Learning Cantonese: Strengthening the Innermost Heart (Kongstories 99)

The title of this video from Kongstories means something like “that little kid isn’t slow”, and refers to the treasures hidden inside every human being, even those dealing with some form of serious disability. As 馮惠芳 Nancy Fung puts it towards the end of the presentation: 總有一日可以追尋自己嘅夢想,踏上屬於自己嘅舞台, or “One day you will be able to go chasing after your own dreams, and step out onto a stage that belongs to you and you alone”.

You can take a lot of heart from this video, and the English subtitles make it very accessible, even if you’re not interested in the Cantonese. Michelle Li’s comment — 每日嘅生活就係强壯内心嘅過程 = every day is a process of strengthening one’s noi sam, one’s innermost being — is something than lingers in the mind for a long time . . .

For those of you who are language learners, however, there is nothing too challenging about the grammar in this video, but there are some very nice turns of phrase that are well worth trying to make your own, such as 過目不忘 to have a great memory (and its opposite, 過目即忘); 喐嚟喐去 = to move back and forward; to be unable to sit still (using the specifically Cantonese verb 喐 yūk1); 局限自己 = to limit oneself; 擴闊自己嘅世界 = to broaden one’s world; to expand one’s horizons; 接納 = to accept (a person as they are, without conditions); 渡過難關 = to go through a difficult period in one’s life; and 總有一日 = one day (in the future); the time will come that.

Please scroll down for my transcription and notes. You can view the video here (you are offered subtitles in both English and Standard Written Chinese). 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.


Title: 小孩不苯 | The Little Kid Isn’t Slow

馮惠芳:我同一般家庭一樣,有兩個仔 | 但唯一唔同就係大仔 Wilson 有學習障礙 | 簡單嚟講,人讀書就係過目不忘 | // 就係過目即忘 | 所以細細個要佢讀書真係好辛苦 | 因爲佢成日喐嚟喐去 | 要比一般人用多好多時間佢先可以記得到啲嘢 | 但好彩我發現佢由細到大都好鍾意音樂 | 所以我就諗,不如用音樂嘅拍子去幫佢背書 | 結果呢個方法有得 | 順理成章,音樂就成爲佢嘅生日一部分 | 印象最深刻就有一次,我帶 Wilson 上音樂班 | 個老師同佢上完一堂就講:你叫你仔仔返去啦,唔好再帶佢嚟 | 時間【1:00】, 嘥錢,教完佢一次,佢下一秒又唔記得喇 | 呢句説話我記到而家,但我同 Wilson 講,佢唔教 | 呢就自己練習 | 只要肯心機咁練習,世上嘢難倒你 | 俾心機一定得

● 過目不忘 gwo3 muhk6 bāt1 mòhng4 = to have a great memory; to not forget stuff that has passed by one’s eyes | ● 喐 yūk1 = to move | ● 拍子 paak3 jí2 = (musical) beat; time | ● 順理成章 seuhn6 léih5 sìhng4 jēung1 = ① follow as a logical course ② follow as a matter of course | ● 嘥 sāai = ① waste; squander; ruin ② wasteful; extravagant ③ miss; let go; lose (a chance) | ● 心機 sām1 gēi1 = ① mood; frame of mind; feeling ② energy; effort; patience | ● 難倒 nàahn4 dóu2 = to daunt; perhaps also “to be put off doing (sth. difficult)

麥妙玲:劉理盈一出世嘅時候,我只能夠用「震驚」嚟形容 | 因爲我從來冇諗過 | [平時] 喺街上邊見到嘅唐氏綜合症 | 會發生自己嘅女身上 | 所以我將佢嘅名改做「盈」| 希望佢人生可以經歷好多嘅恩典 | 當初佢出嚟跳舞嘅時候 | 見到佢聽到音樂,有得跳舞就好開心 | 但到之後,佢學得幾好,要去考試 | 我開始怕,我怕佢失敗 | 怕佢做唔到,怕佢企唔返身 | 但後來我諗深一層【2:00】,人人都有失敗嘅可能性 | 點解我要抹煞佢成功嘅可能性呢?

● 震驚 jan3 gīng1 = to shock; to amaze; to astonish | ● 唐氏綜合症 Tòhng4 sih6 jūng1 hahp6 jing3 = Downs syndrome | ● 恩典 yān1 dín2 = favour; grace | ● 失敗 sāt1 baih6 = ① to be defeated ② to fail | ● 企唔返身 kéih5 mh5 fāan1 sān1 = (?) to get back on one’s feet | ● 抹煞 mut3 saat3 = to remove from evidence; to expunge; to suppress; to wipe out, to obliterate (also written 抹殺)

李苑峰:對於我嚟講,我唯一嘅願望係我嘅仔 | 梓鍵可以好似其他小朋友咁 | 擁有童心,開心快樂咁成長,咁樣就已經好滿足 | 梓鍵佢細細個就被診斷有杜興氏肌肉營養不良症 | 隨住年齡增長,佢嘅肌肉就會慢慢退化 | 你上年見到佢,佢仲可以行行走走 | 但係到咗今年,佢就已經行唔到喇 | 雖然佢而家行唔到,但都唔等於要局限自己 | 只要佢想,無論係跑步定係要游水 | 只要係我能力範圍之内,都會盡力做到 | 希望佢可以見識更多,擴闊自己嘅世界 | 每日嘅生活就係强壯内心嘅過程 | 我相信,只要我同梓鍵一齊 | 就有能力、堅强【3:00】、勇敢去面對生命中嘅困難

● 願望 yuhn6 mohng6 = a desire; wish; aspiration | ● 童心 tùhng4 sām1 = childishness; playfulness | ● 診斷 chán2 dyun3 = to diagnose | ● 杜興氏肌肉營養不良症 Douh6 sih6 gēi1 yuhk6 bāt1 lèuhng4 jing3 = Duchenne muscular dystrophy | ● 退化 teui3 faa3 = 1. degeneration 2. to degenerate; to deteriorate | ● 上年 seuhng6 nín4*2 = (over the) past year| ● 行行走走 hàahng4 hàahng4 jáu2 jáu2 = (?) to walk around | ● 等於 dáng2 yū1 = equal to; equivalent to | ● 局限 guhk6 haahn6 = to limit; to confine | ● 範圍 faahn6 wàih4 = scope; limits; range | ● 見識 gin3 sīk1 = experience; knowledge; sensibleness | ● 擴闊 kong3 fut3 = to broaden | ● 强壯 kèuhng4 jong3 = strong; sturdy; robust | ● 堅强 gīn1 kèuhng4 = strong; sturdy; staunch

麥妙玲:我覺得,就算佢係唐氏,都阻礙唔到佢實現自己嘅夢想 | 做家長嘅只可以好似放風箏咁,喺適當嘅時候就要識得放手 | 好多困難都係自己俾自己 | 就好似搭地鐵嘅時候,怕人哋望到阿女 | 但其實要人哋接納佢,首先係要自己接納佢先 | 呢個心態上嘅轉變就好似當你渡過難關之後 | 回頭一看就會發現呢個嘅經歷會令你嘅生命更加精彩

● 阻礙 jó2 ngoih6 = to hinder; to block; to impede | ● 放風箏 fong3 fūng1 jāng1 = to fly a kite | ● 放手 fong3 sáu2 = to let go; to let go one’s hold | ● 接納 jip3 naahp6/laahp6 = 1. to admit (into an organization) 2. to accept | ● 轉變 jyún2 bin3 = to change; to transform | ● 渡過難關 douh6 gwo3 nàahn4 gwāan1 = tide over a difficulty; pull through | ● 回頭一看 wùih4 tàuh4 yāt1 hon3 = turn around and look | ● 精彩 jīng1 chói2 = brilliant; splendid; wonderful

馮惠芳:佢就日練夜練,有時日頭返工,夜晚練習 | 佢終於可以完整咁彈 // 首《真的愛你》俾我聽 | 我覺得上帝喺每個人嘅生命裏面都有一個計劃 | 無論本身你有咩困難【4:00】,只要你肯努力 | 總有一日可以追尋自己嘅夢想,踏上屬於自己嘅舞台

● 日頭 yaht6 táu4*2= the sun; daytime | ● 完整 yùhn4 jíng2 = complete; integrated; intact | ● 追尋 jēui1 chàhm4 = to pursue; to search; to track down

我叫馮惠芳 | 我叫李苑峰 | 我叫麥妙玲 | 香港土生土長,七百萬個故仔成就一個香 . . . 港故仔

Learning Cantonese: Thierry Chow, the Fung Shui Designer

In a recent post about the Hong Kong Charter, I used a photo of a small temple taken outside of Tuen Mun in a place called 紫田村 Tsz Tin Tsuen, literally “Purple Fields Village”. On the lintel, there is a stone plaque engraved with the characters 神人共樂, or “Spirits and People Enjoying Themselves Together”. This very unexpected notion is echoed in the arcane study of fung shui, a central concept of which is summed up in the expression 天人感應, which means something like “the mutual responding of the natural/spiritual and the human realms”. I have a feeling that ideas such as this may offer us some hope in finding a more satisfying relationship with the Earth. Perhaps a century ago, you could still see whole villages organized according to fung shui principles in Hong Kong’s New Territories, and it must have been an exquisitely beautiful sight, and one now virtually unimaginable after around half a century of cynical “development”.

In this video, we meet Thierry Chow (in Cantonese, 周亦彤 Jāu1 Yihk6 Tùhng4) who works as both a fung shui master and an interior designer. As a microcosm of the universe, our living spaces can also be affected by the way vital energy or 氣 hei3 (or 正面嘅能量 jing3 mihn6 ge3 nàhng4 leuhng6 = positive energy) moves through it, and Chow’s job is to maximize the beneficial flows for the sake of health, wellbeing and good luck: in work, study or romance!

For those of you who are Cantonese learners, the highlight of this video is the use of a rare word in the opening sentence, 直頭 jihk6 tàuh4 = “directly, simply, completely, truly; straight head”. People often use it to emphasize the point they are making. Another example provided by a friend is 佢直頭係我個杯茶!, meaning “She’s exactly my type!” There’s also an interesting use of the aspect marker 返 fāan1 with the verb 平衡, “to balance” — 其實最緊要都係去平衡返自己嗰個心靈呀, neatly expressing the idea of restoring or regaining one’s balance. In the same segment, there is also a good example of express the notion of using something for a particular purpose. The phrase 用紅酒一啲木箱去做嘅架 uses yuhng6, the verb “to use” to introduce the thing that is employed, and then 嚟 or 去 to express the purpose: “to take red-wine crates and make them into shelving”. It’s a very common and useful structure. Oh, and the character 彤 tùhng4 used in Thierry Chow’s Chinese name means “red; vermilion” and there is a noun 彤雲 tùhng4 wàhn4 which means “red clouds” or “dark clouds”.

On the subject of fung shui (sometimes spelt “feng shui” in line with Mandarin romanization), there is a wonderful textbook written by Lee Siu Lun called A Feng Shui Master: Learning Cantonese through Stories. You can see more about the book at the Greenwood Press website here. In it you’ll find the following astonishing comment:

He hopes that this fung shui tomb can make his business prosper, and make his descendants prosper and become rich too. (p.19)

This idea of connecting extended prosperity to the correct siting of an ancestor’s grave was traditionally one of the most important aspects of fung shui practice.

Please scroll down for my transcription and notes. You can view the video here (you are offered subtitles in both English and Standard Written Chinese). 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.


我係 Thierry,係一個風水設計師 | 風水我覺得直頭係中國古時室内設計 | 令到一個人可以有正面能量 | 地方呢,就位於呢個柴灣區 | 樓底呢,四米,士就係一千六百呎嘅 | ,風水角度去睇呢,一個地方最緊要就舒服啦 | 記得其實裝飾就比較簡陋少少 | 因爲佢呢度好 high ceiling 嘅 | 第一下經決定我要好多自然光 | 加窗簾啦 | 我同我老公都好鍾意自然嘅陽光 | 個情緒上係會比較好嘅 | 一入門口呢,可以坐同埋著鞋嘅地方啦 | 噉嗰個位呢 | 我哋就掛咗啲畫喺度 | 放咗一個魚缸嘅 | 魚缸係水 | 噉水呢,財

● 直頭 jihk6 tauh4 = directly, simply, completely, truly; straight head | ●室内設計 sāt1 noih6 chit3 gai3 = interior designer | ● 正面嘅能量 jing3 mihn6 ge3 nàhng4 leuhng6 = positive energy | ● 樓底 làuh4 dái2 = the height between floor and ceiling | ● 裝飾 jōng1 sik1 = ① to decorate ② ornament (perhaps “interior decoration” or “décor” is implied here) | ● 簡陋 gáan2 lauh6 = simple & crude; basic | ● 第一下 = (?) right from the first moment

【1:00 】噉再入到去呢,就會見到一間 kitchen | 空間都係比較 open 嘅 | 個牆上面呢,我哋就用紅酒一啲木箱去做嘅架嘅 | 我呢度九十 percent 嘅傢俬都係二手、朋友唔要我就拎咗返嚟咁樣嘅 | 植物啦、花草啦、啲木嘅傢俬都係木嘅元素 | 可以提升一個人嘅工作運 | 或者係讀書運嘅 | 噉另外就係植物呢,係清潔空氣呀 | 提升一個人個精神呀 | 所以我屋企都好多植物嘅| 右手邊 [UNCLEAR] 我個工作室啦 | 朝頭早我通常都會花少少時間去冥想 | 最近都有一個就係 *jai 叫做 Mercury retrograde | 但個人可能會比較 sensitive 呀 | 其實最緊要都係去平衡返自己嗰個心靈呀 | 因爲佢樓底高啦,加一個閣樓嘅啦 | 可以行樓梯上去|  噉如果想休息就可以喺上面休息

● 木箱 muhk6 sēung1 = wooden box; wooden crate | ● 朝頭早 = morning | ● 冥想 mìhng4 séung2 = this really means “deep thought”, but is often used with the sense of “(spiritual) meditation” | ● 閣樓 gok3 láu4*2 = attic; loft; garret; mezzanine floor

【2:00】窗邊嗰度呢,就有張梳化 | 最嗰個位可以望到出面個海 | 跟住 呢,亦都可以 *hoi 見到就係我啲衫 | 八十 percent 都係二手衫 | 唔同嘅顔色其實可以帶自己唔同嘅情緒啦 | 幾隻顔色都係比較旺桃花嘅 | 譬如係一啲比較紅色少少嘅衫啦 | 好紅嘅都 OK 嘅 | 我會每個星期,我都會安排起碼一至兩日 | 就真係乜都唔做,休息 | 自己有個安穩嘅開始先至可以幫到人 | 個習慣就係譬如我每三個月我就會大清掃一次 | 係有啲負能量嘅嘢呢 | 噉我嗰啲我就會可能整走呀 | 選擇會擺一啲 . . .

