Zolima City Mag’s “Silk Smooth Tofu Pudding” and the Art of 荳腐花

Silky Smooth Tofu 1

On 2 April, Zolima City Mag posted another short video in its Forgotten Hong Kong Icons series. This one is about the 荳腐花 dauh6 fuh6 fāa1, a kind of dessert, made by the 公和 Kung Wo Beancurd Factory. Once again, the combination of spoken word, refined imagery and sensitive music result in an artistically-compelling micro-documentary.

You can watch the video here, with subtitles in English and Standard Written Chinese.

If you are interested in Cantonese, the main interest is in the vocabulary and a few Cantonese-specific verbs, such as 煲 bōu1 and 幫襯 bōng1 chan3. The expression 老中青 lóuh5 jūng1 chīng1 = “the elderly, the middle-aged and the young” was also new to me.

Be sure to use the Sheik Cantonese website to check any item in this text: you can find their on-line Cantonese dictionary here.

The owner of the concern, 蘇崇廉 Sōu1 Sùhng4 Lìhm4 is a bit soft-spoken, so there are a few gaps in the transcription, indicated by “/ ? /”. If you can help fill any of them in (or correct any errors you spot), please leave a comment: I greatly appreciate any contribution to the cause of Cantonese learning!

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荳腐花係
The term 荳腐花 dauh6 fuh6 fāa1 refers to a “soybean dessert” (Sheik); in this video, the term “silk smooth tofu pudding” is used. The character 荳, written with the grass radical or 草字頭 chóu2 jih6 tàuh4, is a variant of the more commonly used 豆.

我覺得應該可以代表香港嘅一種地道小食呀

首先係黃荳啦
There is a change of tone in the pronunciation of 荳 dauh6 in the combination 黃荳 wòhng4 dáu6*2 = soybean; soyabean.

噉我哋會浸呀
浸 jam3 = to soak; to immerse; to saturate; to steep; to dip

浸佢 ah 六個鐘頭喇

跟住就會擺落個石磨中磨
In Cantonese, the verb 擺 báai2 is used with the meaning “to lay; to put; to place; to arrange”. After the verb, 落 lohk6 is added. 落 is similar to 到 dou3 in its expression of “arrival”, but suggests that the movement is vertically downwards rather than horizontal.
石磨 sehk6 mó6*2 = stone mill. When it is used again, 磨 is a verb meaning “to grind; to mill” and is pronounced mòh4.

磨完就會煲滾佢
煲 bōu1 is used in Cantonese with the meaning of “to cook; to stew; to boil”. Here, 滾 gwán2 = “boil; boiling, boiled” is added as a kind of result particle: “to heat something to boiling point”. 滾 also suggests the idea of “rolling”. In other words, a full, rolling boil.

煲滾, 噉我哋會加石膏
石膏 sehk6 gōu1 = gypsum

令佢凝固
凝固 yìhng4 gu3 = to congeal; to coagulate; (?) to set (firm)

出邊嗰啲呢

因爲佢哋製造方式同我哋 / 有啲 (?) / 唔同

唔係用石膏呀

係用 ah 第種機器去代替
In Cantonese, 第 daih6 can express the idea of “another; different”, hence the compound 第種 daih6 júng2 = (?) another kind. You will also find it in 第日 = another day, 第樣 = another kind and 第度 = somewhere else; some other place.

所以做出嚟呀,就係同我哋 / 係少少 (?) / 出入
出入 chēut1 yahp6 = discrepancy; inconsistency; divergence

佢都係滑
The adjective 滑 waht6 usually means “slippery”, hence all those notices you see about 小心地滑! Here, however, it seems to refer to the silky smooth texture of the tofu pudding.

但係佢 / 冇嗰種嘅 (?) / 口感
口感 háu2 gám2 = how food feels in the mouth; texture or taste of food (Sheik)

/ 冇嗰種嘅 (?) /荳香味
荳香味 dauh6 hēung1 meih6 = (?) the appealing/sweet taste of soybeans

最主要我本人對呢啲嘅食品行好有興趣
食品行 sihk6 bán2 hòhng4 = (?) food products industry

咁啱去到96年呢,就有個機會

噉我就接手做咗呢一間公和荳品
接手 jip3 sáu2 = to take over

一路做到而家

我哋呢度呢,就老中青都有㗎
老中青 lóuh5 jūng1 chīng1 = the elderly, the middle-aged and the young; people of all ages

甚至乎/ ? / 近十年八年亦都有好多游客嚟度幫襯
幫襯 bōng1 chan3 = patronage; (?) to patronize (a particular shop or business)

好多都話,好食過當地 / 嗰啲 (?) /

又佢哋有啲每次嚟香港旅游呢

都會專程嚟呢度
專程 = jyūn1 chìhng4 = special-purpose journey; (?) to make a special trip

Ah 食 / ? / 次或者兩次先至會搭飛機返去

A Tea House that Makes Dim Sum with Heart

Zolima City Mag Dim Sum Image 1_13 MAR 2020

Zolima City Mag recently posted a new short video on YouTube.

