Learning Cantonese: Wai Wai, Artist of the Neighbourhood

The artist 慧惠 Wai Wai lived in a flat near the 果欄 “Fruit Lan” or Wholesale Fruit Market in 油麻地 Yau Ma Tei while she was growing up, and this experience seems to set her on her present course as a passionate community-oriented artist. By transforming 鐵閘 tit3 jaahp6 or “iron roll-down shop shutters” into works of art, she hopes to bring colour into the neighbourhood and to record for posterity the fine details of life in older districts in Hong Kong, places so vulnerable to eventual redevelopment.

There is nothing monstrously difficult in this presentation, and I think you will appreciate the clarity with which the Now reporter 周駿易 Chow Chun-yee speaks, but there are a few points worthy of attention. The first concerns the verb 俾 béi2. This commonly means “to give”, but it also doubles up as a colloquial version of 讓 yeuhng6 = “to let; to enable”. And so at 4:30 in 俾一啲苦苦經營嘅店主 | 一個堅持做落去嘅理由 = “to give the shopkeepers who worked so hard managing their stores a reason to keep on going”, 俾 béi2 means “to give”. However, in a phrase like 起碼俾人知道個歷史故事係點樣 at 1:10, the meaning is “at least to let people know what the history (of the shop) was”. Other examples of this second meaning appear in 問佢有冇興趣 | 俾畫家喺佢嘅鐵閘上面創造 (0:50) and 擺喺呢個鐵閘面前俾啲街坊認識一下 (1:58). Obviously, the presence of a second verb after 俾 béi2 is a good indicator that that this second meaning is in play.

There are also numerous instances of two very interesting aspect markers, 嗮 saai3 and 翻 fāan1. 嗮 offers a very neat way of expressing ideas such as “wholly” or “fully”. Listen out for:

2:28: 拉嗮閘嘅時候畫
3:58: 插畫都畫嗮、倒瀉嗮喺度
4: 15: 好俾心機去將自己觀察到嘅 | 鍾意嘅都放嗮入面

As for 翻 fāan1, it is always fascinating to come across new examples of how this works in Cantonese. Yes, sometimes the meaning is a simple “back” or “again”, but sometimes more subtle nuances are at work. In 用個新嘅角度去睇翻自己嘅鋪頭 (4:50), for example, the aspect marker seems to suggest “again, in a new way”. Note that in the case of 剩翻 at 2:45, this is virtually a fixed expression meaning “to be left (over); to remain”, although 剩低 is also heard.

The video is rich in vocabulary, including the four-character expression 碩果僅存 sehk6 gwó2 gán2 chyùhn4 = “a rare survival”, last encountered in the RTHK video with 劉彥芹 Anthony Lau Yin-Kun on Hong Kong newts (以前嗰啲樹林差唔多斬嗮嘅時候呢 | 佢都可以碩果僅存呀). There’s also an instance each of the very Cantonese verbs 鎅 (or 𠝹) gaai3 = “to cut” and 甩色 lāt sīk = to fade (of colour). Other treasures include: 内街 noih6 gāai1 = (?) back streets; 交棒 gāau1 páahng5 = (?) to pass on the baton; to hand sth. on to (a successor); 後輩 hauh6 bui3 = ① the younger generation ② posterity; 間尺 gaan3 chék3*2= a ruler ; 筆直 bāt1 jihk6 = perfectly straight; straight as a ramrod; 草圖 chóu2 tòuh4 = a (rough) sketch; a draft; 漏夜 lauh6 yeh6 = the dead of night; 俾心機 béi2 sām1 gēi1 = to devote oneself to doing; to put energy into doing; 立體空間 lahp6 tái2 hūng1 gāan1 = (?) a three-dimensional space . . . I better stop here. It’s making me giddy!

Please scroll down for my transcription (again, it’s a bit gappy in places), English translation and notes. You can view the video here (subtitles in Standard Written Chinese only). 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.

WordPress for some reason has added a bit of colour to the Chinese text in this post. I’m not sure why this is and, so far, I have been able to fix the problem, but let it be a tribute to 慧惠 Wai Wai, a great believer in colour!


Caption: 舊區新潮 | An Old District, A New Current

旁白:由嘈雜鬧市轉入内街 | 行入砵蘭街 | 再去到上海街 | 會發現另一種嘅城市風景 | 即使係日頭,呢一度都唔算好熱鬧 | 街道上經營嘅,有唔少 | 係碩果僅存嘅傳統小店 | 好似呢一間玻璃店 | 就有四十年嘅歷史 | 已經交棒去到第二代 | 多年手藝不變 | 除日常嘅營運之外 | 接班人亦都希望 | 對老店嘅保育做多一工作 | 喺幾年前,有人嚟到鋪頭 | 問有冇興趣 | 畫家喺佢嘅鐵閘上面創造 | 佢覺得好新奇,於是就即刻應承咗

● 内街 noih6 gāai1 = (?) back streets | ● 砵蘭街 būt3*1 làahn4 gāai1 = Portland Street | ● 日頭 yaht6 táu4*2 = daytime | ● 碩果僅存 sehk6 gwó2 gán2 chyùhn4 = a rare survival | ● 交棒 gāau1 páahng5 = (?) to pass on the baton; to hand sth. on to (a successor) | ● 營運 yìhng4 wahn6 = to operate | ● 接班人jip3 bāan1 yàhn4 = a successor | ● 應承 yīng1 sìhng4 = to agree to do sth.; to promise; to consent

Voice-over: Turn into the back streets from the noisy commotion of the bustling city, walk into Portland Street and then go on to Shanghai Street and you will discover a different kind of urban landscape. Even though it is daytime, it’s not particularly busy here. What operates on [these] streets are some rare survivals — quite a number of traditional-style small shops. A glazer’s shop like this has been in business for 40 years [有四十年嘅歷史] and the baton has already been handed on to the next generation. In all those years, the craft has not altered. Apart from [continuing] its everyday operations, the people who have taken it over hope to do a bit of work to preserve the store. Several years ago, someone came into the shop and asked if they were interested in having an artist create a painting on their roll-down iron shutter [鐵閘]. His curiosity piqued, he agreed [to the idea] at once.

Caption: 陳永建:同利玻璃負責人 | Chan Wing-kin, Person in Charge of Tong Lee Glass

陳永建:始終我呢啲【1:00】,呃,畫嘅畫 // 都係 // 比較舊式啲嘅鋪頭 | 其實就我諗 | 都會越嚟越少喇 | 畫幅畫 // 紀念一下 | 我哋做嘅嘢咁樣 | 將來起碼都同我哋後輩講我哋做過啲乜嘢咁樣 | 都起碼俾人知道個歷史故事係點樣呀

● 後輩 hauh6 bui3 = ① the younger generation ② posterity

Chan Wing-kin: All along these places that had paintings done were all  relatively older-style shops. In fact, I thought, [shops like this] will become fewer and fewer. Getting a picture painted is a way of commemorating what we do. In the days to come, it will at least speak to the younger generation about the work we did, and at the very least tell people some stories from history.

旁白:鐵閘畫係由畫家慧惠所創作 | 所呈現嘅,係玻璃店 | 兩個老師傅日常嘅工作情況

● 呈現 chìhng4 yihn6 = to present (a certain appearance); to emerge

Voice-over: [The] iron-shutter painting was created by the painter Wai Wai. What it shows is the everyday work [工作情況] of Tong Lee Glass’ two old master-workers.

慧惠:例如一日 [佢係] 喺度鎅玻璃 | 就好似 // 鐵閘見到嘅一幕咁樣 [啦] | 佢哋用一枝火水筆咁再加埋一把間尺 | 用啲最基本簡單嘅工具 | 就可以將一塊睇落去好似,呃,好 . . . 比較硬嘅玻璃 | 咁樣一拉一條,咁一拍 | 咁樣就可以將玻璃好筆直咁樣 | 一分為二 | 我覺得個過程好神奇呀 | 噉所以就希望將呢一個工序 | 擺喺呢個鐵閘面前俾啲街坊【2:00】認識一下

● 幕 mohk6 = an act; a scene | ● 火水筆 fó2 séui2 bāt1 = (?) a tool used to cut glass lit. 火水 = kerosene/paraffin + 筆 = pen | ● 間尺 gaan3 chék3*2= a ruler | ● 筆直 bāt1 jihk6 = perfectly straight; straight as a ramrod | ● 一分為二 yāt1 fān1 wàih4 yih6 = to divide one (thing) into two (pieces) | ● 神奇 sàhn4 kèih4 = magical; mystical; miraculous | ● 工序 guūng1 jeuih6 = a working procedure; a process

Wai Wai: For instance, one day he was cutting glass like the scene [幕] [depicted] on the iron shutter. Using a glass-cutting tool [火水筆] and a ruler — the most rudimentary of tools — they can break a piece of glass in two, perfectly straight, with the drawing of a line and a quick tap [咁一拍], glass that seems really quite hard. To me, the process is really magical. For this reason, [I] hoped that putting this part of [their] work on the iron shutter to let the locals learn something [俾啲街坊認識一下] [about what goes on in the shop].

旁白:老師傅嘅手藝固然值得欣賞 | 而喺藝術家嘅眼中 | 佢哋每一個工序都會成爲咗 | 創作社區藝術嘅靈感 | 不過要將一道陳舊嘅灰色鐵閘 |變成藝術品 | 過程起碼要一個星期 | 畫家要首先構思好草圖 | 獲得商鋪嘅負責人同意之後 | 先至可以漏夜趕工

● 手藝 sáu2 ngaih6 = craftmanship; workmanship | ● 固然 gu3 yìhn4 = of course; admittedly | ● 陳舊 chàhn4 gauh6 = outmoded; obsolete; old-fashioned; out-of-date | ● 構思 kau3 sī1 = to work out the composition of a painting | ● 草圖 chóu2 tòuh4 = a (rough) sketch; a draft | ● 漏夜 lauh6 yeh6 = the dead of night | ● 趕工 gón2 gūng1 = (?) to hurry to finish the work

Voice-over: Of course, the work-skills of old master-workers’ are worthy of admiration and, in the eyes of the artist, every part of their working procedure can become inspiration for the creation of community art [社區藝術]. However, the process of turning a grey, old-fashioned shutter screen into a work of art takes at least a week. First of all, the artist has to work out a sketch of the design [草圖] and, only when the person in charge of the shop has agreed, can she set to work in the dead of night to hurry to finish the work.

慧惠:我哋就要趁鋪頭閂門嘅時候拉閘嘅時候畫 | 噉先唔會阻住 // 生意嘅 | 噉第一晚我就首先用個投影機啦 | 呃,投射落去個鐵閘度 [呢],將個稿 | 噉完成咗線稿之後 | 第二晚就做啲基本嘅嘢 | 噴 [個] 底色呀,呃,上啲基本嘅色呀 | 噉再之後剩翻嘅兩晚就畫啲細節呀 | 寫翻少少嘅文字 | 描述關於個鐵閘呀,咁樣就完成喇

● 投影機 tàuh4 yíng2 gēi1 = (?) projector | ● 投射 tàuh4 sèh4 = to project; to cast | ● 稿 góu2 = a draft; a sketch | ● 線稿 sin3 góu2 = (?) a line drawing; an outline cf. 線 = a line + 稿 = a sketch | ● 噴 pan3 = to spray | ● 底色 dái2 sīk1 = an undercoat | ● 上(色)séuhng5 sīk1 = (?) to add/apply colour

Wai Wai: We paint when the store is closed and when the shutter screen has been pulled right down [拉嗮閘]. It’s only by doing it this way that we [avoid] [UNCLEAR] disrupting business. The first night, we use a projector to project a draft image onto the shutter screen. When the line drawing is finished, on the second we do certain basic things [啲基本嘅嘢], spraying on the undercoat UNCLEAR and applying the basic colours. On the remaining nights after that, we paint in the details, and add in the written words describing something about the screen. After that, it’s completed.

旁白:同一般嘅畫作唔同 | 鐵閘畫要經歷風吹雨打 | 唔經常洗閘【3:00】會封塵 | 洗得多又會甩色 | 所以需要定期修葺 | 先至可以無間斷咁發揮到 | 社區藝術品嘅功能

● 畫作 waahk6 jok3 = painting | ● 經歷 gīng1 lihk6 = to go through; to undergo; to experience | ● 風吹雨打 fūng1 chēui1 yúh5 dáa2 = roughly, “weathered by the wind and the rain” | ● 封塵 fūng1 chàhn4 = (?) to be covered in dust cf. 封 = to seal up + 塵 = dust | ● 甩色 lāt sīk = to fade (of colour) | ● 修葺 sāu1 chāp1 = to repair; to renovate | ● 無間斷 mòuh4 gaan3 dyuhn6 = roughly, “without interruption” | ● 發揮 faat3 fāi1 = to bring into play; to give play to

Voice-over: Unlike ordinary painting, shutter screen painting is subject to the effects of wind and rain [風吹雨打]. Unless it is constantly cleaned, the painting will become covered over in dust. But excessive washing makes the colours fade. For this reason, maintenance [修葺] is necessary at regular intervals. Only then can it exercise its function as community art without any interruption.

慧惠:呢啲老區好多時 | 一間小店,一鐵閘 | 日頭就好,好有生氣啦 | 噉夜晚,噉拉嗮閘起嚟 | 如果有一幅嘅鐵閘畫喺度 | 咁真係會令到成個區呢,色彩都會繽紛咗喇 | 同埋可能有一啲街坊喺夜晚先會喺街道行嘅 | 噉都可以透過個鐵閘嘅畫 | 會了解到個鋪頭做一啲 [工作]

● 生氣 sāang1 hei3 = life; vitality | ● 色彩 sīk1 chói2 = colour; hue | ● 繽紛 bān1 fān1 = in riotous . . .; a profusion of

Wai Wai: Much of the time, these shop owners [老區] have one shop with one shutter screen. During the day, [the shop] is busting with activity. At night, when the shutter is pulled out to its full extent [啦嗮閘起嚟], if it has a painting on it, then it can make the whole district full of colour. In addition, there are probably some local people who only come out into the streets at night. Thanks to [透過] the screen shutter paintings, they can get an idea about what kind of work the shops do.

