Learning Cantonese: The Taoist Classic of Purity

You may be familiar with major Taoist classics such as the Tao Te Ching or Chuang Tzu, but there are many others which are less well known, especially in English translation. One of them is the 《清靜經》 or “Classic of Purity”, a short text of 391 Chinese characters. In this brief overview created by Taoist TV, we are introduced to the main message of the Classic: the more we reduce unnecessary wants and desires, the more we are able to reconnect with our original nature.

The video opens with a discussion of the character 靜 jihng6. The written form suggests that the meaning has a lot to do with 爭, meaning “to contend; to vie; to strive”, or its absence. Three compound words are used containing 靜: 靜止 jihng6 jí2 = “static”, 寧靜 nìhng4 jihng6 = “tranquil”, and finally 清靜 chīng1 jihng6, a word that usually means “peace and quiet” in the contemporary language, but which seems to carry connotations of “purity” in this Taoist context, and “mental stillness”.

There are some memorable grammatical moments in this video presentation. The first involves the potential structure 得到 dāk1 dóu2, added to verbs to suggest ability to do sth. successfully (here, 得 dāk 1 means “to be able”): 買得到 = “to be able to buy; to manage to buy” (my sense is that the English “to manage to do sth.” can often be handled by means of 得到). There is also an example of the more idiomatic 買得起 máaih5 dāk1 héi2, another kind of potential structure which means “to be able to afford”. What we get in the video, though, is the negative “to be unable to afford”, expressed by 買唔起. In the following passage, we encounter these structures in close proximity: 諗吓買唔買 | 買唔起又會唔開心 | 即使買得到 . . . (“When we consider whether to buy it or not, we are liable to feel unhappy if we cannot afford it. And even if are able to buy it . . .”)

There is also plenty in this presentation to give your vocabulary a real boost: 物質嘅世界 maht6 jāt1 ge3 sai3 gaai3 = the material/physical world; 無窮無盡 mòuh4 kùhng4 mòuh4 jeuhn6 = inexhaustible; 恍惚 fóng2 fāt1 = ① in a trance- absentminded ② dimly; faintly; seemingly; 妄想 móhng5 séung2 = a vain hope; wishful thinking | ● 貪求 tāam1 kàuh4 = to seek (sth. pleasurable); to covet; 過眼雲煙 gwo3 ngáahn5 wàhn4 yīn1 = as transient as a fleeting cloud; 復古 fuhk6 gú2 = to restore ancient ways; retro-styled; 衣食住行 yī1-sihk6-jyuh6-hàhng4 = food, clothing, shelter and transportation — basic necessities of life; and 逐樣逐樣 juhk6 yeuhng6 juhk6 yeuhng6 = item by item; one by one.

You can view the video here. Since it is on YouTube, 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.

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有冇諗過,乜係靜?| 一樣嘢,停,可以形容為靜止 | 完全冇聲音,可以話係寧靜 | 但係,何謂清靜呢?

● 靜止 jihng6 jí2 = static; motionless; at a standstill | ● 寧靜 nìhng4 jihng6 = peaceful; tranquil; quiet | ● 何謂 hòh4 waih6 = what is meant by? what is the meaning of? | ● 清靜 chīng1 jihng6 = quiet

Have [you] ever wondered what jing (to be still, quiet, calm, etc.) is? When a thing comes to a stop and does not move, it can be described as jing ji or “motionless”, and when there is a complete absence of sound, it can be said to be ning jing or “tranquil”. But what is meant by ching jing or “purity”?

道教一部非常之重要經典,叫做《清靜經》| 全稱:《太上老君說常清靜妙經》| 呢部經典,只有三百九十一個字,入便最主要嘅内容 | 就係 *jai日常生活中成日會遇到嘅——煩惱

● 經典 gīng1 dín2 = ① classics  ② scriptures (Measure word: 部 bouh6) | ● 《清靜經》Chīng1 Jihng6 Gīng1 = The Classic of Purity | ● 《太上老君說常清靜妙經》Taai3 Seuhng6 Lóuh5 Gwān1 Syut3 Sèuhng4 Chīng1 Jihng6 Miuh6 Gīng1 = The Wondrous Scripture of Constant Clarity and Stillness, as Spoken by the Most High Lord Lao | ● 煩惱 fàahn4 nóuh5 = to be vexed; to be worried; to fret

Note: The noun 内容 noih6 yùhng4 usually means “contents”, but the Cantonese use often calls for something else in English: here, important “element” or “theme” or “subject matter” would be perhaps more natural.

An extremely important Taoist text [經典] is the Classic of Purity or The Wondrous Scripture of Constant Clarity and Stillness, as Spoken by the Most High Lord Lao, to give it its full title. This classic is only 391 words [字] long, and the most import subject matter in it concerns [就係] something we are always meeting with in our everyday lives: vexation.

到底人點解會有多煩惱呢?| 我哋要點樣先至可以回復清靜呢?

Why do people have so much vexation? What must we do [我哋要點樣] before we can restore [our] purity?

點解我會用回復清靜形容呢?| 《清靜經》嘅經文中提到 | 當我哋一出世嘅時候,我哋嘅元神、心神係處於一種清靜嘅境界 | 但係好可惜,當我哋慢慢長大 | 我哋嘅視覺、聽覺、嗅覺、味覺、觸覺,令我哋接觸到物質嘅世界 【1:00】| 亦都因爲咁樣,產生咗對事物無窮無盡嘅慾望

● 元神 yùhn4 sàhn4  = (?) original spirit | ● 心神 sām1 sàhn4 = usu. ① a mood; the state of mind ② attention | ● 嗅覺 chau3 gok3 = the sense of smell | ● 物質嘅世界 maht6 jāt1 ge3 sai3 gaai3 = the material/physical world | ● 無窮無盡 mòuh4 kùhng4 mòuh4 jeuhn6 = inexhaustible | ● 慾望 yuhk6 mohng6 = a desire; a wish

Note: According to Sheik Cantonese, in the noun 嗅覺 chau3 gok3, 嗅 is always pronounced chau3, but the colloquial reading hung3 is used for this character in other contexts.

Why would I use “restore our purity” to describe [this situation]? In the Classic of Purity it states that from the moment we are born [一出世], our original spirit [元神] and our state of mind [心神] exist [處於] in a realm [境界] of purity, but unfortunately as we gradually grow older, our sense of sight, of hearing, of smell, of taste and of touch bring us into contact with [令我哋接觸到] the material world and, accordingly [亦都因爲咁樣], give rise to endless desires.

我哋雙眼,見到件好,好新款嘅衫 | 我哋買嘢嘅慾念亦都由此而起喇 | 諗買唔買 | 買唔起又會唔開心 | 即使買得到,過咗幾耐,我哋可能又會見到另一件又新款又靚嘅衫 | 一個念頭接住一個念頭 | 亦都係一個慾望接住一個慾望,永無止境

● 慾念 yuhk6 nihm6 = a desire; a longing; a craving | ● 念頭 nihm6 tàuh4 = ① thought, idea ② intention | ● 止境 jí2 gíng2 = an end; a limit

When our eyes see a beautiful item of clothing in the latest fashion, our desire to buy things arises as a result. When we consider whether to buy it or not, we are liable to feel unhappy if we cannot afford it. And even if are able to buy it, before too long [過咗冇幾耐] we will probably see yet another beautiful item of clothing in the latest fashion. One thought is followed by another, and one desire is followed by another, forever without an end.

咁樣,我哋嘅「心」又點樣可以安靜落嚟呢?| 而心神恍惚,元神受到干擾,咁樣元神又點可以「清」呢?

● 干擾 gōn1 yíu2 = to disturb; to interfere; to obstruct | ● 恍惚 fóng2 fāt1 = ① in a trance; absentminded ② dimly; faintly; seemingly

Given this [咁樣], how can our heart-mind become calm [安靜落嚟]? And [when our] state of mind is trance-like [恍惚] and our original spirit is disturbed, how can our original spirit become pure [清]?

呢部《清靜經》就係指出,如果想做到心神清靜一都唔難嘅 | 因爲只不過係回復到心神本來嘅狀態 | 只要我哋肯去除妄想、貪求 | 自自然然,煩惱呢,亦都會相應咁消失 | 我哋要明白,道家認爲世界萬事萬物都冇一個絕對嘅標準

● 去除 heui3 chèuih4 = to get rid of; to remove | ● 妄想 móhng5 séung2 = a vain hope; wishful thinking | ● 貪求 tāam1 kàuh4 = to seek (sth. pleasurable); to covet| ● 相應 sēung1 ying3 = corresponding; relevant; here, the sense seems to be “correspondingly; in equal measure”

This work, the Classic of Purity, points out that if you wish to achieve purity of mind, it is not in the least bit difficult. This is because it is simply [a matter of] restoring the mind’s [心神] original state. Just as long as we are willing to get rid of wishful thinking and covetousness, vexation will also decrease correspondingly, as a matter of course [自自然然]. What we have to understand is that Taoism believes [認爲] there is no one absolute standard for anything in this world [世界萬事萬物].

我哋重視嘅價值,又或者係人哋對我哋嘅評價 | 其實【2:00】只不過係過眼雲煙 | 呢一刻,你認爲係新款嘅,過咗一排,就會成爲舊款 | 而某一日,你所曾經丟嘅舊款 | 又會因爲復古而再次興返

● 重視 juhng6 sih6 = to attach importance to; to think highly of; to value| ● 評價 pìhng4 gaa3 = to appraise; to evaluate | ● 過眼雲煙 gwo3 ngáahn5 wàhn4 yīn1 = as transient as a fleeting cloud | ● 過咗一排 gwo3 jó2 yāt1 pàaih4/páai4*2 = (?) after a while (a matter of years is implied by the context) | ● 舊款 gauh6 fún2 = an outdated fashion, model or design | ● 丟抌 dīu1 dám2 = (?) to throw away; to discard | ● 復古 fuhk6 gú2 = to restore ancient ways; retro-styled

Note: The verb 興 hīng1 is used in Cantonese to mean “popular” or “fashionable”. With the addition of the aspect marker 返 fāan, we get the sense of something coming back into fashion after a period of neglect.

Values that we consider important, or [other] peoples’ appraisal of us, are actually nothing more than fleeting clouds, transient [by nature]. What you think of as the latest style in this moment will, after a time, become outdated, but one day, all the outdated [clothes] you once threw away will come back into fashion because of a revival of retro fashions [復古].

唔單止係 *jai 衣食住行呢啲物質 | 人與人之間嘅相處,亦都係一樣,呢一刻其他人可能因爲想巴結你,而將你捧到天上 | 但係下一刻呢,可能佢哋會因爲更大嘅利益,而將你拉返落嚟

● 衣食住行 yī1-sihk6-jyuh6-hàhng4 = food, clothing, shelter and transportation — basic necessities of life; the bare necessities of everyday life | ● 物質 maht6 jāt1 = matter; substance; material | ● 巴結 bāa1 git3 = to curry favour with; perhaps “to suck up to” is closer to contemporary English | ● 捧到天上 púng2 dou3 tīn1 seuhng6 = to praise sb. to the skies

It isn’t [just a matter of] material things [such as] food, clothing, shelter and transportation. The way people relate to one another [人與人之間嘅相處 = lit. “the getting on between person and person”] is the same. One moment, others are singing your praises, perhaps in order to get something from you, but in the next moment they pull you back down, probably for some even greater benefit.