● 二手衫 yih6 sáu2 sāam1 = second-hand clothes | ● 旺桃花 mohng6 tòuh4 fāa1 = good luck in romance | ● 安穩 ōn1 wán2 = smooth & steady | ● 大清掃 daaih6 chīng1 sou3= to have a big clean-up

【3:00】. . . 係有一啲好正面能量嘅嘢嘅 | 一對嘅獅子頭 | 中國人嗰個傳統上,代表喜慶啲嘅嘢啦 | 噉而,即係 *je ,有時可能會唔會話覺得突然間運氣差 | 噉會唔會都喺室内都會調動一啲嘢呢 | 有時,室内係可以反應自己嘅習慣、自己個性格啦 | 噉所以呢樣嘢係可以喺室内裏邊去調整返囉

● 喜慶 héi2 hing3 = ① joyous ② festive occasion | ● 調整 tìuh4 jíng2 = to adjust; to regulate; to revise

Learning Cantonese: On Hating and Despising Philosophy with 豬文 Chu Man

A group of young philosophers associated with the group 好青年荼毒室 or (approximately) “Studio for the Corruption of the Very Young” has been very active in recent times on YouTube, and one of its more eloquent members, a man by the name of 豬文 Jyū1 Màhn4 (yes, 豬 means “pig”) looks set to become a kind of Socrates of Hong Kong, opening everything up to question at a time when more and more options are being very firmly screwed down.

In this 10-minute, he tries to get to the bottom of why philosophy has such a low standing in contemporary society, but in the end comes out passionately in favour of his chosen discipline, closing with the idiom: 你哋走寳 — “you’re missing out on a real treasure!”

So, here’s your chance to enjoy an extended intelligent discourse on ideas in Cantonese, with the added bonus of Cantonese subtitles as well! The grammar is fairly straightforward, the only novelty being the expression 唔似得 mh4 chíh5 dāk1, which seems to be the negative version of the very common 好似 hou2 chíh5 = “to be like; to be similar”. Another interesting feature is the shortening of certain compound words, which both clips one element and removes most of the emphasis. Listen out for the following examples: 咁樣 (*gam’eung); 究竟 (*gau’ing, geung); 可以 (*ho’i); 佢哋 (*keui’ei); 好似好 (*houchou); 就會 (*jeui); and 只係 (*jei) — occasionally too the word for philosophy itself, 哲學 jit3 hohk6, sounds more like the abbreviated *ji’ok . . .

Last but not least, you’ll notice that 豬文 pronounces 鞏固 gúng2 gu3 = “to consolidate” as *gwóng gu. In another piece I’ve been working on about fung shui and interior design, the speaker pronounces 魚缸 yùh4 gōng1 = “fish tank” as yùh4 *gwōng1. I was under the impression that the usual tendency was to remove the “w” — common words such as 廣 gwóng2 and 國 gwok3 are often pronounced as góng2 and gok3, making life (all that more vastly) difficult for the learner listener. This opposing tendency is something I can’t recall ever reading about. No doubt it’s there just to keep us on our toes . . .

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.


有冇試過呢,喺條街度 | 問人哋鍾唔鍾意睇書呀?| 或者你哋冇試過喺條街度同人講 | 你最鍾意睇哲學呀?| 你哋有冇試過同朋友講,你最鍾意嘅團體係好青年荼毒室呀?| 唔知當你咁樣同啲朋友嘅時候 | 俾咗啲咩反應你呢?| 雖然通常睇得呢條片嘅你呢 | 應該都對哲學有啲興趣 | 你先會嚟睇呢條咁嘅片嘅 |但係事實上呢 | 喺個社會入便大多數嘅人呢 | 都係非常非常鄙視哲學厘個學科嘅 | 噉今日我就希望同大家討論一下 | 究竟哲學點解會落得如此嘅下場呢 | 究竟佢係咪抵死嘅喇 | Caption: 荼毒青年 | 係好耐之前呢,荼毒室啱啱成立嘅時候呢 | 其實就有一個計劃叫做哲學樹洞 | 就係 *jai 俾各咁多嘅室友呢,去隨意咁樣擺低佢 | 心目中困惑咗好耐嘅哲學問題 | 噉曾經呢,就收到一個 . . .  位好青年室友 . . .

● 團體 tyùhn4 tái2 = organization; group; team | ● 好青年荼毒室 hóu2 chīng1 nìhn4? tòuh4 duhk6 sāt1 = approx. “Studio for the Corruption of the Very Young” cf. 荼毒 = to afflict with great suffering; to torment | ● 鄙視 péi2 sih6 = to despise; to disdain; to look down upon | ● 學科 hohk6 fō1 = branch of learning; course; subject; discipline | ● 如此 yùh4 chí2 = so; such; in this way; like that | ● 下場 haah6 chèuhng4 = end; fate; perhaps even “where someone/something winds up” | ● 抵死 dái2 séi2 = ① serve one right; deserve the punishment; have it coming ② funny and sarcastic; naughty and witty | ● 樹洞 syuh6 duhng6 = a hole (or hollow) in a tree | ● 隨意 chèuih4 yi3 = at will; as one pleases | ● 困惑 kwan3 waahk6 = perplexed; puzzled

Have you ever tried to ask random strangers [人哋] on the street: “Do you like to read?” Or, have you ever tried telling people: “My favourite reading is philosophy”? Have you ever tried to tell your friends that your favourite organization is the Studio for the Corruption of the Very Young? And what I wonder [唔知] was the response you got when you talked to your friends like that? If you are watching this video [?], you are watching it because you ought to be someone with some interest in philosophy; however, for the most part [雖然通常], in actual fact, the majority of people in society despise this discipline of philosophy intensely [非常非常]. Today, I hope to discuss with you why it is that philosophy has come to such a pass [落得如此嘅下場] and whether it serves philosophy right. [Caption: Corrupt the Youth] A long time ago, just after the Studio for Corruption had been established, there was a plan for what was called “The Philosophy Hollow Tree” [哲學樹洞], to give members of the group to set down [?] as they wished any philosophical questions that had been troubling them for a long time. Now, a question was received from a young member of the group . . .

【1:00】. . . K 嘅問題 | 佢就問:究竟點解哲學 | 會淪爲好多人眼中嘅低等學問?| 聽到呢個問題嘅時候呢 | 我就起一位哲學家 Bernard Williams [呀] | 其實曾經寫過一篇文章叫做 | On Hating and Despising Philosophy | 去討論呢個問題 | [噉今日] 呢條片呢,我就會講 Williams 同我自己嘅一啲諗法 | 去答 | 究竟點解哲學會落得如此嘅下場?| 我諗啲人憎哲學呢個學科呢,其中一個最簡單 [係] 香港社會嘅理由就係 | ,揾唔到食吖嘛,乞食科嚟㗎嘛 | 噉我哋好青年荼毒室都成日自嘲 | 我哋揾唔到食 [啦] | 噉我估其中一個令啲人咁憎哲學呢個學科嘅理由 | 就係因爲揾唔到錢 [呢] | 但我諗呢個理由係咪,即係 *je,完全係能夠説明 | 點解哲學咁黑人憎呢? | 我估唔係呀 | 因爲事實上呢,有好多人呢 | 都唔會同時討厭其他嗰啲乞食科嘅 | ,可能其他人文學科啦、或者啲純自然科學嘅學科

● 淪 lèuhn4 = to fall; to be reduced to | ● 眼中 ngáahn5 jūng1 = (?) in the eyes of; in the minds of | ● 低等 dāi1 dáng2 = low-grade | ● 如此 yùh4 chí2 = so; such; in this way; like this | ● 落得下場 lohk6 dāk1 haah6 chèuhng4 = come to a particular end; meet with a particular fate | ● 理由 léih5 yàuh4 = reason; ground; argument | ● 乞食科 hāt1 sīhk6 fō1 = literally 乞食 = “to beg for food” + 科 = “area of study”, so “an area of study that does not lead to highly-paid employment”  | ● 自嘲 jih6 jāau1 = (?) to ridicule oneself; to send oneself up | ● 黑人憎 cf. 乞人憎 hāt1 yàhn4 jāng1 = despicable; detestable; contemptible; annoying | ● 人文學科 yàhn4 màhn4 hohk6 fō1 = the humanities

. . . by the name of K. K. asked: “Why is it that philosophy has, in the eyes of many people, become a low-grade knowledge?” When I heard this question, it reminded me of the philosopher Bernard Williams. [He] once write an essay entitled “On Hating and Despising Philosophy” to discuss this topic. In this video, I would like to say a few words about the views of Williams and myself in answer to why philosophy has come to such a pass. I think the simplest reason why the discipline of philosophy is hated by people in Hong Kong society is because it doesn’t pay the bills [揾唔到食] and is a hat sik fo, an area of study that does not lead to highly-paid employment. We here at the Studio for Corruption are forever laughing at ourselves about not being able to find a job. I guess another reason why people hate philosophy so much because it doesn’t earn much money. However, I wonder whether this reason fully explains why philosophy is so detestable. I don’t think it does, because in actual fact there are many people who do not detest other hat sik fo. So, possibly there are other [subjects in] the humanities or pure science subjects . . .

【2:00】其實可能出到社會呢 | 都未必有相應嘅職業可以俾佢申請嘅 | 噉其實呢啲學科呢,其實都係唔好到食嘅 | 噉事實上嗰啲好憎哲學嘅人又未必 | 同時憎呢啲學科 | 噉如果你純碎用揾唔到錢嚟解釋呢個現象嘅話呢 | 我覺得係唔足夠嘅 | 噉所以呢,我覺得第二個反對哲學呢個學科嘅理由呢 | 就係佢缺乏可能對世界嘅好奇心 | 可能呢,呢啲人呢,未必真係咁金錢至上 | 咁功利覺得一定要揾到錢嘅學科 | 先係一個好學科 | 但佢覺得呢,哲學探討嘅問題呢 | 實在太過奇怪 | 太過離地 | 例如我哋會探[討] | 究竟世界嘅本貌係啲咩呢 | 究竟呢個世界有冇因果關係嘅呢 | 心靈係咪,即係 *je,獨立於物質而存在嘅呢 | 可能好多人呢,聽到呢啲問題呢 | 都摸不著頭腦,究竟你想講乜呀?| 可能佢人生入便根本 | 從來都冇對呢啲問題 | 產生過任何困惑同埋好奇心 | 噉如果佢對呢啲問題完全都冇興趣嘅話 . . .

● 憎 jāng1 = to hate; to detest; to abhor | ● 純碎sèuhn4 seui3 = pure; unadulterated | ● 缺乏 kyuht3 faht6 = to be short of; to lack; to be wanting in | ● 金錢至上 gām1 chín4*2 ji3 seuhng6 = money above all else | ● 功利 gūng1 leih6 = utility; material gain | ● 離地 lèih4 deih6 = to lose touch; to be out of step | ● 本貌 bún2 maauh6 = lit. “original appearance, that is “what something really looks like” | ● 因果關係 yān1 gwó2 gwāan1 haih6 = causality | ● 獨立於 duhk6 laahp6 yū1 = independent of | ● 摸不著頭腦 mó2 bāt1 jeuhk6 tàuh4 nóuh5 = cannot make head or tail of sth; be totally at a loss; be bewildered | ● 困惑 kwan3 waahk6 = perplexed; puzzled

In actual fact [MEANING UNCLEAR] there is not necessarily a corresponding profession to which a person can apply to. Actually, it is not easy to find a job in any of these subject areas. The reality is, those people who really hate philosophy do not necessarily hate these other disciplines. If you use finding a way to earn money pure and simple as the explanation of this phenomenon, I don’t think it is sufficient. For this reason, my feeling is that the second reason for opposing the study of philosophy is that the person may be lacking in curiosity about the world. It may be that these people don’t necessarily [rate] money above all else or are utilitarian enough to think that the only good subject areas are those which must [help you] earn money. However, such a person thinks that the questions discussed in philosophy are really exceedingly bizarre and out of touch [with reality]. For instance, we could talk about what the true appearance of the world actually is. Or whether causality exists in this world. Or whether the soul exists independently of matter. It may be that when many people here these questions, they are bewildered: “What on earth are you talking about?” Perhaps they have never felt the least perplexity or curiosity about such questions in their lives. If such a person [佢] does not have the slightest interest in such questions . . .

【3:00】. . . 佢自然就唔會對哲學有任何熱誠 [呢] | 但呢個解釋呢,仍然都係未足夠 [嘅] | 點解呢?| 因爲我哋可以 *hoi 再問嘅嘛 | 點解嗰啲人會對呢啲問題咁興趣呢?| 覺得呢啲問題係咁無聊、咁離地呢?| 係咪真 [係] 純碎因爲 | 佢缺乏對個世界好奇呢?| 有冇啲更深層次嘅理由 | 去解釋佢哋嘅冷漠呢? | 噉其中一個解釋可能係咁嘅 | 點解嗰啲人會對哲學問題咁冷漠呢? | 就係因爲佢哋會話 | 哈,你睇吓哲學歷史 | 幾千年嚟都冇進步過嘅 | 詏嚟詏去,鬧嚟鬧去 | 根本就冇任何結論產生到出嚟 | 幾千年前,蘇格拉底討論咩公義 | 咩美,咩真理 | 到而家呢一刻 | 哲學界好似仲係探討緊呢啲問題咁樣 | 甚至可能有一啲所謂哲學上最大嘅醜聞 | 就係我哋根本仲未回應到 | 笛卡兒提出幾嘅嗰啲懷疑論嘅質疑 | 究竟世界係咪客觀哋存在嘅呢? | 我哋有冇對個世界嘅知識嘅呢?