Called “A Tea House that Makes Dim Sum with Heart”, the clip deals with a small dim sum restaurant called 叁去壹 (“Three Minus One”) in 西營盤 Sai Ying Pun. It’s a finely crafted piece, and is almost as satisfying as a serve of prawn haa gaau dumplings! The camera and editing by Kevin Cheung is superb, and the interviewer Zabrina Lo does a great job in bringing out the rather quietly spoken chef, 王燦枝 Wong Charn-chee. There’s also a very moody soundtrack that complements the urban imagery brilliantly ⸺ the musicians responsible also deserve recognition for their efforts!

There are subtitles in English and Standard Written Chinese, and there are some valuable language points in the Cantonese, including the use of the verb 頂 déng2; an instance of 拍檔 paak3 dong3; and a couple of uses of the colloquial numbers, 卅呀一年 and 卌呀一年.

You can view the video here.

The complete Cantonese transcript is as follows:

「叁去壹」本身就唔係我開嘅

● Both 叁 and 壹 are more formal characters representing the much more familiar 三 and 一 respectively.

就有一個朋友開嘅
就1978年嗰陣時
因爲佢本身就三個人嚟頂呢度做

● 頂 déng2 = to substitute; to replace; to take the place of

噉臨時有一個拍檔呢

● 臨時 làhm4 sìh4 = at the time when sth. happens (compare 到時 dou3 sìh4); (?) at the last minute
● 拍檔 paak3 dong3 = a partner (in a business venture)

佢就個老豆叫佢唔好幫人哋咁樣做生意啊咁
唔得啊咁
噉佢就臨時退出
噉嗰兩個咪改呢個名叫「叁去壹」喇

● The use of 咪 maih6 here is very colloquial and one that I haven’t seen explained in any textbook on Cantonese. Sheik Cantonese has “(often used with 囉) then; as a result; might just as well”. Here, it goes seem to mean more or less the same as 就 jauh6, “then”.

我 14 歲入行㗎啦,做點心

Zolima City Mag Dim Sum Image 3 CROPPED_15 MAR 2020

Continue reading “A Tea House that Makes Dim Sum with Heart”

Hong Kong Footpath: Interview in Cantonese with Kwan Chuk-fai (Part 1)

RTHK Hong Kong Footpath Gwaan Jak-fai Image

Among his many roles, 關則輝 Mr. Kwan Chuk-fai is currently Chairman of the Community Investment and Inclusion Fund (Labour and Welfare Bureau), a position which indicates something of his concern for social justice. In this interview with Candy 車淑梅 Chea Shuk Mui, he says some interesting things about the shape of a human life, and the need in one’s later years “to build for significance” rather than to stay rigidly focused on personal success. He even talks about the meaning of life:

噉中間叫乜嘢呢,係叫做 build for significance ,啫話有啲咩重要呢,有啲咩係我認為人生嘅, 咦,佢意義喺邊度呢?咩叫快樂呢?會問多好多呢啲嘅。噉你會諗吓,我點樣回饋社會呢?點樣去幫身邊嘅人呢?Ah 有啲咩我應該多做呢?咁樣。好啦,七十五歲以後呢,其實基本上你係留低一個人生嘅軌跡啦,嗄。 啲人諗起,呀呢個人,拜拜咗之後,其實我印象對佢係咩嘅呢咁樣。呢個係一個,啫你留低啲乜嘢精神面貌呀,嗄。噉我覺得呢, 人生係,都係約略咁樣嘅 . . .

So what is the middle stage called? It is called “build for significance”, which involves what I think is important, in what I think the meaning of human life resides. What is that thing called “happiness”? Lots of questions like this tend to get asked. And so you will begin to wonder about what you can do to give something back to society. About how you can help the people close to you. About what should do more of. Things like that. So that, OK, when you reach the age of 75, you have left a kind of track in life. When you’ve said bye-bye and shuffled off, people will think back and say to themselves, this is the impression I had of him. It’s a question of what kind of “spiritual appearance” you will leave behind you. And this is roughly what I think human existence is about.

There is plenty here for the learner of Cantonese. There are a couple of uses of that versatile aspect maker 住 jyuh6, as well as the final particle 噃 bo3. In terms of the vocabulary, you will hear the verb 湊 chau3 used in two different ways, as well as an unusual expression based on the English word “level”, 升「呢」sīng1 lē1. Other items of interest include 涉獵 sip3 lihp6 = (?) to dabble in, 司儀 sī1 yìh4 = master of ceremonies, 祖屋 jóu2 ngūk1 = ancestral home, and 均真 gwān1 jān1 = fair and just, as well as the four-character phrases 成家立室 sìhng4 gāa1 laahp6 sāt1 = to get married and establish a home, and 洗滌心靈 sái2 dihk6 sām1 lìhng4 = to cleanse one’s soul

Be sure to use the Sheik Cantonese website to check any item in this text: you can find their on-line Cantonese dictionary here. I will try to add more to the transcription in the coming weeks. In the meantime, any corrections or suggestions are welcome! This material is invaluable for learners of Cantonese, and it would be terrific if we could make it absolutely perfect.

To hear the interview, please click here.