最後,你會明白,我哋日日夜夜追求嘅名譽、權力同埋財富 | 都唔可以安定我哋嘅心神 | 如果我哋識得將逐樣逐樣咁放低 | 我哋嘅心神就可以慢慢咁回復清靜 | 咁樣,我哋同「大道」嘅距離就會又再近一步喇

● 名譽 mìhng4 yuh6 = fame; reputation | ● 安定 [ng]ōn1 dihng6 = ① stable; quiet; settled ② to stabilize | ● 逐樣逐樣 juhk6 yeuhng6 juhk6 yeuhng6 = item by item; one by one

In the end, you will come to understand that we can never settle the mind [安定 . . . 心神] by going after fame, power and wealth day and night. If we know how to put [such pursuits] aside, one by one, our mind may gradually regain [its] purity, and, in this way [咁樣], the distance between us and the Great Tao will get smaller, too.

Related Material on this site:

● Learning Cantonese: The Story of Gun Yam
Pak Tai, True Soldier of the North

Learning Cantonese: Unthinking Hong Kong’s Democracy

The recent arrest of 53 people connected with the democratic movement continues the sustained effort to establish an authoritarian style of government in Hong Kong and to criminalize dissent of any kind.

In July 2020, 戴耀廷 Benny Tai and others organized a primary election for people associated with the democratic camp. Identifying the most popular candidates, he hoped, would enable the democrats to win a majority of seats in the Legislative Council (click here to see a brief report on this by HK01). According to the Secretary for Security 李家超John Lee Ka-chiu, himself a former policeman, these primary elections constituted “a malicious plan to paralyse the SAR government”. The man largely responsible for implementing the National Security Law in Hong Kong, 李桂華Steve Li Kwai-wah used the phrase “to bring our government to a complete standstill” with regard to the primaries and then compared Tai’s actions to that of a person intending to commit robbery. The idea that a government is not a fixed entity but one that evolves in response to the wishes of the people it governs is absent from both views.

You can view the HK01 video by an unnamed reporter here, but scroll down if you want the Cantonese transcript, notes and translation. For interest’s sake, I have also added the official English translation of Article 22 of the National Security Law dealing with “subversion” [顛覆國家政權罪]. 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.

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李家超(保安侷局長):. . . 涉嫌顛覆國家政權罪活躍份子 | 圖謀以一個歹毒嘅計劃 | 去癱瘓特區政府 | 如果呢個歹毒嘅計劃得逞嘅話 | 而香港亦都可能要再經歷過一個萬劫不復嘅深淵

● 活躍份子 = active element; activist| ● 圖謀 = to plot; to scheme; to conspire | ● 歹毒 = malicious | ● 得逞 = (pejorative) to have one’s way; to succeed; to prevail | ● 萬劫不復 = beyond redemption; never to be recovered or restored | ● 深淵 = abyss

John Lee Ka-chiu (Secretary for Security): . . . activists suspected of the crime of subverting state power and plotting with a malicious plan to paralyze the SAR government. Had this malicious plot succeeded, Hong Kong could possibly have experienced yet another abyss, never to be recovered from (?).

記者:警方國安處派出過千個警員 | 拘捕 53 個發起或者參與 | 舊年35+民主派初選嘅人士 | 話佢哋涉嫌干犯《港區國安法》廿二條 | 顛覆國家政權罪 | (Democrats chanting slogans) | 民主派唔同板塊見記者 | 批評係濫捕

● 發起 = to start; to launch | ● 「35+民主派初選」= The 35+ Primaries for the Democrats | ● 干犯 = to offend; to encroach upon; to break (the law) | ● 板塊 = main parts; sector | ● 濫捕 = (?) to arrest people excessively/indiscriminately

Reporter: The police Office for Safeguarding National Security dispatched over a thousand police officers and arrested 53 individuals who had initiated or taken part in last year’s 35+ Primaries for the Democrats, claiming [話] that they were under suspicion of having violated Article 22 of the National Security Law, [dealing with] subversion. (Democrats chanting slogans.) Members from the democratic groups [民主派唔同板塊] criticized [the action] as “an excessive use of arrests” [濫捕] during a meeting with the press.

羅健熙(民主黨主席):初選係任何陣營裏邊可以自由進行嘅事 | 每一個陣營或者每一個政黨,要做一個初選 | 去揀一啲人選出嚟係【1:00】非常之合理、非常之正常 | 完全任何不妥當嘅事情 | 可以 [UNCLEAR]「生案白造」| 話係會危害國家安全嘅話呢 | 國安法成爲「萬能 key」之後 | 大家見到嘅就會係白色恐怖

● 初選 = a primary election | ● 生案白造 saang1 on1 baahk6 jouh6 = to fabricate; to cook up a story; to make up without evidence | ● 危害 = to harm; to jeopardize; to endanger | ● 萬能 key (or 萬能鑰匙) maahn6 nahng4 (yeuhk6 sih4) = a master key; a skeleton key; a passkey | ● 白色恐怖 = white terror

Lo Kin-hei (Chairperson of the Hong Kong Democrats): Primary elections are something that any (political) camp can freely undertake. Any camp or any party having to do a primary election to choose candidates is perfectly reasonable, perfectly normal, something completely devoid of anything inappropriate. To cook up some story and say that it jeopardizes national security. After the National Security Law became a master key, what we have all seen is white terror.

李桂華(國安處高級警司):. . . 係咪唔人初選呢,做呢啲咁呢?| 大家都知道 | 初選係其他嘅國家都會 [UNCLEAR] 嘅 | 但係呢啲嘅運動呢,通常呢,去到嚟選擇啲合適嘅人選呢 | 同埋選擇啲適當嘅人選去參加佢哋嘅議會 | 但係正正我哋今次依個呢,並非如此 | 佢哋係只有一個目標 | 希望能夠令到我哋嘅政府停擺 | 有一個人揸車去打劫 | 揸車冇問題嘅 | 但係佢諗 [UNCLEAR] 去打劫 | [UNCLEAR] | 咁就係犯法嘅

● 人選 = a candidate | ● 並非如此 = not at all like this | ● 停擺 = (of a pendulum) to come to a standstill; stop | ● 打劫 = to rob; to plunder; to loot

Steve Li Kwai-wah (Senior Superintendent of the National Security Division): . . . is it that we aren’t letting people hold primary elections? As everyone knows, primary elections are also held in other countries, but such events [運動] are usually for the selection of suitable candidates and the choosing of desirable candidates to become members of parliament [參加佢哋嘅議會]. But this is not what we have in this instance. They only have one aim: to bring our government to a complete standstill. [If] a person drives off in a car to commit robbery, the driving of the car is no problem, but if that person was doing so in order to rob someone, for this reason it is against the law.

黃浩銘(社民運主席):即係而家唔係我攞支槍去打劫 | 係個政府俾張支票【2:00】人民 | 我要民意代表入去兌現張支票 | 去運用《基本法》一早已經寫落嚟 | 咁多年嚟都冇人挑戰過嘅權力 | 我哋今日入去到啲錢 | [UNCLEAR] 你同我哋講話我哋係打劫

● 兌現 = to cash (a cheque) | ● 挑戰 = to challenge

Raphael Wong (Chairperson of the League of Social Democrats): I mean, now it’s not me grabbing a gun and [heading off] to commit robbery but a cheque issued [俾咗] by the government to the people. What we want is for the representatives of the will of the people [民意代表] to go and cash the cheque, to use what was written down in the Basic Law right from the start [一早], a right that for ever so many years no one has ever challenged. But at this time (?) when we want to go and get our money, you tell us that we are committing robbery.

梁家傑(公民黨主席):李桂華或者,呃,李家超嗰啲呢,將佢嗰啲,呃,文章呀,係無限上綱,咁樣呢 | 我覺得係完全不容於我哋個普通法嘅 | 即係只係檢控一啲刑事作爲、行爲嘅一個法制呢

● 無限 = infinite; limitless; boundless | ●上綱 = to raise to the higher plane of principle; elevate an issue to the level of principle | ● 不容 = not tolerate; not allow; not brook | ● 檢控 = to prosecute | ● 作爲 = conduct; a deed; an action 法制 = legal institution; legal system; legality

Alan Leong Kah-kit (Chairperson of the Civic Party): Steve Li Kwai-wah [and (?)] John Lee Ka-chiu have been elevating without limit his [that is, Benny Tai’s] essays to the level of principle. In my view, this is not allowed under our common law in any shape or form [完全]. It is merely a legality for prosecuting [certain] criminal acts or behaviours.

[A list of some of the major people arrested is given. For the list in English, see this report on the Hong Kong Free Press website]

記者:警方話唔排除仲有進一步拘捕行動

Reporter: The police say they do not rule out [the possibility] of further arrests.

The Law of the People’s Republic of China on Safeguarding National Security in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region

Part 2 Subversion

Article 22 A person who organises, plans, commits or participates in any of the following acts by force or threat of force or other unlawful means with a view to subverting the State power shall be guilty of an offence:

(1) overthrowing or undermining the basic system of the People’s Republic of China established by the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China;
(2) overthrowing the body of central power of the People’s Republic of China or the body of power of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region;
(3) seriously interfering in, disrupting, or undermining the performance of duties and functions in accordance with the law by the body of central power of the People’s Republic of China or the body of power of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; or
(4) attacking or damaging the premises and facilities used by the body of power of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to perform its duties and functions, rendering it incapable of performing its normal duties and functions.

A person who is a principal offender or a person who commits an offence of a grave nature shall be sentenced to life imprisonment or fixed-term imprisonment of not less than ten years; a person who actively participates in the offence shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not less than three years but not more than ten years; and other participants shall be sentenced to fixed-term imprisonment of not more than three years, short-term detention or restriction.

Learning Cantonese: Lennon Banners Kick off in 2021!

The Lennon Walls that appeared as a spontaneous form of protest across Hong Kong were dismantled in the latter half of 2020, but on Day 1 of 2021 they have come back to us in a new form: the Lennon Banner. The one featured in the photograph bears the words 釋放政治犯 (“Release Political Prisoners”) and references the Lennon Walls with its orange and purple post-it note squares.

The report, from 劉錦華 Làuh4 Gám2 Wàah4 at HK01 provides some of the background to the banners. As one of the councillors of the Kwai Tsing District said in a speech, the main thing is 並指希望藉行動表達過去一年港人雖受打壓,但依然人心不死的訊息 — to express the message that the will of the people will never die, despite the repression Hongkongers have endured over the past year.

For the original report and extra photographs of the Lennon Banners, just click here.

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民間人權陣線今日(1日)發起多區巡遊,向公眾展示早前在各區收集簽名及字句的「連儂布」。當中葵青區民主派議員亦響應活動,於葵涌廣場外聲援12港人。

● 發起 faat3 héi2 = to start; to launch | ● 巡遊 chèuhn4 yàuh4 = usu. to make an inspection circuit | ● 連儂布 Lìhn4 Nùhng4 Bou3 = a Lennon (Fabric) Banner cf. Lennon Wall | ● 響應 héung2 ying3 = to respond; to answer | ● 聲援 sīng1 wùhn4 = to express support for; to support

Today (1 January) the Civil Human Rights Front launched a kind of touring protest [巡遊] in many districts, to display to the public [inscribed] “Lennon Banners”, [featuring] signatures and short written messages [字句] previously collected in a number of districts. As part of this [當中], democratic councillors in the Kwai Tsing District also responded with an action, expressing support for the 12 Hong Kongers at the Kwai Chung Plaza.