● 熱誠 yiht6 sìhng4 = warm & sincere; cordial | ● 無聊 mòuh4 lìuh4 = ① boring; bored ② nonsense; rubbish | ● 冷漠 láahng5 mohk6 = cold & detached; unconcerned | ● 拗 is a variant of variant of 詏 aau3 = to argue; to dispute; to contradict | ● 蘇格拉底 Sōu1 Gaak3 Lāai1 Dái2 = Socrates | ● 公義 gūng1 yih6 = righteousness; justice | ● 到而家呢一刻 dao3 yìh4 gāa1 nī1 yāt1 hāak1 = (?) right up to this present moment | ● 醜聞 cháu2 màhn4 = scandal | ● 笛卡兒 Dehk6 Kāa1 Yìh4 = René Descartes; also written 笛卡爾 Dehk6 Kāa1 Yíh5 | ● 懷疑論 wàaih4 yìh4 leuhn6 = skepticism | ● 客觀哋 haak3 gūn1 déi6*2 = objectively; 客觀嘅 = “objective” is used in the next segment

. . . then naturally he or she will not have any warm feelings towards philosophy. But this explanation is still inadequate. Why? Because again we can ask: Why is it that those people have no interest in philosophy and think that these questions are boring or out of touch [with reality]? Is it really purely [純碎] because they lack curiosity about the world? Could there be a deeper reason that explains their indifference [冷漠]?  An explanation for this might be that the reason these people show no concern for these philosophical questions is that they are liable to say: “Hah! Just take a look at the history of philosophy. In the past few thousand years, there has been no progress! [Philosophers] have argued back and forth, caused trouble here and there, but have basically reached no conclusions. Over the past few thousand years, the justice [公義], beauty and truth discussed by Socrates are the same issues still being investigated today in the world of philosophy. And even worse, there is that great scandal of philosophy that we have no yet responded to those doubts raised by René Descartes’ skepticism about whether the world actually has an objective existence. Do we have knowledge about the world?

 【4:00】有冇可能獲得對個世界客觀嘅了解嘅呢? | 似乎哲學家討論咗咁耐 | 咁多年嚟,咁多咁聰明嘅人 | 咁多咁偉大嘅心靈 | 去思考呢啲問題 | 都一路俾唔到個答案我哋 | 噉好可能呢啲印象呢 | 就提供咗個理由俾我哋相信一樣就係 | 唉,其實哲學問題 | 嘈嚟嘈去,嘈幾千年 | 都冇任何進展、冇任何答案嘅 | 噉我哋仲講嚟做乜呢?| 更加麻煩嘅係 | 如果我哋其他學科 | 同哲學呢個學科做對比嘅時候 | 一比較呢,傷害就出嚟喇 | 你諗吓自然科學進步咗幾多 | 帶領咗我哋認識咗個世界多幾多 | 你諗吓以前可能我哋會覺得 | 懷孕 // 生子係一件好神秘嘅事 | 我哋要透過宗教一啲非自然嘅解釋 | 先能夠了解到呢件事點解會出現 | 但你諗吓,我哋而家現代人 | 都已經唔會再覺得 | 懷孕生子係有任何神秘嘅地方 | 因爲自然科學已經帶領我哋 . . .

● 進展 jeun3 jín2 = to make progress; to make headway | ● 做對比 jouh6 deui3 béi2 = to contrast | ● 傷害 sēung1 hoih6 = to injure; to harm; to hurt | ● 帶領 daai3 líhng5 = to lead; to guide | ● 懷孕 wàaih4 yahn6 = to be pregnant

Is it possible to obtain an objective understanding of this world? It would seem that philosophers have discussed [such questions] for a long time — [over] so many years, so many intelligent human beings, so many great souls have thought about these questions but have never been able to give us any answers. Now quite possibly this impression provides us with a reason for believing one thing: philosophical questions have been argued back and forth for thousands of years without any headway being made or any answers [being found], so what’s the point of going on talking about them? Even more bothersome is [that fact] that, if we contrast philosophy with other disciplines, the harm [to philosophy] emerges at once. Think of how much the natural sciences have advanced, leading us to a knowledge [認識] of the world that is so much greater [than it was before]. Think for a moment how once we probably would have thought of pregnancy [and] giving birth as a very mysterious business, and would have only been able to comprehend how such a thing could be by means of the non-natural explanations of religion. But think how we modern people no longer feel that there is anything the least bit mysterious about getting pregnant and giving birth, the reason being that the natural sciences have led us . . .

【5:00】. . . 好好咁樣了解到呢個現象 | 成個 mechanism 究竟係點樣出現嘅 | 噉所以呢,好多人就會覺得 | 唉,其實哲學嗰啲問題都係冇答案嘅喇 | 我哋討論咗幾千年,人生有咩意義? | 世界嘅公義係點呀?心靈存唔存在?| 呢啲咁嘅問題根本就係冇答案嘅 | 我哋一路仲喺度俾咁多心機 | 去研究一啲冇答案嘅問題 | 唔係就係 *jai 徒勞無功 [啦]?| 所以哲學唔係值得被人鄙視 [囉]?| 要回應呢個對哲學嘅質疑呢,當然係好麻煩呀 | 但我估有一個好簡單,最直接嘅回應嘅 | 個回應係咩?| 就係啱啱講到哲學好似討論咗好多年 | 都係冇答案咁樣 | 噉所以呢,呢個問題就注定係冇答案嘅 | 佢好似咁樣做咗個推論 | 但個問題係 | 呢個立場本身正正就係一個哲學嘅立場 | 就係相信嗰啲問題係冇答案 | 唔值得我哋去討論 | 當你要 argue for 呢個咁嘅立場嘅時候 | 好吊詭哋,你已經進入咗 . . .

● 心機 sām1 gēi1 = energy; effort; patience| ● 徒勞無功 tòuh4 lòuh4 mòuh4 gūng1 = make a futile effort; work to no avail | ● 注定 jyu3 dihng6 = be doomed; be destined | ● 推論 tēui1 leuhn6 = an inference; a deduction | ● 唔值得 mh4 jihk6 dāk1 = not worth | ● 吊詭 diu3 gwái2 = (?) a paradox

. . . to a proper understanding of this phenomenon, how the whole mechanism comes into being [出現]. And so for this reason, many people have the feeling that there are no answers to those philosophical questions. We have been talking about them for thousands of years — What is the meaning of a human life? Wherein lies justice in this world? Does the soul exist? Basically, there is no answer to these questions. Is it not futile to be still putting in so much effort to investigate questions for which there are no answers? And so, doesn’t philosophy deserve to be despised? To have to respond to such doubts about philosophy is of course very tedious, but I get the feeling [估] that there is a very simple and direct way to respond. What is the response? Just now it was said that philosophy has apparently been discussing questions for so many years to which there are no answers, and so for this reason such [questions] are doomed to remain unanswered. Someone, it seems, has made such an inference. But the interesting thing [問題] is, this kind of standpoint is itself precisely a philosophical standpoint, that is, believing that those questions have no answers and are not worth our discussing them. When you have to argue for a standpoint of this kind — paradoxically — you have already entered . . .

【6:00】. . . 哲學嘅領域 | 已經進行緊哲學討論呢 | 所以如果你要用呢個理由去批評哲學呢 | 其實你有個理論負擔 | 其實你要提供論證説明 | 點解其實嗰啲問題係冇答案 | 係唔值得我哋探討 | 而呢件事呢,正正係需要一個哲學嘅論證 | 呢個立場本身正正係一個哲學嘅立場 | 噉順住呢個討論呢 | 其實我哋可以進入到第四個討厭哲學嘅理由 [呀] | 第四個討厭哲學嘅理由呢 | 係牽涉到哲學嘅方法論嘅 | 好多人認爲呢 | 哲學討論問題嘅時候呢 | 只不過喺度吹水 | 因爲佢一來唔似得自然科學咁樣 | 係牽涉到經驗觀察啦 | 二來又唔係好似數學咁樣 | 牽涉到一啲好嚴謹嘅計算 | 好似喺度用一啲 | 所謂思想實驗呀、概念區分呀 | 呢啲咁嘅方法呢,去討論哲學問題 | 噉呢,啲人就覺得呢樣嘢呢 | 係非常之唔紥實嘅 | 但我對呢個質疑嘅回應 | 同我啱啱嘅質疑都係一樣嘅 | 就係呢個正正就係牽涉到哲學應該點樣做嘅問題

● 領域 líhng5 wihk6 = a field; sphere; domain; realm | ● 論證 leuhn6 jing3 = a demonstration; proof| ● 説明 syut3 mìhng4 = ① to explain; to show ② explanation; direction; caption | ● 探討 taam3 tóu2 = to inquire into; to probe into | ● 順住 seuhn6 jyuh6 = along | ● 討厭 tóu2 yim3 = to dislike; to loathe; to be disgusted with | ● 方法論 fōng1 faat3 leuhn6 = methodology | ● 一來 … 二來 …  yāt1 lòih4 … yih6 lòih4 = firstly … secondly … | ● 唔似得 mh4 chíh5 dāk1 = (?) unlike; cf. 好似 hou2 chíh5 = to be like; to be similar | ● 牽涉 hīn1 sip3 = to involve; to drag in | ● 吹水 chēui1 seui2 = to talk rubbish/nonsense | ● 嚴謹 yìhm4 gán2 = rigorous; strict | ● 紥實 jaat3 saht6 = ① sturdy; strong ② solid; sound; down-to-earth | ● 質疑 jāt1 yìh4 = to call into question; to query

. . . the realm of philosophy, and are engaging in a philosophical discussion. And so for this reason, if you wish to criticize philosophy on this basis [理由], then in fact you have a theoretical responsibility: actually, you must provide proofs and explanations [to show] why those questions do not in fact have an answer, and are not worth our investigation. This matter requires a philosophical demonstration. This standpoint is in itself precisely a philosophical position. Now following on from [順住] this discussion, we can proceed to the fourth reason for detesting philosophy. The fourth reason for detesting philosophy involves the methodology of philosophy. A lot of people think that when philosophy discusses a question it is [doing] nothing more than talking nonsense. This is firstly because, unlike the natural sciences, it does not involve experience and observation, and secondly, unlike mathematics, it does involve making any rigorous calculations. It seems that there [in philosophy] one makes use of methods such as what are called “thought experiments” and conceptual distinctions to talk about philosophical questions. Some people feel that such things [that is, “thought experiments” and conceptual distinctions] are extremely unsound. My response to such doubts, however, is that — like my [own] doubt from before — it precisely involves the issue of how philosophy is to be done . . .

【7:00】哲學嘅方法論問題 | 其實已經轉入到所謂 metaphilosophy 嘅領域 | 就係 *jai 哲學哋反省哲學應該點樣進行 | 其實當代或者一直以嚟呢 | 都有好多呢啲咁嘅哲學討論嘅 | 就係哲學家都會諗返自己 | 究竟而家做緊嘢係有冇用嘅呢?係有冇效嘅呢?| 例如現代嘅分析哲學成日會用到思想實驗 | 而其實好多英美嘅哲學家 | 都會後設一部討論 | 究竟 *geung 思想實驗係咪一個鞏固 *gwong gu 嘅好嘅方法 | 去令到我哋逼近個世界 | 所以都係嗰句呢 | 如果你要批評哲學嘅方法論 | 係唔夠嚴謹、係唔紥實 | 只係一班唔知做乜咁樣喺度吹水嘅話呢 | 其實你已經需要一啲哲學論證 | 去支持你嘅立場 | 你咁樣講已經 welcome to philosophy | 噉 [呢] 呢條片我最後一個想討論嘅諗法呢 | 都非常得意嘅 | 嗰啲人呢,其實嚴謹而言呢,唔係批評緊哲學 | 而係批評緊現代嘅學院哲學 | 佢哋會點諗呢?| 佢哋會覺得 // 以前 . . .

● 例如 laih6 yùh4 = for instance; for example | ● 思想實驗 sī1 séung2 saht6 yìhm4 = thought experiment | ● 後設 hauh6 chit3 = cf. chit = ② to work out 3. given; suppose; if | ● 鞏固 gúng2 gu3 = to consolidate; to strengthen | ● 逼近③ bīk1 gahn6 = to press on towards; to close in on; to approach; to draw near | ● 嚴謹而言 yìhm4 gán2 yìh4 yìhn4= strictly speaking

. . . as well as the issue of philosophical method, in fact, the domain of what is called “metaphilosophy”, that is, reflecting philosophically on how philosophy should be carried out. Actually, for most of the contemporary age [當代或者一直以嚟], there have been many such philosophical discussions, [in which] philosophers reflect on themselves and whether what they are doing has any use, whether it is effective or not. For instance, modern analytical philosophy is always using thought experiments, and many English and American philosophers often add a discussion at the end of their writings (?) [都會後設一部討論], wondering whether thought experiments are a good way to consolidate [their arguments], enabling us to get closer to the world. For this reason, we come back to that same old phrase again [所以都係嗰句呢]: if you wish to criticize philosophy’s methods as not being rigorous enough, as being out of touch, as being the idle talk of a bunch of people who have no idea what they are doing, then in fact you are in need of some philosophical proofs to support your standpoint. You have already [reached the point] of “Welcome to Philosophy”. The final idea I would like to discuss in this video is very interesting. Those people [who claim to detest philosophy] are not criticizing philosophy [per se] but instead modern academic philosophy. What would they think this? They are liable to feel that // in the past . . .

【8:00】. . . 嗰啲偉大嘅哲學家,可能蘇格拉底、可能孔子、或者耶穌咁樣 | 佢哋真真實實咁樣呢,影響咗好多好多人嘅生命 | 而家嘅所謂哲學研究 | 只不過係一堆象牙塔嘅學者 | 喺度玩緊學術遊戲 | 玩緊啲概念嘅遊戲 | 喺度討論啲不著邊際嘅問題 | 而象牙塔以外 | 真實嘅社會、真實嘅世界 | 根本就冇人會 care 嗰啲人點樣諗 | 噉所以簡單講呢,呢種批評呢 | 係批評緊現代哲學嘅墮落 | 佢已經喪失咗古典時期 | 種哲學嘅影響力 | 嗰種哲學可以走進每一個人嘅生命 | 真真實實咁樣影響每一個人嘅嗰種力量 | 現代哲學只係淪爲一啲文字嘅遊戲 | 噉我喺呢條片開始提到 Williams 個篇文呢 | 都討論過呢個問題 | 佢話呢,其實拍拉圖呢 | 係第一個强調哲學應該走進生命嘅人 | 但佢話最攪笑嘅、最吊詭係 | 哲學正正喺拍拉圖嘅手上變得非常之離地 | 例如拍拉圖自己創立嘅拍拉圖學院

● 象牙塔 jeuhng6 ngàah4 taap3 = ivory tower | ● 學術遊戲 hohk6 seuht6 yàuh4 hei3 = (?) academic game | ● 不著邊際 bāt1 jeuhk6 bīn1 jai3 = neither here nor there; irrelevant | ● 墮落 doh6 lohk6 = to degenerate; to sink low | ● 淪 lèuhn4 = to fall; to be reduced to | ● 拍拉圖 Paak3 Lāai1 Tòuh4 = Plato

. . . those great philosophers, Socrates perhaps, or Confucius, or Jesus have had a real impact on the lives of many, many people. What is called “philosophical research” these days [means] nothing more than a bunch [堆, lit. “heap”] of scholars in ivory towers playing academic games, playing games with concepts, or talking about issues that have nothing to do with anything [不著邊際]. They basically don’t care what people think beyond the ivory tower, in real society, in the real world. So, to put it simply, this kind of criticism is a criticism of the degeneration of modern philosophy. It has lost the philosophical influence of the classical era, [an era when] that kind of philosophy could make its way into the lives of every single individual, and was that kind a force that could a genuine influence on everyone. Modern philosophy has degenerated into a play with words [一啲文字嘅遊戲]. At the beginning of this video, I mentioned the essay by Bernard Williams, who also talked about this issue. He says that in actual fact Plato was the first person to say that philosophy should play a part in people’s lives [走進生命], but the most ridiculous and paradoxical thing was, in the hands of Plato, philosophy became something extremely remote from ordinary life [非常之離地]. By way of an example, at the academy which he established, Plato . . .