旁白:自細喺油尖旺長大嘅慧惠 | 大學畢業 [之後] 冇耐 | 就成爲咗全職嘅插畫家 | 佢嘅作品有好多都同呢一個舊區有關 | 甚至出版過一本畫集 | 以油麻地度做主題 | 記錄區内一點一滴嘅變化

● 油尖旺 Yàuh4 Jīm1 Wohng6 = Yau Tsim Mong, a convenient way of referring to the area embracing Yau Ma Tei, Tsim Sha Tsui & Mong Kok | ● 全職 chyùhn4 jīk1 = full-time | ● 插畫家 chaap3 wáa2 gāa1 = an illustrator | ● 畫集 wáa2 jaahp6 = a collection of paintings (presented in book-form)

Voice-over: Wai Wai, who grew up in the area embracing Yau Ma Tei, Tsim Sha Tsui & Mong Kok, became a full-time illustrator not long after. Many of her works have a connection with this old area. She has even published a folio of paintings dealing with Yau Ma Tei, a record of some of the changes [that have taken place] within it.

慧惠:呢本《給油麻地的情書》呢 | 做有關街坊同小店嘅訪問呀 | 插畫都畫嗮、[倒瀉] 嗮喺度喇 【4:00】| 畫嘅時候,冇諗過 | 有一啲地方已經過兩年幾 | 已經冇咗 | 有好多嘢都好似留唔住位呀 | // 要放喺本書入面 | 噉所以都好慶幸自己 | 嗰陣時*gonsi 好俾心機去將自己觀察到嘅 | 鍾意嘅都放嗮入面呀

● 慶幸 hing3 hahng6 = to rejoice; to congratulate oneself | ● 俾心機 béi2 sām1 gēi1 = to devote oneself to doing; to put energy into doing

Wai Wai: [In] this book Love-letter to Yau Ma Tei, I went and talked to locals and the small shops [in the area], then put it all into the illustrations, I poured it (?) all into them. While I was doing the illustrations, it never occurred to me that some of the places [I painted] would disappear within a couple of years or so. There are so many things, it seems, that you just can’t hold on to (?) so you have to put them into a book. For this reason, I rejoice in the fact that at that time I devoted so much energy into putting all the things I had observed and all the things I liked into [the book].

旁白:佢話,用插畫嘅方式 | 嚟到記錄小店嘅經營風貌 | 讀者可以認識到一啲 | 可能會失傳嘅手藝之餘 | 亦都俾一啲苦苦經營嘅店主 | 一個堅持做落去嘅理由 | 最終都希望可以做到社區保育

● 經營 gīng1 yìhng4 = to manage; to run | ● 風貌 fūng1 maauh6 = style & features | ● 失傳 sāt1 chyùhn4 = not be handed down from past generations; be lost | ● 店主 dim3 jyú2 = a shopkeeper | ● 理由 léih5 yàuh4 = a reason; a ground; an argument | ● 保育 bóu2 yuhk6 = to preserve

Voice-over: She said that by using illustrations to record the management style and features of small shops readers would get to learn a little about lost handicrafts. In addition, the shopkeepers who worked so hard to manage their stores would be given a reason to keep on going. Ultimately, [she] also hopes to work for the preservation of the district.

慧惠:多數對老店佢哋就好多時係被人影相多 | 噉用畫畫做一個媒介呢 | [可以] 由一個佢哋每日都面對住嘅立體空間 | 變 [一種] 嘅平面嘅畫嘅時候呢 | 佢哋就好似用個新嘅角度去睇翻自己嘅鋪頭 | 噉然後當佢哋睇翻自己鋪頭嘅時候 | 有時佢哋嘅俾我嘅反應 | 就係「哦,原來我間鋪頭咁靚【5:00】| 因爲我都唔知

● 媒介 mùih4 gaai3 = an intermediary; a medium | ● 立體空間 lahp6 tái2 hūng1 gāan1 = (?) a three-dimensional space | ● 平面 pìhng4 mín6*2 = a plane; a flat surface

Wai Wai: Mostly, the old shops are photographed most of the time. Using the medium of painting, when the three-dimensional space [the shopkeepers] deal with on a daily basis becomes a painted flat surface [一個平面嘅畫], it’s as if they are seeing their own shop from a new angle. Then, when they seen their own store [in this way], sometimes they give me a reaction, saying “Oh, [as it turns out] my shop is so beautiful. I never realized that”.

旁白:透過藝術推動社區保育 | 做法得到好多人嘅認同 | 佢亦都嘗試將創作 | 帶入唔同嘅場景 | 例如喺餐廳度畫粉筆畫 | 仲有呢一幅 | 喺上海街商場嘅大型壁畫

● 推動 tēui1 duhng6 = to push forward; to promote | ● 場景 chèuhng4 gíng2 = a scene; a sight | ● 粉筆畫 fán2 bāt1 wáa2 = roughly, “a chalk picture” | ● 壁畫 bīk1 wáa = a mural; a fresco

Voice-over: Using art to promote the preservation of a district is a way of doing things that many people approve of. She has also attempted to bring creativity into different spaces [場景], an example being a chalk drawing made in a cha chan teng restaurant. Then there is this large-scale mural, painted in the shopping centre on Shanghai Street.

慧惠:幅壁畫裏面呢,有一啲人仔喺度啦 | 有一啲係學生 | 有啲係,係街道流連緊嘅阿叔 | 噉有啲就係個做嘢嘅工作人員咁樣呀 | 就希望透過啲公衆喺個壁畫上面發掘嘅細節呢 | 就可以到當年佢哋啲人係點樣生活 | 噉從而懷緬也好呀 | 呃,分享翻自己嘅故事也好呀 | 噉都希望多啲互動

● 流連 làuh4 lihn6 = usu. “to linger”; perhaps in this context “to hang around” | ● 阿叔 aa3 sūk1 = roughly, “a man of one’s father’s age” | ● 發掘 faat3 gwaht6 = to excavate; to unearth; to explore | ● 懷緬 wàaih4 míhn5 = (?) to cherish the memory of; to recall with fondness (used for past events rather than people or places) | ● 互動wuh6 duhng6 = interactive

Wai Wai: In the mural, there are a few little figures [一啲人仔] — some are students, some are men hanging around in the street, and then some of them are workers. The hope is that, by means of details explored [發掘] in this public mural, one can find how people lived in those years, thereby fondly recalling past events in you like, or [as a prompt to] sharing you own stories. There hope too is for more interaction.

旁白:而家佢已經搬離油尖旺區 | 轉到去屯門居住 | 雖然要重新適應生活圈子 | 但係佢亦都不忘 | 繼續將藝術元素注入社區 | 經常會就地取材咁,利用風景寫生【6:00】 | 又會同學校合作開辦興趣班 | 親自帶學生參與鐵閘畫嘅創作等等 | 佢相信藝術嘅靈感係源自於生活 | 必須鼓勵新一代關心社區嘅細節

● 搬離 būn1 lèih4 = roughly, “to move away (from a place)” | ● 居住 gēui1 jyuh6 = to live; to reside; to dwell | ● 生活圈子 sāng wuht6 hyūn1 jí2 = roughly, “the circles in which one moves” (lit. “life circle”) | ● 藝術元素 ngaih6 seuht6 yùhn4 sou3 = an artistic element | ● 注入 jyu3 yahp6 = to pour into; to empty into | ● 就地 jauh6 deih6 = usu. “on the spot”; perhaps “from the place one happens to be in” | ● 取材 chéui2 chòih4 = to draw materials; to make use of materials (often used in a creative context) | ● 開辦 hōi1 baahn6 = to open; to set up; to start | ● 興趣班 hing3 cheui3 bāan1 = (?) interest class | ● 親自 chān1 jih6 = personally; in person; oneself

Voice-over: She has moved away from the Yau Tsim Mong district, and now lives in Tuen Mun. Although she has to adjust to a new living environment [生活圈子], she has not forgotten about infusing [注入] the district with artistic elements. She is always gathering material from her new home [就地], and sketching the [local] scenery. She also works with schools to organize interest classes, and personally works with students in the creation of shutter-screen paintings. She believes that the inspiration for art comes from life, and that the next generation must be encouraged to be concerned about the details of the place they live in [社區嘅細節].

慧惠:噉我都希望學生由去讀書嘅時候已經開始認識同埋了解 [呢],社區 | 或者喺邊度值得去記錄呀 | 當佢哋有呢一個觸覺,自小有呢一個觸覺嘅時候 | 咁我相信佢哋去到將來決定做邊一個行業 | 就算唔係關於藝術創作嘅行業呢 | 我相信佢哋會帶呢一種對社會嘅關心 | 社區嘅關心 | 去佢哋自己 [嗰個] 工作嘅範疇裏面 | 會令到成個香港都會有多啲愛

● 觸覺 jūk1 gok3 = tactile sensation; sense of touch | ● 行業 hòhng4 yihp6 = a trade; a profession; an industry | ● 範疇 faahn6 chàuh4 = a category; a domain

Wai Wai:I hope then when students are going to school, they are already beginning to get to know and to understand their local community [社區], or which parts of it are worth recording. When they acquire [有] this touch [觸覺], when they have this touch from an early age, then I believe that when in the future they come to choose a profession — even if it is one that has nothing to do with [唔關於] artistic creativity — they will, I believe, bring a concern for society and for their local community into the domain of their own [field of] work, and increase the amount of love in the whole of Hong Kong.

Learning Cantonese: Chu Man on the Death of Socrates & the Unexamined Life

I transcribed 豬文 Chu Man’s lively “On Hating and Despising Philosophy” back in April, and have been working on other videos by him since then, including his 2019 TEDx talk on Socrates’ maxim 「未經反省嘅人生,係不值得活嘅」 [“An unexamined life is not worth living”]. At a time in which individual freedoms in Hong Kong are under unprecedented threat, it is wonderful to be reminded that, without critical reflection on the life you lead, there is a danger that you will end up leading not your own but someone else’s idea of what your life should be.

The great difficulty with this piece is the absence of any subtitles. I have done my best, but have been unable to fill in all the gaps. Fortunately, for the most part, the context makes it pretty clear what Chu Man is driving at.

Actually, Chu Man is the nickname of 鄺雋文 K[w]ong3 Jeun3 Màhn4 or Chun Man Kwong, a doctoral student at Oxford University who is committed to bringing philosophy to the people. It occurred to me that you might think of him as “Piglitt” in English, since 豬 jyū1 = pig and 文 màhn4 = “literature; writing” . . . As for the character 雋 jeun3 in his real name, that means “unusually talented”.

There are no real gems of Cantonese grammar in the extract I have chosen, but there are a couple of uses of the 咪 . . . 囉 structure to indicate an obvious conclusion (Yip and Matthews in Intermediate Cantonese, Unit 23). So, at 7:20 you’ll hear 開開心心咪得囉 = “it’s ok to be happy”, while at 8:37 the speaker says 就算你要反對呢個哲學反省,你反對嘅時候,咪就係做緊哲學反省囉 = that is being engaged in philosophical reflection.

There is plenty of good vocabulary in the extract, including: 保持警覺 bóu2 chìh4 gíng2 gok3 = to stay/remain alert; 順勢 seuhn6 sai3 = take advantage of an opportunity; 預設 yuh6 chit3 = (?) to presuppose; 自主性 jih6 jyú2 sing3 = roughly, “the quality of deciding for oneself” or “initiative”; 嚴格嚟講 yìhm4 gaak3 lèih4 góng2 = strictly speaking; 打個譬如 dáa2 go3 pei3 yùh4 = to give an example; 高薪厚職 gōu1 sān1 háuh5 jīk1 = a high salary & a substantial position | ● 成世人 sèhng4 sai3 yàhn4 = one’s whole life; an entire lifetime; ● 雙向 sēung1 heung3 = two-way.

Please scroll down for my transcription, English translation and notes. You can view the video here (remember: there are no subtitles). 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.


【4:11】噉其實蘇格拉底呢,係有機會唔使死嘅 | 噉只要佢認罪呢,嗰個雅典嗰啲法官呀,或者嗰啲權力人士就「哦,哦放逐你得㗎喇。唔使驚,唔使死呀。」| 但蘇格拉底講咩呢?佢就話「如果你哋呢班人,啫,按公義去審判嘅,唔單止我唔使死同埋放逐,你哋更加應該請我食飯 ,佢係咁講 | 點解呢? | 因為蘇格拉底自比呢,自己係一隻牛虻 | 一隻牛身上嘅小昆蟲 | 不斷叮住雅典呢隻牛 | 睇落好似又煩又乞人憎又無用咁,但其實佢有一個功能 | 佢令到呢隻牛不斷保持警覺 | 所以因為佢呢種追問同埋批評嘅精神其實係服務緊【5:00】個社會呀 | 所以雅典政府應該請請佢食飯

● 放逐 fong3 juhk6 = to send into exile; to exile; to banish | ● 牛虻 [ng]àuh4 mòhng4 (?) = gadfly | ● 叮dēng1 = to sting; to bite | ● 保持警覺 bóu2 chìh4 gíng2 gok3 = to stay/remain alert

In actual fact, Socrates was given a chance [which meant] he didn’t have to die. Had he accepted the charges made against him, those Athenian judges or those in power [would have said]: “Oh, banishing you is enough. You have nothing to fear. You don’t have to die”. What did Socrates say to that? He said: “If you lot had tried [me] according to justice, there would have been no need for me to die or to go into exile — in fact, you would have treated me to a meal”. That’s what he said. Why? Because Socrates compared himself to a gadfly, a small insect [found] on the body of a cow, constantly biting the Cow that was Athens. By the looks of it irritating, hateful and of no practical use [無用], he nevertheless had a function: he forced [令到] the cow to stay constantly alert. For this reason, because of this questioning and critical spirit of his, he was actually serving his society. And so the Athenian government should have treated him to a meal.