多名葵青區議員輪流發言,呼籲市民繼續關注在囚及流亡外地的港人,並要求中國釋放所有政治犯,並指希望藉行動表達過去一年港人雖受打壓,但依然人心不死的訊息。

● 輪流 lèuhn4 láu4*2 = to take turns; to do sth. in turn | ● 在囚 joih6 chàuh4 = (?) in prison; imprisoned | ● 人心不死 yàhn4 sām1 bāt1 séi2 = (?) the will of the people will never die | ● 訊息 seun3 sīk1 = message

Quite a number of councillors in the Kwai Tsing District took it in turns to make speeches, calling on citizens to continue to be concerned about Hong Kong people in prison or in exile, and called on China to release all political prisoners. They also hoped that, by means of this action, they could express the message that the will of the people will never die, despite the repression Hongkongers have endured over the past year.

在多個葵青區議員展示「連儂布」活動期間,有三輛衝鋒車及十多名警員在附近戒備及觀察,惟警員未有干擾活動進行。

展示 jín2 sih6 = to display | ● 衝鋒車 chūng1 fūng1 chē1 = (?) assault vehicle | ● 戒備 gaai3 beih6 = to be on standby; to guard; to be on guard

While councillors in the Kwai Tsing District were displaying the “Lennon Banner”, three assault vehicles and more than ten police officers were on stand-by in the vicinity, observing [proceedings]. However, they did not interfere with the carrying out of the action.

葵青區議會主席單仲偕表示,葵青區民主派議員將繼續關注在港或香港以外在囚的政治犯的權益。單仲偕又呼籲市民向612基金捐贈,指基金現時只剩下千餘萬,未必能應付尚未完成審判的案件,呼籲市民積極支持基金。

單仲偕 Sihn6 Juhng6 Gāai1 = Sin Chung-kai | ● 權益 kyùhn4 yīk1 = rights and interests | ● 612基金 is short for 612人道支援基金 yàhn4 douh6 jī1 wùhn4 gēi1 gām1 = 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund | ● 捐贈 gyūn1 jahng6 = to contribute (as a gift); to donate | ● 審判 sám2 pun3 = to bring to trial; to try

Chairperson of the Kwai Tsing District Council Sin Chung-kai said that democratic councillors of the District will continue to show concern for the rights and interests of political prisoners in jail in Hong Kong or abroad. Sin also appealed to citizens to donate to the 612 Humanitarian Relief Fund, saying that at present the Fund had only ten and a bit million [Hong Kong] dollars left [in it], and could not necessarily cover [應付] cases the hearing of which had not yet been completed. He called on citizens to actively support the Fund.

葵青區議員梁錦威表示,多個葵青區民主派區議員在聖誕節前後,於大窩口,青衣,葵涌等地收集市民的說話,以製成該「連儂布」,並於今日元旦日展示。十二港人案日前由內地法院作判決,當中兩名未成年港人不獲起訴,梁錦威表示即使如此,他們依然坐了130日「冤枉監」, 呼籲市民繼續關注在內地在囚的其餘10名港人,又指如果市民不作關注,難以想像他們會受到什麼對待。

● 梁錦威 Lèuhng4 Gám2 Wāi1= Leung Kam Wai (Simon) | ● 日前 yaht6 chìhn4 = a few days ago; the other day | ● 不獲起訴 bāt1 wohk6 héi2 sou3 = cf. 起訴 = to bring an action against sb.; to prosecute | ●「冤枉監」yūn1 wóng2 gāam1 = ? cf. 冤枉 = to treat unjustly

Leung Kam Wai, a Kwai Tsing District councillor, said that many democratic councillors in the Kwai Tsing District had, during the Christmas period [在聖誕節前後], collected comments from residents in Tai Wo Hau, Tsing Yi and Kwai Chung in order to make this “Lennon Banner”, and had put it on display on New Year’s Day. A few days ago, the Twelve Hongkongers had been sentenced by a Mainland court, [but] no action was brought against two of them who are under-aged. Despite this being the case, Leung Kam Wai said, they still had to spend 130 days in “unjust imprisonment” [「冤枉監」] and he appealed to citizens to continue to be concerned about the other ten Hong Kong people [still] in prison on the Mainland. He also added that, if local residents take no interest [in this case], it won’t bear thinking about [難以想像] how they might be treated.

另一葵青區議員張文龍亦呼籲港人繼續關注在囚政治犯。張認為犯法的應該是政府而非政治犯,因為政府沒有按照基本法賦予港人人權。而追求民主自由不應是犯法的行為,而是與生俱來的人權。張又指,希望在囚的政治犯可以於新一年有更好的處境,而非被剝奪權利。

張文龍 Chēung1 Màhn4 Lùhng4 = Cheung Man-lung (Dennis) | ● 與生俱來 yúh5 sāng1 kēui1 lòih4 = to be born with; inherent; innate | ● 處境 chú2 gíng2 = unfavourable situation; plight | ● 剝奪 mōk1 dyuht6 = to deprive; to expropriate; to strip

Cheung Man-lung, another Kwai Tsing District councillor, appealed to the people of Hong Kong to go on showing concern for political prisoners. In Cheung’s opinion, the law-breakers should be the government and not the political prisoners, since the government has not given Hong Kong people their human rights in accordance with the Basic Law. Moreover, the pursuit of democracy and freedom should not be [regarded as] criminal behaviour but as a natural human right. Cheung also expressed the hope that political prisoners might find themselves in a less unfavourable situation in the new year rather than be stripped of their rights.

Learning Cantonese: Chilly New Year’s Eve Predicted for Hong Kong

The Hong Kong Observatory is forecasting a very cold New Year’s Eve for December 31, and not just because of the chilling political events of recent months . . .

This brief 40-second report — put together by the reporter 邱靖汶 Yāu1 Jihng6 Mahn6 at HK01 on 22 December — is jammed-packed with useful things and is especially accessible due to the absence of any intrusive musical accompaniment. In it, you’ll hear three different expressions for “New Year’s Eve”: 除夕chèuih4 jihk6, 大除夕 daaih6 chèuih4 jihk6 and 除夕夜 chèuih4 jihk6 yeh6! Another piece of relevant vocabulary is 倒數 dou3 sóu2, which refers to the “countdown” people like to do to the first moment of the New Year.

Because the report is largely based on weather forecasting, the modal verb 會 wúih5 gets used to predict the high likelihood that something will happen (although this “high likelihood” can be downplayed by the addition of other expressions, e.g. 可能就會有啲唔同呀 = it will probably by different). There is also an instance of 嚟 lèih4 to create an open time expression (7年嚟 = in the past seven years) and an interesting use of the aspect marker 返 fāan1 in 數返 sóu2 fāan1, “(?) to count back to (a time in the past)”.

Apart from grammar, there’s also a surprising amount of readily useful vocabulary, including: 感受 gám2 sauh6 = to experience; 短暫 dyún2 jaahm6 = of short duration; 乾燥 gōn1 chou3 = dry; 嚴峻 yìhm4 jeun3 = stern; as well as the Cantonese verb “to celebrate”, 興祝 hing3 jūk1. The expression 暖粒粒 nyúhn5 lāp1 lāp1 also makes an appearance. I once saw this on a billboard in Tuen Mun which said: 暖粒粒過聖誕 (lit. “warmly spend/celebrate Christmas”) which inclines me to the belief that it can mean something more than “warm in temperature”.

You can view the video here, but scroll down if you want the Cantonese transcript, notes and translation. 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.

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仲有九日就到大除夕 | 不過今年倒數感受 | 可能就會有唔同呀 | 天文台預測,12 月 31 號除夕嘅氣溫 | 會跌到 10 度 | 係跌到得返攝氏 10度 | 上水、屯門等等嘅地方低至 9度 | 有機會成爲 7 年 | 最低溫嘅除夕夜 | 而最凍嘅除夕就要數返 [20]12 年 | 7.1 度嘅紀錄低溫 | 除夕日間短暫時間會有陽光 | 天氣乾燥 | 早晚寒冷 | 天氣凍,大家過節嘅時候不忘要 | 多啲關心長者同埋長期病患 | 疫情嚴峻 | 除夕夜都係避免外出興祝 | 屋企暖粒粒咁樣倒數 | 迎接 2021 年

● 大除夕 daaih6 chèuih4 jihk6 = (?) New Year’s Eve | ● 倒數 dou3 sóu2 = to do the countdown (to the first moment of the New Year) | ● 感受 gám2 sauh6 = ① to be affected by ② to experience; to feel | ● 預測 yuh6 chāak1 = to calculate; to forecast | ● 除夕夜 chèuih4 jihk6 yeh6 = New Year’s Eve | ● 數返 sóu2 fāan1 = (?) to count back to (a time in the past) | ● 紀錄 géi2 luhk6 = to take notes; to record | ● 短暫 dyún2 jaahm6 = of short duration; transient; brief | ● 乾燥 gōn1 chou3 = ① dry; arid ② dull; uninteresting | ● 早晚 jóu2 máahn5 = morning & evening (perhaps here with the implication “before the sun comes up & after it has gone down) | ● 過節 gwo3 jit3 = to celebrate a festival cf. 興祝 | ● 長期病患 chèuhng4 kèih4 behng6 waahn6 = 長期 over a long period of time; long-term +  病患 (?) to suffer from an illness| ● 嚴峻 yìhm4 jeun3 = stern; severe; rigorous; grim | ● 興祝 hing3 jūk1 = to celebrate (Current Colloquial Cantonese: 5) cf. 過節 gwo3 jit3 | ● 暖粒粒 nyúhn5 lāp1 lāp1 = warm in temperature (Sheik Cantonese) | ● 迎接 yìhng4 jip3 = to meet; to welcome; to greet (in this context, perhaps “to see in (the New Year)” is also possible

There are still nine days to go to New Year’s Eve, but the experience might be a bit different for this year’s Countdown. The Hong Kong Observatory is forecasting that the temperature on 31 December will drop to 10 degrees, only getting up [(?) 得返] to 10 degrees Celsius. In places such as Sheung Shui and Tuen Mun, it will go down to 9 degrees. There is a chance that it will be the coldest New Year’s Eve in the past seven years. For that [而最凍嘅除夕], one has to count back to the year 2012, [which had] a recorded lowest temperature of 7.1 degrees. In the daytime on 31 December [除夕日間], there will be brief periods of sunshine, it will be dry, and it will be cold in the morning and in the evening. When the weather is cold, don’t forget to give the elderly and those suffering from chronic illnesses [(?) 長期病患] extra care. [Since] the virus situation is looking grim [嚴峻], avoid going out to celebrate on New Year’s Eve. [Instead], do the countdown to welcome in 2021 at home [where you will be] warm and cosy.

Learning Cantonese: Lesley Mak on Wonton Noodles

Please do you best to put up with the disco soundtrack: the pain inflicted by the music is a small price to pay for the clear speech, special vocabulary (and English subtitles) you will encounter in episode No.90 of the Kong Stories series.