【9:00】據説呢,個門口上面呢,就掛住一個牌 | 就寫住:唔識幾何學嘅人呢,係唔可以入嚟嘅 | 所以攪笑嘅係拍拉圖明明 | 强調哲學應該要走進每一個人嘅生命 | 回應我哋人生入面一啲最基本嘅問題 | 但另一方面呢,佢就令到哲學非常專業化 | 高度嘅學術化 | 就令到一般人呢,好難親近 | 因爲至少呢,你要識得幾何學,你先可以走入哲學家嘅世界 | 面對呢個批評呢,我自己呢,有兩個諗法嘅 | 第一個諗法呢,就係 *jai | 我認爲的而且確呢,現代嘅學術環境呢 | 係會令到有大量毫無意義嘅學術論文所產生咗出嚟 | 真係有好多呢,喺度玩緊概念或者文字遊戲 | 噉我以我自己為例呢 | 我成日都講,我自己 // 真係唔係好鍾意攪學術嘅 | 但我覺得呢個 | 唔係哲學喺現代社會特有嘅問題 | 而其實係成個大環境 | 高等教育界或者學術界嘅一啲制度上嘅問題 | 噉啊 . . .

● 據説 geui3 syut3 = it is said; they say; allegedly | ● 幾何學 géi2 hòh4 hohk6 = geometry | ● 專業化 jyūn1 yihp6 faa3 = specialization | ● 親近 chān1 gahn6 = to be close to; to be on intimate terms with | ● 的而且確 dīk1 yìh4 ché2 kok3 = indeed; really | ● 毫無意義 hòuh4 mòuh4 yi3 yih6 = (?) totally meaningless| ● 大環境 daaih6 wàahn4 gíng2 = (?) a bigger/broader context | ● 高等教育界 gōu1 dáng2 gaau3 yuhk6 gaai3 = roughly, “the world of higher education”

. . . it is said, above the door they hung up a sign on which it was written “Those Who Do Not Know Geometry Cannot Enter Here”. And so, what is so ridiculous is that Plato obviously emphasized that philosophy should play a part [走進 = to go into; to enter] in every person’s life and respond to the fundamental questions in our human lives, but on the other hand he caused philosophy to become extremely specialized and highly academic, so that ordinary people could not feel close to it, the reason being that — at the very least — you had to have an understanding of geometry before you could enter the world of philosophy. Faced with this criticism, I myself have two ideas. The first idea is that I think that it is true [的而且確] that the modern academic environment can lead to the production of a large volume of completely meaningless academic dissertations, and there really are a large number [of individuals] who are engaged in playing conceptual or linguistic games. Let me use myself as an example. I’m always going on about how I really don’t like academic pursuits [攪學術] very much, but it is my feeling that this is not a problem particular to philosophy in modern society but one [that involves] a bigger context [大環境]. Systemic problems in the world of higher education or academia . . .

【10:00】. . . 其實就唔係完全係哲學呢個學科要面對嘅問題 | 我曾幾何時呢,啱啱入咗哲學系嘅時候呢 | 都好心急,好希望哲學快啲回應到 | 我人生嘅一啲基本嘅問題 | 例如死亡究竟點樣影響我哋人生啦 | 人生究竟有啲咩意義啦 | 我一路都好渴求呢啲答案 | 希望哲學家呢,可以話到俾我聽 | 噉當我抱住呢個咁嘅期待同埋渴求去入哲學系嘅時候呢 | 我開頭呢,老實講,其實都係好失望嘅 | 我當時嘅感覺呢,exactly 就好似啱啱對哲學嘅嗰啲批評者所講咁 | 就係 *jai,哈,點解你哋呢啲咁嘅哲學家或者學者 | 好似好巴閉、好似好勁 | 但係講嚟講去都冇真係回應到 | 我心目中 [又或者] 我人生入便呢 [啲] 最真實嘅疑惑嘅 | 點解你仲未答我人生有啲咩意義嘅?| 噉但係我讀得哲學越多 [啦],我就慢慢發現呢 | 其實只不過我當初太心急 | 因爲其實我哋當然每一個人生命入便 | 都有啲好真實嘅困惑 | 好希望哲學家去回答佢哋

● 曾幾何時 chàhng4 géi2 hòh4 sìh4 = before long; not long after | ● 渴求 hot3 kàuh4 = to yearn for | ● 期待 kèih4 doih6 = to expect; to await; to look forward to | ● 開頭 hōi1 tàuh4 = to begin; to start (intransitive verb) | ● 巴閉 bāa1 bai3 = ① arrogant; flashy; showy; fussy; noisy ② impressive; high and mighty| ● 勁 gehng6 = strong; powerful; vigorous; sturdy | ● 當初 dōng1 chō1 = originally; at the outset; in the first place; at that time

. . . In fact, this is not something that the discipline of philosophy [alone] faces. Not long after I became a student [入咗 = entered] in a philosophy department, I was eager and hoping that philosophy would soon provide answers [回應到] to the fundamental questions of my life. For instance, how does death affect our lives as human beings [我哋人生 = our human lives]? What is the meaning of life? I was yearning for answers [to these questions], hoping that philosophers could tell me [話到俾我聽]. When I became a student of philosophy, full of [抱住 = to hold in one’s arms; to cherish] such expectations and yearnings, at first, to tell you the truth, I was in fact very disappointed. My feelings at that time were exactly like those people who are critical of philosophy, that is, “Huh! Why is that that philosophers and scholars like you — [even though] you seem so impressive and so forceful — have not really answered the very real perplexities in my mind and in my life, [despite all] the talking back and forth. Why haven’t you answered me about what the meaning of my life is. However, the more I studied philosophy, I gradually came to realize [發現 = to discover] that it was just that I was too impatient when I began [當初]. Because in fact naturally in the life of every [single] one of us, there are some very real [sources of] perplexity which we hope the philosophers can provide answers to [去回答].

【11:00】但個問題就係 | 呢啲問題本身實在太過難答 [喇] | 我哋唔能夠期望有一個好簡單嘅答案 | 例如人生有咩意義呢個問題 | 乍看好似好 *houchou 簡單 | 但你越問落去就挖出一啲好離地嘅問題 | 例如究竟人係啲咩呢? | 世界係咩嚟㗎呢? | 人同世界嘅關係邊度呢? | 人類究竟可以知道幾多嘢呢? | 人類嘅語言點樣同個世界連擊起嚟呢 | 其實呢堆問題睇落好離地 | 但當你從一個好在地 | 嘅人生意義,呢個哲學問題出發 | 你無何避免哋一路問落去 | 就會 *jeui 問到一啲咁高度抽象 | 咁離地嘅哲學問題 | 所以我個意思係 | 如果你對呢啲咁在地嘅哲學問題 | 有一種好真熾嘅渴求嘅話呢 | 你唔能夠期望有一個好即食嘅答案俾到你 | 你應該有耐性慢慢一步一步咁樣思考 | 而唔應該拒絕嗰啲睇落好似好離地 | 同你人生唔相干嘅 | 形上學問題啦 . . .

● 難答 nàahn4 daap3 = difficult to answer | ● 期望 kèih4 mohng6 = a hope; an expectation; here, 期望 clearly works as a verb | ● 乍看 jaa3 hon3 = at first glance (cf. 驟眼睇 jaauh6 ngáahn5 tái2) | ● 挖出 waat3 chēut1 = to dig [out]; to excavate | ● 連繫lìhn4 haih6 = (?) connection; link | ● 睇落 tái2 lohk6 = come across as; seem; appear; look like; look as if | ● 在地 joih6 deih6 = (?) on the ground; down-to-earth | ● 真熾 jan1 chi3 = ? (I am not sure if this is what 豬文 Jyu Man says here. The subtitles have 熱熾 yiht6 chi3, which is not in my dictionaries either! But the basic meaning of 熾 is “flaming; ablaze”). | ● 即食 jīk1 sihk6 = fast food | ● 相干 sēung1 gōn1 = have to do with; be concerned with

But the problem [問題] is, these questions are in themselves real too difficult to answer. We can’t expect there to be a very simply-obvious answer. For instance, the question “What is the meaning of life?” seems quite simple at first, but the more you go into it [越問落去 = the more one asks down (into it)], you dig up some very “off the wall” [離地] issues, such as “What really is a human being?” “What is this world?” “Where does the link between people and the world reside?” “How much can human beings actually know?” “How do human languages link up with the world?” Actually, this pile of questions is seemingly very remote from everyday concerns [離地], but when start out from a very down-to-earth [在地] philosophical question about the meaning of human life, inevitably as you go on making inquiries you will end up asking [就會問到] some highly abstract, “off the wall” philosophical questions. For this reason, what I mean is that if you have a burning desire [to understand] such down-to-earth philosophical questions, you can’t expect [唔能夠期望] there to be a fast-food answer for you. You should think things through slowly, with patience, step by step, and you shouldn’t refuse those seemingly remote and metaphysical questions that have no bearing on your life . . .

【12:00】. . . 知識論問題或者語言哲學嘅問題 | 所以簡單講,我覺得哲學離地呢 | 唔係因爲佢匿埋喺個象牙塔度故作高深 | 而係其實嗰啲哲學問題本身真係好複雜 | 佢冇辦法唔咁樣去討論嗰啲問題 | 噉如果你一心只係 *jei 想追求一種人生嘅慰藉 | 好可能呢,你應該去書局買本 | 「讓你過得幸福快樂嘅十個要訣」呢啲書 | 而唔係買一本哲學書 | 噉所以其實呢條片講到尾呢,想做啲咩呢? | 就係話俾嗰啲討厭哲學嘅人聽 | 其實係你哋唔識貨 | 你哋走寳 [喇] | 拜拜

● 知識論 jī1 sīk1 leuhn6 = epistemology; a theory of knowledge | ● 匿埋 nēi1 màaih4 = to hide | ● 故作高深 gu3 jok3 gōu1 sām1 = pretend to be erudite & profound | ● 慰藉 wai3 jihk6 = to console | ● 書局 syū1 gúk6*2 = bookstore; bookshop | ● 要訣 yiu3 kyut3 = tricks of the trade | ● 識貨 sīk1 fo3 = be able to tell good from bad; know what’s what | ● 走寳 jáu2 bóu2 = miss out on something good

. . . nor those questions to do with epistemology or the philosophy of language. For this reason, to put it simply, I think that philosophy is remote from everyday life [離地] not because it hides itself away in an ivory tower pretending to be erudite and profound but actually because philosophical questions are by nature very complex. [Philosophy] cannot discuss such questions in any other way. Now if you are bent on searching out some kind of consolation for your life, you would probably be better off going to a bookstore to buy a book such as Ten Secrets for a More Fortunate, Happier You, not a book on philosophy. In the final analysis, then, what does this video want to achieve [想做啲咩呢]? To tell you people who despise philosophy that you don’t know what’s what, and that you’re missing out on a real treasure. Good-bye.

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: 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

Hong Kong Uplift Two: Kongstories No. 100

This episode of 港故仔 Kongstories was made to commemorate the remarkable effort of making 100 consecutive videos in as many weeks. It brims with fantastic Kong-optimism and is full of words such as 恩典 yān1 dín2 = grace, 傳奇 chyùhn4 kèih4 = legendary, and 祝福 jūk1 fūk1 = a blessing, words now that possibly only the bravest, most visionary of Hongkongers would dare voice. The inspirational message is summed up in the phrases: 我哋香港人係有能力嘅 | 只要你願意,我哋每個人都可以成就傳奇 . . .

If you are not interested in the Cantonese aspects of the video, please click here to view it — the English subtitles are generally very good.

But if Cantonese is what you’re after, highlights in the language department include the structure 一 … 半 … used with measure words, which seems to convey a sense of “merely” or something like “measly” in English: 拍一條半條 = “to make a measly single video”. Also, there’s the adverb 不間斷 bāt1 gāan1 dyuhn6 = (?) “uninterrupted; without interruption” as well as a number of four-character phrases: 木口木面 muhk6 háu2 muhk6 mihn6 = pudding faced; 一事無成 yāt1 sih6 mòuh4 sìhng4 = accomplish nothing; get nowhere; and 成就傳奇 sìhng4 jauh6 chyùhn4 kèih4 = (?) to accomplish something that becomes a legend.

The episode finishes with a long list of personal names. Apart from being good practice (the list includes some less commonly seen surnames, including 霍 Fok3 and 詹 Jīm1) and you can also use these names to search for further videos in the 港故仔 Kongstories series.

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.