噉我做一個讀哲學嘅人,其實蘇格拉底好多哲學理論或者立場我都唔係好認同,但係淨係呢點呢,我係一路都好認同嘅 | 所以 *so 一路都等緊呢個政府出翻糧俾我或者請我食飯,俾錢我去讀哲學嘅 | 噉蘇格拉底認爲呢,呢種批判嘅精神呢,唔單止係對個社會有用 | 佢覺得呢,更加係人人都應該做嘅嘢 | 佢嘅名言嘅係一個自辯入便,啫,佢審判嘅時候為咗辯護有個名言嘅,就係呢句 | 佢話「未經反省嘅人生呢,係不值得活嘅」| 噉呢個係佢自辯一個名言,亦都係影響[到] 後世最多嘅説話 | 噉正如蘇格拉底自己呢,佢都唔會因為嗰啲專家嘅身份就亂信仰 | 我哋都唔應該因為蘇格拉底係一個偉大嘅哲學家就順勢講嘢㗎嘛 | 噉所以 *so 我哋都應該問清楚,究竟未經反省嘅人生,係咪真係不值得活嘅呢?【6:00】| 「係」嘅話,理由又喺邊度呢?

● 出糧 chēut1 lèuhng4 = to pay a salary | ● 名言 mìhng4 yìhn4 = a well-known saying; a celebrated dictum; a famous remark | ● 自辯 jih6 bihn6 = (?) to argue in self-defence | ● 後世 hauh6 sai3 = ① later ages ② later generations | ● 順勢 seuhn6 sai3 = take advantage of an opportunity | ● 理由 léih5 yàuh4 = a reason; a ground; an argument

As a student of philosophy, in actual fact I don’t really approve of [我都唔係好認同] many of Socrates’ philosophical theories or standpoints, but I have always approved of this one point. For this reason, I am waiting for this government to pay me a wage or treat me to a meal, and to pay me to study philosophy. Now, Socrates believed that this critical spirit is not only useful to society but that it was something each and every individual should do. In his self-defence, [he said something that has become] a well-known saying, a well-known saying that he used while defending himself during the trial: “An unexamined life is not worth living”. This celebrated dictum used by Socrates in self-defence and the remark has had the most influence on later ages. Now like Socrates himself, who stated that he wouldn’t rashly believe in [亂信仰] something just because of the status of those experts, we too ought not simply take his words at face-value [順勢講嘢] just because the man was a great philosopher. And so we have to be clear about whether the unexamined life really is not worth living, and if it is, what [邊度] the reason for it is.

噉嚟緊厘短短嘅幾分鐘,我哋就嘗試一齊扮吓蘇格拉底,質問翻蘇格拉底自己 | 係咪真嘅呢?| 噉啊我曾經喺課堂上邊都同啲學生討論過呢個故仔或者討論過呢個諗法嘅 | 噉啊不如大家估吓,我嘅學生係支持厘個説話多定係 *dei 反對嘅多?. . .

● 嚟緊 lèih4 gán2 = coming | ● 課堂 fo3 tòhng4 = classroom

In the coming few short minutes, we will try together to play the part of Socrates, and to question Socrates himself about [whether what he said] is true. I have discussed this story in the classroom with students or discussed this way of thinking. How about you try and guess whether more students supported [Socrates’] remark or disagreed with it?  . . .

【7:05】噉啲有認同嘅同反對嘅各佔一半呀 | 噉我覺得反對嘅同學呢,講嘅講法都幾 make sense 嘅,幾合附我哋嘅直覺 | 佢講啲咩呢?| 佢話,人點解要諗嘢?點解要反省呢?開開心心咪得囉 | 呢啲主觀嘅嘢喎 | 噉如果佢揀咗好似 TVB 咁樣《愛回家》咁樣好開心過一世 | 你憑咩話佢唔值得活 [啫]?咁樣 | 佢係咁講 | 噉我估呢個講法可能大家都某個意義上係 share 厘個講法嘅 | 但係我當時係點樣回應佢呀?| 我當時就係話,冇錯呀,人生係有好多好多種,千千萬萬咁多種 | 就好似呢個 hall 入便,百零二百人 | 我哋都 [過] 得好唔同嘅人生 | 有人係攝影師,有人係建築師,我係讀哲學嘅人 | 唔一定個個都讀哲學嘅,但個問題係,你要揀㗎嘛?【8:00】| 要揀㗎嘛?| 究竟係做隻所謂快樂嘅豬定係 *dei 痛苦嘅蘇格拉底,呢個係要揀㗎嘛?| 呢個問題本身就預設咗我哋要做抉擇,而做抉擇我哋就要去諗嘢 | 所以 *so 個問題係,無論如何,我哋都要用蘇格拉底式嘅哲學反省去選擇 | 所以其實呢種哲學反省係必須嘅 | 即使你揀做 [咗一隻快樂嘅豬] 或者開心嘅人生 [你都] 要揀咗先呀,你都要經過一種所謂 self-examination 嘅洗禮,你嘅選擇先係有意,你嘅人生先至值得活嘅 | 所以 *so 個講法就係,就算你要反對呢個哲學反省,你反對嘅時候,咪就係做緊哲學反省囉 | 所以呢種哲學反省係不能迴避

各佔一半 gok3 jim3 yāt1 bun3 = roughly, “each one occupied a half”, in otherwise, the class was divided “fifty-fifty” between those who agreed and those who did not | ● 合附 hahp6 fuh6 = (?) to accord with | ● 憑 pàhng4 = to rely on; to depend on | ● 預設 yuh6 chit3 = (?) to presuppose | ● 抉擇 kyut3 jaahk6 = to choose | ● 洗禮 sái2 láih5 = a baptism | ● 迴避 wùih4 beih6 = to evade; to dodge; to avoid

Half the students agreed with the idea, and half disagreed. Now I thought that what the students who disagreed said did make a lot of sense, according with one’s intuitions. What did she say? She said, “Why should people have to think about everything? Why should [we] have to reflect? It’s OK just be happy [with (?)] these subjective things. Now if [you] have chosen to live your life very happily in the manner of TVB’s Love Comes Home, what right have you to say [你憑咩話] that the life of such a person is not worth living?” That’s how she put it. Now I suppose that all of you here [大家] probably share this view in one sense or another. But at the time, how did I respond to her? At the time I said, “True, there many, many different ways to lead a human life, hundreds and thousands of different ways just like here in this hall of somewhere between one and two hundred people [百零二百人]. We all of us live our different lives — some are photographers, some are architects, and I study philosophy. Not everyone is necessarily a student of philosophy, but the question/problem is: Did you choose [your life]? Did you choose it? Whether you lead the life of a happy pig or a suffering Socrates, the thing is [呢個], did you choose it [係要揀嘅嗎]? This issue itself presupposes that we have to make a choice, and that to make a choice we have to think. And so the thing [所以個問題係] is, no matter [what the situation], we all have to make use of a Socratic-style philosophical reflection in order to choose. For this reason, such philosophical reflection is necessary. Even if you decide to be a happy pig or live a happy, carefree life [開心嘅], you have to make a choice, you have to undergo a baptism self-examination. Only then will your choice be meaningful and will your life be worth living. And so one could say that [Socrates’ remark about the unexamined life means that], even if you are opposed to philosophical reflection, your opposition to it is still [a way of] engaging in [做緊] philosophical reflection. For this reason, you can’t escape this kind of philosophical reflection.

噉究竟點解用哲學反省去令到我哋嘅人生變得值得活或者有意義呢?噉呢度有好多唔同嘅講法嘅,唔同嘅哲學家有唔同嘅詮釋。噉我或者分享吓我自己嘅比較簡單嘅理解 【9:00】。我理解係,呢種講法背後顯示咗一種對人嗰種自主性嘅重視。我哋要安排自己人生,為自己人生負責,咁呢,我哋 [成爲] 自己人生嘅主人。你諗吓,如果你唔反省,你嘅好多諗法或者你做緊嘅嘢係咪真係你自己嘅呢?定係 *dei 你屋企人、你朋友、你嘅社會俾你嘅呢?如果你冇反省過,其實你冇揀過。你冇揀過,嚴格嚟講,你連自己人生都承唔上,你冇 [過緊個] 自己嘅人生。

● 詮釋 chyùhn4 sīk1 = to explain; to interpret | ● 顯示 hín2 sih6 = to show; to display; to manifest | ● 自主性 jih6 jyú2 sing3 = roughly, “the quality of deciding for oneself” or “initiative” | ● 嚴格嚟講 yìhm4 gaak3 lèih4 góng2 = strictly speaking | ● 承唔上 sìhng4 mh4 seuhng6 = roughly, “to be able to undertake/take on/assume”

Now why does the use of philosophical reflection make our lives worth living or meaningful? Many explanations [講法] are given to this, and different philosophers have different interpretations. I’d like perhaps to share my rather simple understanding [of the matter] with you. My understanding is that behind [Socrates’ comment about the unexamined life] there is a laying of importance on an individual’s initiative. We have to arrange our own lives and take responsibility for ourselves, and by doing so we become the masters of our own lives. Think about it. If you don’t [engage in] reflection, are what you think about and what you do truly your own? Or are they something you have been given by your family, your friends or your society? If you haven’t examined [your life], then you actually haven’t made any choices. And if you haven’t chosen, then — strictly speaking — you cannot even undertake your own life, and you’ve never lived the life that is yours.

打個譬如 [啦]。如果有個人自細受到屋企嘅教育話,我哋仔要努力搵錢、結婚、買樓,於是乎佢大學就揀咗搵錢嘅課,後尾揀咗高薪厚職,然之後就做一個幸福嘅家庭。如果佢成世人都冇曾經 一刻,跳後一步,望翻呢個人,望翻呢條命,諗吓究竟咩值得做咩唔值得做嘅話,究竟佢過緊一個自己嘅人生呢,定係佢只不過係沿緊一個嘅社會俾佢嘅角色呢?【10:00】如果佢連自己人生都承唔上嘅時候,佢人生又仲有咩所謂值得唔值得活呢?可能佢反省完,揀翻一樣嘅嘢,但重點唔係佢揀啲咩,係佢要揀,佢先能夠成爲佢人生嘅主人。所以 *so 我哋會 [相信],揀咗,嗰條命先係你自己,而揀,[就係] 你要反省。所以 *so 無論如何,我哋都需要一個哲學嘅反省去幫助我哋 . . . 重新獲得自己嘅人生。

● 打個譬如 dáa2 go3 pei3 yùh4 = to give an example | ● 搵錢 wán2 chín4*2 = to make money | ● 高薪厚職 gōu1 sān1 háuh5 jīk1 = a high salary & a substantial position | ● 成世人 sèhng4 sai3 yàhn4 = one’s whole life; an entire lifetime cf. 一生人 yāt1 sāng1 yàhn4 = one’s whole life (used in the next section) | ● 沿 yùhn4 = to follow (a tradition, a pattern, etc.) | ● 角色 gok3 sīk1 = a role; a part

Let me give you an example. Imagine a man who has been instructed [in the following manner] by his family: our son must do all he can to get a job, to marry, and to buy a place to live. Then, when he goes to university, he chooses a course that means he can earn [good] money and, in the end, he lands a substantial position with a high salary. After that, he makes a happy family [for himself]. If he has never in the whole course of his life jumped back for a moment and looked [back (?)] at this person [he has become] and at this life of his, and wondered about what is worth doing and what is not, then is he living his own life, or has he merely accepted a role [沿緊一個 . . . 角色] given to him by his society? If he is unable to undertake even his own life, then what in his life can be said to worth the living? Perhaps he did reflect on his life and, after doing so, chose to live [exactly] the same [way], but the main thing is not what he chose but that he did chose [佢要揀], enabling him to become the master of his life. For this reason, we can believe [我哋會相信] that, only when we have chosen can that life be yours — and to choose requires you to reflect. And so, no matter what, we all of us need philosophical reflection to help us . . . to regain for ourselves our own lives.

噉呢種對人嘅自主性嘅重視,其實都體現咗蘇格拉底對教育或者學習嘅理解。蘇格拉底雖然係一個好偉大嘅哲學家,但好有趣地,佢連一生人都冇寫過書。噉係唔係因為佢唔識字呀?噉當然就唔係啦。噉好多關於佢嘅記載都只能夠憑其他人嘅描寫去獲知呀,例如派拉圖嘅著作咁樣。噉蘇格拉底點解唔寫書呀?係因為佢認爲追求知識同埋學習必然係一個即時同埋雙向嘅活動【11:00】,而書呢,係死 [㗎]。書寫低咗就擺咗喺度呢,你冇即時同本書辯論嘅。噉所以只能夠透過佢嗰種我哋叫做 Socratic dialogue 去同其他人辯論嗰種即時性先能夠獲得知識嘅。噉所以大家聽到呢度就發現,原來追求知識唔一定睇書可能大家就好開心 [喇],而家。哈哈,都唔係我問題啫,我唔睇書都唔代表我唔追求知識嘅,咁樣。[哎],但係大家都唔使開心得咁早喎。嗱,大家呢,嚟呢個TEDx啊,好開心啦,呃,覺得,[哎],有啲做啲文化活動,幾高級嘅,應該追求知識嘅,咁樣。[哎],噉啊坐喺度聽咗咁多「專家」嘅演講 [呀],包括我呢啲所謂「專家」演講,應該學到好多嘢,返到屋企就應該自命得意,就可以喺IG 呀、Facebook 就 share,啊,[咁樣] 好 inspiring 囉,咁樣,係啦。啫,// 咁樣。// 我估大家都有類此嘅心態嘅,但係我,我sorry 呀,我,我代蘇格拉底同大家講聲 sorry 先。唔係呀。你冇學過嘢呀。點解呀?你哋全部都只係坐喺度【12:00】聽我講。你冇真正發問。你冇真正提出自己意見。只能夠喺你真正提出自己嘅意見、發問、甚至挑戰我哋呢啲所謂專家嘅諗法嘅時候,你先真係 engage 緊嗰啲思想、嗰啲知識,而到你就係 engage 嗰刻,你先真係搭上追求知識嘅路。所以呢,一陣 lunchbreak,記得啦,把握機會,問吓啲專家,係呀。多啲討論。噉 [呢],[就係非常大] 嘅嘢,你先就係學到嘢,OK。

● 體現 tái2 yihn6 = to embody; to incarnate; to give expression to | ● 一生人 yāt1 sāng1 yàhn4 = one’s whole life | ● 記載 gei3 joi3 = a record; an account | ● 派拉圖 paai3 lāai1 tòuh4 = Plato | ● 即時 jīk1 sìh4 = usu. “immediate; forthwith”; here perhaps “on the spot” | ● 雙向 sēung1 heung3 = two-way| ● 自命得意 jih6 mihng6 dāk1 yi3 = cf. 自命 = to consider oneself; to regard oneself + 得意 = (?) interesting | ● 挑戰 tīu1 jin3 = to challenge

This valuing of individual initiative is an expression of Socrates understanding of education and of study. Socrates was a great philosopher, but one interesting fact is that he never wrote a book in the whole course of his life. Was that because he was illiterate? No, of course not! For accounts of him, [we] can only rely on descriptions written by other people, works by Plato, for example. Why didn’t Socrates write books, then? Because he believed that the pursuit of knowledge as well as learning required on-the-spot-ness and a two-way exchange. Books, on the other hand, are dead: once they are written they just sit there [擺咗喺度] — you can’t have a two-way argument with them. And so the only way you can obtain knowledge is by means of what we call the Socratic dialogue, having an immediate interchange with other people. Now, you might be happy to hear that you don’t have to read any books to acquire knowledge. “Ha, there’s nothing wrong with me! Just because I don’t read doesn’t mean I’m not engaged in the pursuit of learning.” But please don’t celebrate too soon [但係大家都唔使開心得咁早喎]! Here you are, happy to be at this TEDx talk, thinking that at these cultural events, really quite high-class, you can pursue knowledge. You sit here listening to talks by all these experts — including so-called experts like myself — thinking that you ought to learn something, and when you get back home you’d consider yourself someone with something to say [自命得意], something you can share on Instagram and Facebook, how inspiring! Something like that. I guess most of you here might have an attitude like that, but I’m sorry: on behalf of Socrates, I have to tell you that I’m sorry. No, actually, you didn’t learn anything. Why not? [Because] the lot of you sat here listening to me speak. You didn’t ask questions. You didn’t get to express your own ideas. It’s only when you have really put forward your own ideas — even [daring to go so far as] to challenge the views of us, the so-called experts — that you are truly engaging with those ideas, with that knowledge and at the time when you are engaging, you can truly be said to have embarked on the road to knowledge. So for this reason, on your next lunchbreak, remember to take advantage of the opportunity to asks the experts questions. Discuss more. Only then UNCLEAR will you learn things. OK.