Lesley Mak, or 麥心睿 Mahk6 Sām1 Yeuih6 in Cantonese, runs the Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop in Jordan. Her specialty is wonton noodles, and one of the delights of this video is her use of the word 細蓉 sai3 yúng2, an insider’s term.《香港粵語大詞典》defines it as: 飲食行業術語 (“a trade term used in the hospitality industry”). You might get special treatment if you use it next time your order these prawn dumplings with 麵 noodles in clear soup. Actually, 蓉 is indispensable in another, horticultural context: it forms part of the compound 芙蓉 fùh4 yúng2 = 1. hibiscus 2. lotus.

In this episode, Mak makes several references to nostalgia or 懷舊 wàaih4 gauh6. This links with her use of the expression 難以忘懷 nàahn4 yíh5 mòhng4 wàaih4 = “hard to get out of one’s mind” and the noun 情懷chìhng4 wàaih4 = “feelings; thoughts & feelings” (observe how the character 懷 crops up again here). I sense that 情懷 doesn’t have to refer to specifically nostalgic feelings, but that it often does so.

Also of interest are the expressions 街頭街尾 gāai1 tàuh4 gāai1 méih5 = from one end of the street to the other; 後巷 hauh6 hóng6*2 = back alley; 早排 jóu2 pàaih4/páai4*2 = a while ago; a few days ago (cf. 呢排,近排 and 最排); and 心血 sām1 hyut3 = painstaking care/effort.

By the way, the character 睿 yeuih6 in Lesley Mak’s name has the meaning of “farsighted”. It’s not a very common character, but you do see it occasionally, particularly in the compound 睿智 yeuih6 ji3 = “wise and farsighted”.

Finally, I am guessing that 綠寳橙汁 luhk6 bóu2 cháang2 jāp1 is the beverage Martin Booth mentions in the following passage from his novel The Iron Tree:

‘Please,’ he went on. ‘Sit down. Take the weight off.’ That is a phrase he picked up as he did mart. ‘You wan’ a beer, soft drink? San Mig? Green Spot orange?’ Then he looked up and recognized me.

You can view the video here, but scroll down if you want the Cantonese transcript, notes and translation. Since it is on YouTube, 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.

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Caption: 麥文記 | Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop

麥心睿:我鍾意懷舊 | 黑白相、聽舊歌、細蓉、飲綠寳橙汁 | 種種懷舊事物都令我好難以忘懷

● 懷舊 wàaih4 gauh6 = to remember old times or past acquaintances (usu. with kindly thoughts) | ● 細蓉 sai3 yúng2 = another word meaning “wonton noodles” | ● 綠寳橙汁 luhk6 bóu2 cháang2 jāp1 = Green Spot orange | ● 難以忘懷 nàahn4 yíh5 mòhng4 wàaih4 = cf. 忘懷 to forget; to dismiss from one’s mind

Lesley Mak: I like remembering the past. Black and white photos, listening to old songs, wonton noodles, drinking Green Spot orange. All these various nostalgic things, I find it hard to get them out of my head.

舊時擔挑托麵嘅年代 | 一個仙可以食到一碗雲吞麵 | 而家已經再呢支歌仔唱喇

● 擔挑托麵 dāam1 tīu1 tok3 mihn6 = ? | ● 仙 sīn1 = cent

Note: 1. I am not sure about the exact meaning of 仙 sīn1 and whether it is still used to refer to money in Hong Kong. The implication here is that it was a fairly small sum to pay. 2. 已經再冇呢支歌仔唱喇 (if I have got it right) appears to be an idiom meaning “those days are over” or “gone are the days”.

[In] the old days, at the time when hawkers carried around their noodles on shoulder poles [擔挑托麵], you could buy a bowl of wonton noodles for one cent [一個仙], but this little song [歌仔] is no longer sung.

爸爸媽媽四十年代中期走難到香港 | 然後,喺後巷賣雲吞麵維生 | 我4歲開始已經喺鋪頭幫手包雲吞 | 食雲吞麵由細食到大到而家都未厭 【1:00】

● 走難 jáu2 naahn6 = (?) to flee from a dangerous situation | ● 後巷 hauh6 hóng6*2 = back alley | ● 維生 wàih4 sāng1 = to subsist; to eke out a living; to keep body and soul together | ● 未厭 meih6 yim3 = have not yet got sick/tired of cf.  厭 = be fed up with; be bored with; be tired of

Note: When the character 難 (usu. nàahn4) is pronounced in the low-level tone as naahn6, it means “a calamity; a disaster; an adversity” or the verb “to take to task; to blame”.

My mother and father fled to Hong Kong in the middle of the 1940s. Later, they made a living selling wonton noodles in a back alley. I was already helping in the shop making wontons [包雲吞] when I was four. I have been eating wonton noodles all my life and am not yet tired of them.

舊時嘅佐敦街頭街尾都佈滿霓虹燈招牌,但係因爲種種嘅原因 | 早排霓虹燈招牌仿佛就結束咗一個歷史任務 | 告別佐敦

● 街頭街尾 gāai1 tàuh4 gāai1 méih5 = from one end of the street to the other (lit. “street head street tail”) | ● 佈滿 bou3 múhn5 = (?) to be covered all over with | ● 霓虹燈招牌 ngàih4 hùhng4 dāng1 jīu1 pàaih4 = neon sign | ● 早排 jóu2 pàaih4/páai4*2 = a while ago; a few days ago; perhaps here “previously” | ● 仿佛 fóng2 fāt1 = seem; as if | ● 告別 gou3 biht6 = to leave; to part from

Back in the old days, Jordan Road was covered in neon signs from one end to the other but, for various reasons, the neon signs of previous times seemed to have completed an historical mission and have left Jordan.

我期望以後麥文記可以做到等於雲吞麵嘅代表 | 代表香港歷史嘅一部分 | 見證香港情懷 | 等爸爸媽媽嘅心血長流 | 令香港人嘅故事傳留

● 見證 gin3 jing3 = (?) to witness; to bear witness | ● 情懷 chìhng4 wàaih4 = feelings; thoughts & feelings | ● 心血長流 sām1 hyut3 chèuhng4 làuh4 = (?) long continue to be effective (with regard to the painstaking efforts of people who have gone before) cf. 心血 = painstaking care/effort | ● 傳留 chyùhn4 làuh4 = (?) to be handed down/passed on (to later generations)

Note: Here, in the phrase 等爸爸媽媽嘅心血長流, 等 dáng2 is used with the sense of “to let; to allow; to make”, a colloquial equivalent of the written or formal 讓 yeuhng6. On the other hand, 等於 means “to be equivalent to”.

It is my hope that the Mak Man Kee Noodle Shop might become [可以做到] an emblem [代表] of wonton noodles, of a part of Hong Kong’s history, bearing witness to [certain] Hong Kong feelings, and enabling the painstaking efforts of my mother and father to go on bearing fruit [心血長流], so that the story of the Hong Kong people is handed on [to future generations].

我叫麥心睿,香港土生土長,七百萬個故仔成就一個香 . . . 港故仔

My name is Lesley Mak, born and bred in Hong Kong. Seven million stories go to make up [成就] one [of the] Hong . . . Kong Stories.

Learning Cantonese: On Meditation

The Hong Kong Buddhist monk 常霖法師 Master Changlin (or Sèuhng4 Làhm4 in Cantonese) has made numerous videos in Cantonese, many of them in an interview format. He trained as a designer before he found Zen, and this shows in the quality of his productions. I have chosen this one partly for its colloquial unscripted tone, partly for its brevity, and partly because it uses a verb that I had never heard before, 寒背 hòhn4 bui3. There is a definition of it in 《香港粵語大詞典》, where it is explained as 輕微的駝背 = to be slightly hunchbacked; to hunch one’s back slightly. There is also an instance of another (rare) verb in 𩓥高頭 ngohk6 gōu1 tàuh4 = to lift up one’s head.

You can view the video here. Since it is on YouTube, 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.

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千人禪修 | 安心 ● 心安 Zen Practice for All: Pacify the Mind & the Mind Will Be Peaceful

常霖法師:啊,靜坐呢,就唔係一定要禪堂裏邊 | 喺日常生活裏邊 | 應該隨時隨地都可以做得到 | 譬如話喺我而家一張嘅梳化 | 噉,呃,可以盤腿坐 | 亦都可以放坐 | 重點呢,| 就係話身體要首先要平衡同埋放鬆 | 呃,坐喺度嘅時候要平衡嘅關係呢 | 所以我哋要坐得直 | 坐得直呢,但係就唔係話等於要好用力樣撐住自己,唔係嘅 | 呃,就咁樣輕輕鬆鬆坐直就 *a 得喇 | 有陣時,有人係習慣咗佢有少少寒背咁啦 | 其實 *kei’a 咁樣呢,就會令到你個頸呀、呃腰呀,啲地方呢,都會有個壓力喺度嘅 | 噉所以呢,點樣先至叫做直呢?| 噉其實有一個方法 | 就係話我哋兩隻*a 手放喺個膝頭嗰度 | 然後個身【1:00】輕輕向前 | 跟住慢慢坐返起

● 禪堂 sìhm4 tòhng4 = (?) Zen meditation hall | + 隨時隨地 chèuih4 sìh4 chèuih4 deih6 = at any time, in any place | + 盤腿坐 pùhn4 téui2 chóh5 = to sit cross-legged | + 撐住自己 chāang1 jyuh6 jih6 géi2 = (?) to prop oneself up | + 寒背 hòhn4 bui3 = (?) to hunch the back [slightly]

Note: There is a tone change in 梳化: sō1 fáa3*2

Master Seung Lam: Ah, meditation, is not [something that is] necessarily [done] in a meditation hall. In daily life, [Caption: At any time and in any place] one should be able to do it at any time and in any place. For example, on such a sofa [as this], we can cross out legs or put them flat on the floor [放腳坐]. The important thing [Caption: 常霖法師Master Changlin] is that the body must be first of all balanced [平衡] and relaxed [Caption: Balanced & Relaxed] . When sitting, [because] of the need for balance [要平衡], we have to sit up straight [Caption: Sit up Straight without Strain]. Sitting up straight, however, does not mean [唔係話等於] propping yourself up with a great deal of effort, no.  Sit up straight in a relaxed, easy manner [輕輕鬆鬆] and that will do the trick [就得㗎喇]. Sometimes, there are people who have got into the habit of hunching their backs a little. Actually, [doing it] this way puts pressure on places such as your neck and your lower back [腰]. So, what does it take for it to be called “straight”? Well, actually there is a technique: we place our two hands on our knees, then we incline ourselves [個身輕輕向前] [Caption: Push the Body Forward then Sit up Straight] forward a little, then we sit up again.