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車淑梅:佢係海陸大公關,佢係社會投資共享基金委員會主席關則輝

Part 1A【1:42】

車淑梅:一個人,又或者一個嘅機構,甚至乎一個政府是否成功呢,我相信公關嗰個嘅能力是否夠強係非常非常之重要嘅。噉今日呢,呢位嘉賓,嗄 . . .【2:00】好犀利呀,嗄 . . . 噉多年嚟,大家都睇住佢,海陸空三軍,佢都係曾經涉獵過嘅,可以話呢,海陸空嘅大公關。而家呢,就係社會投資共享基金委員會嘅主席啦 , 咁 ,佢亦都係香港公共關係專業人員協會嘅會員喎, 仲係呢,就喺恆隆地產集團傳訊及投 . . . 記者關係嘅董事嚟㗎。我想大家已經知道佢係邊位喇。冇錯,係我哋嘅大公關關則輝先生,早晨!

●  公關 gūng1 gwāan1 = public relations
● 海陸空三軍 hói2 luhk6 hūng1 sāam1 gwān1 = the navy, the army and the air force; it seems that 陸海空三軍 is also used. I am not sure what the phrase means in this context; perhaps it goes with the verb 涉獵 sip3 lihp6 to suggest that he has tried a lot of different kinds of work.
● 涉獵 sip3 lihp6 = (?) to dabble in; to dip into (not always with a negative connotation)
● 踏腳石 daahp6 geuk3 sehk6 = stepping stone

Continue reading “Hong Kong Footpath: Interview in Cantonese with Kwan Chuk-fai (Part 1)”

Pak Tai, True Soldier of the North

Pak Tai Image 2_1 MAR 2020

I came across this excellent short video in Cantonese made by Hong Kong Taoist TV on the god 北帝 Pak Tai when searching for material about the island of 長洲 Cheung Chau. Pak Tai is an important figure in connection with the festivities that take place there every year in the Fourth Lunar Month. Unlike Gwun Yam and Tin Hau, however, he seems to be a very remote and forbidding divinity. Yet perhaps he has a more carefree side: the bare feet and long-flowing hair perhaps hint at such a possibility . . .

Grammar points to look out for include the following. Firstly, there is a good example of tone-changing involving the character 廟. The pronunciation given for this character in dictionaries is mìuh4: hence 廟宇 mìuh4 yúh5 = temple. However, as the last element in the name of an actual temple (e.g.北帝廟), it is pronounced in the high-rising tone míu4*2.

There is one sentence in which 廟 appears on its own ⸺ 喺廟入面有一座鑄於萬曆三十二年; to me this sounds as if it is pronounced HR (because it is an abbreviated form of the name of the temple?), but I may be wrong.

Secondly, there is a special Cantonese use of 落 lohk6 in the sentence 從山水流落灣仔再出大海. Here 落 is similar to 到 dou3 in its expression of “arrival”, but suggests that the movement is vertically downwards rather than horizontal.

Finally, there are some good examples of some of the less common tone combinations to listen for:

HL + ML: 北帝 bāk1 dai3; 披髮 pēi1 faat3
LF + ML: 神將 sàhn jeung3
LF + HL: 全稱 chyùhn4 chīng1; 玄天 yùhn4 tīn1; 群魔 kwàhn4 mō1; 留低 làuh4 dāi1; 民間 màhn4 gāan1; 平安 pìhng4 ōn1; 長洲 chèuhng4 jāu1
LL + ML: 上帝 seuhng6 dai3; 道教 douh6 gaau3; 護法 wuh6 faat3; 備至 beih6 ji3; 大帝 daaih6 dai3 (this also offers a good contrast between the vowel sounds aai and ai!)

Throughout the transcript, I have used brackets to show where the Cantonese voice-over differs from the subtitles in Standard Written Chinese,

Click here to watch the video. But you might like to read through the transcript first, just to get a handle on the language!

Continue reading “Pak Tai, True Soldier of the North”

Cantonese through News Stories: The Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees

TVB Tai Po Lam Tsuen Wishing Tree Story_25 JAN 2020

In Hong Kong, it is still common practice to visit a temple to ask for help from nature spirits that dwell in a particular place, a place often indicated by an exceptionally beautiful-looking tree. The power of such spirits covers a number of aspects, including curing illness, divining future events, and helping people to make their wishes come true. Needless to say, many temples in Hong Kong are located in sites where powerful natural forces are concentrated.

The Wishing Trees of Lam Tsuen are located in a village called 放馬莆 Fong Ma Po, near the local Tin Hau Temple there. People have been going there for centuries at the time of the Lunar New Year to ask the trees to make their wishes come true, and a variety of ritual practices have arisen to cater for the needs of people seeking to bolster their fortune for the New Year.

There’s a lovely description of this tradition by Barbara Ward in Chinese Festivals:

Many traditionally minded people also make New Year expeditions to one of the several sites at which so-called “nature spirits” are believed to reside. A good example is in the Lam Tsuen Valley in the New Territories where a huge banyan tree is visited at this time by scores of black-clad Boat Women from Aberdeen, more than twenty miles away on the far side of Hong Kong island. In the evening when they have left, the banyan tree looks like a strangely off-centre Christmas tree festooned with paper gifts. (p.28)

Apart from a good deal of specific New Year vocabulary (all of it useful in its own way), the report also makes use of some other very handy items, including the idiom 再接再厲 joi3 jip3 joi3 laih6 and the often heard 人情味 yàhn4 chìhng4 meih6 = human interest.