唔收錢咁樣為香港拍片 | 拍一條半條,邊個都得 | 拍十條或者都大有人在,拍到五十條可能已經唔多 | 能夠堅持一百個星期,或者香港開埠以 | 可能只有我 | 港故仔 | 由2016年嘅7月2號開始 | 第一集《港故仔》播出之後 | 不間斷持續一百個星期 | 呢份堅毅完全體現咗香港精神 | 我哋唔係講多過做,我哋做咗先講 | 香港人係有能力、有夢想、有堅持、有作爲 | 我哋每個香港人都可以,只要我哋願意一齊為自己 | 為家庭、為香港走多一步,堅持多一啲 | 我哋嘅香港本身就係一個傳奇 | 過去呢一百個星期,我哋經歷咗好多唔同嘅恩典 | 呢一百個唔同香港嘅故仔【1:00】有希望成爲你哋嘅祝福

● 收錢 sāu1 chín4*2 = to charge (money); to take money for doing sth. | ● 拍片 paak3 pín3*2 = (?) to shoot a film; make a video | ● 開埠 hōi1 fauh6 = lit. “to open a (new) port”; generally used to refer to the English settlement of Hong Kong Island | ● 播出 bo3 chēut1 = to broadcast | ● 不間斷 bāt1 gāan1 dyuhn6 = (?) uninterrupted; without interruption | ● 堅毅 gīn1 ngaih6 = firm & persistent; with unswerving determination; with inflexible will | ● 體現 tái2 yihn6 = to embody; to incarnate; to reflect; to give expression to | ● 作爲 jok3 wàih4 = 1. deed; conduct; act 2. to accomplish; to do something worthwhile | ● 傳奇 chyùhn4 kèih4 = legend; legendary| ● 恩典 yān1 dín2 = favour; grace | ● 祝福 jūk1 fūk1 = a blessing; a benediction

當我哋香港人生活上遇上唔同嘅困難 | 可能會有失意、迷茫、困惑、痛苦嘅時候 | 但係希望你唔好放棄,唔好失去盼望 | 我哋有一百個港故仔去鼓勵你、勉勵你 | 無論你以前係咪曾經喺毒海裏邊或者係讀書唔正 | 或者係木口木面,可能而家係一事無成 | 又或者環境對你有大嘅捆 [擾] | 就算冇人明白你,好似冇人幫到你 | 我哋港故仔好想話你聽:我哋香港人係得嘅 | 我哋香港人係有能力嘅 | 只要你願意,我哋每個人都可以成就傳奇 | 只要你願意,先付出,為別人貢獻自己 | 將來有一日,你會成爲香港嘅傳奇 | 我哋每一個人嘅付出 | 就係成就【2:00】呢個香港東方之珠嘅基石

● 失意 sāt1 yi3 = to have one’s aspirations, plans, etc. thwarted | ● 盼望 paan3 mohng6 = to hope for; to long for; to look forward to | ● 勉勵 míhn5 laih6 = to encourage; to urge | ● 唔正 mh4 jeng3 = not very good | ● 木口木面 muhk6 háu2 muhk6 mihn6 = pudding faced | ● 一事無成 yāt1 sih6 mòuh4 sìhng4 = accomplish nothing; get nowhere | ● 捆擾kwan3 yíu2 = to perplex; to puzzle (subtitles have 捆綁 = usu. to bind; to tie up) | ● 成就傳奇 sìhng4 jauh6 chyùhn4 kèih4 = (?) to accomplish something that becomes a legend | ● 為別人貢獻自己 wàih4 bīt1 yàhn4 gung3 hin3 jih6 géi2 = to devote/dedicate oneself for others | ● 東方之珠 Dūng1 Fōng1 jī1 jyū1 = the Pearl of the Orient | ● 基石 = gēi1 sehk6 = foundation stone; cornerstone

我係梁淑儀 Lèuhng4 Suhk6 Yìh4 / Zoe Leung
我係文曉光 Màhn4 Híu2 Gwōng1 / Henry Man
我叫黎演樂 Làih4 Yín2 Lohk6 / Lock Lai
我係鄭淦元 Jehng6 Gam3 Yùhn4 / Ken Cheng
我叫藍全傑 Làahm4 Chyùhn4 Giht6 / Manson Lam
我就江富德 Gōng1 Fu3 Dāk1 / Kong Fu Tat
我叫陳浩源 Chàhn4 Houh6 Yùhn4 / Denial Chan
我叫做謝寳達 Jeh6 Bóu2 Daaht6 / Donald Tse
我叫黃明慧 Wòhng4 Mìhng4 Wai3 / Jennifer Wong
我叫志鵬 Fok3 Ji3 Pàahng4 / Thomas Fok
我叫黃岳永 Wòhng4 Ngohk6 Wíhng5 / Erwin Huang
我係羅孟慶 Lòh4 Máahng5 Hing3 / Jeff Law
我係張柏淳 Jēung1 Paak3 Sèuhn4 / Dennis Shun
我係阿露。何嘉露 Hòh4 Gāa1 Louh6 / I am Lu
我叫糖兄峰 (潘雲峰) Pūn1 Wàhn4 Fūng1 / I am Poon Wan Fung
我叫麥心睿 Mahk6 Sām1 Yeuih6 / I am Lesley Mak
我哋叫 The Wave
我叫詹家俊 Jīm1 Gāa1 Jeun3 / I am Wallnex Jim
我叫黃子財 Wòhng4 Jí2 Chòih4 / I am Colon Wong

香港土生土長 | 七百萬個故仔 | 成就一個香 . . . 港故仔

Learning Cantonese: Kin-man’s Bookroom, Kim Dae Jung’s Prison Writings (Part 1)

陳健民 Chan Kin-man is a very thoughtful fellow and he uses the videos collected in his 健民書房 series to illuminate Hong Kong’s current predicament by offering ideas and insights from the books he has grappled with. In this episode, he tackles the question “Why do good people suffer?” via the prison letters of Korean democracy activist 金大中 Kim Dae Jung. Along the way, he also brings in a visit to Jimmy Lai, still in detention until his forthcoming trial in April or May, Dostoyevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov, and some of the ideas of the French philosopher, priest and palaeontologist, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

Chan uses plenty of sophisticated vocabulary, much of which is worth making your own. You’ll notice too that he tends to pronounce the third-person pronoun 佢 as héuih5 and is a heavy user of that common filler 即係 *je!

Please scroll down for my transcription and notes (the transcription is a bit rough in places, but the translation is pretty accurate, because I’ve been able to use the subtitles to fill in the parts I can’t hear clearly). You can view the video here (you are offered subtitles in both English and Standard Written Chinese). 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.

I will add the second part of this episode in the coming weeks . . .


各位,歡迎返到我健民書房 | 前幾日我走去探黎智英先生 | 啊,非常之,即係 *je ,深感觸嘅一次探訪啦 | 我亦都 Facebook 裏邊寫一個 post 【貼文】啦 | 啊見到一個傳媒嘅老闆 | 著住件,即係 *je ,殘舊嘅囚衣 | 坐喺個探訪室玻璃窗嘅另一面 | 當然我係有特別深嘅感觸啦 | 噉但係就覺得自己嘅生命係活喺上帝嘅恩典裏邊 | 佢亦都相信上帝對佢嘅人生自有安排嘅 | 噉,呃,好多人都話,喂,其實你一早應該要走剌 | 佢就話,佢能夠為香港做多事因爲佢留咗落 | 噉佢覺得係無怨無悔嘅 | 我覺得佢係非常之堅强呀,哈 | 噉作爲一個天主教徒我好相信呢,佢嘅信仰係支撐住佢嘅 | 但當佢一講到屋企人嗰陣時候 | 特別係覺得屋企人好擔心佢呢 | 佢就差唔多,即係 *je ,講唔到,即係 *je ,説話

● 黎智英 Làih4 Ji3 Yīng1 = Jimmy Lai Chee-ying | ● 感觸 gám2 jūk1 = thoughts & feelings; feeling (感觸 is regularly used with 深 sām1 = deep)| ● 殘舊 chàahn4 gauh6 = tattered; ragged; worn out | ● 囚衣 chàuh4 yī1 = prison clothes | ● 探訪室 taam3 fóng2 sāt = (?) visitors room | ● 恩典 yān1 dín2 = grace | ● 自有安排 jih6 yáuh5 [ng]ōn1 pàaih4 = (?) has His own arrangements | ● 無怨無悔 mòuh4 yun3 mòuh4 fui3 = have neither complaints nor regrets | ● 堅强 gīn1 kèuhng4 = strong; firm; staunch | ● 支撐 jī1 chāang1 = to prop up; to sustain; to support

Note: The grammar of the sentence 噉做爲一個天主教徒我好相信呢,佢嘅信仰係支撐住佢嘅 actually suggests that Chan Kin-man is himself a Catholic, but in actual fact the phrase 我好相信呢 is an insertion, and possibly even a form of displacement, coming between 做爲一個天主教徒 and the preposition it modifies, 佢.

Welcome all of you to my “Kin-man’s Bookroom”.  A few days ago, I paid a visit to Mr Jimmy Lai, an extremely moving, a deeply moving, visit. I also wrote a post about it on Facebook. Of course, I was deeply moved, seeing this media boss dressed in ragged prison clothes sitting on the other side of a glass window in the visitors room. He, however, felt that he lived his life in the grace of God [係活喺上帝嘅恩典裏邊]. He was also of the belief that God had made arrangements of His own [自有安排] for Lai’s existence. Many people have said that he should have left [Hong Kong] long ago, [but] to this he replied that the reason why he has been able to do so much for Hong Kong is because he stayed. He felt that he had nothing to complain of and has no regrets. My sense is that he is exceptionally strong. Since he is a Catholic, I firmly believe that his faith sustains him. However, once he began to talk about his family, and feeling in particular that his family was very worried about him, it was hard for him to go on talking [講唔到説活].

【1:00】 | 甚至流眼淚落嚟嘅 | 噉啊作爲,即係 *je ,曾經坐過監嘅人 | 即係 *je ,對於屋企人嘅内疚我係好完全理解得到嘅 | 噉啊離開咗呢個監獄之後唔夠半個鐘頭呢 | 政府就宣佈呢,用國安法繼續係加控,即係 *je ,黎智英嘅罪名嘅 | 噉佢要,即係 *je ,繼續被還押至到出年四月呢,係先至受審嘅 | 即係 *je 話,未有罪都好啦,已經要坐四五個月嘅監獄嘅 | 噉呢個就係 *jai 香港嘅情況 | 喺佢探訪之後,我係諗起,呃,一本書 | um 亦都係今日呢個健民書房同大家分享嘅 | 因爲嗰個對話好宗教性 | 咁我就諗起 um, 即係 *je ,韓國嘅民主運動嘅金大中 | 佢喺獄中裏邊呢,就寫咗好多信 | 噉啊編咗本書叫做 Prison Writings | 噉啊唔係幾好睇我當時覺得 | 因爲實在太過宗教性喇 | um ,金大中呢 . . .

● 内疚 noih6 gau3 = compunction; guilty conscience | ● 還押 wàahn4 [ng]aat3 = (?) to be remanded in custody | ● 受審 sauh6 sám2 = to stand trial; to be tried | ● 宗教性 jūng1 gaau3 sing3 = of a religious nature | ● 金大中 Gām1 Daaih6 Jūng1 = Kim Dae Jung

He even shed tears. As someone who has spent time in prison, I perfectly comprehend this feeling of guilt with regard to one’s family. Less than half an hour after leaving the prison, the government announced that they would continue to add charges against Jimmy Lai by using the National Security Law. He will remain in custody [awaiting trial] until April or May next year. Which means that, even though he has not yet been found guilty, he still has to spend four or five months in prison. This is what the situation is like in Hong Kong. After my visit to him, I thought of a book, one that I am also sharing with you all today in “Kin-man’s Bookroom”.  Because my interchange with Lai was of quite a religious nature, it made me think of Kim Dae Jung, [a figure in] Korea’s democracy movement. While he was in jail, he wrote a great many letters. These were put together in a book called Prison Writings. Not a great read I thought when I first read it because it was too religious. Now Kim Dae Jung . . .

【2:00】噉係韓國嘅,即係 *je ,民主運動嘅領袖啦 | 佢曾經有一件好傳奇嘅事情 | 就喺1973年當佢流亡去到日本呢 | 韓國嘅政府呢,竟然係派佢哋,即係 *je ,C.I.A. ,哈,佢哋嘅中央情報局呢 | 走到日本裏邊擄劫咗佢呢,係返返去,呃,即係 *je ,韓國嘅 | 而喺嗰個公海嗰度呢,甚至係將佢綁咗喺石頭度 | 諗住抌佢落海呢,就整死佢嘅 | 但係點知道呢,就美國嘅,即係 *je ,軍方呢,就一路就知道呢件事情 | 噉就派飛機喺架船嘅上空裏邊呢,係徘徊 | 噉啊一路監察住佢之後呢,呢個韓國嘅軍政府先至冇落手嘅 | 噉啊結果就送返返去,即係 *je ,韓國嘅本土嘅 | 噉但係佢喺呢個1980年嗰陣時候呢 | 因爲呢個光州嘅事件呢 | 佢係曾經被政府呢,係被,呃,控告 | 跟住就送到軍事法庭裏邊呢,告佢一個叛亂罪嘅

● 領袖 líhng5 jauh6 = leader | ● 傳奇 chyùhn4 kèih4 = as an adjective, this means “legendary”, referring to someone “unusual” [奇] whose exploits are “passed on down” [傳] through the ages | ● 中央情報局 Jūng1 Yēung1 Chìhng4 Bou3 Guhk6 = the Central Intelligence Agency | ● 擄劫 lóuh5 gip3 = (?) to abduct | ● 公海 gūng1 hói2 = the high seas | ● 丟抌 dīu1 dám2 = (?) to throw away; to discard | ● 整死 jíng2 séi2 = (?) to kill; to do away with | ● 軍方 gwān1 fōng1 = the military | ● 徘徊 pùih4 wùih4 = usu. “to pace up & down” or “to wander”, but here the context suggests “to hang around” or “to fly back and forth (overhead)” | ● 軍政府 gwān1 jing3 fú2 = a military government | ● 落手 lohk6 sáu2 = usu. “to set about”; perhaps “to lay a hand on” or “to do the deed” here | ● 本土 bún2 tóu2 = one’s native country | ● 光州嘅事件 Gwōng1 Jāu1 ge3 Sih6 Gín6*2 = the Gwangju massacre in the aftermath of the coup d’état of December Twelfth | ● 控告 hung3 gou3 = to charge; to accuse | ● 叛亂罪 buhn6 lyuhn6 jeuih6 = ? cf. 叛亂 = “armed rebellion”

Note: I cannot find a dictionary definition for the compound 擄劫. Also, remember that as a verb 整 jíng2 in Cantonese can take on a whole range of meanings, just like “to make” or “to do” in English. Only the resultative 死 (“dead”) gives the specific meaning of “to kill”.