噉你去到一個位嘅時候, 你一放鬆呢,其實就係最平衡嘅位置嚟㗎喇 | 噉啊要注意一樣就係個頭呢 | 感覺上你嗰條頸好似掂到衣領咁 | 嗱,好多人呢,就係話,你,感覺掂衣領,你就會𩓥高頭㗎喇喎 | 噉又唔平衡喇 | 所以呢,我哋係掂到衣領,但然後個下巴收返 | 咁呃啱啱好喇 | 跟住落呢,我哋個眼呢 | 就係話正前下方四十五度 | 噉你可以瞌埋 | 亦都可以微微張開都得 | 噉至於對手呢 | 就係一般情況你就咁樣放喺 | 嗰個膝頭嗰度 | 呃或者大腿其實 *kei’a 都 OK 嘅 | 噉啊如果係盤膝打坐嘅話呢 | 就最好將兩隻 *a手係放喺腹部嘅前邊 | 噉我哋就可以開始㗎喇

 ● 衣領 yī1 léhng5 = a collar (on an item of clothing) | + 𩓥高頭 ngohk6 gōu1 tàuh4 = to lift up one’s head | + 瞌埋眼 or 䁯埋眼 hāp1 màih4 ngáahn5 = to close the eyes | + 微微張開 = to open slightly | + 腹部 fūk1 bouh6 = midriff; abdomen

Note: In the case of the verb 打坐 = “to meditate”, 坐 is pronounced joh6 rather than the usual chóh5.

When you reach a spot and relax straight away, then this is the most balanced position. One thing to pay attention to is the head. It should feel [感覺上] [Caption: The Neck Touches Lightly against the Collar] as if your neck is pressing against [掂到] your collar. Now, many people think this means [就係話,你,感覺掂衣領] lifting your head up high, but this is not balanced. And so, we keep [our necks] in contact with the collar, but then we draw our chin back in [個下巴收返]. Then everything is just right. Next of all, on the subject of our eyes, [Caption: Eyes Look down Slightly] we look straight ahead and down at an angle of 45 degrees. You can close them or you can keep them slightly open if you want. As for your hands, in most situations you place them [放] like this, there on the knee. Or it’s OK actually to put them on the thighs, too. If you meditate with your legs crossed, then it’s best to put your hands in front of you lower belly. Now we can make a start.

首先呢,開始嘅時候 | 你要感受一下自己嘅身體 【2:00】| 有冇係完全放鬆呢 | 如果你係覺得,咦,嗰啲頸呀、膊頭呀,呢啲位係比較緊嘅話 | 其實你係可以用力縮起 | 再放返 | 樣你就會覺得係成個人,啊,鬆咗喇咁 | 噉於是呢,我哋就開始 | 靜靜哋 | 注意自己嘅呼吸喇

● 感受 gám2 sauh6 = 1. to be affected by 2. to experience; to feel | + 膊頭 bok3 tàuh4 = shoulder | + 縮起 sūk1 héi2 = perhaps “to hunch” or “to lift by drawing in”; the usual meaning of 縮 is “to contract; to shrink” | + 靜靜哋 jihng6 jíng6*2 déi6*2 = quietly

First of all, when starting, you must experience your own body for a moment or two. Is it completely relaxed? If you think [to yourself], Huh? There’s quite a bit of tightness [緊] in places like my neck, in my shoulders, then you use a bit of effort and lift your shoulders, then put them back [down]. That way you will feel that the whole of you is relaxed. And then, we make a start, quietly observing our own breath [Caption: Observe the Breath].

嗱,喺個過程裏邊呢 |我建議大家呢,就係 *jai 用鼻嚟呼吸 | 因爲如果用口呼吸嘅話 | 好容易就會口乾呀,就會唔舒服 | 噉所以呢,用鼻呼吸嘅意思呢,就係話 | 感受一下個空氣由個鼻孔入到去 | 落到肺部,再落到腹部 | 然後再呼返出嚟 | 嗱,喺個過程裏邊呢,我哋係自然哋做嘅 | 係唔需要話好刻意哋 | 吸深啲呀、吸長啲時間呀咁 | 係唔需要嘅 【3:00】| 我哋只係好自然哋吸 | 吸到落腹部再呼返出嚟 | 依一種呢,喺中國人嚟講呢,就叫做丹田呼吸 | 噉啊所以喺個過程裏邊呢,我哋只係注意自己嘅呼吸嘅啫 | 但係 *dai 當然好多時我哋會好多念頭走出嚟 | 噉啊念頭出嚟嘅時候呢,你千祈唔好話,啊,唔准諗,唔好諗咁 | 因爲呢,當你一呢啲壓力個念頭嘅時候,個念頭就會干擾你好多 | 我哋只要做嘅只不過係話,我哋只係一路注意自己嘅呼吸 | 但係呢,有念頭出嚟我哋唔理佢 | 旁邊有啲雜音我哋唔好理佢 | 我哋只係返返去同一個動作 | 就係話一路感受自己嘅呼吸嘅啫 | 嗱,呢一種呢,個目的呢,其實就係話,要提升我哋嘅覺察能力 | 噉所以呢,又唔好瞌眼瞓 | 啊,依一樣嘢,如果大家係持續咁樣練習【4:00】呢,係對大家一定會有幫助嘅 | 噉我哋而家一齊試 | 開始啦喎

● 鼻孔 beih6 húng2 = nostril | + 刻意 = hāk1 yi3 = usually “painstaking”; the implication is that a lot of effort is exerted | + 丹田 dāan1 tìhn4 = the pubic region; a specialist term used in tai chi & chi gung, often written as dan tian | + 走出嚟 = jáu2 chēut1 làih4 = to come out; to emerge | + 雜音 jaahp6 yām1 = noise | + 阻止 jó2 jí2 = to prevent; to stop; to hold back | + 干擾 gōn1 yíu2 = to disturb; to interfere; to obstruct | + 覺察力 gok3 chaat3 lihk6 = (?) awareness; perceptiveness | + 瞌眼瞓 hāp1 ngáahn5 fan3 = to doze off

Note: 1. The frequent use of 係 haih6 in this video in places where there is already a main verb is really conspicuous:

啊,靜坐呢,就唔係一定要喺禪堂裏邊嘅
噉有陣時,有啲人係習慣咗佢有少少寒背咁啦
噉啊如果係盤膝打坐嘅話呢 | 就最好將兩隻手係放喺腹部嘅前邊
如果你係覺得,咦,嗰啲頸呀、膊頭呀,呢啲位係比較緊嘅話
如果大家係持續咁樣練習呢,係對大家一定會有幫助嘅

What strikes me is that 係 tends to be used in places where either a kind of general statement is being made (“some people have the habit of hunching their backs a bit”) or it is used in hypothetical situations, especially with 如果if-clauses. In both cases, the implied verb-tense does not really express present time, and there is certainly no hint of on-going action. So perhaps 係 haih6 (possibly under the influence of English in Hong Kong) can be used to mark this kind of timeless present, as a kind of counterpart to 緊 -gán2 for present actions in the process of occurring. That said, the use of 係 together with 嘅 may also be done to indicate special emphasis: 就唔係一定要喺禪堂裏邊嘅 = meditation is not necessarily done in a meditation hall (that is, it may be done in other places as well). 2. Something interesting is going on with the various uses of 落到 and 到落 in this passage. In Cantonese, both 到 dou3 and 落 lohk6, apart from being verbs in their own right, are used to connect a verb to its final location, with 落 having the more specialized meaning of downward movement. In phrases such as 落到肺部, 落 serves as the main verb “to fall”, while 到 dou3 adds the connection to the location 肺部 = lungs. However, in 吸到落腹部, 吸 kap1 is the main verb (to breathe in), while both 到 dou3 and 落 lohk6 are used to introduce the location. There is a similar example in Unit 3 of the textbook About Hong Kong: 半山區有自動電梯駁到落中環,日曬雨淋都唔怕 = “Escalators connect Mid-Levels to Central and people don’t need to worry about too much sunshine or getting caught in the rain”. Perhaps 到落 conveys both (extended) connection and downward motion (?).

In the process [Caption: Breathe through Your Nose], I suggest that everyone breathe through their nose, because if you breathe through your mouth, it will easily become dry and uncomfortable. And so for that reason, by breathing through one’s nose I mean fear the air entering through your nostrils, falling to the lungs, then again to the lower belly, then [flowing] back out. In the process, we do things naturally, [Caption: Natural Breathing] we don’t push ourselves [刻意] to breathe more deeply or for a longer amount of time, no that’s unnecessary. All we have to do is breathe in quite naturally, breathing in [right] down to the lower abdomen, then out again. To the Chinese, this way is called “dan tian breathing” [Caption: Dan Tian Breathing]. And so, in the process, the only thing we have to do is observe our own breathing. However, of course, much of the time, many mental events [念頭] emerge [走出嚟] in our [minds]. When such mental events occur, whatever you do, don’t say [to yourself]: Thinking isn’t allowed. I mustn’t think! [Caption: Do Not Try and Stop Mental Events]. Because as soon as you put pressure on the mental event, it will really disturb you. All we need to do is just observe the breath the whole time [一路], nothing more. But if something crops up in the mind [有念頭出嚟], we pay no attention to it. If there is noise somewhere nearby [旁邊], don’t pay any attention to it. We just do the same movement over and over, that is, we just experience our own breathing. Now by this means, what it really boils down to in fact [其實就係話], is wanting to raise [要提升] our perceptiveness. And so, don’t doze off. If you can persevere in your practice of this [Caption: Sustained Practising], it will definitely be of help to you. Let’s have a try now, everyone together. Let’s make a start.

Learning Cantonese: Giving Paradise back to the Butterflies

鳳園 Fung Yuen is a butterfly oasis only a short bus journey from Tai Po, in the New Territories in Hong Kong. Despite the new buildings that have, incredibly, been allowed to go up there in recent years, the place remains an ecological miracle.

This 5-minute video is largely scripted, and so the language is fairly formal. There are, however, two more colloquial sections featuring the founder of the Reserve, 邱榮光 Dr Yau Wing Kwong and the government minister 邱騰華 Edward Yau Tang-wah, then head of the 環保局 Environmental Protection Bureau, and now by some terrible irony of politics, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development.

Needless to say, you’ll find plenty of useful vocabulary here on ecology-related areas such as 生態多樣性 sāang1 taai3 dō1 yeuhng6 sing3 = biodiversity; 品種 bán2 júng2 = a species; and 繁殖 fàahn4 jihk6 = to breed; to reproduce. You’ll also get to hear 親身嘅參與 chān1 sān1 ge3 chāam3 yuh6 = “hands-on experience” and the related idiomatic expression 落手落腳 lohk6 sáu2 lohk6 geuk3 = to get one’s hands dirty.

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.

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Caption: 鳳園蝴蝶保育區 | Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve

位於大埔鳳園蝴蝶保育區 | 鄰近大埔工業邨 | 離大埔虛巴士站及小巴站 | 大約十五分鐘車程

● 鄰近 lèuhn4 gahn6 = (?) to be in the vicinity of | ● 車程 chē1 chìhng4 = transport journey

The Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve located in Tai Po is adjacent to [鄰近] the Tai Po Industrial Estate, roughly a 15-minute journey from the bus and minibus station at Tai Po Market.

鳳園村溪流充足 | 濕度較高,有利耕種 | 原居民種植嘅植物入便 | 有唔少都適合蝴蝶生長

● 溪流 kāi1 làuh4 = brook; stream | ● 充足 chūng1 jūk1 = adequate; enough; sufficient | ● 有利 yáuh5 leih6 = advantageous; favourable | ● 耕種 gāang1 jung3 = to plough and sow; to cultivate; to farm | ● 原居民 yùhn4 gēui1 màhn4 = 1. aborigine cf. 原住民 2. Indigenous inhabitants: residents in the New Territories of Hong Kong | ● 種植 jung3 jihk6 = to plant; to grow

Fung Yuen Village has many streams, making it a fairly moist [place], favourable to cultivation. Among the plants planted by the original inhabitants, not a few are suited to the growth [生長] of butterflies.