Learning Cantonese: Capturing the Sky

This is a very short video again featuring the Hong Kong landscape painter 黃進曦 Stephen Wong Chun Hei. The moral is simple yet profound, and is summed up in the final sentence: 或者喺你觀察到其他人去畫天空呢一啲作品之後|可能令到你產生咗一種 | 「原來唔係咁單一」嘅觀察嘅方法嘅,咁一樣嘅 (you can find my rough English translation below).

The Cantonese titles of the video differ in interesting ways.  The words 自在風景 literally mean “free and easy landscape”, but are rendered in English as “the breath of landscape”, while 凝聚天空, which makes use of the verb 凝聚 yìhng4 jeuih6 = “(of vapour) to condense”, becomes “capture the sky”. In other words, we are dealing here with different versions rather than direct translations.

For a Cantonese learner, the joy of this video is Wong’s one use of 埲 buhng6, a classifier (or “measure word”) specifically for walls. I don’t come across it very often; generally 幅 fūk1 seems to be preferred. Actually, within the span of his 1-minute presentation, you’ll hear Wong use both, one more reason to fall in love with Cantonese all over again!

There is also a very nifty item of vocabulary: 順住時序 seuhn6 jyuh6 sìh4 jeuih6 = in chronological order. Combined with the verb 排列 pàaih4 liht6, you get one way of saying “to arrange in chronological order”.

Please scroll down for my transcription, English translation and notes. You can view the video here (subtitles in 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.


Caption: 自在風景 | The Breath of Landscape

Caption: 凝聚天空 | Capture the Sky

黃進曦:其實我由5月份開始呢 | 其實就去唔同地區啦 | 二十間中小學就去做一 workshop 嘅|主要呢,就係同佢哋去畫當日個天空 呀|其實呢一埲牆呢,主要就係嗰二十間中學嘅作品|噉我排列個方法呢,就其實係順住時序嘅 | 另外呢一幅牆呢 | 其實就係藝術館呢一個位呢 | 現場我再一啲唔同嘅朋友過一齊 | 去畫天空嘅一個作品嘅 | 透過呢個workshop 之後 | 或者喺你觀察到其他人去畫天空嘅呢一啲作品之後|可能令到你產生咗一種 | 「原來唔係咁單一」嘅觀察嘅方法嘅,咁一樣

● 中小學 jūng1 síu2 hohk6 = primary and secondary schools | ● 埲 buhng6 = a classifier for walls | ● 排列 pàaih4 liht6 = to arrange; to put in order | ● 順住時序 seuhn6 jyuh6 sìh4 jeuih6 = in chronological order cf.  時序 = sequential timing | ● 觀察 gūn1 chaat3 = to observe; to watch | ● 單一 dāan1 yāt1 = single; unitary; perhaps even “homogenous”

Stephen Wong Chun Hei: In actual fact, beginning in May, I went to various different districts, doing workshops in twenty primary and secondary schools. What we did mainly was to paint the sky on that [particular] day. The paintings on this wall here are mostly those by students at these twenty schools. My way of arranging them was according to chronological order. On this other wall over here, here in this part of the [Hong Kong] Museum of Art, I got a number of my friends together here together, each one of them painting a picture of the sky on this spot. By means of these workshops, and after looking at the skies painted by other people, perhaps it might make you think to yourself [產生咗一種] “Well, there’s no single way of doing it” when it comes to how one looks [at the world].

《新心界》: 第七章 「散塔露淇亞!」

● After his collapse during the Cantonese Speaking Contest, 陳之一 Chan Chi-yat is in a very bad state. 阿綠 Ah Luk decides to take him back to Sha Tin by taxi just to make sure that he returns safely. In his flat, she discovers how simple Chan’s lifestyle has become in recent times. What does it mean? She also hears Chan talking in his sleep. Does this crazy, fragmented speech reflect a deeply traumatised psyche, or does it suggest that Hong Kong itself is on the brink of some kind of breakdown?

Soundtrack: “Protection



入𨋢後,二人粒聲都唔出。𨋢本身就係一個密封嘅空間,因此佢哋可以暫時享受搭𨋢專有嘅安全感。但一瞬間就到達阿一所住嘅樓層,行到鐵閘前,男人好辛苦咁由口袋裏拎一抽鎖匙出嚟,遞到阿綠手上。步入屋内,男人便即刻去睡房瞓低,而綠色頭髮嘅女人就行入厨房,打算為二人沖茶。因為男人過年嗰陣認真進行大掃除,全間屋都執得整整齊齊,雜物甚少!;另外呢度又冇乜人氣,幾乎可以令人以為係「吉屋」;唔使講,厨房亦唔例外,除咗一枝家用紅醋之外,工作枱空無一物。當女人望住呢枝紅醋時,忽然醒起陳之一成日將自己形容為「半瓶醋」,於是忍唔住細聲笑咗出嚟(不過,阿綠無法知道,醋瓶入面所裝嘅唔係普通醋,而係由粉嶺「添仔蝦餃」度特登買返嘅喼汁!)。喺櫥櫃入面摷嚟摷去,女人終於揾到一罐綠茶茶葉同埋兩個杯仔。用電熱水壺煲水時,全屋只有開水初初滾起嘅聲音,單位顯得更加冷清 。

等待茶葉正泡開時,阿綠覺得應該去睇一睇男人,睇吓佢係咪已經瞓著覺。行近睡房嗰時,就聽到房内傳出輕微噱噱聲,其實單憑呢個就可以估到陳之一冇可能想飲茶。不過,為防出錯,好細心嘅阿綠輕輕地推開半開嘅門,望一望房内情況:房内相當幽暗,窗簾被緊緊拉上,不過阿綠仍然能夠辨認得出床上仰臥嘅陳之一。令到阿綠驚奇嘅係,除咗張床,睡房中並無其他傢俬!「嘩!呢個人真係深受古希臘斯巴達人嘅影響,生活方式實在太過簡樸啦 . . . 」然後,為咗唔想嘈醒阿一,佢就輕輕咁用腳尖行去客廳,拎起男人喜愛嘅一張木櫈,再拎住水杯放喺張床側邊。阿綠終於可以安頓落嚟,慢慢飲住茶,陪伴低聲打鼻鼾嘅「普通話漢奸」。

喺呢間黑沉沉又唔熟悉嘅睡房内,阿綠突然醒起陳之一演講期間選用「障礙物」呢一個詞語。女人心諗:要深入了解另一種文化其實好困難,佢仲記得之前喺佛羅倫薩讀書時,日常生活經常會遇到語言障礙。不過,對阿綠嚟講,呢類障礙」或多或少數都有得意嘅成份在内,甚至乎會為人生添加唔少樂趣、魅力、人情味。連生活中最微不足道嘅活動,譬如買麵包、喺咖啡室叫嘢飲、同生埗人問路、向別人解釋點解呢朵花靚過嗰朵等等 . . . 都超乎想象、竟然可以得到前所未有嘅詩意。好多時因為生活環境太過舒適,我哋好容易對周圍發生嘅一切變得麻木不仁;日子過得重重覆覆而變得模糊,注意力亦被分散得好犀利;尋日,今日同聽日基本上係一模一樣長年累月,最終生存空間已經冇辦法帶嚟半點新鮮感。母親將呢種恐怖嘅生存困局形容為「七色均黑嘅彩虹」,係人生中非常可怕嘅經歷。


「. . . 人為錯誤 . . . 選民登記冊 . . . 視如草芥 . . . 一國一點五制 . . . 粵音朗讀測證 . . . 犀牛角切件 . . . 劏房調查 . . . 處於半失業嘅狀況 . . . 重金屬甲基汞 . . . 電表房 . . . 釋除疑慮 . . . 冬季流感節 . . . 孚公道,為民生 . . . 首宗非洲豬瘟 . . . 喺私地建丁屋 . . . 放款引入海外醫生 . . . 」


「. . . 三個發起人 . . . 罪名成立 . . . 聽取求情 . . . 串謀 . . . 作出公衆妨擾 . . . 煽惑 . . . 判詞 . . . 公民抗命 . . . 寒蟬效應 . . . 監禁 . . . 彰顯法制精神 . . . 政治武器 . . . 社會撕裂 . . . 罪魁禍首 . . . 極大不理想 . . . 「港獨」邪説 . . . 邪説 . . . 邪説 . . . 」

跟住,一片沉默。然後,阿綠耳邊再傳嚟一連串新聞單詞。再一段徹底沉默。再然後,陳之一居然唱起歌嚟,只有短短嘅一部分: 「散塔露淇亞!散塔露淇亞!」阿綠當然好熟悉呢首意大利歌,甚至知道「散塔露淇亞」又係地名,又係一位女性聖人。另外,因為「露淇亞」本來具有「光明」嘅意思,令到發暗家嘅佢聯想到類如「神光」、「天澤」呢啲喺香港天后廟常見到嘅字眼。



蚊仔 mmm-mmm-mmm-mmm
貓仔點樣叫 . . . 」



Learning Cantonese: 余頌恩 Grace Yu on Art as Life-force

「我覺得有生命力嘅音樂同藝術背後係有 message、有訊息嘅 | 有魄力嘅藝術家、音樂人佢哋生命都可以流露出一份有生命力嘅 message | 而呢個世界已經有太多冇生命力嘅生命㗎喇」

余頌恩 Grace Yu Chung-yan is a concert pianist and teacher at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. In her view, the reason why we need art is because it transmits生命力 sāng1 mihng6 lihk6 = “life force; vitality”. This “power of life” is essential to every human being, especially at a time when, as Yu points out, “there are already too many lives in this world lacking in vitality”. As a musician, she is also committed to the idea art as (potentially) a supremely authentic expression of life, as well as a kind of flow [流動] that enables an exchange of happiness, sincerity and love between one human being and another. Her short presentation in this video is like a whole creative manifesto in miniature.

In this Kongstories video, you will hear Yu use the structure 冇得+ Verb at 1:10. I discussed this grammar topic in the previous Learning Cantonese post on the landscape painter 黃進曦 Stephen Wong Chun Hei, speculating that it might be used to convey an absolute inability. I think Yu’s use of it here reinforces the hypothesis: the phrase 分享音樂帶出嚟嗰份歡樂、真實同埋愛嘅流動係冇得呃嘅 = “there can be no duplicity in the flow of happiness, sincerity and love that the sharing of music brings” does seem to indicate absolute 100% improbability.

With regard to vocabulary, there is a wonderful example of the Cantonese use of 齋 jāai1, the basic meaning of which is “to abstain from meat, wine, etc. (when offering sacrifices to gods or ancestors)”. In spoken Cantonese, the basic sense of “abstinence” is extended in some very interesting ways. 《香港粵語大詞典》gives a few examples, including 齋啡 jāai1 fē1, the word for “black coffee” with neither milk nor sugar in it, and 齋坐 jāai1 chóh5, which means something like “to sit in a restaurant without ordering any food”. At 1:10, Yu uses it to modify 彈 tàahn4, the verb used for “playing” the piano. 齋彈冇靈魂 literally means “to play abstainingly, without soul”, suggesting that 齋 also conveys a sense of something not being done to its fullest possible extent, or perhaps without giving oneself fully. I also once came across 齋聽 jāai1 tēng1 = “to listen (to a conversation) without contributing to it in any way”.

In addition, listen out for the following useful vocabulary items: 孭 mē1 = to carry on the shoulders; 魄力 paak3 lihk6 = daring & resolution; boldness; 劏房 tōng1 fóng4*2 = a subdivided flat, unit & apartment; 獨一無二 duhk6 yāt1 mòuh4 yih6 = unique; unparalleled; unmatched; and 呃 āak1 = to cheat; to deceive; to dupe.

Please scroll down if you want the transcription, notes and my own English translation. Otherwise, you can view the video here (subtitles in 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.