Continue reading “Cantonese through News Stories: The Lam Tsuen Wishing Trees”

《新心界》: 第四章

2018-12-02 Sai Kung Cat & Shrine 2

•  「黐線亦都係一門藝術」

又係一個禮拜日嘅早上。陳之一對住浴室裏面嘅全身鏡,喺度罵緊自己赤裸裸嘅身影:

「馬騮乾!邊個生得你咁肉酸呀?!你睇,瘦子嘅兩條手臂,兩條腿!排骨仔嘅胸部,完全冇哩氣力,冚唪唥都係肋骨,連一啲肌肉都冇,你覺唔覺得羞愧!你睇你個噼噼真係好肉酸!邊個會鐘意你個瘦蜢蜢嘅籮柚?唔使問阿貴:冇人會鐘意㗎啦。至於你嗰隻賓舟仔!哇,肯定係全世界上最冇用嘅𨳊!真係太攪笑啦!荒唐嘅膝頭哥!悖謬嘅外小腿!離譜嘅髖骨!奀挑鬼命相!你乞人憎!乞人憎!乞人憎!」

其實,旁聽者(如果有旁聽者嘅話)好難判斷陳之一係唾罵自己欠佳嘅體格定係練習佢早已學識有關人體部位嘅廣東話詞彙。

咒飽罵醉之後,陳之一著返嗮啲衫褲,佢嘅情緒先至好翻少少。今日佢已經揸定主意去西貢,去出名嘅「西貢咖啡餅店」食早餐。不過出門嗰陣時,佢企住腳步,回頭望一望自己已經住咗好多年嘅住所。因為好快就過年,陳之一呢排好認真咁收納屋企,將佢所有物品都整理得有條有理。有一位英國學者,中文名叫莫華德,喺五十年代嚟到香港,特登研究疍家人嘅生活習俗。佢寫過一篇文章專門討論過年對於香港人精神層面上嘅意義,留咗好深刻嘅印象俾外國男人,莫華德篇文提出:過年嘅基調係復興。舊年一過,所有衰氣同埋惡運會隨而散去。新年嘅降臨使人有機會由零開始、重新出發。在社會層面上,新年意味著同家人團聚,消解糾紛,恢復和諧等等;於個人和生意上,過年時會消災去病、付清債款,處理好仲未攪掂嘅事等等。正因如此,陳之一近排好勤力咁進行大掃除,盡量將唔需要嘅嘢全部抌出去。結果,屋內顯得特別空蕩蕩,除咗最為基本嘅傢俬,日用品,同埋有關香港、廣東話等書藉之外,幾乎都冇其他物品。其實,陳之一為此心裏感到格外自豪。

陳之一沿著城門河,行向沙田巴士站時,抬頭見到一隻黑色嘅麻鷹,喺烏雲密佈嘅上空中,一圈又一圈咁悠閑地盤旋。佢想起上次喺索罟灣,見到在高空中飛翔嘅海鷹,令佢聯想到無論哪一種生物,總會對某人某物進行永久嘅追尋。到咗車站,因為時間實在太早,排隊去西貢嘅乘客都唔算特別多,預計巴士再過十分鐘會到站。陳之一因為喺呢個巴士站等過好多次巴士去唔同嘅地方,而每次等車都會帶嚟各種印象、回憶俾佢。用咁多石屎興建嘅建築物雖然係大自然嘅天敵(呢度真係寸草不生),週圍亦充滿濃烈嘅電油味,甚至令人想像到地下監獄嘅模樣,但係佢一啲都唔太介意:認為車站係探索新界嘅旅遊中樞。

陳之一細細個時好容易暈車浪,但自從搬到香港安頓之後就冇呢個問題,佢甚至可以坐雙層巴士嘅上層座位,盡情飽覽週圍嘅景色。經過馬鞍山之後,佢會陶醉於往西貢方向嘅一系列地方名,例如泥涌、輋下、馬牯纜、大洞、瓦窰頭、西俓、企嶺下新圍、企嶺下老圍、水浪窩、澳頭、黃竹灣、麥邊、大環。而每逢到站,佢都會細細聲唸出嚟,就好似唸咒語般,親自體驗一下每個地名嘅特點。好彩,四圍嘅乘客因為專心玩手機、睇報紙、同朋友傾計,好少會注意到呢個外國「摺友」嘅古怪行為。對於陳之一嚟講,呢個就係佢搭車去西貢時消磨時間嘅心得!