喺1980年,政府將鳳園村北面 | 大約42公頃嘅山谷地區列爲 | 鳳園谷特殊科學價值地點,簡稱 SSSI | 直到2005年 | 大埔環保會喺村内 | 成立「鳳園蝴蝶保育區」| 保育同埋推廣鳳園谷嘅生態多樣性 | 及圍村嘅文化特色【1:00】

● 公頃 gūng1 kíng2 = hectare | ● 列爲 liht6 wàih4 = to be classified as | ● 簡稱 gáan2 chīng1 = abbreviation; for short| ● 大埔環保會 Daaih6 Bou3 Wàahn4 Bóu2 Wúi6*2= Tai Po Environmental Association | ● 鳳園蝴蝶保育區 Fuhng6 Yùhn4 Wùh4 Dihp6/Díp6*2 Bóu2 Yuhk6 Kēui1= Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve | ● 生態多樣性 sāang1 taai3 dō1 yeuhng6 sing3 = biodiversity

In 1980, the government classified approximately 42 hectares of mountain valley north of Fung Yuen Village as the “Fung Yuen Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest [價值]” or “SSSI” for short. In 2005, the Tai Po Environmental Association founded the Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve to protect and promote the biodiversity of the Fung Yuen Valley, as well as the special cultural characteristics of the walled village.

大埔環保會喺1997年 | 由邱榮光博士創立 | 係一個非牟利慈善團體 | 大埔環保會自創立以 | 積極投入舉辦各類型嘅環保活動 | 致力推廣及提倡 | 環境保育嘅教育同埋認知 | 定期舉行嘉年華同埋展覽攤位 | 鼓勵市民關注環境問題

● 邱榮光 = Yāu1 Wìhng4 Gwōng1 = Yau Wing Kwong | ● 創立 chong3 laahp6 = to establish; to found; to set up | ● 非牟利慈善團體 fēi1 màuh4 leih6 chìh4 sihn6 tyùhn4 tái2 = a non-profit charitable organization | ● 自 . . . 以嚟 jih6 . . . yíh5 làih4 = ever since; from . . . up to the present | ● 致力 ji3 lihk6 = to devote oneself to; to work for | ● 提倡 tàih4 chēung1 = to advocate; to promote | ● 認知 yihng6 jī1 = (?) to be cognisant of; to be aware of | ● 嘉年華 gāa1 nìhn4 wàah4 = carnival | ● 展覽攤位 jín2 láahm5 tāan1 wái6*2 = (?) an exhibition stand/stall/space

The Tai Po Environmental Association was set up by Dr Yau Wing Kwong in 1997. It is a non-profit charitable organization. Since its inception, it has been active in running various kinds of environmental protection activities and has devoted itself to the popularization and promotion of both environmental protection education and awareness [認知]. At regular intervals [定期] it runs carnivals and exhibition sites to encourage ordinary citizens to become concerned about environmental issues.

另外,大埔環保會 | 喺三門仔成立大埔地質教育中心 | 係一個融合自然景觀 | 同埋人文景觀嘅獨特區域 | 能夠將保育地貌同埋岩石嘅信息推廣開去 | 為市民提供地質觀賞及環保資訊之餘 | 亦肩負起教育同埋推廣嘅責任

● 景觀 gíng2 gūn1 = a landscape | + 獨特區域 duhk6 dahk6 kēui1 wihk6 = a special region | + 地貌 daih6 maauh6 = the general configuration of the earth’s surface; landforms | + 岩石 ngàahm4 sehk6 = rock | + 觀賞 gūn1 séung2 = to view & admire; to enjoy the sight of | + 資訊 jī1 seun3 = information | + 肩負 gīn1 fuh6 = to take on; to undertake; to shoulder

Note: Often in Cantonese, a fuller verb form is required when the 將 jēung1 structure is used, perhaps to maintain a balanced sentence rhythm with the removal of the direct object to its pre-verbal position, hence: 能夠將保育地貌同埋岩石嘅信息推廣開去. As you can see, a directional complement such as 開去 hōi1 heui3 can be used for this purpose. Other kinds of complements such as those expressing location are also used.

In addition, the Tai Po Environmental Association established the Tai Po Geoheritage Centre at Sam Mun Tsai. It is a special district that brings together appreciation of both natural and human-cultural landscapes [景觀], [something] that can popularize both the conservation of landforms and information about rocks. And apart from providing enjoyment of the geology and information about environmental protection, the Geoheritage Centre also shoulders the responsibility of education and popularization.

邱榮光: 大家好 | 大埔環保會喺1997年成立到而家 | 主要係希望透過教育啦,同埋親身嘅參與 | / / 得到自然保育同埋環保嘅活動 | 鳳園有超過二百種嘅蝴蝶 | 啊,我發覺好嘅地方 | 我哋應該介紹多啲香港人知道 【2:00】| 所以我哋喺度 | 做教育啦 | 做一啲親手 | 等義工去落手落 | 一齊 / / 種植 | 做返個樂園俾啲蝴蝶嚟到享用 | 亦都俾我哋可以一齊嚟認識呢個大自然 | 同埋一齊欣賞呢啲咁嘅蝴蝶 | 可能都係 *dei 因爲咁多義工努力嘅工作 | 同埋咁多人嚟欣賞我哋嘅蝴蝶 | 咁其實村民亦都係好感動 | 嚟到一齊支持我哋工作 | 噉都係呢啲市民嘅支持 | 令到我哋有力量 / / 繼續去努力呢個工作 | 噉所以我都希望大家今日嚟到 | 欣賞我哋蝴蝶之後呢 | 亦都可以考慮留低 | 成爲我哋嘅義工 | 一齊嚟到保育呢笪咁靚嘅大自然 | 咁美好嘅地方

● 親身嘅參與 chān1 sān1 ge3 chāam3 yuh6 = lit. “hands-on experience”; perhaps “direct participation” here | ● 發覺 faat3 gok3 = to find; to detect; to discover| ● 落手落腳 lohk6 sáu2 lohk6 geuk3 = to get one’s hands dirty; to put one’s hands and feet to work; to take action | ● 享用 = héung2 yuhng6 = to enjoy the use of | ● 笪 daat3 = a patch; a plot (a measure word or classifier)

Yau Wing Kwong speaks: Hello everyone. From 1997, when the Tai Po Environmental Association established up till now, what we have mainly hoped for is to obtain protection for the environment and environmental activities (?) by means of education and direct participation. Fung Yuen has over 200 species of butterfly, and having discovered such a fine place, we ought to introduce it so that more Hong Kong people get to know about it. And so for this reason, here we do education, we do some direct participation, letting volunteers get their hands dirty with planting, remaking a paradise for the butterflies to enjoy the use of and for us to get to know this natural world [呢個大自然] together as well as to appreciate such beautiful butterflies. Perhaps also because of the hard work of so many volunteers, and because so many people have come to enjoy the sight of our butterflies, the [local] villagers have also, as a matter of fact, been moved to come together to support / / work. Also, the support of the people of Hong Kong has given us the strength to continue striving in this work. So, for this reason, we also hope that after you have admired our butterflies today, you might consider staying with us [留低] and joining [成爲] our volunteers, to protect with us [一齊嚟到] this beautiful piece of nature and such a fine place.

蝴蝶嘅存活係有賴於寄主植物同埋蜜源植物 | 寄主植物即係蝴蝶幼蟲食用嘅植物 | 而蜜源植物就係蝴蝶成蟲食用嘅植物 | 鳳園植物品種繁多 | 寄主植物由常見嘅植物品種 | 以至罕有同埋受保護嘅【3:00】植物 | 都可以喺鳳園到 | 由於蝴蝶幼蟲都有固定嘅寄主植物 | 息環境亦都唔會遠離寄主植物

● 存活 chyùhn4 wuht6 = to survive | ● 有於 yáuh5 laaih6 yū1 = to depend on | ● 寄主植物 gei3 jyú2 jihk6 maht6 = a host plant | ● 蜜源 maht6 yùhn4 = nectar source | ● 幼蟲 yau3 chùhng4 = larva | ● 成蟲 sìhng4 chùhng4 = imago; adult | ● 品種 bán2 júng2 = a species | ● 繁多 fàahn4 dō1= various | ● 以至 yíh5 ji3 = down to; up to | ● 罕有 hón2 yáuh5 = rare | ● 固定 gu3 dihng6 = fixed; regular

The survival of butterflies depends both on host plants and nectar sources. Host plants are the plants that butterfly caterpillars eat, while nectar sources are the plants that the adult butterflies feed on. The plants at Fung Yuen [show] a [great] variety. From common species that are host plants to rare and protected plants ⸺ they can all be found at Fung Yuen. Because larva all have their designated [固定] host plants, a butterfly’s habitat-environment [棲息環境] cannot be too far away from [such] host plants.

大埔環保會委托香港中文大學 | 定期觀察保育區入面嘅寄主植物 | 品種、數量同埋位置 | 從而推斷出區内可能繁殖到嘅蝴蝶品種 | 除咗植物普查之外 | 鳳園蝴蝶保育區每個月都會|進行定期蝴蝶普查 | 記錄蝴蝶嘅品種同埋數量 | 以監察保育區入便嘅生態質素 | 香港觀鳥會就會進行 | 每季一次嘅雀鳥普查 | 記錄鳳園範圍内所見嘅雀鳥品種同埋數目

● 委托 wái2 tok3 = to entrust; to trust | ● 推斷出 tēui1 dyun3 chēut1 = to infer; to deduce | ● 繁殖 fàahn4 jihk6 = to breed; to reproduce | ● 普查 póu2 chàah4 = general investigation/survey | ● 監察 gāam1 chaat3 = to supervise; to control | ● 香港觀鳥會 Hēung1 Góng2 Gūn1 Níuh5 Wúi6*2 = the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society | ● 每季一次 múih5 gwai3 yāt1 chi3 = every season; Summer, Autumn, Winter & Spring | ● 雀鳥 jeuk3 níuh5 = birds | ● 數目 sou3 muhk6 = number; amount

The Tai Po Environmental Association has given CUHK the task [委托咗] of supervising the host plants in the butterfly reserve at regular intervals [定期] [in terms of their] kind, number and location and, from this, deducing which kinds of butterflies can reproduce within the reserve. Apart from general surveys of plants, the Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve also carries out a monthly general survey of butterflies, recording butterfly numbers and species in order to supervise the ecological quality of the reserve. The Hong Kong Bird Watching Society carries out a general survey of birds in each of the four seasons [每季一次], keeping a record of bird species and numbers within Fung Yuen’s range.

鳳園蝴蝶保育區會定期舉行推廣活動 | 藉此提醒市民保育環境 | 活動包括生態導賞團 | 同埋各式各樣嘅講座、展覽 | 令參加者可以更加了解【4:00】| 有關鳳園嘅文化同埋生態情況

● 生態導賞團 sāang1 taai3 douh6 séung2 tyùhn4 = a guided eco-tour; an ecological guided tour

Note: The expression 令 . . . 可以 is often used as an equivalent of the English “to enable (sb. or sth.) to do sth.”