. . . was a leader in Korea of the democracy movement. Something once happened to him which is the stuff of legends. In 1973, while he was in exile in Japan, the Korean government actually went so far as [竟然] to dispatch members of their own secret service to abduct him and take him back to Korea. [Sailing back] on the high seas, they even went so far as to tie him to a rock [將佢綁咗喺石頭度] with the intention of throwing him down [into the water] in order to kill him. But who would have guessed that the American army had all along known about this matter and so sent an aeroplane to fly back and forth above the ship to keep an eye on it and only because of this, the Korean military government did not go through with the killing.  As a result, he was sent back to his own country, Korea. However, in 1980, owing to the Gwangju Massacre, he was charged by the government and sent to [appear before] a military court, where he was accused of the crime of (?) armed rebellion [叛亂罪].

【3:00】就判佢死刑嘅 | 噉結果喺美國同埋日本嘅壓力底下呢,先至係轉咗係一個,即係 *je ,入獄嘅一個嘅,即係 *je ,嘅懲罰 | 噉啊結果,獄中裏邊呢,先係,呃,坐咗大概六個月度,五、六個月都係單獨監禁嘅 | 跟住呢,先只係正式監禁大概年幾兩年度 | 佢就離開監獄嘅 | 噉佢坐過五、六個月呢,有啲似而家,即係 *je ,黎智英個情況呢,黎智英而家都係單獨監禁緊嘅 | 佢,呃,除咗嗰次嘅監禁之外呢,1985年至到86年呢,佢亦都係被軟禁,哈 | 就唔係正正式式喺監獄裏邊呢,係被軟禁嘅 | 噉所以其實佢陸陸續續咁樣不斷咁樣係坐監呀 | 受到生命嘅威脅嘅 | 佢喺佢坐監同埋被軟件期間呢 | 佢都係容許寫信俾屋企人 | 但係都係一張紙,一個信箋嘅 | 喺一張好薄嘅紙

● 死刑 séi2 yìhng4 = the death penalty | ● 入獄 yahp6 yuhk6 = to be put in prison; to be sent to jail | ● 懲罰 chìhng4 faht6 = to punish; to penalize | ● 度 dóu2 = roughly; approximately; almost | ● 單獨監禁 dāan1 duhk6 gāam1 gam3 = (?) solitary confinement | ● 有啲似 yáuh5 dī1 chíh5 = there is something of a resemblance to | ● 軟禁 yúhn5 gam3 = to put sb. under house arrest | ● 陸陸續續 luhk6 luhk6 juhk6 juhk6 = one after another; in succession| ● 容許 yùhng4 héui1 = to tolerate; to permit; to allow | ● 信簡 seun3 gáan2 = ? cf. 簡 gáan2 = letter; note; bamboo slip (for writing on) (In Cantonese 信箋 seun3 jin3 = “letter paper” is not (generally) used, it would seem.)

Subsequently, he was given the death penalty but, under pressure from the United States and Japan, this was reduced [轉咗] to punishment by imprisonment [instead]. As a result, he was put in prison for approximately 6 months, he was in solitary confinement for 5 or 6 months, then after that, he officially went to prison for roughly two years. He spent 5 or 6 months in prison, a bit like what has happened to Jimmy Lai, who is now in solitary confinement. Apart from this spell in prison, between 1985 and 1986 [Kim Dae Jung] was put under house arrest, not officially in prison but under house arrest. So, he spent his time in one form of prison or another [不斷咁樣係坐監] and he lived in danger of his life [受到生命嘅威脅嘅]. While he was in prison and under house arrest, he was permitted to write letters to his family, but only one piece of paper, a sheet of letter paper, on a sheet of very thin paper . . .

【4:00】就寫嗮下落去,而且經過政治審查 | 所以佢信裏邊呢,其實好少係講到政治嘅問題 | 基本上咪都係講佢嘅宗教信仰呀 | 呃,講佢,即係 *je ,點樣叮囑佢啲屋企人點樣去到呢,好好,即係 *je ,過生活呀 | 教啲細路仔讀大學時報咩科呀,咁樣嘅 | 噉呢一次呢,我係佢嘅呢本書裏邊呢,就揀咗一封信呢 | 係喺1985年佢軟禁嗰陣時11月2號寫嘅 | 呢封信係,呃,我覺得係好特別嘅封信呢 | 封信個題目係 “What is This Called My Life?” ,呢個:我的生命究竟係啲咩嘢呢 |  「我嘅生命究竟係啲咩嘢呢」就係 *jai 呢封信嘅主旨嚟㗎 | 噉呢封信佢寫嘅嗰陣時佢緣起呢 | 就係佢一朝早起身嗰陣時候呢 | 佢望出去出邊嗰個花園嗰度呢 | 佢發覺呢 . . .

● 審查 sám2 chàah4 = to examine; to investigate | ● 叮囑 dīng1 jūk1 = to urge again & again; to warn; to exhort | ● 主旨 jyú2 jí2 = purport; substance; gist | ● 緣起 yùhn4 héi2 = genesis; origin | ● 出邊 chēut1 bīn1 = outside

. . . the whole of [these letters] were written down and were inspected for political content [經過政治審查]. For this reason, there is actually little discussion of political matters [in them]. Basically, the letters talk about things such as religious faith, advising his family how to go about living a good life, and instructing his children about what subjects they should take at university. Now on this occasion I have chosen one letter that was written on 2 November 1985 while he was under house arrest. This letter is one I feel to be a very special letter. It bears the title of [個題目係] “What is This Called My Life?” (sic) [Kin-man then provides a translation in Cantonese]. And “What is This Called My Life?” is the main substance [主旨] of this letter. In this letter, he writes that it all started [佢緣起] when he got up one morning and looked out at the garden outside, and discovered that . . .

【5:00】. . . 佢所種嘅花呢,除咗菊花之外呢,其他全部呢,都死 | 就好似我哋嘅呢幾日突然間天氣凍呢 | 噉花呢,都突然間就凋謝咗喇 | 佢有個好强烈嘅哀愁同埋空虛嘅感覺 | 噉佢話呢,其實一個人呢,當你被某啲吸引住呢 | 噉開始你就有種依戀嘅話呢,咁你就要承受一種,即係 *je ,分離之苦喇 | 噉你可能依戀住就係呢啲花 | 呢啲花死嗰陣時,你就有一種憂愁嘅感覺 | 如果你就依戀你屋企人嘅話 | 當你同佢哋分離 | 譬如話你坐監嘅時候呢 | 你都會承受住呢一種痛苦喇 | 佢寫呢封信陣時 | 佢話佢有好强烈嘅一種,即係 *je ,想家嘅感覺 | 好懷念住佢屋企人 | 噉所以呢封信呢,係好觸動到我嘅 | 我亦都好相信呢,就好似黎智英而家,即係 *je ,呢種嘅狀態 | 噉佢問喇,話其實我啲嘅生命係啲咩嘢呢,咁樣?| 佢話佢自己覺得佢自己嘅人生呢,係充滿咗一連串嘅厄運

● 凋謝 dīu1 jeh6 = to wither & fall | ● 哀愁 ōi1 sàuh4 = sad; sorrowful | ● 依戀 yī1 lyún2 = be reluctant to leave; to feel regret at parting from | ● 承受 sìhng4 sauh6 = to bear; to support; to endure | ● 分離之苦 fān1 lèih4 jī1 fú2 = (?) the pain of separation | ● 憂愁 yāu1 sàuh4 = sad; worried; depressed | ● 想家 séung2 gāa1 = to be homesick | ● 懷念wàaih4 nihm6  = to cherish the memory of; to think of | ● 觸動 jūk1 duhng6 = to move sb.; to stir up sb.’s feelings | ● 厄運 āk1 wahn6 = adversity; misfortune

. . . all the flowers he had planted had all died, apart from the chrysanthemums. It was like the sudden cold snap we’ve had here [in Hong Kong] in these past few days. [In response to] the sudden withering of these flowers, he had very strong feelings of sadness and regret [at the loss]. He says that actually when you feel an attraction for something then you will begin to feel a reluctance to be separated from [it]. And so, you must endure the pain of separation. You may feel reluctant to be separated from some flowers, and when they die, you then have feelings of sadness. If you feel a reluctance to be separated from your family, when you come to be separated from them, for example when you are put in prison, you will also endure a form of pain. When he wrote this letter, he said he was experiencing strong feelings of homesickness and was missing [懷念] his family. For this reason, this letter moved me very much and I can well believe that [what the letter describes] is very much like Jimmy Lai’s situation at present. [So Kim Dae Jung] asks: What actually is this human life of ours? He says that he felt that his own life was filled with a series of misfortunes.

【6:00】正我 . . . 正如我 // 所講呢,係咪,佢走過生死啦、又坐過監咁樣、又被人軟禁咁樣 | 佢話自己好似都 . . . 曾經冇好快樂咁樣生活過 | 噉咩先至係所謂快樂生活過呢 | 就係無憂無慮啦 | 可以同屋企人一齊啦,咁樣 | 佢成日都過唔到呢一種嘅生活嘅 | 噉但佢又追問呢,// 其他好多人其實生活上面都係好舒適嘅 | 亦都可以同屋企人 // 喺埋一齊嘅 | 但係係咪嗰啲人就覺得自己人生好有意義嘅,咁樣? | 佢發覺唔係 | 嗰啲人又覺得好多時候係虛度人生嘅 | 噉所以究竟,即係 *je ,佢嘅生命係咩嘢呢?| 佢冇咗其他平常人嗰種快樂 | 但係係咪佢又覺得佢自己人生冇意義呢,咁樣?  | 佢又覺得佢又唔係呀 | 佢覺得佢冇後悔嘅噃 | 如果佢話佢自己有咩嘢真真正正好難受呢 | 佢覺得第一就話佢想到佢自己 . . .

● 無憂無慮 mòuh4 yāu1 mòuh4 leuih6 = not have a care in the world | ● 舒適 syū1 sīk1 = comfortable; cosy; snug | ● 發覺 faat3 gok3 = to find; to detect; to discover | ● 虛度 hēui1 douh6 = to spend time in vain; to waste | ● 後悔 hauh6 fui3 = to regret; to repent

Note: Someone was kind enough to provide the following explanation of the use of 噃 bō1 in this segment: “I think 噃 bō1 is similar, if not identical to 喎 wō1, which is used like a filler word in English, or to express a slight level of surprise. […] And in 佢覺得佢冇後悔嘅噃, it is even more pronounced since he should, in normal sense, feel that life is meaningless and would feel regret upon reflecting on his experience, yet he feels the opposite: he thinks that he had no regrets. In this case, the 噃 is quite useful to express the contrast in a subtle manner . . .”

Just, just as I mentioned just now, didn’t I, he had been through a lot [走過生死], spending time in prison as well as being put under house arrest. He said that he had never been happy in his life. Now what is needed [咩先至] before we can call something a “happy life”? Being free from all worry, and being able to spend time with one’s family. Such a life he had never enjoyed himself, but then he goes on to ask: There are many people whose lives are very comfortable, who are able to spend time together with their families, but do those people feel that their lives have any meaning? He found that this was not the case. Much of the time, such people felt that they had lived their lives in vain. For this reason, then, what was this thing called his life, when all was said and done [究竟]? He had not had those kinds of happiness that ordinary people have, but did he feel that his own life was meaningless? No, he thought, it was not. He felt that he had no regrets. He said if there was anything that he felt to be truly [真真正正] very hard to bear, he thought firstly of his own . . .

【7:00】. . . 參與喺民主運動裏邊呢,連累咗屋企人 | 噉呢個係一個好深嘅内疚 | 第二樣嘢佢覺得人生裏邊呢,好多人呢,其實都對佢好好嘅 | 亦都咗好多幫忙佢嘅 | 但佢係冇機會呢,去到報恩 | 嗱,呢一種係連累,呃,家人同埋冇法報恩嘅感覺呢 | 係佢 . . . 如果你問佢有咩後悔呢?| 佢覺得比較難受呢 | 其實係,即係 *je ,呢一個,即係 *je ,部分 // | 噉啊佢話,佢對人生其實係一個最大,最大嘅一種嘅疑惑呢 | 就係佢見到佢點樣去就係「殺人放火金腰帶」| 見到呢,就係義人、好人呢,反而係要蒙難嘅 | 噉呢種都唔係我哋話,啊「好人有好報,即係 *je ,惡人有惡報」,唔係咁喎 | 佢見到現實人世唔係咁嘅 | 噉呢個就係佢人生裏邊呢,其實係一個最大最大一個,即係 *je ,疑惑、係個謎團嚟㗎 | 噉佢就喺呢封信裏邊講到呢,中國嘅歷史裏邊呢 . . .

● 連累 lìhn4 leuih6 = to implicate; to involve; to get sb. into trouble | ● 報恩 bou3 yān1 = to pay a debt of gratitude | ● 疑惑 yìh4 waahk6 = feel uncertain; not be convinced | ● 殺人放火金腰帶 saat3 yàhn4 fong3 fó2 gām1 yīu1 daai3 = “murderers & arsonists have their purses full of gold” cf. This is part of a longer phrase used to suggest that only the wicker prosper. The second part reads: 修橋補路冇屍骸 and seems to mean something like “those who build bridges & make roads end up as penniless skeletons (?) | ● 義人 yih6 yàhn4 = ? cf. 義士 yih6 sih6 = a person who upholds justice | ● 蒙難 mùhng4 naahn6= (of a revolutionary) be confronted by danger; fall into the clutches of the enemy | ● 謎團 màih4 tyùhn4 = doubts & suspicions

. . . participation in the democracy movement [and how it] had implicated members of his family. This was a very deep guilt. The second thing was that he felt that many people in his life had actually been very good to him and had helped him enormously, but he had never had the chance to repay his debts of gratitude. Now these feelings [connected with] the implication of family members and the failure to repay his debts of gratitude were his . . . If you asked him whether he had any regrets, what he felt quite distressed about were these [two] parts [of his experience]. He said that in fact his greatest doubts about human life had to do with seeing how “murderers and arsonists have their purses full of gold”, while those who tried to uphold justice, good people, fell into the clutches of the enemy [蒙難]. Now this is not the “good people get good things, while bad people get bad things” we often talk about, it’s not like that. He saw that life in the real world was not like that. Now this was a great doubt he had in his life, a tangled mess of doubts and misgivings [謎團]. In this letter, he goes on to talk about something in Chinese history . . .