到達嘅時候,陳之一感到肚餓,即刻由巴士總站快步行到位於海傍廣場嘅西貢咖啡餅店,略為心急咁叫咗一壺英式紅茶及鮮奶,一個菠蘿包,同兩個葡撻。跟住佢喺出面揾到一張金屬製嘅櫈坐低,一面呷茶,一面食茶點。首先,陳之一專登聞聞菠蘿包散發出嘅誘人香氣,跟住欣賞菠蘿皮特有嘅鬆脆,最後先至慢慢品嘗嗰種又煙韌又軟糯嘅麵包。至於蛋撻,其香脆嘅撻皮帶有一股濃郁嘅牛油香氣,而且冇被蛋漿浸腍,所以食起嚟零舍脆卜卜,真係好好味。唔使十分鐘,菠蘿包同埋葡撻食到連碎屑都冇,令到四圍紮紮跳嘅麻雀甚感不滿。

因為時間仲係好早,麻雀嘅數量仲多過俾錢嘅顧客,令到成間餅店嘅氣氛尤爲舒服。食完甜點,陳之一頗滿意咁嘆茶,又隨便睇睇四圍環境:見到沙嘴街公園仔嘅狗仔;天上見到被帶有濃烈鹹水味嘅海風吹住嘅雲朵;附近一樖被風搖動得十分優美嘅榕樹。禮拜日特有嘅安寧開始滲入佢心情嘅時候,手機突然發出嘟嘟聲:係阿綠發出嘅一件電郵。阿綠離開香港以來,陳之一一直未有收到佢嘅任何消息,於是即刻打開信箱,充滿好奇心咁慢慢讀讀呢封信嘅內容:

阿一:

尋日我終於離開咗墨爾本啦,搭火車去睇吓你熱情推介嘅加士呡鄉下小鎮。其實,墨市嘅夏天真係好難受,難得可以用個半鐘坐吓有冷氣嘅火車,真係好舒服,另外作為香港人嘅我,好珍惜冇電視廣告嘅長途旅程!

你呢個故鄉實在太過枯乾啦。離開墨爾本郊區之後,窗外嘅風景變得越嚟越乾,冇乜水份。大自然界嘅顏色,逐啲逐啲咁縮小成乾噌噌又單調嘅淡啡色,冇乜水潤綠色——即阿綠嘅髪色!令我諗到香港啲寺廟成日掛住「風調雨順」四個字,暗示香港人祈求合適嘅風雨。但澳洲如此欠缺降雨,澳洲人唔係應該更瘋狂咁祈求更多嘅雨水!將來全球嘅氣候如果真係變得過熱,墨爾本想必最快面臨毀滅。

另外,我又好難想像墨爾本市同廣東之間原來如此親密過!喺加士呡嗰間小型博物館裏面,我見到資料介紹話喺淘金時代,呢度居然曾經有五間廣東式嘅廟宇。而加士呡中又有一個類似唐人街嘅地方,被當時白種人叫做“小廣東”。展覽品之中,有一塊相當優秀嘅木製牌匾,版匾油成金色,寫上「恩覃海外」四個黑色大字,右邊刻上紅色日期(“同治癸酉歲孟夏吉旦立”),即係一八七四年!諗到一百多年前,如果我喺呢度經過,係可以遇到自己嘅同胞,令到感到歷史可以幾咁微妙,幾咁巧合!不過,真係好難過,除咗博物館裏面寥寥無幾嘅展覽品之外,嗰陣時嘅文物遺產,已經蕩然無存,呢種無情嘅破壞真係令我好心痛。

不過,開心嘅係,你推薦嗰間小型意大利咖啡室到而家都仲喺度,其實我好難想像,喺澳洲鄉下嘅小鎮裏面,可以揾到咁有歐洲風味嘅地方,好難得呀!我喺意大利留學嗰陣時,遇到唔少呢類細細哋嘅食肆,特別鐘意喺呢啲地方觀察當地嘅日常生活同習慣。我同嗰間咖啡室嘅老細提到你,佢起初好似唔知我講邊個,好彩最後都記得你呢位高高瘦瘦,識中文嘅舊熟客仔。我估,佢生意做得唔錯,你日後有機會返嚟,應該仲有機會喺度嘆返杯咖啡。

其實,我真係頂唔順你故鄉呢種熱辣辣又乾燥到死嘅天氣,攪到我好掛住香港而家嘅冬天,尤其係過年前後嘅寒冷氣溫。好彩,再過多兩日就返嚟。如果你得閒,我想安排一次晚飯,同你同阿奇聚一聚,好唔好?

祝出入平安!

阿綠

2018-10-04 Yan Taan Hoi Ngoih_CROPPED

讀完呢封電郵之後,陳之一覺得好滿意:阿綠鐘意佢所推薦嘅地方,認為呢啲地方都有吸引力。不過,阿綠嘅字裏行間有一種若隱若現嘅憂慮感俾佢,但係佢根本唔知究竟係乜嘢?

為咗打發呢股憂慮感,陳之一決定離開餅店,稍為心急咁行去宜春街上裝修得好精緻嘅天后廟。自從喺索罟灣留低封信以來,佢開始感到一種零舍奇怪嘅感覺。佢自覺就算再寫信俾父親都會變成浪費,換句話,寫信嘅需要已經告一段落。不過,咁樣係咪暗示佢冇機會揾到阿爸嘅?天后廟嘅前院喺用石片舖好,陳之一到達時注意到一個服裝樸素嘅老伯,呢位阿伯行過主廟門口嗰一刻,就停一停緩慢咁合什作禮,向入面嘅女神表示敬畏。陳之一覺得呢種從容嘅拜神態度好得意,能夠同人生嘅其他活動融為一體。寺廟裏面暗淡嘅光線同外面嘅光明構成強勁嘅對比,而且呢一種與眾不同嘅幽暗環境,能夠安慰陳之一心裏約憂約慮嘅情緒。等到內心嘅混亂平靜落嚟,佢就開始向天后祈福:「天后娘娘護我身,日月星辰顯光華。掃盡一切苦厄,消千災解萬難。智慧明淨,心神安寧。去來自在任逍遙,無有恐怖也無愁」。念完經,陳之一就慢慢行到前面嘅一張香案度攞一對「問杯」,打算向天后請教。