Fung Yuen Butterfly Reserve regularly [定期] conducts promotional activities to remind the Hong Kong people about protecting the environment. [Such] activities include guided ecological tours, as well as all kinds of lectures and exhibitions, enabling participants to better understand the culture of Fung Yuen and the ecological situation [there].

邱騰華 (環保局局長)speaks:  | Edward Yau Tang-wah (Yāu1 Tàhng4 Wàah4), Secretary for the Bureau of Environmental Protection

鳳園呢個 ah 蝴蝶保育區呢 | 其實香港比較一個獨有嘅地方 | 呢個係三方面合作所能夠做得到嘅 | 一方面係 ah 由政府出資 | ah 去俾一個,  ah 大埔環保會就做一個環保嘅團體 | 去保育呢個地方 | 亦都同時呢,係 ah 當地嘅居民一齊去參與 | 噉先至能夠得到一地方呢 | 係既可以保留呢,現有個人民嘅文化啦,村落啦, | 亦都同時呢,係可以保育 ah 呢啲蝴蝶嘅繁殖 | / / 亦都係一個 ah 生態上面呢 | 保育嘅一個好好嘅地區

● 出資 chēut1 jī1 = (?) to put up the money; to provide the funds

This butterfly reserve in Fung Yuen is actually a rather special place in Hong Kong. It was made possible by cooperation between three different parties [方面]. One party was the government, who provided the funding to the Tai Po Environmental Association to form an environmental entity to protect this place. At the same time, the local residents have also joined in. Only thus has it been possible to obtain a site [一笪地方] in order to preserve the existing culture of the people [here], the village[s] and, at the same time, to be able to protect [UNCLEAR] the breeding of the butterflies [UNCLEAR] it is also, in ecological terms, a fine district under protection.

我自己都去過鳳園好多次 | 我覺得呢個地方好獨特 | ,一方面,現有嘅村落係保持到嘅 | 另外呢,如果你係鍾意蝴蝶 | 你鍾意生態環境嘅時候 | 或者係想做一個義工去參與 | 呢個保育工作嘅時候呢 | 我覺得鳳園係一個非常之值得去嘅地方

● 保持到 bàu2 chìh4 dou3 = to keep; to maintain; to preserve

I have visited Fung Yuen many times myself. I think this place is very special. On the one hand, the existing village has been conserved. On the other, if you have a liking for butterflies or for the natural environment [生態環境], or if you would like to come and join in the work of the reserve as a volunteer, I think Fung Yuen is an exceptionally worthwhile place.

有興趣人士可以上 www.fungyuen.org 瀏覽

● 瀏覽 làuh4 láahm5 = to glance over; to skim through; to surf (the internet)

Anyone interested can visit our website at www.fungyuen.org

Learning Cantonese: Dignified, Lucid, Restrained, Modest & Compassionate

You could do worse than model your spoken Cantonese on that of 黃之鋒Joshua Wong, 周庭 Agnes Chow and 林朗彥 Ivan Lam featured in this 2-minute video from HK01. Dignified, lucid, restrained, modest and compassionate, such eloquence inspires us with hope even as these speakers face long months in prison . . .

Given the context, much of the difficult vocabulary is legal. Nevertheless, there are some real gems here too: Joshua Wong’s 低谷 dāi1 gūk1 = a low valley; rock bottom; Agnes Chow’s 手足 sáu2 jūk1 = usually “brothers” (but here something like “sisters and brothers coming together for a common cause); and Ivan Lam’s 必要之舉 bīt1 yiu3 jī1 géui2 = (?) a necessary/essential act.

As for grammar points, there is little in what follows that ought to bamboozle you. Watch out for another use of the aspect marker 住 jyuh6 to indicate a persistent after-effect with the verb 意味 yi3 meih6 = “to mean”; one example of the conditional concessive 即使 jīk1 sí2 = “even if”; and, right at the end, the appearance of the directional complement 落去 lohk6 heui3, used with the verb 堅持 gīn1 chìh4 with the more abstract meaning of “to continue doing”.

The captions featured during the video outline the criminal charges faced by the trio. For Wong and Chow, these involve the incitement of others in Admiralty to take part in an illegal assembly and to organize an illegal assembly outside police headquarters. Lam was only charged with the first of these items.

You can view the video here. And remember, if you want the standard jyutping romanization or to check any of the Chinese in the text, please consult the Sheik Cantonese on-line dictionary.

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

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黃之鋒:警察總部嘅示威案件裏邊呢 | 周庭、林朗彥同埋我黃之鋒 | 我都係選擇呢,係去承認所有控罪 | 今日嘅案件呢,係應該會直接跳過審訊階段 | 直接結案陳詞 | 甚至有可能判刑 | 亦都意味住呢,其實我哋三個人呢,係有機會即時還押 | 面對住《國安法》嘅打壓、白色恐怖嘅來臨 | 即使我哋面對住監禁刑期 | 或者我哋有機會係被還押都好 | 我哋都唔會放棄 | 喺艱難嘅時候 | 我哋仍然好想呼籲香港人 | 喺呢個低潮或者係一個民族運動嘅低谷裏邊 | 互相嘅扶持係更加可貴

● 承認 sìhng4 yihng6 = to admit; to acknowledge; to recognize | ● 跳過 tiu3 gwo3 = to skip over; to make omissions | ● 審訊 sám2 seun3 = a trial; a courtroom hearing | ● 結案陳詞git3 [ng]on3 chàhn4 chìh4 = closing statement | ● 即時 jīk1 sìh4 = immediately; forthwith | ● 還押 wàahn4 aat3 = to remand (in custody) | ● 監禁刑期 gāam1 gam3 yìhng4 kèih4 = prison term/sentence | ● 低潮 dāi1 chìuh4 = a low tide; an anti-climax; a low point; perhaps also “at a low ebb” | ● 低谷 dāi1 gūk1 = a low valley; rock bottom; perhaps also “trough” (as in “peaks & troughs”)

Joshua Wong: In the case [concerning] the demonstration outside police headquarters, Agnes Chow, Ivan Lam and myself, Joshua Wong, have chosen to plead guilty to all charges. The case today could skip the hearing stage and [move] directly to the closing statement. We could even be sentenced. What this also means is, actually, that for the three of us, there is a chance that we will be immediately remanded in custody. Confronted with the repression of the “National Security Law” and the arrival [來臨] of White Terror, even if we are to face a prison sentence or have the chance of being taken into custody on remand, we will not give up. In this very difficult time, we nevertheless very much wish to appeal to the people of Hong Kong at this low point or “rock bottom” in the democracy movement [to remind them that our] mutual support for one another is especially [更加] precious.

周庭:我就同佢哋兩位唔同 | 就喺一個更加早嘅階段就選擇認罪 | 而我亦都有可能係喺今日 | 或者喺不久嘅將來 | 係有一個可能性係要面對我人生第一次坐監 | 當然我對好多【1:00】未知嘅未來 | 包括係緊嘅判斷會有好多唔同嘅不安 | 但希望大家唔好忘記就係 | 有好多或者比我哋 | 犧牲嘅更加嘅手足們、朋友們 | 可能佢哋正係面對緊更加困難嘅處境 | 除咗我哋三個之外 | 都要繼續去到聲援同埋關注唔同嘅手足

● 不久嘅將來 bāt1 gáu2 ge3 jēung1 lòih4 = the not too distant future | ● 手足 sáu2 jūk1 = usually “brothers” | ● 處境 chú2 gíng2 = unfavourable situation; plight | ● 聲援 sīng1 wùhn4 = to express support for; to support

Agnes Chow: [In my case] things are a bit different from my two friends here [佢哋兩位]. I chose to plead guilty at an earlier stage, and today or in the not too distant future I may possibly be facing my first ever stint in prison. Of course, there are many kinds of uneasiness for me, faced with a very uncertain future [好多未知嘅未來] including the coming legal sentence, but I hope that everyone will remember that there are many other sisters, brothers and friends who may have made many more sacrifices than us and who may be faced with an even more difficult plight at this moment. Apart from the three of us, there are various other sisters and brothers who one must continue to express support and to show concern for.

林朗彥:我自己,啊,本身都已經做好咗今日有機會係會被還押 | 甚至係即時入獄嘅準備 | 包圍警總到底係一個罪案定係其實係一個我哋伸張正義 | 爭取民族嘅必要之舉 | 我相信喺香港人心裏面已經有一個答案 | 噉我哋係無悔我哋所作嘅抗爭 | 亦都會繼續堅持落去

● 入獄 yaph6 yuhk6 = to be put in prison; to be sent to jail | ● 伸張正義 sān1 jēung1 jing3 yih6 = to uphold/promote justice | ● 必要之舉 bīt1 yiu3 jī1 géui2 = (?) a necessary/essential act | ● 無悔 mòuh4 fui3 = to be without regrets (for sth.)

Ivan Lam: Me, well I’ve already prepared myself for being taken into custody today and even going into prison forthwith. Was encircling [包圍] police headquarters a crime, when all is said and done [底係], or was it actually [a case of] us upholding justice, a necessary act in the fight for democracy? I believe that the people of Hong Kong have the answer to this question in their hearts already. We have no regrets for any of our acts we have carried out as part of our stand and will continue to persevere.

記者 Reporters:
林樂兒 Làhm4 Lohk6 Yìh4,鄧家琪 Dahng6 Gāa1 Kèih4 | 琪 kèih4 = a piece of jade; a jade-like precious stone

攝影 Camera:
楊凱力 Yèuhng4 Hói2 Lihk6

剪接 Film editing:
張偉江 Jēung1 Wáih5 Gōng1

Learning Cantonese: The Story of Gun Yam

In this “Story of Gun Yam”, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, we are told of the fate of Princess Miu Sin who, in order to cure her father of some terrible disease, offered up her own eyes and hands as necessary ingredients of the only medicine that would make him better. It is an extraordinary story, but one constantly being re-enacted daily in our own times by ordinary men and women, many of them persecuted and unheralded.

This is a scripted video, so the Cantonese is fairly formal and, of course, much of the vocabulary is of a religious nature, but at the same time very usual in terms of heightened cultural understanding. As for the grammar, there is one use of 使到 sí2 dou3 to express causation [使到眾生得到解脫], perhaps in place of the usual colloquial 令到 lihng6 dou3, as well as the refreshingly idiomatic 無論邊個化身, meaning “regardless of which incarnation it happens to be”!

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.

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經典中曾經提到 | 人受到種種苦難 | 只要心中默唸 | 觀世音菩薩尊名 | 觀世音菩薩就能夠 | 觀其音聲 | 使到眾生得到解脫

● 經典 gīng1 dín2 = 1. classics 2. scriptures | ● 苦難 fú2 naahn6 = suffering; misery; distress | ● 默唸 mahk6 nihm6 = to read (or say) silently | ● 尊名 jyūn1 mìhng4 = (?) venerable name | ● 菩薩 pòuh4 saat3 = Bodhisattva | ● 眾生 jung3 sāng1 = all living creatures | ● 解脫 gáai2 tyut3 = to free/extricate oneself

Note: The character 其 kèih4 is frequently used in formal written Chinese as a possessive pronoun meaning “her, his, its”, etc. Observe too that 觀 gūn1 means “to hear” in this context rather than “to see”, although sight is strongly suggested by the presence of 見 gin3 in the written form.