【8:00】. . . 呃,司馬遷嘅故事 | 噉啊司馬遷大家知道係一個,即係 *je ,寫,即係 *je ,咁重要嘅中國嘅歷史學家 [啦] | 噉但係當時裏邊呢,喺漢代漢武帝嘅時期裏邊呢 | 佢因爲為咗一個人,係一個將軍,去到辯護 | 因爲呢,當時呢個將軍呢,打敗仗 [呀] | 噉啊漢武帝呢,就要,即係 *je ,要殺佢,咁樣 | 噉佢就講呢,其實唔係罪 . . . 喺佢嘅身上邊 | 因爲只有啲救兵嚟唔切嘅 | 亦都係,[係] 呢個皇帝呢,即係 *je ,暗示呀,係用人嗰陣時係用得不當 | 所以呢,佢冇足夠嘅,即係 *je ,調配呀,即係 *je ,援助呀 | 結果全部都係打 // | 其實佢已經係好勇敢 | 嗱,// 講法呢,其實令到漢武帝就係好 [喇] | [就] 話,係咪我,即係 *je ,唔識,即係 *je ,調兵遣將呢?我用錯人呢?| 啊,你正 // 諷刺緊,即係 *je ,我啫 | 之前其實已經唔係幾滿意司馬遷呢,寫佢嗰陣時候 [呢],有啲嘅伏筆呢 | 其實都喺 [度] 講緊,即係 *je , 個 . . .

● 司馬遷 Sī1 Máah5 Chīn1 = Sima Qian | ● 辯護 bihn6 wuh6 = to speak in defence of; to defend | ● 打敗仗 dáa2 baih6 jeung3 = to suffer a defeat; to be defeated in battle | ● 救兵 gau3 bīng1 = reinforcements | ● 嚟唔切 lèih4 mh4 chit3 = not arrive in time | ● 用得不當 yuhng6 dāk1 bāt1 dōng1 = used inappropriately | ● 調配 diuh6 pui3 = to allocate; to deploy | ● 援助 wùhn4 joh6 = to help; to support; to aid| ● 調兵遣將 diuh6 bīng1 hín2 jeung3 = to move troops; to deploy forces | ● 諷刺 fung3 chi3 = to satirize; to mock | ● 伏筆 fuhk6 bāt1 = usu. a hint foreshadowing later developments in a story, essay, etc.; foreshadowing

. . . the story of Sima Qian. Now as everyone knows, Sima Qian was such an important Chinese historian. However, back in those times, in the days when Han Wu Di was emperor, because he [i.e. Sima Qian] came to the defence of a certain general. Because this general had, at the that time, been defeated in battle, so, Han Wu Di wanted to have him [i.e. the general] put to death. [Sima Qian] said that the crime was not his [i.e. the general’s]. It was merely because reinforcements did not arrive on time. He also implied that this emperor made inappropriate use of army personnel [用人嗰陣時]. And so, he [i.e. the general] did not have a sufficient deployment [調配] or support. And as a result, he was defeated. As a matter of fact, he [i.e. the general] showed great courage. Now [Sima Qian’s] comments enraged Han Wu Di, who asked: Are you saying (?) that I don’t know how to deploy my forces? That I made the wrong use of personnel? You are making fun of me! In fact, before that, [Han Wu Di] had not been too pleased with Sima Qian and, when he wrote about his [i.e. Han Wu Di’s] time [as emperor], there were a few hints of things to come [in his History] in which in fact he was talking about . . .

【9:00】. . . 漢武帝嘅不是嘅 | 噉結果呢,漢武帝呢,就要判佢呢,係死刑 | 噉啊判死刑呢,又有兩個方法解方 . . . 解決方法佢哋 | 嚟呀,[你] 可以取替嘅方案就係你用好多好多錢呢,你 [都] 可以贖身嘅 | 噉但係司馬遷冇 | 第樣嘢呢,就係你可以接受個腐刑 | 所謂「腐刑」,即係 *je 腐爛」嘅「腐」呢,其實就係一個,即係 *je ,宮刑嚟㗎 | 就係呢,要進行閹割嘅 | 噉啊金大中就用呢個故事 [嚟講就話] | 嘩,對一個男士嚟講係幾咁大嘅一個羞辱,去接受呢個咁樣嘅閹割 | 而佢只不過係一個正直個人,講出一啲,即係 *je ,真相,講真話 [呢] | 結果就受到咁樣嘅,即係 *je ,報復 | 噉所以 [佢] 好人唔一定係得到好報 | 噉啊點樣,即係 *je ,解脫呢件事情呢?| 即係 *je ,對呢種嘅疑惑佢 [主要]  點樣去到,即係 *je ,解開嗰啲疑惑呢,咁?| 喺呢封信裏邊呢,就話佢曾經係受到兩個人嘅作品 . . .

● 不是 bāt1 sih6 = (noun) fault; blame | ● 死刑 séi2 yìhng4 = the death penalty | ● 贖身 suhk6 sān1 = (of slaves, prostitutes) to redeem oneself; to buy back one’s freedom | ● 腐刑 fuh6 yìhng4 = (?) cf. 宮刑 | ● 腐爛 fuh6 laahn6 = 1. decomposed; putrid 2. corrupt; rotten | ● 宮刑 gūng1 yìhng4 = castration (a punishment in ancient China) | ● 閹割 yīm1 got3 = to castrate or spay; to emasculate | ● 羞辱 sāu1 yuhk6 = 1. shame; dishonour; humiliation 2. humiliation; to put sb. to shame | ● 正直 jing3 jihk6 = honest; upright; fair-minded | ● 報復 bou3 fuhk6 = to make reprisals; to retaliate | ● 解開 gáai2 hōi1 = to untie; to undo; to get rid of

. . . Han Wu Di’s faults. The upshot was, Han Wu Di condemned him [i.e. Sima Qian] to death. Now there were two options available for avoiding the death penalty. The first way was to [offer a replacement] by giving a lot of money to buy back your life [贖身]. Sima Qian, however, did not [have lots of money]. The second option was to accept a form of punishment known as fu ying. The fu here is that fu that is used in the compound fu laan, meaning “putrid” or “rotten”. This kind of castration, the carrying out of yim got, castration. Kim Dae Jung made use of this story to say that for a man to accept such a punishment by castration was an enormous humiliation. He was no more and no less than a fair-minded man telling the truth, saying what was true. As a result, [he] was on the receiving end [受到] such a form of retaliation. And so he said good people do not necessarily get good things. And so [the question is]: how do we free ourselves from such a thing? How do we rid ourselves of such uncertainties? In this letter, he states that the writings of two people . . .

【10:00】. . . 嘅影響呢 | 係令到佢開始睇通 [咗] 啲嘢 ,得到啲啓示嘅 | 第一個呢,就係我自己大學時好鍾意睇 [嘅] 一本書嘅 | 就係《卡拉馬佐夫的弟兄們》 | 噉呢本書係杜斯妥也夫斯基寫嘅一本嘅小説,哈 | 呢本俄國小説喺我以前讀大學嘅時代裏邊係一個好流行嘅一個小説 | 好重要嘅小説 | [噉] 我話俾你聽,我讀呢本書嘅感覺係點 [呀]? | 我 [又] 讀到某啲章節嗰陣時候呢 | 我覺得我想跪低祈禱嘅,係變咗好虔誠 | 但讀到某啲章節嗰陣時,我都 [覺得] 上帝已死 | 噉根本冇上帝,[喺] 呢個世界 | 即係 *je 佢可以將你個情緒帶動到咁極端嘅 | 噉我係好鍾意呢本書嘅 | 噉佢亦都提到呢一本書對佢嘅影響 | 佢覺得呢本書裏邊嘅,嗰,嗰三兄弟裏邊 // 其中嘅大哥呢 | 最臨尾因爲同個爸爸,即係 *je,爭,爭女仔呀,哈 | 結果呢,就某個情況底下爸爸死咗 | 結果佢告呀,話佢殺死佢爸爸 | 噉呢個嘅,呃,大哥 . . .

● 啓示 kái2 sih6  = enlightenment; inspiration; revelation | ● 《卡拉馬佐夫的弟兄們》Kāa1 Lāai1 Máah5 Jo3 Fū1 Dīk1 Daih6 Hīng1 Mùhn4 = The Brothers Karamazov | ● 杜斯妥也夫斯基 Douh6 Sī1 Tóh5 Yáah5 Fū1 Sī1 Gēi1 = Fyodor Dostoyevsky | ● 俄國 Ngòh4 Gwok3 = Russia | ● 章節 jēung1 jit3 = chapters (this may be one of those words that seems to have a built-in plural sense cf. 船隻 = ships) | ● 跪低 gwaih6 dāi1 = to kneel down | ● 虔誠 kìhn4 sìhng4 = pious; devout | ● 帶動 daai3 duhng6 = to drive; to spur; to bring along | ● 最臨尾 jeui3 làhm4 méih5 = ? in the end cf. 臨尾 = final (Sheik)

Influenced him and made him able to start to see more clearly about things, and to get some illumination. The first was [a book] that I myself liked very much when I was at university, The Brothers Karamazov. This book is a novel written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. This Russian novel was very popular back in those days when I was studying at university, and it was a very important one. Let me tell you what my feelings were like when I read it. Some of the chapters in it made me want to get down on my knees and pray when I read them, and I felt very pious. But other chapters in the book made me feel that God was already dead, that there was no God in this world. His narrative [佢可以講?] could drive you to [different] extremes. I like this book very much and so does [Kim Dae Jung], who refers to its influence on him. In his opinion, of the three brothers [UNCLEAR] The elder brother argues with his father in the end over a woman and, as a result, the father dies in [rather] particular circumstances. This results in the elder brother being charged with the murder of his father.

Learning Cantonese: Alfred Chan on Hong Kong’s Dai Pai Dong Cuisine

Even if you’re not really into food, you can still be vitally nourished by Alfred Chan in terms of your Cantonese. His video posts are of a very high quality and, apart from all the detailed discussion of flavours, portions and cooking methods, there is a satisfying amount of very useful grammar and vocabulary to be savoured. Chan has also mastered the use of background music in his presentations, and at no point does the listener to his words have to struggle against an intrusive soundtrack to hear what is being said.

On the grammar front, there are three main points to look out for. Firstly, the fairly rare aspect marker 開 hōi1 makes an appearance in the phrase 酒樓用開嘅煤氣爐, modifying the verb 用 yuhng6 = to use. One of its functions is to suggest habitual action. In Intermediate Cantonese, Yip and Matthews refer to it as showing “habitual aspect”, and give the examples 我做開呢行 = We have been in this profession for some time, and 佢用開嗰隻牌子 = He regularly uses that brand. They also note that 開 hōi1 “may have a progressive meaning, indicating continuation of an activity that has already begun”, and this is most commonly seen in the sentence-opening expression 講開 góng2 hōi1 = “Speaking of …” or “On the subject of …” (See Unit 12: Aspect Markers), a phrase regularly encountered in everyday conversation.

Secondly, you are no doubt aware that Cantonese has a number of ways of suggesting approximation. Perhaps 大約 daaih6 yeuk3, an adverb meaning “approximately; roughly”, and 左右 jó2 yauh6, usually added to the end of a phrase expressing an amount, are two of the most common ways of indicating approximation. There are others. In recent times, I have been hearing 到 dóu3*2 used for this purpose (月入都,呃,三萬到呢 = [My] monthly salary, [that was about 30,000 dollars). Alfred Chan, on the other hand, prefers another post-modifying phrase: 咁上下 gam3 seuhng6 háa6*2. You’ll hear it in the following part: 咁其他小菜呢,都應該有返咁上下 = “then other items [on the menu] should be pretty much up to scratch”. Note too the tone change for下, which is usually pronounced in the low-level tone.

Alfred also makes use 零 lèhng4, which cropped up before in the second video in the “A Postman’s Gaze” series. There it was used to modify a certain time: 8 點零鐘 = around 8 o’clock or eight-ish. Here we see it in the phrase 得返廿呀零個大牌檔 with a similar kind of -ish meaning: “only twenty or so dai pai dong’s remain”.

Thirdly, watch out for Alfred’s tendency to use 厘 nēi4*1 rather than 呢 nī1/lī1 for “this”. My impression is that 厘 tends to serve as a contraction of 呢 + 一, but this is only a working hypothesis. I am not sure whether 厘 is the correct character for this: it’s just one I have seen used for this purpose.

In vocabulary terms, there are two adjectives used which contain 身 sān1 as the second character: 乾身 gōn1 sān1 = (?) dry; and 厚身 háuh5 sān1 = (?) thick. My feeling is that these are both used in spoken Cantonese rather than in the written language. There are also a couple of examples of adjectives formed with measure words: 大張 daaih6 jēung1 = big (of a flat object) and 細隻 sai3 jek3 = small (of a squid, which normally takes the measure word 隻). These are still a bit of a mystery to me, but I point them out just so that you can keep them in mind for your own learning.

Other items worth adding to your memory bank include: 興衰 hīng1-sēui1 = the rise & fall; 當眼 dōng1 ngáahn5 = conspicuous; eye-catching; 燶 nūng = to burn; 甩皮甩骨 lāt1 pèih4 lāt1 gwāt1 = to be in bad shape; to have been knocked around; 外脆内軟 [ng]oih6 cheui3 noih6 yúhn5 = crispy on the outside and soft/tender in the middle; and 腍 nàhm = ① soft; tender; mushy ② good-tempered; kind.

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.

I received this comment from a visitor to the site that sheds more light on 乾身 and 厚身:

Hello Simon. Would like to share my point about 乾身 and 厚身

The literal meaning of 身 is “body”. As a native speaker, I think 身 can be said as the “subject to be described”, from which the adjective before 身 is the description of the subject.

Normally we use 乾身 to describe a thing/dish that is supposed to be dry or better to be done dry (e.g. fried squid, best form would be dry, crisp but not greasy outside, with a succulent and tender squid inside). Alfred said the dish was 太乾身, meaning that it is fried and the dry outside, but too dry for it compare to the ideal (i.e. inside lose too much moisture, squid becomes tough).

As for 厚身, Alfred use it to describe how the eel is being cut and presented, which it thick and so it simply means the eel was cut in thick slices.

Another interesting note is that in Cantonese, 厚身 can also be used to describe wine too. From my beginner knowledge, it means the the wine has some body to it. Interesting how the two languages used the same manner to describe abstract concepts!