Caption: 音樂人生 | A Life in Music

香港係其中一個最多人學樂器地方 | 你一出街,周圍都有孭住樂器嘅學生 | 但係有幾多個學上唔係浄係齋彈靈魂 | 而係尋找到屬於獨特嘅聲音同埋生命力嘅呢?| 我覺得有生命力嘅音樂同藝術背後係有 message、有訊息嘅 | 有魄力嘅藝術家、音樂人佢哋生命都可以流露出一份有生命力嘅 message | 而呢個世界已經有太多冇生命力嘅生命喇 | 所以無論係世界上唔同嘅音樂廳表演同埋講學 | 喺演藝學院同每一個學生互動交流 | 定係喺深水埗嘅劏房教小朋友彈琴 【1:00】| 都係生命影響生命獨一無二嘅機會 | 分享音樂帶出嚟份歡樂、真實同埋愛嘅流動係冇得呃嘅 | 呢啲都係生命最真誠嘅表達 | 呢個世界需要音樂,需要藝術 | 呢個世界更加需要有傳遞生命訊息嘅人 | 我叫余頌恩,香港土生土長,七百萬個故仔成就一個香 . . . 港故仔

● 孭 mē1 = to carry on the shoulders | ● 魄力 paak3 lihk6 = daring & resolution; boldness | ● 流露 làuh4 louh6 = to reveal; to betray; to show unintentionally | ● 音樂廳 yām1 ngohk6 tēng1 = a concert hall | ● 講學 góng2 hohk6 = to give lectures | ● 互動 wuh6 duhng6 = an interaction; interactive | ● 劏房 tōng1 fóng4*2 = a subdivided flat, unit & apartment | ● 獨一無二 duhk6 yāt1 mòuh4 yih6 = unique; unparalleled; unmatched | ● 歡樂 fūn1 lohk6 = happy; joyous | ● 流動 làuh4 duhng6 = ① to flow ② mobile | ● 呃āak1 = to cheat; to deceive; to dupe | ● 真誠 jān1 sìhng4 = sincere; genuine; true | ● 傳遞 chyùhn daih6 = to transmit; to deliver; to transfer

Hong Kong is a place in which so many people are learning to play a musical instrument. Just step outside your door and you’ll see students everywhere [周圍都] carrying musical instruments on their backs. But how many of these students are looking for a voice that belongs to them alone and a vitality, rather than merely going through the motions devoid of soul [浄係齋彈冇靈魂]? It is my feeling that behind any music or art there is a message. An artist or musician with daring and resolution has the capacity to reveal [流露] a message of vitality — and there are already too many lives in this world lacking in vitality, in life-force. So no matter whether [I] am performing in different concert halls around the world or giving lectures, interacting [互動交流] with every single student [studying] at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, or teaching a child in a subdivided flat in Sham Shui Po how to play the piano, these are all unique opportunities for one life to influence another. There can be no duplicity [冇得呃] in the flow of happiness, sincerity and love that the sharing of music brings. All these things [呢啲都] are the most authentic expression of life. This world needs music; it needs art. Even more, it needs people who can transmit messages of life [生命訊息]. My name is Grace Yu Chung-yan. I was born and raised in Hong Kong. Seven million stories go to make up [成就] one [of the] Hong . . . Kong Stories.

Albert Wan, the Temperate Bookseller at Bleak House Books

I felt deeply saddened to hear that Bleak House Books will close down on 15 October. I hope everyone with an interest in Hong Kong and literature will rally at this difficult time. This Kongstories video on Albert Wan and Bleak House Books is a moving tribute . . .

Chinaman Creek

溫敬豪 Wān1 Ging3 Hòuh4 or Albert Wan is the founder of Bleak House Books. He truly is a Mr John Jarndyce of the book-world, housing not only a collection of second-hand books, many of them out of print, but providing a shelter for anyone curious in what old print might have to offer them. He says some heart-stirring things about his profession: “I started Bleak House Books,” he declares, “not to sell books but to serve the community” [我開清明堂其實唔係爲咗賣書 | 反而希望係 serve the community]. Such spirit in this world of money-driven entrepreneurs is a rare as it is refreshing.

You can enjoy this video even if you’re not interested in Cantonese: it has good English subtitles. However, if you are a committed learner, then items of vocabulary to make you own in this video include 殘舊 chàahn4 gauh6 = tattered; 斷版 tyuhn6 báan2 = (?) to be out…

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Learning Cantonese: Painting Hong Kong Landscapes with 黃進曦 Stephen Wong

有陣時都會驚有一啲地方係會畫唔翻嘅 | 噉但係呢樣嘢我覺得係冇得驚嘅 | 啫,我意思係唔到我控制嘅呢樣嘢,本身係 | [因為] 風景畫家其實就係你去 capture 一個你眼見,啫,或者當下嘅一個,一個景象

Hong Kong landscape painter 黃進曦 Stephen Wong Chun Hei is a very thoughtful artist, and he says some intriguing things in this 5-minute Ming Pao video about painting during an epidemic and the time for greater creative reflection it enables. He also muses on the distinctive qualities of the Hong Kong landscape (“Wherever you go in Hong Kong, as long as you can see a mountain that you recognize, it helps you to some degree to get your bearings”), and on the anxiety everyone feels about the sacrifice of landscape to so-called “development”: perhaps many of Hong Kong’s existing natural scenes will one day only exist within paintings.

In terms of grammatical riches, the most interesting thing to listen out for is Wong’s use of the aspect marker 開 hōi1. You will hear it at around the 1:13 minute mark in the phrase 噉我就都第一次就嘗試將我平時用開嘅大畫嗰啲canvas呢, and it crops up again at 2:31 in 因爲睇開嗰啲風景畫家嗰啲或者鍾意嘅風景畫都係一啲外國嘅風景咁樣嘅. In Intermediate Cantonese, Yip and Matthews state that it generally has “a habitual meaning” and this is certainly the case here, with the first meaning “those canvases that I usually use for big paintings” (note how 平時 pìhng4 sìh4 explicitly underscores the habitual nature of the act), and the second, “because those landscape paintings I usually looked at by those landscape painters I may have liked”.

There is also one use of the structure 冇得 + Verb to indicate inability. I am still puzzled by this usage, but my current thinking is that it expresses a universal inability, covering all those nuances involving physical ability, know-how, permission, etc. It crops up at 3:46 in the phrase 呢樣嘢我覺得係冇得驚嘅, where 冇得驚 means something like “cannot fear that” or “cannot be frightened about”. You’ll hear it again at 4:14 in 冇得要求 = “cannot demand”. You will also encounter a couple of examples of that very useful aspect marker 翻 fāan1, concerned with repetition. It is used by Wong in 見唔翻 = “unable to see again” and, more creatively, 畫唔翻 = unable to paint again”.

There are also some gems in the domain of vocabulary, the pick of the crop being the verb 打戙 dáa2 duhng6 = to set vertically/upright. Other worthwhile items include 環遊世界 wàahn4 yàuh4 sai3 gaai3 = to make a round the world trip; 寫生 sé2 sā[a]ng1 = to paint from life; to draw, paint or sketch from nature; 草原 chóu2 yùhn4 = grasslands; prairie; 辨認 bihn6 yihng6 = to identify; to recognize; 定位 dihng6 wái6*2 = to orientate; to position; 景象 gíng2 jeuhng6 = a scene; a sight; 然之後 yìhn4 jī1 hauh6 = after; subsequent; later on; and 演繹 yín2 yihk6 = usu. to elaborate.

Please scroll down for my transcription (it’s not perfect, but most of it is accurate), English translation and notes. You can view the video here (subtitles in Standard Written Chinese only). 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 can view another post on 黃進曦 Stephen Wong Chun Hei here.


黃進曦:而家畫風景好似有種責任 | 去,去記錄一覺得自己,呃,會遲早見唔翻

Stephen Wong Chun Hei: [I] would have this one extra feeling, the feeling that a landscape painter now seems to have a responsibility to record things that he or she feels that, sooner or later, will never be seen again.

Caption: 收藏香港風景的人:以畫作為我城留下印證 The Man who Collects Hong Kong’s Landscapes: Leaving Confirmation [印證] Our City in Painting

Caption: 黃進曦 | 風景畫家 Stephen Wong Chun Hei | Landscape Painter

其實呢張畫畫係今次我六月尾有一個個展呢 | 就做關於喺疫情開始以呢 | 我就用 Google Earth 去環遊世界 | 去唔同世界各地嘅風景去畫畫嘅 | 其中一張大畫嚟嘅 | 呢個地方呢,其實係喺美國嘅一個地方,叫做 Big Trees Trail 咁樣 [呀] | 噉而我【1:00】諗緊嘅係點樣可以到觀衆睇一張畫嘅時候 | 都有嗰種好高大嘅感覺 [呢] | 噉我就都第一次就嘗試將我平時用開嘅大畫嗰啲 canvas 呢,就打戙咗佢 | 第一次畫一張三米高嘅,嘅作品

噉但係當有停落嚟嘅時間 | 你就會發現原來人係需要有放 break 嘅時間 | 喺呢一段時間裏邊,我反而係更加享受到創作嘅 | ,以前都創作 | 但問題以前嗰種呢,就係 . . . 好似冇咁多反思嘅時間 | 噉而家反而係疫情關係呢 | 噉令到我諗,究竟點樣利用創作去面對呢一段咁樣嘅時間呢 | 會開始覺得所有都唔係咁必然 | 去到而家嚟講,就算我行出去 . . .

● 個展 go3 jín2 = (?) a solo exhibition; a one-man show cf. 個人展覽 | ● 環遊世界 wàahn4 yàuh4 sai3 gaai3 = to make a round the world trip | ● 高大 gōu1 daaih6 = lofty | ● 利用 leih6 yuhng6 = to use; to utilize; to make use of | ● 打戙 dáa2 duhng6 = to set vertically/upright cf. 戙 = to erect; set upright; lift up | ● 創作 chong3 jok3 = creative work; creation | ● 必然 bīt1 yìhn4 = inevitable; certain

Actually, this painting is (?) [part of] (?) a solo exhibition at the end of June. Since the beginning of the covid virus, I have been making a round-the-world trip with the help of Google Earth, going off in search of landscapes in various parts of the world in order to paint them. One of [the paintings] is a large painting. This place is in America and is called Big Tree Trail. Now what I have been thinking is how to give viewers a lofty emotion even [都] when they are looking at a large painting. For the first time, I have tried taking those canvasses I normally use for big paintings and tipping them on their side. The first painting is a work three metres tall.

However, at a time when things have come to a stop [當有停落嚟嘅時間], you will find that it turns out that people need to take a break. In this period of time, I find that I am nevertheless enjoying [my] creativity more. I mean, I was creating too before, but the problem was that I didn’t have much time to reflect on things. Now, on the contrary, owing to the virus, I have been made to wonder about how to make use of creativity to confront just such a period of time and I have begun to think that nothing is so certain. Up till now, even though I have headed out . . .

【2:00】  . . . 香港嘅地方,去行山都好啦 | 我都真係會有多咗一個感覺,就係唔知,啫,有冇下一次嘅,其實好多嘢都 | 但係呢一個珍惜呢,其實往往係令到我去觀察一個地方會嚟得更加深入嘅

最開頭呢,我以為我會好鍾意外國嘅風景嘅 | 因爲睇開嗰啲風景畫家嗰啲或者鍾意嘅風景畫都係一啲外國嘅風景咁樣嘅 | 噉但係當我去過外國去寫生之後 | 就會發覺原來我自己掛住嘅係香港嘅風景 | 因望到外國嘅 // 大嘅草原啦 | 或者一啲一望無際嘅山脈 [啦] ,咁樣嘅時候呢,你會覺得好陌生 | 噉 [呢個] 嘅陌生感係令到我個腦裏邊 | 啫,會諗住:嗯,香港嘅風景 . . .

● 珍惜 jān1 sik3 = to treasure; to value; to cherish | ● 寫生 sé2 sā[a]ng1 = to paint from life; to draw, paint or sketch from nature | ● 草原 chóu2 yùhn4 = grasslands; prairie

. . . to go places in Hong Kong and gone hiking, there is really something extra in my feelings — that is, actually for a lot of things I don’t know whether there will be a next time. But this [sense of] cherishing actually usually makes me scrutinize a place all the more deeply.

Back when I first started [最開頭], I thought I would really like the landscapes in other countries, because the landscape paintings I genuinely admired by the landscapes painters I looked at were all foreign landscapes. However, when I went overseas to paint from life [寫生], I discovered that it was the Hong Kong landscape that I was missing. The reason is that when you look at sweeping grass plains or a chain of mountains stretching as far as the eye can see, it feels alien to you. This feeling of alienation makes me think [instead] about Hong Kong’s landscapes . . .

【3:00】. . . 係點嘅呢 | 於是我自己就會覺得同我自己生活有關係嘅風景 | 先至係我最想去用,用創作去描寫佢嘅 | 例如 ,今日嚟到呢一度嘅時候,我,呃,望到八仙嶺 | 跟住我而家面對住嘅馬鞍山咁樣 | 噉都係 . . . 對我嚟講,係香港好獨特嘅一種山型嚟㗎 | 無論你去到香港嘅邊一度 | 只要你望到某一座你辨認到嘅山 | 某程度係幫到你定位 | 知道自己去咗邊咁樣嘅 | 有陣時都會驚有一啲地方係會畫唔翻嘅 | 噉但係呢樣嘢我覺得係冇得驚嘅 | 啫,我意思係唔到我控制嘅呢樣嘢,本身係 | [因為] 風景畫家其實就係你去 capture 一個你眼見,啫,或者當下嘅一個,一個景象

● 山型 sāan1 yìhng4 = (?) mountain-type | ● 辨認 bihn6 yihng6 = to identify; to recognize | ● 定位 dihng6 wái6*2 = to orientate; to position | ● 眼見 ngáahn5 gin3 = (?) here, “to see” | ● 景象 gíng2 jeuhng6 = a scene; a sight

. . . and what they are actually like. And so, I myself tend to think that the landscapes that have some connection with my own life are the only ones [先] that I want most of all to make use of, to portray [描寫] them by making use of [my] creativity. For instance, here today, we can see the Pat Sin Leng mountain range and then now I am facing Ma On Shan. Such [sights] [噉都係], as far as I am concerned, [involve] a type of mountain that is special to Hong Kong. Wherever you go in Hong Kong, as long as you can see a mountain that you recognize, it helps you to some degree to get your bearings [定位] and you know where you have got to. Sometimes, I’m really worried [都會驚] that I won’t get to paint some of these places ever again but, on the other hand, I think I can’t be afraid of such an eventuality. What I mean [我意思唔到] is that I am unable to control such things, in themselves [本身]. [Being] a landscape painter [means] in fact that you go off and “capture” a scene that you see, something in the moment.