陳之一向天后問咗同一個問題三次,佢問天后應唔應該再繼續寫信揾父親,問杯每次嘅答案居然都係「否」,令到佢覺得好不可思議。其實陳之一好難接受咁肯定嘅回答,亦都無法避免自己下定論:難道父親已經離世?天后元君嘅三次答案仲會唔會有其他解釋?嗰一刻外國男人感到好困擾,但係陳之一仍然向天后娘娘表示感激,然後走出廟外曬普通日光。

行到街尾時,陳之一過馬路向左走,然後一直沿住西貢公路,經過各種各樣嘅店舖。冇耐,佢就遇到路旁邊嘅一座極細嘅「土地廟仔」,廟仔內擺放著五至七位神像,包括三位觀音小雕像同埋兩隻陶瓷大笨象,大笨象突然變成觀音專用嘅寵物咁。諗到呢一點,陳之一突然瞥見到一隻貓仔,既怕羞又充滿好奇心,從廟仔後面咁望住澳洲男人。貓仔見到呢個消瘦嘅怪人,知道對自己冇乜威脅,就滿不在乎咁跳去廟仔頂上,喺太陽下認真舐吓自己對前爪。

去西貢嘅時候,陳之一一般鐘意一個人行到市區東北邊徑棚下附近一條山澗畔上,坐低聽聽大自然特有嘅靜謐。不過,今日佢一反常態,決定去一趟北港,經過澳朗村隔離嘅濾水廠,轉入北港路。雖然北港遠離海岸,但係呢度都有一間天后廟,其實由於一次零舍巧合嘅機遇,呢間天后廟正正係陳之一一生中第一次去到嘅天后廟。不過,由於對於父親嘅種種憂慮,佢再唔想去嗰度拜神,而一直沿住馬路到一個名叫狐狸頭嘅偏僻角落,狐狸頭亦都有一條山澗,水中仲有唔少一直享受水流溫柔摩擦嘅大石,每一嚿都被磨到閃炩炩,部分表面舖住一層翠綠色嘅苔蘚。路上車輛、途人唔多,以便陳之一喺水石之間欣賞大地轉瞬即逝嘅各種遐想。

* * *

舊年變得越來越沈重,新年嘅降臨令到大家覺得越來越興奮:世上所有嘅生物將會獲得一個重新開始嘅機會。雖然氣溫已經轉涼,見到太陽嘅時刻並唔算太多,但係除咗生活最艱苦嘅市民,多數人都會感到某種美妙嘅內在溫暖,令到乏味嘅生活靜靜地增加趣味。到處可見過年嘅跡象:最為搶眼嘅紅色突然重返人間,以揮春、利市封、年貨等嘅形式驅走香港嘅其他顏色。與此同時,艷紅嘅歸來又意味著鮮花嘅爆發,而呢一座城市,喺習慣於運用石屎、金錢、瀝青、法律、電力、鋼鐵、玻璃、汽油等彰顯自己嘅優勢,而家開始受到呢啲成千上萬嘅芬芳花瓣嘅溫柔攻勢,大自然好似係想透過隱藏於人類嘅內心深處:對於美麗嘅極度追求,將堅硬無比嘅都市逐啲逐啲咁變軟、變柔、變嫩。現時得到人間注視嘅係桃花,水仙、菊花、劍蘭、蘭花。突然間,人生嘅單調、千篇一律而又枯燥嘅生活節奏受到花海一浪接一浪嘅淹蓋,因此人心深處嘅種種洩氣、沮喪、挫敗感隨之變得不再重要。

適逢呢種特殊時刻,阿綠嘅飯廳,飯枱坐著三個人同埋一隻貓:即頭髮早就染回綠色嘅阿綠,陳之一,阿奇同埋蛾鬼。阿綠呢次煮嘅晚飯相當簡單:為咗迎合外國朋友口味,特登為大家煮意大利粉同埋一個西湯——翠玉瓜湯,而因爲想補足吓過年嘅濃烈氣氛,所以佢又整咗蘿蔔糕同埋另外一啲過年菜。兩個男人因為好少下廚煮嘢食,就特別欣賞呢次「阿綠優惠」,覺得格外興奮。至於蛾鬼,因為阿綠特登買咗蝦仁俾佢食,就感到非常之滿意,甚至暫時放棄佢平時最鐘意整蠱阿奇嘅念頭。