Hello,大家好,我係 Alfred | 拍片嘅時候係三月中,最近呢幾日已經廿幾度 | 再唔拍間,過兩個月我應該唔肯嘅喇 | 大家睇到啦,街頭行到街尾 | 幾個鋪位坐無虛席 | 話説超過60年 | 而家已經係第三代 | 上世紀五十年代 | 佢哋朝早賣粥同豬腸粉 | 下晝就賣燒味 | 後嚟先開始做埋小炒 | 再慢慢發展成今日嘅規模 | 見證住香港大牌檔文化嘅興衰【1:00】

● 坐無虛席 joh6 mòuh4 hēui1 jihk6 = (?) not a single unoccupied seat | ● 第三代 daih6 sāam1 doih6 = the third generation | ● 燒味 sīu1 méi6*2 = siu mei (roasted meat) | ● 小炒 síu2 cháau2 = stir fry; stir fried (Sheik Cantonese) | ● 規模 kwāi1 mòuh4 = scale; scope; dimension | ● 興衰 hīng1-sēui1 = the rise & fall

Note: In the phrase 見證住, the verb “to bear witness to” is used with the aspect marker 住 jyuh6 to indicate that the initial act of witnessing is maintained over a period of time (as the English verb “bearing” suggests).

Hello, everybody, I’m Alfred. When [I] filmed this video, it was the middle of March. In the past few days, [the temperature] has already [got to] 20-odd degrees, so I won’t be filming this place [anymore] and in another two months’ time I wouldn’t be willing [我應該唔肯] to come [here]. Just take a look: from one end of the street to the other, in all the various individual shops [幾個鋪位] [that make up this restaurant] there is not an empty seat. It is said that they have been in business for more than sixty years, this being the third generation [of owners (?)] now. [Back in] the 1950s, they sold rice congee and pork cheung fan in the mornings, and siu mei roasted meat after midday. Later on, they began to do stir-frying as well, gradually developing to the scale [we see] today, and bearing witness to the rise and fall of Hong Kong’s dai pai dong culture.

講到大牌檔,首先,要睇清楚個「牌」字點寫 | 話説1921年 | 港英政府將小販分成固定小販牌照同流動小販牌照兩種 | 前者叫「大牌」,後者叫「小牌」| 相傳係因爲固定小販牌照嗰張嘢真係大張嘅 | 而且開檔嗰陣要掛喺當眼嘅地方 | 到咗50年代,政府將「大牌」同熟食檔嘅牌照合倂 | 所以就出現「大牌檔」呢個稱呼喇

● 牌照 pàaih4 jiu3 = licence plate; licence tag | ● 當眼 dōng1 ngáahn5 = (?) conspicuous; eye-catching | ● 合倂 hahp6 (?) ping3 = (?) to merge; to amalgamate | ● 稱呼 chīng1 fū1 = to call or address; a form of address (perhaps even “the name you give to sth.; what you call sth.”)

On the subject of dai pai dong’s, first of all we must be clear about [要睇清楚] how the character for pai should be written [排 or 牌]. Apparently in 1921, the British Government in Hong Kong created [分] two types of licences for hawkers, a stationary hawkers licence and a mobile hawkers licence. The former was called “a big licence”, while the latter was known as “a little licence”. They say that this was because the actual licence tag for fixed hawkers was really bigger [in physical size] and had to be displayed in a prominent place when the stall was in operation [開檔嗰陣].  [This went on] until the 1950s, when the government combined “big licences” with those for cooked food stalls, and so the term dai pai dong or “big licence stall” appeared.

睇睇餐牌,一般常見嘅平民小菜都有齊喇 | 好多選擇 | 價錢唔使我講大家睇到 | 我以前都講過,我唔太讚同「食鋪租」或者「食裝修」呢類講法 | 賣幾錢,好多時都係市場定位

● 平民小菜 pìhng4 màhn4 síu2 choi3 = everyday dishes for ordinary people | ● 有齊 yáuh5 chàih4 = to have everything

[When we] take a look at the menu, [we find that] it features all those typical, commonly seen everyday dishes for ordinary people. There’s a lot of choice. I don’t need to mention prices — you can all see for yourself. As I’ve said before, I’m not much in favour [我唔太讚同] of expressions such as “eating the shop rent” or “eating the cost of renovations”. How much something sells for in the majority of cases is determined by the market price.

Caption: 家鄉小炒王 $108 | Home-style Siu Chaau Wong

試鑊氣,梗係食小炒王啦 | 香港部分鋪頭 | 用嘅係石油氣爐 | 火力【2:00】其實唔係太猛 | 呢度用嘅係火水爐 | 條片一開始幾個 shot 大家都見到個火幾猛啦 | 有魷魚仲燶咗,不過整體算好好食 | 唔知大家知唔知 | 香港某啲連鎖酒樓,近年轉咗用電磁爐 | 因爲咁樣厨房會乾啲、靜啲、涼啲、聽聞成本仲低啲 | 但講到鑊氣 | 就梗係同呢啲火水爐或者酒樓用開嘅煤氣爐差得遠啦

● 氣爐 hei3 lòuh4 = (?) a gas oven | ● 猛 máahng5 = ? hot; fierce | ● 火水爐 fó2 séui2 lòuh4 = a paraffin stove | ● 燶 nūng = to burn | ● 連鎖酒樓 lihn4 só2 jáu2 làuh4 = a restaurant chain | ● 電磁爐 dihn6 chìh4 lòuh4 = electric induction cooktop

Note: 鑊氣 wohk6 hei3 is a difficult term to translate into English. In a recent article entitled “Pop Cantonese: Big Wok 大鑊”, Erica Fong explained it as follows: “The wok is one of the most common tools in Chinese cooking –– a large, bowl-shaped pot made especially for stir-frying. Chefs are often lauded for their mastery of wohk6 hei3 (鑊氣, “wok essence” or “wok breath”), using intense heat and flames to add that all-important smoky flavour and aroma to their dishes” (you can read the article in Zolima City Mag here).

As for 小炒王, this literally means “little fried king”, but it seems to refer to a dai pai dong style mixed stir fry with chives and squid (there’s a link to a video showing how the dish is made here). An interesting feature of this segment is the use of 嘅 ge3 to form indefinite nouns, for example 香港部分鋪頭 | 用嘅 = what is used/the thing that is used (in some Hong Kong shops) and 呢度用嘅 = what is used here/what they use here.

To try out the wok hei one of course has to eat the siu chaau wong. In some places [鋪頭] in Hong Kong, what they use is a gas stove and actually the strength of the flame is not very intense. What they use here is a paraffin stove, and as you would have seen from those shots at the beginning of this video, the strength of the flame was pretty intense. One piece of the squid was scorched [燶], but on the whole the [dish] was very tasty. I don’t know whether you’re aware of this or not, but some restaurant chains in Hong Kong have, in recent years, switched to using electric induction cooktops because in this way [因爲咁樣] kitchens are [kept] cleaner, quieter, and cooler — they also say that less capital is required. But when it comes to wok hei, [the result] is far inferior to that [obtained by] a paraffin stove or the coal gas stoves [煤氣爐] used in restaurants.

Caption: 椒鹽炸鮮魷 $98 | Salt and Pepper Deep-fried Squid

椒鹽鮮魷,厘個我覺得都係好指標性嘅食物 | 一間酒樓或者大牌檔如果做呢樣嘢做得好 | 其他小菜呢,都應該有返咁上下 | 今日厘碟睇樣都知 | 算係做得好高分 | 脆漿厚薄啱啱好 | 而且好均匀 | 咬落去,個皮又唔會話甩皮甩骨 | 調味又好惹味 | 好多地方做呢樣嘢都太淡乜味 | 唯一嘅改善空間 | 係今晚隻魷魚比較細隻,好薄肉 | 食落太乾身【3:00】| 做唔到外脆内軟嘅口感

● 指標性 jí2 bīu1 sing3 = (?) indicative| ● 高分 gōu1 fān1 = a high mark; high marks | ● 脆漿 cheui3 jēung1 = batter (for deep-drying food) | ● 均匀 gwān1 wàhn4 = even; well-distributed | ● 咬 ngáauh5 = to bite | ● 甩皮甩骨 lāt1 pèih4 lāt1 gwāt1 = to be in bad shape; to have been knocked around | ● 調味 tìuh4 meih6 = to flavour; to season (food) | ● 惹味 yéh5 meih6 = Sheik: appetizing; add flavour to food | ● 改善空間 gói2 sihn6 hūng1 gāan1 = room for improvement | ● 乾身 gōn1 sān1 = (?) dry cf. 《香港粵語大詞典》形容乾貨或事物不帶水份或水份好少的狀態 (describes dry goods or foods that have no moisture content or very little moisture content) | ● 外脆内軟 [ng]oih6 cheui3 noih6 yúhn5 = crispy on the outside and soft/tender in the middle

Salt and Pepper Deep-fried Squid is one of those dishes [食物] that I think is a real indicator [好指標性嘅] [of a restaurant’s calibre]. If a restaurant or a dai pai dong does this dish well, then other items [on the menu] should be pretty much up to scratch [有返咁上下]. This dish today just by the look of it scores a very high mark indeed [做得好高分]: the thickness of the coating is just right and very even, [so that] when you take a bite, it doesn’t, as we might say, “lose both the skin and the bones” [甩皮甩骨]. The seasoning too is very appetizing. In many other places, the taste of this dish is too bland and flavourless. The only room for improvement is that this evening the squid was rather small and the flesh thin, making it too dry when eaten, [so] failing to achieve the food texture [口感] of crispy on the outside and soft/tender inside.

大家 . . . 大家應該明白點解平時我咁少做現場收音呢 | 就係 *jai 因爲其實大部分環境呢 | 根本都係收唔到音嘅 | 特別係今日呢一度啦

● 現場 yihn6 chèuhng4 = a site; a spot; on-the-spot | ● 收音 sāu1 yām1 = (?) to record the sound of sth.

You . . . you ought to be aware by now why I rarely do on-the-spot recordings. The reason is that in most environments, as a matter of fact, that it is fundamentally impossible [收唔到音]. Especially here [in this place] today.

Caption: 銀山砵酒鱔球 $148 | Eel Balls Cooked in Silver Mountain Port Wine

厘味係銀山砵酒鱔球 | 今日條鱔都幾 | 好肥,肉質係腍得嚟有少少彈性嗰種 | 師傅切得好厚身,又唔會浄係俾啲尾位 | 份量又好足,有成十幾嚿 | 味道都係好食嘅喇 | 如果砵酒味再重少少就會仲好食啲㖭

● 銀山砵酒鱔球 Ngahn4 Saan1 Jau2 Sihn? Kauh4= (?) Eel balls cooked in Silver Mountain port wine cf. 砵酒 būt1 jáu2 = port wine| ● 肉質 yuhk6 jāt1 = the texture of meat | ● 腍 nàhm = ① soft; tender; mushy ② good-tempered; kind | ● 彈性 daahn6 sing3 = elasticity; flexibility | ● 厚身 háuh5 sān1 = (?) thick cf. 《香港粵語大詞典》厚實 = thick | ● 尾位 méih5 wéi6*2 = portions from the end; portions from the tail (of the eel, in this context)

Here we have [厘味係] eel balls cooked in Silver Mountain port wine. This evening’s eel is a very fine one, very plump and the flesh is of that kind that is tender and has a bit of spring to it [有少少彈性]. The chef [師傅] has chopped it into large portions [切得好厚身], and not just bits from the tail-end. The serve is more than enough, with over ten pieces [of eel]. The flavour is delicious. If the port-wine flavour of the dish were a little stronger, it would be even more delicious.

今日三碟餸嘅份量都好多 | 比一般酒樓例牌大 | 兩個人食非常飽 | 雖然價錢唔平 | 但份量搭救 【4:00】

● 例牌 laih6 paai4*2 = (?)  cf. Sheik [3] [n] same old stuff; usual/ordinary thing [literal] regular menu

Note: The literal meaning of 搭救is “to come to the rescue”, but it is not quite the same in Cantonese. 雖然價錢唔平,但份量搭救 basically means although the dish is quite expensive, there is a lot of food on the plate –– the quantity of the food saved the day and offset the negative side (the high price). A friend in Hong Kong provided another example: 佢唔靚女,但性格搭救, which means although she is not pretty, she has an excellent personality. On top of that, using 搭救, we put the emphasis on the positive side of something/someone while pointing out the negative side.

The portions of the three dishes today were very substantial, and more than the usual thing you get in restaurants. For two people it was extremely filling. Although not cheap, the [size of the] serves well and truly made up for it.

Caption: 撞到觀衆!| [We] Bumped into a [Regular] Viewer!

大牌檔喺好多人心目中 | 都係香港最有特色嘅飲食文化 | 據估計,全盛時期 | 香港有成 2、3百檔 | 但隨住社會發展、市民對衛生水平嘅要求提高 | 街市熟食檔同埋屋邨冬菇亭嘅出現 | 以及政府其他政策 | 而家全香港,大約都係得返廿零個大牌檔 | 環境問題同飲食文化保育其實冇衝突嘅? | 睇政府有冇心攪嘅 | 大家對大牌檔又有啲咩回憶呢?

● 全盛時期 chyùhn4 sihng6 sìh4 kèih4 = period of full time; perhaps here “in its/their heyday” | ● 街市熟食檔 gāai1 síh5 suhk6 sihk6 dong3 = (?) cooked food stall inside a wet market | ● 冬菇亭 dūng1 gū1 tìhng4 = mushroom hut; mushroom pavilion (a cluster of dining pavilions so named because of the distinctive shape of their roofs; usually found in older public housing estates) [冬菇亭香港公共屋邨独有的一種設施,正式名稱是熟食亭,是一個四方形、尖頂的小型建築物,屋頂中間有拱形排氣口。因為外形像冬菇,被人們稱為「冬菇亭」] ● 有心 yáuh5 sām1 = to have a mind to; to set one’s mind on

To many people [喺好多人心目中], dai pai dong’s are also the most characteristic feature of Hong Kong’s food culture. It is estimated that, in their heyday, there were 2-300 such stalls in Hong Kong. But with the development of society, increased demands on the part of citizens with regard to the standards of hygiene, the emergence of cooked food stalls inside wet markets and mushroom pavilions, [as well as] other government policies, only twenty or so dai pai dong’s remain in the whole of Hong Kong. But there is really no conflict between environmental concerns and the preservation of food culture. It’s only a matter of whether the government has a mind to do it or not. What memories do you have of dai pai dong’s?

Caption: 仲有罐可樂!| And a Coke thrown in as well!

下面留言分享啦 | 今日講到呢度,下條片見,bye bye

Share [your impressions] by leaving a message below. That’s all for today. I’ll see you in the next clip! Bye-bye.