【4:00】你係做一個決定。噉然之後你亦都用你自己嘅手法嚟到去演繹你所見嘅嘢 | 你,你唯一去保留佢嘅就係用你嘅作品 [去] 保留佢嘅 | 噉真係冇得要求佢係不變嘅 | 係會有多咗一種感覺 | 係而家畫風景好似有種責任 | 去,去記錄一啲覺得自己會遲早見唔翻嘅 | 個變化,啫,自己都預咗係唔知幾時嚟嘅 | 噉所以我,我就係畫多咗一種感覺 | 係一種更加珍惜當下嗰刻嘅,嘅嘢 [喇]

● 然之後 yìhn4 jī1 hauh6 = after; subsequent; later on | ● 演繹 yín2 yihk6 = usu. to elaborate, but perhaps here “to interpret” | ● 不變 bāt1 bin3 = not to change

You make a decision. After that, you make use of your own personal methods to interpret the things that you see. The only way you can hold onto them is by means of the work of art that you make [用你嘅作品嚟保留佢]. You really can’t demand that things mustn’t change. [I] tend to have this one extra feeling, the feeling that a landscape painter now seems to have a responsibility to record things that he or she feels that, sooner or later, will never be seen again. You cannot know in advance when that change will come. For this reason, there is an added feeling in my painting [我就係畫多咗一種感覺], one of cherishing the things of the present moment more.


Learning Cantonese: 7.21 尋源 Seeking the Sources of 21 July

Yuen Long, c. 1960

This is neither pleasant nor easy watching, but if you are concerned about what is going on in Hong Kong then this Stand News video on the 2019 21 July Yuen Long Mob Attacks is essential viewing.

The “revised” view of the incident as a clash between protestors and pro-government forces is precisely what the video wants to challenge. This challenge involves four aspects, two of which are covered in this first part (the first 7 minutes). Firstly, there is the testimony of Mr So, who was attacked by a stick-wielding mob on his way home from work. Given the fact that he was unarmed and alone calls into question the idea that the attacks were an act of self-defence on the part of locals. Nothing about Mr So suggests that he was part of pro-Hong Kong plot to overrun Yuen Long in order to liberate [光復] it.

The second aspect is the influence of the pro-Beijing group “Safeguard Hong Kong” [守護香港]. One of the “men in white” [白衣人] was seen wearing a marshall’s token [糾察牌] on which the name of the organization was written. Also of possible relevance are the comments of 石鏡泉 Arthur Shek Kang Chuen who, at a large rally organized by Safeguard Hong Kong at Tamar Park on 20 July, urged members of the audience to find a cane rod or a length of water piping “to teach the kids a lesson” [教仔]. Also relevant here is the woman 李璧而 Sandy Li Pik Yee, the convenor of a pro-Beijing group called [珍惜群組], who led a small demonstration in Yuen Long on the night of the attacks and who, by her own admission, had worked as a marshall at Safeguard Hong Kong events. Recently, Sandy Lee also filed a complaint against Eddie Yip, the judge who sentenced seven of the men in white so far charged over the Attacks.

The third very important aspect concerns a poster allegedly circulated by protestors carrying the inflammatory wording “Capture Yuen Long and You’ll Gain the Whole Empire” [得元朗得天下]. In the second part of this video, we will see that evidence uncovered by Stand News shows that, although the origins of this poster are impossible to determine, its earliest traceable appearance was on a Weibo page called “Dust in the Wind” [風中微塵] run by a woman married to a Hong Kong policeman and known for her active support of the police force. The final aspect involves the role of certain organizations in the New Territories, especially the various Rural Committees [鄉委會] and also a “New Territories Working Group” attached to the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government 中聯辦新界工作部部長, headed by a man called 李薊貽 Li Jiyi.

I hope to post the remaining two parts in the coming weeks.

Please scroll down for my transcription (unfortunately, the remarks of both Mr So and Sandy Lee are a bit unclear, so I have transcribed the Chinese subtitles as well), English translation and notes. You can view the video here (subtitles in English and Standard Written Chinese only). 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.


旁白:7.21 [七二一] 元朗襲擊事件兩周年 | 過去連儂牆已經空白一片 | 只係剩低每個月嘅21號 | 有大批警員駐守

蘇先生:(字幕)香港人沒有忘記7.21事件| 只係形式上不同了,不在牆上,在心中(粵語)香港人呢,都係忘記7.21呢件事 [呢] | 只係 [形式]可能 // 形式上唔同 [啦], 唔度,// 心入便咁樣

白衣人:(字幕) 不聽話就打

蘇先生:我最想知嘅唔係邊個打我 [嘛] | 我最想知嘅係點解會打 | 後邊 [邊]個 策劃成件事係點樣發生嘅

李璧而:(字幕)他們(示威者)吹得好犀利 | 說「得元朗得天下」| 整件事是爲了守護元朗 | 守護自己的家園而被迫還手 | 這就是真相(粵語) 佢哋吹得好緊要 | 話「得元朗得天下」| 成件事呢,[都係咗] 守護元朗[咋嘛] |守護自己嘅家園被迫還手 | 呢個就係真相

● 連儂牆 lìhn4 nùhng4 chèuhng4 = Lennon Wall | ● 空白一片 hūng1 baahk6 yāt1 pin3 = roughly, “completely blank” | ● 駐守 jyu3 sáu2 = to garrison; to defend | ● 策劃 chaak3 waahk6 = to plan; to plot; to scheme; to engineer | ● 家園 gāa1 yùhn4 = home; homeland | ● 還手 wàahn4 sáu2 = to strike back; to hit back; to retaliate

Voice-over: It is the second anniversary of the 21 July Yuen Long Mob Attacks. The Lennon Wall that was once here is now completely blank and the only reminder of the incident [只係剩低] is the large police presence [大批警員駐守] here on the 21st of every month.

Mr So: The people of Hong Kong haven’t forgotten the 21 July Yuen Long Attacks. It’s just that [we] remember it in a different form — not on a wall but in [our] hearts and minds.

Attacker: (Subtitles) If you disobey, we will hit you.

Mr So: What I really want to know is not who hit me. What I really want to know is why they did it, who the people were behind it were, and how it happened.

Sandy Lee Pik-yee: They (the anti-extradition protestors) were talking up things [吹] in the most exaggerated fashion, saying that if they captured Yuen Long they would then have taken all of China [得元朗得天下]. The whole incident was merely a matter of protecting Yuen Long. We were forced to protect our homeland. That is the truth of it.

【1:00】遭襲擊嘅市民: (字幕)不要打呀 | 只是放工回家呀 | 把眼鏡還給他

旁白:7.21 兩周年 | 事件由最初公認嘅白衣人襲擊市民 | 變成建制所講有「暴徒」| 帶人入元朗掀起雙方衝突 | 究竟7.21係點樣發生呢?| 白衣人背後有冇組織呢?| 「得元朗得天下」厘個消息 | 又係點嚟呢?| 立場新聞翻查當日嘅閉路電視同網絡片段 | 分析互聯網歷史數據,追尋新線索

Caption: 7.21尋源 Seeking the Sources of 21 July

旁白:做厨師嘅蘇先生 . . .

● 建制 gin3 jai3 = (a) pro-establishment or pro-Beijing (organization) | ● 掀起 hīn1 héi2 = to set off (a movement, etc.); to start | ● 翻查 fāan1 chàah4 = roughly, “to look through” | ● 追尋 jēui1 chàhm4 = to pursue; to search; to track down

People being attacked: (Subtitles) Don’t hit [us]. We’ve finished work and we’re just going back home. Give him back his glasses.

Voice-over: On the second anniversary of the 21 July Yuen Long Attacks, the incident has gone from being an attack on civilians by the men in white to what pro-Beijing groups [call] the taking of thugs into Yuen Long to provoke conflicts between the two parties [that is, pro-Beijing parties and pro-Hong Kong parties]. Why in the final analysis did 21 July happen? Was there a particular organization behind the men in white? And where did the news [concerning] the “capture of Yuen Long” come from? The Stand News [team] has looked through footage from closed-circuit TV and the internet from that day, and analyzed historical data from the internet in pursuit of fresh clues.

Mr So, who works as a chef . . .

【2:00】. . . 2019年7月21日,夜晚9點幾收工嘅時候 | 喺元朗鳳攸北街 | 被一班白衣人用藤條襲擊 | 一年後,警方先至安排認人手續 | 蘇先生兩次都認唔到

Caption: 蘇先生 | 7.21襲擊事件傷者 | Mr So | A Victim of the 21 July [Yuen Long] Mob Attacks

蘇先生: (字幕) 爲何事隔一年後才找我認人?| 一年了,甚麽記憶也衝淡了 | 怎會認到人?| 我自己嘗試過找線索找資料 | 方向是7.21(襲擊)前有一個小遊行 | 圍繞元朗行一圈 | 主題和之後的7.21襲擊都好相似 | 都是穿白色衫、手持藤條之類 (粵語)點解要隔咗一年先我認人呢?| 一年 [喇] 喎,我咩記憶都衝淡咗啦 | 唔會認得人 [吖] | 我自己我都 試過去揾一啲線索囉,揾一啲資料囉 | [主要] 方向就係因爲當時7.21之前係有一個叫做遊行仔咁樣 [啦],係呀 | 噉啊圍繞元朗繞 [轉一週] // | 其實個主題同 // 之後7.21襲擊都好相似 | 都係白色衫呀、可能攞啲,啫,藤條咁嘅嘢囉

● 藤條 tàhng4 tíu4*2= (a length of) cane | ● 認人手續 yihng6 yàhn4 sáu2 juhk6 = (?) an identity/identification parade | ● 衝淡 chūng1 daahm6/táahm5 = ① to dilute ② to water down; to weaken; to play down | ● 線索 sin3 sok3 = a clue; a thread | ● 圍繞 wàih4 yíu2 = round; around

. . . was attacked by a group of men in white wielding cane rods [藤條] some time after 9 p.m. on 21 July 2021 after work in Fung Yau Street North. A whole year went by before the police organized [two] identity parades, but on both occasions Mr So didn’t recognize any [of the participants].

Mr So: Why did a whole year go by [隔咗一年] before I was contacted about identifying suspects [認人]? A whole year! Any memories I had had begun to fade; it was unlikely that I’d recognize anyone. Off my own bat [我自己] I once tried to search for a few clues, a bit of material [UNCLEAR] the direction [of the search being] a mini-demonstration [遊行仔] that did a circuit of Yuen Long before [the] 21 July [Yuen Long Attacks]. The theme (?) of the demonstration was similar to that of the later 21 July Attacks. There were people wearing white and maybe some of them were carrying things like cane rods.

【3:00】根據鳳攸北街商戶提供嘅閉路電視片段 | 7.21當日下晝6點幾開始 | 有白衣人聚集同派口罩 | 直至8點幾,更開始有大批白衣人聚集 | 其中一支閉路電視影到 | 三分鐘内有大約二百名白衣人行過 | 差唔多8點嗰陣,仲有一個小型遊行 | 佢哋二、三十人住「保衛元朗 | 保衛家園」嘅標語同區旗遊行

蘇先生:發現咗另一個建制派人士呢 | 叫李璧而 [啦],係一個叫做「珍惜群組」嘅召集人 [啦]

旁白:蘇先生話,自己喺連登討論區 | 出貼討論呢個索,點知有網民留言 | 話有條片聽到李璧而

Gladys Hou 香港突發事故報料區


Gladys Hou Zone for the Reporting [報料] of Unexpected Incidents in Hong Kong (Screenshot from the LIHKG website)

I’m terribly worried!!! Could I please trouble you all to pass on this news: in Kai Tei in Yuen Long, there are large numbers of triad members wearing white, near the Western Rail Station, waiting to ambush protestors returning from demonstrations. They really could beat people up! This news is 100% definite. I ask you to spread [the news] widely, and tell fellow protestors [手足] to be careful and steer well clear of the area.

● 標語 bīu1 yúh5 = slogan; poster + here perhaps “a placard; a sign” (usu.  標語牌) | ● 連登討論區 Lihn4 Dāng1 tóu2 lèuhn4 kēui1 = LIHKG discussion area; meeting area | ● 嗌咪 = cf. 嗌 aai3 = to shout; to yell + 咪 māi1 = microphone (cf. 咪高峰 māi1 gōu1 fūng1)

Notes: LIHKG is a multi-category forum website based in Hong Kong. The website has gained popularity since its launch in 2016, and is often referred to as the Hong Kong version of Reddit (Wikipedia).  雞地gāi1 deih6 or Kai Tei (meaning “chicken land”) in English is located is a place in the south-east part of Yuen Long. The name derives from the fact that there was once a poultry market there that sold chickens and ducks.

Voice-over: On the basis of [根據] CCTV footage provided by traders in Fung Yau Street North, on the day of the 21 July [Yuen Long Attacks], from around 6 p.m., men dressed in white began to assemble and hand out face masks. This went on till around 8 p.m., when large numbers of men dressed in white joined those already assembled. One of the CCTV cameras recorded [影到] the approach of around 200 men dressed in white in the space of 3 minutes [三分鐘内]. At around 8 p.m., there was also a small-scale demonstration, of around 20 to 30 people. They held up placards on which was written “Defend Yuen Long, Defend Our Homeland” and Hong Kong flags as they marched.

Mr So: I came across another pro-Beijing figure by the name of Sandy Li Pik Yee. She’s the convenor of something called the Cherish Group [珍惜群組].

Voice-over: Mr So said that he posted something about this clue on a discussion forum on LIHKG. To his surprise, a netizen said that there was a video of Sandy Lee shouting [slogans] into a microphone.


旁白:而畫面見到呢一個男人 | 身上帶住「守護香港」嘅糾察牌 | 閉路電視亦見到呢個男人 | 曾經同一大班白衣人一齊出入

蘇先生:(字幕)這個人跟另一張相片中在九樓内 | 手持藤條影相的男子非常相似 | 「守護香港」糾察牌 | 我一看便記得之前一個「守護香港」集會 | 一班親政府人士在添馬公園舉辦集會 | 這些容易令人聯想,像所有東西都有關連(粵語)呢個人我原來同另一張相喺個酒樓度 | 唔知攞住藤條影相個係好似 | 「守護香港」個糾察牌 | ,我睇 . . . 記得就喺早排一個叫做「守護香港」嘅集會 [嘛] | 係一班,啫,親政府人士啦,舉行嘅集會,喺添馬公園 | 啫 // 呢啲 [咪] // 容易令人聯想到呢,[或者] 原來,啫,好似所有嘢都有關係嘅

旁白:喺7月20號守護香港大聯盟 | 攪嘅撐警集會上,石鏡泉咁講:| 屋企有藤條呀?(有 !). . .