晚飯之後,佢哋跟住一面飲酒,一面隨便傾計。阿綠去墨市時,偶然機會下聽過一次澳洲土著嘅音樂表演,所以佢哋講開有關音樂嘅話題。阿奇一直都有練習彈吉他,而為咗證明呢一點就請阿綠同陳之一睇吓佢對手嘅手指甲:左手嘅指甲都一律修得好短,而右手嘅情況啱啱相反,故意隻隻手指甲都得登留長小小,而且磨得好光滑,務求減少接觸到啲吉他線,減少摩擦。陳之一覺得好驚訝同有趣,佢從來都冇留意過呢啲事情!大家因而放聲大笑。跟住,陳之一用神神祕祕嘅口吻提出「香港擁有兩種靈異音樂」。

「咩嘢兩種音樂?係咪又同我哋拋書包?」阿綠好似有少少懷疑咁追問。

「唔係呀!」陳之一連忙回答一聲。「等我嚟解釋吓先。呢件事真係幾神秘。我第一次嚟到香港住嘅鄉村,叫樟樹灘,係中文大學附近嘅。嗰陣時,因為仲未適應香港嘅生活同埋天氣,心情都係麻麻哋,你知我份人特別緊張,特別敏感。尤其係夜晚,我覺得好難受,睡房張床太短,根本唔啱我瞓,攪到我要瞓梳化。另外,我亦冇開冷氣嘅習慣,間屋零舍翳焗。我記得有一晚,好似係深夜,我突然間由夢中驚醒起嚟,耳邊響著一種好神秘嘅旋律,好獨特,令到我全神貫注咁聽。咦,呢種音樂究竟係邊度傳嚟㗎?我無論點樣努力,都無法確定音樂嘅淶源。係咪一種超越人間嘅音樂,大自然特有嘅一種微妙音樂?不過,最奇怪嘅係,我最後開始覺得音樂係由自己內心中所產生嘅,其實有一段時間我好難判斷出邊度係內心,邊度係外邊世界,真係分唔清楚!然後,因為身心特別攰,所以就慢慢咁瞓著返。」

陳之一話口未完,隔離單位突然傳嚟一段粵劇歌聲,呢把尖厲嘅聲音好容易令人聯想到淒慘嘅鬼叫聲,因此大家都忍唔住同時笑一笑。不幸,正正喺呢一刻,蛾鬼忽然一鼓作氣咁由地下跳到枱面上,因為嚟得太突然,呢三個人都被嚇嚫,三人瞬間都以為真係有隻幽靈係度顯靈咁。因為嚇一嚇,陳之一唔小心將阿綠嗰隻空酒杯撞倒,由枱上面跌落嚟。好彩,阿奇嘅反應能力零舍快,喺半空中及時接住隻杯,唔係嘅話,隻杯一定會落地開花,富貴榮華。

阿奇以一種既責備又溫柔嘅口氣輕聲責罵貓貓一番:「曵鬼!呢世界  ⋯  最曵  ⋯  最鬼  ⋯   一隻貓!」同時,陳之一讚呢位紐西蘭朋友嘅本能反應真係好快,想必佢童年玩棒球一定玩得好精彩,反應速度簡直去到爐火純青嘅程度。

阿綠嘅眼睛突然亮起嚟,好似靈機一動咁。「我哋不如試吓請杯仙,好唔好?」

佢攞住阿奇啱啱救返嗰隻酒杯,倒轉咁放喺枱面,然後起身行去廚房,跟住左手攞住一樽辣椒醬,右手攞住一樽鹽行返飯廳,擺放喺枱上面。

「好啦!左邊嘅鹽就代表“係”,而右邊嘅辣椒醬就等如“否”。大家用一隻食指(左右手都無所謂)輕輕咁放喺個酒杯底上。然後,我哋就可以問問題,當然問題只係能用“係”或者“否”回答嘅。記住千祈唔好用力推喐個杯,只要耐心咁先,嗰杯會自動喐㗎!如果答案係好清晰嘅話,佢就會喐向樽鹽或者辣椒醬嘅方向,相反,情況唔係好肯定嘅話,佢通常會不斷亂打圈,但係假如佢都唔想回答,就可能喐都唔喐。好啦!大家得未?我哋坐近啲,大家都可以掂到個杯底。」

跟住阿奇同陳之一就企起身將櫈拉近啲,然後按照指示伸出食指放喺個酒杯圓形底部之上。

「哦,太光啦,等我點枝蠟燭先啦!」

阿綠又行去廚房,攞住枝點好嘅蠟燭返嚟,跟住就熄嗮屋企裏面所有電燈。

正在此刻,阿奇忽然話俾大家知,佢有問題想問「神」。

「好呀!你問問題嘅時候,我同阿一一齊幫你問。大家記住集中精神,唔係嘅話效果就一定唔夠好。」

「嗰個人鐘唔鐘意我?」阿奇立即對住個酒杯大聲提問。阿綠同埋陳之一就跟著低聲幫佢不停咁重復呢個問題。不過,其實佢哋兩個都唔知阿奇嗰個「佢」究竟係指邊個!