In the scriptures, it is mentioned that if any person finds themselves in distress, all they have to do is to say silently to themselves the venerable name of the Gun Sai Yam Bodhisattva [觀世音菩薩] and Gun Yam will hear that person’s [其] voice and enable any living creature [眾生] to gain liberation.

觀音嘅信仰千百年 | 深深植根於中國民間 | 而道教就尊稱觀音為 | 慈航大士 | 係一位通過修行 | 而證道成仙嘅仙真 | 能夠救人於苦難

● 信仰 seun3 yéuhng5 = faith; belief; conviction | ● 植根於 jihk6 gān1 yū1 = (?) to establish its roots in| ● 尊稱 jyūn1 chīng1 = a respectful form of address; an honorific title | ● 慈航大士 chìh4 hòhng4 daaih6 6*2 = (?) Master of the Barge of Mercy| ● 修行 sāu1 hàhng4 = to practise Buddhism or Taoism | ● 證道成仙 jing3 douh6 sìhng4 sīn1 = (?) to witness the Tao and become an enlightened being | ● 仙真 sīn1 jān1 = an immortal; a Taoist god

Over hundreds and thousands of years [千百年嚟], faith in Gun Yam has sent its roots deep into [the lives of] ordinary Chinese people. Taoism uses the respectful term of address “Master of the Barge of Mercy” to refer to Gun Yam, an immortal [仙真] who, through religious practice [修行], witnessed the Tao and became an enlightened being able to save people from distress.


據宋代民間人士 | 對觀音嘅理解 | 觀音係古時北闕國 | 妙莊王嘅三公主 | 叫做妙善 | 妙善曾經入香山修道 | 然後證道成仙,成爲觀音 | 妙善用自己嘅雙眼同雙手 | 為自己嘅父王入藥醫病 | 父王知道之後 | 非常傷痛,【1:00】衷心發願 | 希望聖靈可以令佢嘅女兒手眼重生 | 忽然妙善消失,天上顯現 | 千手千眼大悲菩薩嘅法相

● 北闕國 Bāk1 Kyut3 Gwok3 = the name of some ancient country | ● 修道 sāu1 douh6 = to cultivate oneself according to a religious doctrine | ● 入藥 yahp6 yeuhk6 = to be used as medicine | ● 醫病 yī1 behng6 = to give medical treatment | 傷痛 sēung1 tung3 = to mourn; grief; pain | ● 衷心發願 chūng1 sam1 = heartfelt; wholehearted; cordial + 發願 faat3 yuhn6 = to vow to achieve an objective | ● 聖靈 sing3 lìhng4  = usually “the Holy Spirit”; the saintly spirits (of the dead) (Soothill) | ● 重生 chùhng4 sāang1 = a rebirth; to be reborn | ● 顯現 hín2 yihn6 = to manifest/reveal oneself; to appear; to show | ● 大悲daih6 bēi1 = (Buddhism) the great deliverance of Buddha from sufferings & afflictions; the great mercy | ● 法相 faat3 sēung1 = usually “(Buddhism) the aspects or characteristics of things”; in this context, perhaps “dharma appearance”

In the minds of ordinary people [民間人士] living in the Song dynasty, Gun Yam was the third daughter of King Miu Jong of the ancient kingdom [called] Bak Kyut, Princess Miu Sin. She had once spent time at Incense Mountain (or Gandhamādana), cultivating herself spiritually. She later achieved realization [證道成仙] and became Gun Yam. She gave her own two eyes and her hands to be used as medicine for the cure of the illness of her father, the king. When her father found out, he was deeply grieved and made a heartfelt wish, hoping that the saintly spirits could enable his daughter’s eyes and hands to be restored [重生]. Suddenly, Miu Sin vanished and there in the sky appeared the dharma appearance [法相] of the Bodhisattva of Great Mercy with a thousand arms and a thousand eyes.

根據記載觀音有唔同嘅化身 | 不過無論邊個化身 | 佢聞聲救苦嘅形象都深入民間 | 唔少善信都會向觀音 | 禮拜祈求心願 | 不過對觀音禮拜嘅同時 | 我亦都要學習 | 觀音為衆生嘅慈悲心 | 日常生活中多行善業 | 先可以得到觀音嘅庇佑

● 記載 gei3 joi3 = 1. to put down in writing 2. a record; an account | ● 化身 faa3 sān1 = an incarnation; an embodiment | ● 聞聲 màhn4 sīng1 = (?) to hear [the call of] a voice | ● 形象 yìhng4 jeuhng6 = an image; a form; a figure | ● 善信 sihn6 seun3 = (?) the faithful; true believers| ● 禮拜 láih5 baai3 = to attend a religious service; perhaps also “to worship” | ● 祈求 kèih4 kàuh4 = to earnestly hope; to pray for | ● 心願 sām1 yuhn6 = a cherished desire; an aspiration; a wish | ● 慈悲心 chìh4 bēi1 sām1 = compassion | ● 行善業 hàhng4 sihn6 yihp6 = to perform good deeds | ● 庇佑 bei3 yauh6 = to bless; to prosper

According to written accounts, Gun Yam has various different incarnations, but whichever the incarnation, the image of her responding to calls for help has penetrated deeply into the life of the people, and not a few of the faithful turn to Gun Yam, both to worship her and to beseech her to grant them their wishes. However, while worshipping Gun Yam, we must try to learn the compassion she has for all living creatures, and to perform good deeds in our daily lives. Only then can we be blessed by Gun Yam.

Albert Wan, the Temperate Bookseller at Bleak House Books

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 of print; 抽到時間 chāu1 dou3 sìh4 gaan3 = to manage to find the time (to do sth.); 自我成長 jih6 ngóh5 sìhng4 jéung2 = personal growth; self-development; 深信 sām1 seun3 = to be deeply convinced; and 永恆價值 wíhng5 hàhng4 gaa3 jihk6 = (?) permanent/lasting value. And remember too that Albert’s surname 溫 Wān1 also means “1. warm; lukeward 2. to warm up 3. to review; to revise . . .”

As for grammar, please take note of 喺 . . .  當中 as a structure used for more abstract kinds of in-ness, as well as another interesting use of the aspect marker住 jyuh6, post-modifying expressions such as 呢個地方 (often used with proper nouns) and one instance of 即使 jīk1 sí2, a rather formal structural word meaning “even if”.

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. There are also many other videos of this quality produced by Kong Stories, so feel free to explore further. 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 cut and paste text into the relevant box.

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Preview:

過去一段時間,香港經歷好多風浪,甚至到今日都仲風浪當中 | 但係就喺困難當中,我更加認清香港係我屋企

● 風浪 fūng1 lohng6 = stormy waves; a storm| ● 認清 yihng6 chīng1 = (?) to clearly recognize; to clearly see

Note: 喺 . . .  當中 is often used for an abstract kind of in-ness, one that doesn’t really happen in physical space.  Albert Wan uses it twice here: “in turmoil” [喺風浪當中] and “in difficulties” [喺困難當中]. Perhaps you could also say “in the midst of difficulty”.

Caption: 香港家書 / Hong Kong Family Letters

Note: I think a play on words is involved in the choice of caption. 家書 gāa1 syū1 means “a letter home”, referring to a letter that is written for family members only. A favourite book of mine, 《傅雷家書》, is a collection of letters written by the famous translator 傅雷 Fu Lei (in Cantonese, Fuh6 Lèuih4) to his son. However, since 書 syū1 is also the word for “book”, there is a sense too here of “a book home” or “personal books”.

講起二手書,好多人都會覺得殘舊、乜價值 | 但係舊書盛載住人感情 | 可惜嘅係,有唔少二手書已經斷版 | 我經營二手書店就係想保存呢回憶 | 香港城市節奏比較急速,好少香港人可以抽到時間拎起本書 | 我開清明堂其實唔係爲賣書 | 反而希望去 serve the community | 有客人因爲書卷味、因爲好奇 | 甚至希望有一個屬於自己嘅空間而到書店

● 殘舊 chàahn4 gauh6 = tattered; ragged; worn out | ● 盛載 sìhng4 joi3 = ? cf. 承載 sìhng4 joi3 = to bear the weight of | ● 斷版 tyuhn6 báan2 = (?) to be out of print | ● 急速 gāp1 chūk1 = very fast; at high speed; rapidly | ● 抽到時間 chāu1 dou3 sìh4 gaan3 = to manage to find/make the time (to do sth.)

Note: In an earlier post on Anthony Lau Yin-Kun and the Hong Kong newt, I discussed the aspect marker 住 jyuh6 in terms of a persistent after-effect initiated by a simple action of short duration. 盛載 / 承載means “to bear the weight of”, but the addition of 住 suggests the carrying of this weight over time. This links up with Albert Wan’s view that books carry a permanent or lasting value that needs to be preserved.

後來書店就成爲咗我同唔同人建立關係嘅橋梁 【1:00】| 更加係一個自我成長嘅機會 | 雖然我係喺美國長大,但係我爹哋媽咪都係香港人 | 所以,我對香港呢個地方都有一種情意結 | 而呢間書店正正俾咗我融入新蒲崗呢個社區 | 過去一段時間,香港經歷好多風浪,甚至到今日都仲喺風浪當中 | 但係就喺困難當中,我更加認清香港係我屋企

● 自我成長 jih6 ngóh5 sìhng4 jéung2 = personal growth (lit. “self-growth”); I have also come across 自我發展 in the sense of “developing according to your own wishes (rather than those of your parents)” | ● 爹哋 dē1 dih6 = daddy | ● 情意結 chìhng4 yi3 git3 = “special feelings” (subtitles) cf. 情結 = (psychological) complex |● 融入 yùhng4 yahp6 = to blend in; to fuse with; to be in harmony with

Note: Post-modifying expressions such as 呢個地方 in the noun-phrase香港呢個地方are very common in Cantonese. I don’t understand this usage very well, but one function may be to add clarification to proper nouns. The second example especially 新蒲崗呢個社區 helps make it quite clear to the listener that 新蒲崗 is a place-name, potentially unfamiliar to some listeners.

有人覺得做二手書店係夕陽行業 | 我深信實體書係有一種永恆價值 | 希望清明堂能夠建立一個 cultural value(文化價值)| 即使你唔鍾意睇書,都可以上嚟逛,我隨時都歡迎你 | 我叫溫敬豪,七百萬嘅故仔成就一個香 . . . 港故仔

● 夕陽行業 jihk6 yèuhng4 hòhng4 yihp6 = a sunset industry | ● 深信 sām1 seun3 = to be deeply convinced; to firmly believe cf. 相信 sēung1 seun3 = to believe | ● 實體書 saht6 tái2 syū1 = “physical books” (subtitles); in other words, “books as physical objects” | ● 永恆價值 wíhng5 hàhng4 gaa3 jihk6 = (?) permanent/lasting value | ● 逛 kwaang3 = usually “to stroll; to ramble”; here, perhaps “to come & have a look around” | ● 成就 sìhng4 jauh6 = an achievement; to achieve

Note: 即使 jīk1 sí2 is possibly a rather formal word with the meaning of “even if”, equivalent to the more colloquial 就算 jauh6 syun3. Observe how, like 就算, it is followed by 都 dōu1 in the main clause.