● 糾察 gáu2 chaat3 = to maintain order at a public gathering | ● 早排 jóu2 pàaih4/páai4*2 = a while ago; a few days ago | ● 親政府人士 chān1 jing3 fú2 yàhn4 sih6 = pro-government people cf. 親 = in favour of; pro- | ● 聯想 lyùhn4 séung2 = to associate; to connect in the mind

Sandy Li Pik Yee: (Subtitles) Yuen Long’s Army of Defence, [its] Volunteer Army

Voice-over: In one moment in the footage [畫面], a man is visible wearing [身上帶住] a Safeguard Hong Kong marshall’s tag [糾察牌]. In the CCTV footage, this man was also seen coming and going with a large group of men in white.

Mr So: This man resembles a man in another photograph [taken in a] restaurant. I’m not sure [唔知] if he is the same man, the one holding a cane rod. [As for] the Safeguard Hong Kong marshall’s tag, I think [我睇] I remember a while ago there being a rally for Safeguard Hong Kong, a bunch of people who are in favour of the government, and they held this gathering in Tamar Park. These [UNCLEAR] can easily be linked up in one’s mind — it seems as if all these things are somehow connected.

Voice-over: Safeguard Hong Kong held a rally in support of police on 20 July. At this rally, Arthur Shek Kang Chuen made the following comments: “Do you have a cane rod at home? (Crowd: Yes!)

【5:00】(字幕)屋企有藤條呀?(有)| 找藤條出來!找長一點來打仔!| 屋企沒有藤條如何呀?| 我們去五金鋪,買直徑 20 毫米的水喉通 | 我們要來做什麽?教仔(粵語)石鏡泉:. . . 攞 [條] 出!揾長 // 打仔! | 屋企冇藤條點呀?| 我都去 // 間五金鋪,買條 20mm 嘅水喉通 | 我哋要 // ?[啫],教仔

旁白:石鏡泉之後撤回言論同致歉 | 表示不贊成任何暴力 | 並且事前對7.21 襲擊毫不知情 | 守護香港大聯盟回覆我哋話 | 喺7.21冇舉行任何活動 | 又話,「守護香港」字樣喺2019年嘅時候 | 「黑暴分子」都有使用 | 叫我哋問「黑暴分子」點解要策動當晚嘅暴亂

李璧而:(字幕)這牌我也有 | 在添馬公園做保安,是大型活動 (粵語)呢個牌我都有 [啦] |  呢 // 保安,// 喺添馬公園做個大型嘅活動吖嘛 | 噉呢,就係,呃 . . .

● 五金鋪 ngh5 gām1 póu3*2 = hardware store | ● 水喉通 séui2 hàuh4 tūng1 = usu. a length of metal water piping | ● 撤回 chit3 wùih4 = to retract | ● 致歉 ji3 hip3 = to apologize; to express regret | ● 毫不知情 hòuh4 bāt1 jī1 chìhng4 = completely unaware of (the facts of a case or the details of an incident) | ● 字樣 jih6 yéung6*2 = printed or written words | ● 策動 chaak3 duhng6 = to instigate; to engineer; to stir up | ● 暴亂bouh6 lyuhn6 = a riot; a rebellion; a revolt

Arthur Shek: Take out [your] cane rods, a nice long one, and beat the brats! Don’t happen to have a cane rod lying around at home? Then we’ll head off down to the hardware store and buy a length of 20mm water piping [水喉通]. What for? We want to teach those brats a lesson.

Voice-over: Arthur Shek later retracted his remarks and issued an apology, expressing [the view] that he did not condone violence of any kind, and saying that he had no prior knowledge of the 21 July Attacks. Safeguard Hong Kong responded to our questions, saying that they did not organize any activities on the day of the attacks, adding that the words “safeguard Hong Kong” were also used by “black violent elements” [黑暴分子] in 2019. They told us to go and ask those “black violent elements” why they instigated that evening’s riot [暴亂].

Sandy Li Pik Yee: I’ve got one of those tags. I worked as a marshall at the big event held at Tamar Park which was organized by . . .

【6:00】. . . (字幕)是何律師(何君堯)舉辦的 | (記者:是守護香港大聯盟舉辦的)| 是守護香港大聯盟 . . . 記錯了 | 這牌 . . . 我也有份做糾察 (粵語)何律師攪嘅嘛,噉 [因為] . . . |(記者:// 香港大聯盟攪嘅) | 啊,啊,守護香港大聯盟,係,[記錯咗, 記錯] | (係,係)| 咁樣呢,就,呃,呢個牌,我都有一份糾察 [喇]

旁白:我哋訪問到7.21白衣人襲擊前 | 喺行帶頭嘅李璧而 | 話,當日遊行係元朗一班街坊自發攪 | 同守護香港大聯盟 | 或者其他建制組織都冇關係

李璧而:(字母)這些糾察牌與當日無關,沒必要掛上 | 我不知道爲何他會掛上,我不知道 | 大家是鄰里,不能排除他 | 一起來幫忙控制秩序,不奇怪 | 7.21那晚我們一班人約在這裏 | 在這裏張貼橫額,物資放這裏 | 我看見他們預備了藤條(粵語)呢牌唔關 [嗰件事,我想話] (記者:哦)亦都冇必要掛喺度 | 噉我唔知點解佢會掛喺度呢,我唔知 [喇] // | 大家鄰里呢,當日嚟講唔係 // 佢就 | // 幫手控制個秩序,都唔奇嘅 | 7.21嗰晚呢,// 我哋呢,都成班呢,就約咗喺呢一度 | ,我哋呢,就貼橫額,喺度貼。嗱,啲物資呢,就擺 [到] 呢度嘅 | 噉 // 佢哋 // 見到佢哋呢,就係,呃,呃,預備咗啲藤條,我見到 . . .

● 自發 jih6 faa3 = spontaneous | ● 橫額 wàahng4 ngáak6*2 = horizontal hanging placard; banner; streamer | ● 鄰里 lèuhn4 léih5 = neighbour | ● 物資 maht6 jī1 = (?) goods

Sandy Li Pik Yee : . . . [Junius] Ho [Kwan-yiu], the lawyer organized. (Reporter: That event was organized by Safeguard Hong Kong.) Oh yes, Safeguard Hong Kong. My memory is playing tricks on me. Now as for this tag . . . I’ve also worked as a marshall.

Voice-over: We spoke with Sandy Li who marched at the head of the protest before the 21 July Attacks by the men in white. She said that the march held on that day was a spontaneous event organized by a residents’ group in Yuen Long and that it had no connection whatsoever with Safeguard Hong Kong or any other pro-Beijing organization.

Sandy Li Pik Yee : This tag has nothing to do with the march. There was no need to wear it here. I don’t know why he was wearing it. We are all local people. Perhaps he was helping out with the crowd control [控制秩序] — there’s nothing odd about that. On the night of 21 July, the whole lot of us gathered here, put up banners. We put them up here. Various other bits and pieces [物資] were put here. As for those [men], I saw them coming prepared with cane rods, and when I saw them . . .

【7:00】(字幕) . . . 我問,為甚麽會預備藤條?| (他們指)示威者有槌子之類的武器 | 他們被迫守衛家園 | 你們卻說他們是黑社會 | (示威者)不入元朗有怎會有此事?| 今次希望大家要明白 | 其實看看網上之前的資料 | 「得元朗得天下」. . . 嘩,真的嚇死人(粵語)我 // 點解你預備藤條嘅 | // 對方呢,話,呃,呃,嗰啲,嗰啲武器有鎚仔、有 // 吖嘛 | 佢哋被迫守衛家園 | 而你哋話佢哋,呃,咩?,呃,黑社會 | 你唔入嚟 [點] 會有嘅事呀? 係咪先?| 所以呢,今次我 [哋]希望大家要明白到呢 | 呃,其實睇翻網上呢,以前嘅網上嘅資料 | 「得元朗得天下」,嘩,真係呀嚇死人呀,真係

旁白:李璧而話,7.21前夕 | 網上流傳「得元朗得天下」嘅圖 | 佢哋知道有人要入元朗「光復」| 所以先至集合出嚟守衛元朗

李璧而:(字幕)之前(有圖)刻意放大這些字 | 令到我們都很擔心 | 因爲這張海報,他們這樣鼓吹 | 整條街都站滿白衣人 (粵語)[佢] 之前呢,[就] 刻意呢,就放大呢啲字呀 | 噉呢 // [講真呢],我都好擔心呀 | 因爲 [嗰] poster 啦,同埋佢哋咁樣吹法啦 | 呢度成條街全部白雪雪

● 預備 yuh6 beih6 = to prepare; to get ready | ● 鎚仔 chèuih4 jái2 = roughly, a little hammer | ● 係咪先 haih6 maih6 sin1 = don’t you agree with me? | ● 前夕 chìhn4 jihk6 = eve | ● 流傳 làuh4 chyùhn4 = to spread; to circulate | ● 光復 gwōng1 fuhk6 = to recover; to liberate (lost territory)

Sandy Li Pik Yee: I asked them, why have you come prepared with cane rods? They replied [that the protestors had] weapons [such as domestic hammers [UNCLEAR]. They were forced to protect their homeplace. You people, on the other hand, say they are — what was it, again? — triad gangsters. How could anything [like that] had happened if you hadn’t come [to Yuen Long], right? And so for this reason, this time I hope everyone will be clear about this. Actually, if [you] go back and look at the internet, at material on the web from before, [you’ll see an image saying] “Capture Yuen Long and You’ll Gain the Whole Empire”. This really gave [us] a terrible scare, really.

Voice-over: Sandy Li said that on the eve of 21 July, an image circulated over the net [bearing the words] “Capture Yuen Long and You’ll Gain the Whole Empire”. It was only after they learned that people wanted to come to Yuen Long to “liberate” it that they banded together to safeguard Yuen Long.

Sandy Li Pik Yee: Before, they deliberately enlarged these words. To tell you the truth I was really worried. Because of that poster, and the way they were talking things up [吹法], the streets here were just a whole mass of white [成條街全部白雪雪].

To be continued . . .

Learning Cantonese: 舊情 ● 屯門 or A Past Love for Tuen Mun

If you’ve ever visited Tuen Mun in recent years, words like 荒蕪 fong1 mòuh4 (“to lie waste”) and 沙塵滾滾 sāa1 chàhn4 gwán2 gwán2 (“dust-swept”) hardly seem appropriate descriptions of the place, but not so long ago that was precisely what Tuen Mun was like. And there are times, I confess, when I would prefer it to have stayed that way . . .

In this 5-minute video put together by 明愛賽馬會屯門青少年綜合服務 Caritas Integrated Services for Young People, a long-time resident of Tuen Mun 劉姑娘 (roughly, Mrs Lau, or even perhaps Auntie Lau [?]) shares some of her memories of the small city with us. As a practical person, she embraces the convenience which the building of housing estates and other amenities has brought to the area. However, at the same time, she gently laments the erosion over time of a sense of 人情味yàhn4 chìhng4 meih6 or “human touch”. And while, on the whole, she talks about the urban environment, she does touch on culture in her comments on the 天后誕 Tīn1 Hauh6 daan3 or “Birthday of Tin Hau, Queen of Heaven”, a major celebration in the district centred on the Tin Hau Temple at 口角 Hau Kok.

If after watching the video you feel like dipping into a bit more of the old Tuen Mun, I recommend a visit to the 屯門風物志圖片庫 Tuen Mun Heritage Image Database. There is also a collection of “Tuen Mun Old Photos” available on a Facebook page here. If, on the other hand, you prefer a contemporary ambience, then I suggest you visit this short video walk through Tuen Mun featured in the “When in Doubt, Take a Walk” series put together by artist Sampson Wong and photographer Eric Tsang. It begins, I think, at the pedestrian overpass near 藍地 Lam Tei, takes in the concrete river bed at 屯子圍 Tuen Tsz Wai, approaches 兆康 Siu Hong MTR station and ends up at the iconic 屯門碼頭 Tuen Mun Pier. You can watch that here.

The most interesting thing grammatically about the video is the use of 响 héung2 instead of the more usual hái2 to indicate being in a location. You’ll hear it in the opening sentence, 我係一個已經响屯門住咗40年嘅街坊 = “I am a local [街坊] who has lived in Tuen Mun for 40 years”. Listen out for other instances, including 响佢屋企食午飯 = “to eat lunch at their place”, 响鄉事會路 = “(in) Heung Sze Wui Road” and 响嗰度 = “in that place”. Remember, too, that 喺 is sometimes pronounced héi2 by some speakers, the film director 周冠威 Kiwi Chow being a notable example.

There’s a lot of worthwhile vocabulary here too, including 天翻地覆 tīn1 fāan1 deih6 fūk1 = heaven & earth turning upside down; earth-shattering; 人情味yàhn4 chìhng4 meih6 = the human touch; to possess humane qualities; 糖水 tòhng4 séui2 = sweet Chinese dessert soup; 盛事 sìhng4 sih6 = a grand occasion; ● 心思思 sām1 sī1 sī1 = itch, longing; 地標 deih6 bīu1 = landmark; 嫁女餅 gaa3 néuih5 béng2 = dowry cake; and 陸續 luhk6 juhk6 = one after another.

Please scroll down for my transcription (it’s not perfect, but most of it is accurate), English translation and notes. You can view the video here (subtitles in Standard Written Chinese only). 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.


