], I would even make the time to get to know him [混熟] a little better. But I was motivated by a sincere wish, you couldn’t say that there was . . .

主持人:但係第一開始覺得喺想影相上,所以再對佢有興趣嘅啲嘅。
Questioner: But was it that that in the first instance you felt that you wanted to take a photograph [of him] and so later became interested in him?

李達成:Eh 都唔係。其實,佢個人我其實已經係對佢都好有興趣。佢究竟係咪,真係一個,啊 . . . 流浪者呢?佢唔似係神經 . . . 啫,唔似係精神病嘅,佢唔似嘅。但係佢係咪真係一個流浪者呢?佢係咪一個好窮嘅人呢?噉其實 er 有冇人可以幫到佢嘅呢?噉其實呢,啲問題呢,都係我喺轉緊嘅。

● 轉 jyun3 = ① to revolve; to rotate, to spin; ② a round trip. In this context, it does seem to mean more or less what English expresses with the idiom “to turn over in one’s mind”.

Michael Lee: No, it wasn’t like that. Actually, I was actually very interested in him as a person. Was he, was he really . . . ah, a homeless wanderer [流浪者]? He didn’t look like he was mad . . . I mean, he didn’t look like a person with a mental problem, not like that. But was he really actually a wanderer without a home? Was he a poor man? Could anyone actually give him any help? So I was actually turning these questions over [in my mind] [轉].

主持人:你有冇答案嘅?
Questioner: Do you have any answers?

李達成:Eh 有嘅。噉其實佢有物業啦、親人就好疏啦、就 . . . 有錢用嘅 . . . 有錢用嘅。噉呀同埋佢好鐘意佢自己一個人,自由自在嘅。啫,後來慢慢識佢傾開計,咁就知道佢多啲嘅嘢喇。同埋佢好鐘意聽音樂啦、音、睇書啦,嗄。 啫,啲文學嗰啲呢,即係名都唔識讀嘅嗰本書嗰啲嚟㗎,嗄。佢《聖經》話,都讀咗成本嘅,佢《聖經》都讀過。

● In a couple of places here, 啦 lā is used to designate the items in a list.
● In Intermediate Cantonese, Matthews and Yip explain 開 hōi1 as having a habitual meaning (see Unit 12 on aspect markers), so 傾開計 suggests, I think, “to get into the habit of talking” or “talking on a regular basis”.
● The use of 音 before 睇書 is just a casual error made by the speaker.
● Two different aspect markers are used in 佢《聖經》話,都讀咗成本嘅,佢《聖經》都讀讀 with the same verb 讀 duhk6 = to read, adding nuances to what is being said, although in English “had read” would be used in both cases. The first marker 咗 jó2 emphasizes realization: the Doctor has already achieved the feat of reading the whole Bible. The second marker 讀 gwo3 stresses past experience: Had he had any experience of reading the Bible? Yes, he had.

Michael Lee: Eh, yes, I do. Actually, he owned property, he didn’t have much in the way of family [好疏], and then [就] . . . he had money at his disposal . . . he had money at his disposal. And another thing [同埋], he really liked to be on his own, and live a free and easy life. So, [when] slowly I got to know him and we’d got into the habit of talking, I then knew more things about him. As well, he very much liked to listen to music, and to read. I mean, those literary [works], that is, those books the title of which [I] do not know have to read. The Bible, he said, he had read from cover to cover [成本]. He had read the Bible.