Caption: 舊情 ● 屯門 | An Old Love: Tuen Mun

Caption: 屯門居民 | 劉姑娘 | Tuen Mun Resident | Mrs Lau

我係一個已經屯門住 40 年街坊 | 見證住屯門天翻地覆嘅轉變 | 40 年前嘅屯門 | 好多都唔方便 | 乜嘢都 | 有嘅,我諗都係人情味囉

● 街坊 gāai1 fōng1 = neighbourhood; here, the sense seems to imply “a local person” | ● 見證 gin3 jing3 = to bear witness to | ● 天翻地覆 tīn1 fāan1 deih6 fūk1 = heaven & earth turning upside down; earth-shattering | ● 人情味yàhn4 chìhng4 meih6 = the human touch; to possess humane qualities

Note: The verb 見證 is one of those verbs that attracts the aspect marker住 jyuh6. Another example appeared in Alfred Chan’s video on dai pai dong: 見證住香港大牌檔文化嘅興衰 = “bearing witness to the rise and fall of Hong Kong’s dai pai dong culture”.

I am a local [街坊] who has lived in Tuen Mun for 40 years, and have witnessed Tuen Mun’s earth-shattering changes. In the Tuen Mun of 40 years ago, many things were inconvenient — there was nothing. The one thing there was, I think, was a humaneness.

左右隔籬係互相幫助啦 | 有陣時會煲糖水 [呢] | 就會好似請街坊樣,我 | 呢度個碗、個一碗咁 | 大家就咁樣分享嘅 | 好似係有咩事呀 | 或者出咗去九龍趕唔切返 | 我鄰居呢,就會幫我湊個小朋友放學 | 我 [個] 小朋友响佢屋企食午飯都得嘅 | 屯門作一個充滿歷史嘅小城市 | 天后誕就係 . . .

● 糖水 tòhng4 séui2 = sweet Chinese dessert soup — typical examples include 紅豆沙 (red bean soup), 杏仁糊 (almond paste soup), and 芝麻糊 (sesame paste soup) | ● 湊 chau3 = to look after; to raise (a child) | ● 天后誕 Tīn1 Hauh6 daan3 = birthday of Tin Hau, Queen of Heaven (celebrated on Day 23 of the third lunar month)

Neighbours all around [左右] helped one another out. Sometimes, [we] would make a sweet Chinese dessert soup and sort of treat the [whole] neighbourhood — here a bowl for you and there a bowl for you. Everyone would share in that way, as if it were some kind of special occasion [好似係有咩事呀]. Or, if I went to Kowloon and couldn’t make it back in time, my neighbours would look after my child for me outside of school hours. It was even OK for my child to eat lunch at their place. As a small city filled with history, the Birthday of Tin Hau . . .

【1:00】 . . . 當年屯門人嘅盛事嚟㗎 | 三月廿呀三嗰天后誕呢 | 到而家都有嘅 | 嗰日,响鄉事會路呢,係封閉嘅 | 呢個都係歷史性

● 盛事 sìhng4 sih6 = a grand occasion; a great event

. . . was a big occasion [盛事] for the people of Tun Men back in those days [當年]. The Birthday of Tin Hau on Day 23 of the third [lunar month] is still celebrated [有] to this day. Back then, Heung Sze Wui Road would be closed [to traffic]. This is all part of history [都係歷史性].

嗰個時代嘅屯門 | 唔可以唔提嘅就係交通問題啦 | // 巴士呢 | 嗰陣時冇屯門公路㗎 | 但係其實一個好荒蕪嘅地方嚟㗎 | 四周都沙塵滾滾㗎 | 响屯門大興邨我要返娘家 [嘅] | 起碼都要兩個鐘頭嘅車程 | 初初係覺得係唔方便 | 因爲 [要做] 「開荒牛」| 巴士路呀、一啲交通係真係好唔方便 | 以前呢,我初初搬 [入嚟] 屯門 | 每一個星期呢,成日心思思都係想出九龍逛街 | 就好似有一種回娘家嘅感覺 | 而家呢| 你叫我出逛呢 | 唔使啦,去邊度都一樣

● 沙塵滾滾 sāa1 chàhn4 gwán2 gwán2 = roughly, “sand & dust blowing around” | ● 車程 chē1 chìhng4 = transport journey (that is, the time a trip takes travelling by vehicle) | ● 開荒牛 hōi1 fōng1 ngàuh4 = a pioneer in a new field (lit., “an ox opens the wasteland”) | ● 心思思 sām1 sī1 sī1 = itch, longing | ● 逛街 kwaang3 gāai1 = to go window-shopping

Something I can’t refrain from mentioning [唔可以唔提] about the Tuen Mun of that era is the transport issue. Buses? There was no Tuen Mun Road at that time, and [Tuen Mun] was actually a very barren wilderness [好荒蕪嘅地方], with dust and sound blowing about everywhere. From the Tai Hing Estate in Tuen Mun, it took me at least two hours by bus [車程] to get to my parent’s place. At first, I thought how inconvenient it was because there were still no pioneers (to develop things). Bus routes and other [public] transport routes were really inconvenient. Before, when I first moved to Tuen Mun, every week I was always dying to get back to Kowloon to look at the shops. The feeling was the same as wanting to go back to my parents’ home. Now, if you asked me to go shopping with you [in Kowloon] there’s no need — everywhere you go it’s the same.

衆所周知 | 二十一世紀嘅屯門地標都係 V city 喇 【2:00】| 40 年前 | 嗰度係咩嚟㗎呢?| 原來佢嘅附近仲有好多出名嘅地方嘅 | 屯門而家西鐵站嗰個位置 | 就係以前嘅屯門嘅第一個屋邨,新發邨 | 嗰個位置就係轉變得大 [啦] | 以前係好荒蕪嘅。屯門係第一個公共屋邨呢,就係新發邨 | 但而家呢,嗰個地標呢,就係現今嘅屯門西鐵站 | V city

● 衆所周知 jung3 só2 jāu1 jī1 = as everyone knows; it is common knowledge that | ● 地標 deih6 bīu1 = landmark | ● 現今 yihn6 gām1 = nowadays; these days

As everyone knows, Tuen Mun’s [major] landmark of the 21st century is V city. What occupied that site 40 years ago? Originally, there were many outstanding places in the vicinity [of that site]. Where the Western Rail station is now, Tuen Mun’s first housing estate San Fat used to be. That location has gone through some major changes. Before, it was a barren wilderness. Tuen Mun’s first housing estate was a public one, San Fat. But now, that landmark is the present Tuen Mun Western Rail Station or V city.

而家嘅恆生銀行嘅地標呢 | 就係以前一間酒樓係,好出名| 嘉喜酒樓係兩曾式嘅 | 你去到屯門區一講嗰間酒樓名個個人都識嘅 | 地下呢,就係賣餅㗎 | 嗰陣時賣嗰啲嫁女餅 [呀]、賣嗰啲嘢㗎 | 或者人哋頂酒席 [呀], 响嗰度,呃,坐 [嘅] | 响度坐嘅地方 | 佢哋賣點心呢,噉啊冇車仔 [㗎] | 用個托盤,呃,有條咁嘅帶 *dáai3*2 孭住嚟賣㗎咋 | 係好古老,好古老嘅酒樓嚟㗎 【3:00】嗰個報紙檔呢,嗰個阿姐呀 | 佢嗰間酒樓開張賣報紙賣到而家㗎喇

● 嫁女餅 gaa3 néuih5 béng2 = dowry cake | ● 訂酒席 dehng6 jáu2 jihk6 = to book or reserve a banquet | ● 車仔 chē1 jái2 = (?) a (small) cart or trolley | ● 托盤 tok3 pún4*2= serving tray | ● 孭 mē1 = usu. to carry on the shoulders | ● 開張 hōi1 jēung1 = to open a business; to begin doing business

Another landmark, the [site of the] present Hang Seng Bank used to be a restaurant, and a very well-known one. The Ka Hei Restaurant (?) was a two-story place. If you paid a visit to the Tuen Mun district and you [mentioned] that restaurant to anyone, they would know it at once. In the basement, there was a cake shop. Back in those days, they sold dowry cakes and things like that. Or people could book a banquet there, there was seating where people could sit down. They sold dim sum, but they didn’t have trolleys. [Instead], they used trays with a strap on them that went around one shoulder to sell [the dim sum]. It went back a long way, that restaurant, a long way. That newspaper stand: the woman [who operates that] sold newspapers when the restaurant first started business and she’s still selling papers to this day.

噉究竟容納 | 屯門大部分人口嘅公共屋邨 | 發展嘅情況又係點嘅呢?| 青山醫院嗰 // 青山精神病院嗰度最先嘅 | 以前係一個好荒蕪嘅一條小路啦 | 入便係有人耕種嘅 | 噉之後呢,噉自從,呃,大興邨興建咗之後呢 | 又到友愛啦 | 安定啦 | 蝴蝶啦,同埋呢個 | 山景 [吖] | 同埋,呃,好多好多屋邨 | 兆康 [吖],嗰啲陸續陸續都起 [喇] | [噉有],呃,良景 [吖] | 新圍嗰啲 | 全部都係一個小山一個小山咁樣剷平 [咁樣嚟] 起屋邨 | 咁樣呢,[就] 到到呢,呃,人口到到某一個人數呀 | 佢先會有建立一間醫院嘅 | 噉就起咗一間屯門醫院

● 容納 yùhng4 naahp6/laahp6 = to hold; to have a capacity of; to accommodate | ● 耕種 gāang1 jung3 = to till; to cultivate | ● 陸續 luhk6 juhk6 = one after another; in succession | ● 剷平cháan2 pìhng4 = to level; perhaps also “to raze”

Note: The particle 呀 aa3 can be used when enumerating items, but here it sounds closer to a high-level tone, possibly written 吖 āa1 (?). However, I can’t find any support for this usage in my grammar books, so I may be wrong.

What was it like, the development of the public housing estates that house the bulk of Tuen Mun’s population? Where the Castle Peak Hospital, [UNCLEAR] the Castle Peak Psychiatric Hospital, there used to be a little neglected road [係一個好荒蕪嘅一條小路], and at the entrance to this road people grew vegetables [有人耕種]. Afterwards, from the time of the building of the Tai Hing Estate, [we had] the Yau Oi Estate, the On Ting Estate, Butterfly Estate, the Shan King Estate, many, many housing estates — Siu Hong — all those [estates] were built one after the other. [And then there is] the Leung King Estate and San Wai Court, all of them built with the levelling of one small mountain, then another small mountain. In that way, with the population reaching a certain size, they built a hospital, they built the Tuen Mun (Castle Peak) Hospital.

【4:00】而家領匯接受咗大部分嘅政府嘅屋邨 | 做咗街市 | 當然除咗有冷氣嘅感覺之外 | 我覺得係冇乜好處好講 | 以前嘅街市呢,係雖然係比較污糟啲、冇冷氣 | 噉但係呢,我哋要買啲乜嘢呢 | 或者街市裏邊邊一檔新鮮,邊一檔夠秤 | 呃,邊一檔嗰啲人士好相遇呢 | 我哋係好清楚嘅 | 以前嗰啲人情味係濃厚啲嘅

● 領匯 lìhng5 wuih6 = ? cf. 領 = to receive + 匯 = money | ● 夠秤 gau3 ching3 = to be of age (lit., “true to scale in weight”) cf. 唔夠秤 m4 gau3 cing3  = underweight  | ● 濃厚 nùhng4 háuh5 = strong; pronounced

Now, the majority of government housing estates have received funding [領匯] to set up [做咗] wet markets. Naturally, apart from air-conditioning, I don’t think there’s much one can say about them. Although the markets of the past were dirtier and did not have air-conditioning, when it came to doing the shopping, we knew exactly which stalls were the freshest [邊一檔新鮮], which ones gave correct weight, and at which ones it was easiest to get on with the staff. In those days, the human feeling was more pronounced.

鍾意,鍾意㗎 | 我好鍾意屯門區

I like it, I do! I am very fond of the Tuen Mun District.

Director: 金川翔 | 翔 chèuhng4 = to circle in the air
Producer: 張庭軒 | 軒 hīn1 = high; lofty
Photography: 金川翔、張庭軒、姚毅榛 | 榛 jēun1 = hazel

《新心界》: 第七章 「普通話嘅叛徒」

Scene from La guerre de boutons, with Lanterne carrying the flag she has made

● In the elegant surroundings of the Loke Yew Hall at Hong Kong University, the 2019 Cantonese Speaking Contest for Western speakers takes place. Fortunately — or unfortunately (he can’t tell which) — Chan Chi-yat has been chosen to speak last, after the other eight speakers. After listening to a series of brilliant speeches by young, confident, fluent, ambitious contestants all determined to win, Chan finally gets his turn to take the stage, but his performance is interrupted by a mysterious woman holding a giant flag, and he collapses under the spotlights in a fit of nervous exhaustion . . .

Soundtrack: “Aerial Boundaries


揾好座位之後,陳之一就好唔願意咁同朋友告別,勉勉强强咁行到前面嘅舞臺,睇睇有冇負責人可以告知活動嘅具體安排。好快就揾到一個職員,胸前掛上印有“文敏昌” 嘅名牌。呢個人叫“文敏昌”。一見到,外國男人腦中一閃,諗返頭先喺文武廟見到嘅文昌,同一日遇到文昌,又撞到一個叫文敏昌嘅人真係一個好奇妙嘅巧合。一般嚟講,咁樣嘅巧合只能喺小説裏面發生!從文先生口中得知,今日合共有九位參賽者。名單上排最孻嘅偏偏就係陳之一。排最尾嘅澳洲葉公雖然當堂放鬆咗少少,但另一方面又認爲自己好黑仔,要好有耐性咁聽晒其他人嘅表演,先至可以「考驗」自己。







「我喺 1981 年上大學二年級就開始學中文,而當時所謂嘅「中文」係指普通話:根本冇其他選擇。老實講,因為當時嘅我,對於中文呢個概念完全係一嚿雲,所以好樂意接受呢種安排。學咗兩年繁體字之後就改學簡體字,我亦同樣乖乖地服從。好認真又好勤力咁學習魯迅嘅短篇小說《故鄉》、毛澤東《在延安文藝座談會上的講話》等等課程資料。我學中文嘅『生涯』就以呢種獨特嘅模式開始。




「不過,無論如何,當年我啲普通話都冇乜進步。雖然經過多年嘅艱苦練習,熟讀唔少中文字,對於閱讀報紙、流行文學作品等都冇問題,但係我一開口同內地人溝通,成條就會打嗮纈,攪唔清楚對方想講咩嘢。亦唔能夠清楚表逹自己嘅諗法,雙方根本唔啱牙。普通話同我之間好似有一個無法跨過嘅障礙物? . . . 」