一開頭,個杯喺枱面中間,喐都唔喐,但係經過大約一分鐘嘅反覆提問之後,三個人嘅指尖度突然感到一陣震蕩,稍後隻杯就開始向樽鹽嗰度慢慢滑過去,阿奇臉上開始露出笑意,不過就快去到嗰刻,酒杯就鬼使神差咁改變方向,緩慢地滑返去枱中間。阿奇嘅表情隨著發生轉變,而等到酒杯接近辣椒醬時,佢顯得好唔開心,「哎吔!」傷心一聲脫口而出。不過,個杯仲未去到辣椒醬度又改變方向,轉頭滑返中間位置,然後嘎然停住。

「嘩,酒杯  ⋯ 真係喐動!」阿奇驚喜咁話。「不過  ⋯  我攪唔清楚  ⋯  嗰個人鐘意  ⋯  唔鐘意我?  ⋯ 好唔清楚!」

「或者佢到而家仲未揸定主意,又或者可能連你自己都未攪清楚自己想點?」

「我條心  …  我肯定知道!」阿奇果斷咁回答。

「一定啦!好啦,阿一,輪到你問啦!」阿綠即刻轉開話題,好想為感到尷尬嘅阿奇盡快解圍。

陳之一即刻搖搖頭,話自己仲未諗到恰當嘅問題,叫阿綠有問題就問先啦。佢講呢番說話時,阿綠注意到佢神經有少少緊張,仲用左手輕輕拍一拍佢腰邊嘅褲袋。其實,陳之一早就諗到想問嘅問題,但係估到阿綠一定想問清楚有關舉辦母親展覽嘅事。

事實如陳之一所料。阿綠此刻轉身面對酒杯細聲提問:「媽咪嘅展覽有冇辦法攪得成?」

個杯立即開始移動,速度好穩定,唔使幾秒,毫無猶豫就去到樽鹽度。

阿奇無法掩飾佢十分驚訝嘅心情:「嘩,好快!… 個杯一定鐘意你! … 樽鹽就係話 … 一定可以攪展覽啦!」

此刻,陳之一突然將張櫈往後移,就企咗起身,喺褲袋入面攞出一個鮮紅色嘅利是出嚟。

「阿綠!想俾一樣嘢你。哦 …… 恭喜發財!」

阿綠以為佢只不過係玩遊戲,冇接到陳之一手上嘅禮物。

「阿綠,俾你!」陳之一呢刻以零舍懇求嘅口氣吩咐。

接過嗰封鮮紅色嘅利是之後,阿綠終於明白陳之一想點,佢馬上打開,抽出入面嘅一張紙,係一張支票,上面寫嘅數目令阿綠瞬間感到休克,簡直冇法相信自己雙眼,驚訝到講不出聲。

「阿綠,我一路都對藝術有興趣,於是好想支持 …… 」

「你呀?」阿綠仲未恢復正常,仍有困難咁一字一字咁講。「你 … 藝術 … 點會產生興趣?」

陳之一即刻回答話:「黐線亦都係一門藝術!」

「乜話?」阿綠顯得困惑,阿奇亦摸不著頭腦。

陳之一好小心咬字,再重復頭先講過嘅嗰句話:「慈善亦都係一門藝術。」

阿綠一聽到就坐低,忍唔住落淚哭起嚟,然後又企起身去廚房攞一樽酒同三隻洗乾淨嘅酒杯,跟著就酌酒,請大家為友誼同埋藝術飲一杯。三個人都不由自主咁齊聲叫「飲勝!」

經過一段沉默之後,阿綠將樽酒同自己嘅酒杯擱置喺一邊,又一次將一隻手指放喺張餐臺中央嘅酒杯底上。

「好呀!不如我哋再嚟問問杯仙啦!香港嘅前途會點樣?」

「香港 … 前途 … 點樣?」阿奇好集中精神咁重復咗一次。

最初,個杯未有任何反應,但係經過相當長嘅時間之後,佢就喐起嚟,以極度緩慢嘅速度打一次圈。喺三個人不斷詢問之下,杯子又打一次圈,嗰圈比第一次大啲,喐動嘅速度又有明顯嘅增加。此後,嗰個杯好似行星咁進入軌道開始不斷咁打圈,而打圈嘅動作非常之順利,在場嘅三個人因此而十分驚訝,好似受到類似催眠般嘅效果,再無法離開枱邊,只能望住個杯所作出嘅優秀動作,聽聽玻璃杯口喺滑過餐枱木面時所發出令人難受嘅摩擦聲。大家都感到手臂攰嘅時候,無法再忍受酒杯無休止嘅打圈動作,個酒杯忽然往枱上嗰樽鹽飛過去,再向枱邊滑過去,然後跳到樽鹽外邊嘅空間之中。呢次,無論阿奇接波嘅技巧訓練得如何熟練,冇人可以阻止佢跌喺堅硬嘅木地板上,被打爛成好多碎片。

Cantonese through News Stories: Joshua Wong Disqualified from November Elections

Joshua Wong Speech_29 OCT 2019

Introduction

District council elections are (at the time of writing) still expected to go ahead in Hong Kong this Sunday, on 24 November. Joshua Wong Chi-fung, the young politician who has played an important role in the advocacy of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act in America has, not surprisingly, been prevented from contesting. The reason for his exclusion? Perhaps the Orwellian word 思想警察 sī1 séung2 gíng2 chaat3 is a hint to us all . . .

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13 new words:

裁定 chòih4 dihng6  = to rule (in a legal sense); ruling
曲解 kūk1 gáai2 = to misinterpret
政治理念 jing3 jih6 léih5 nihm6 = political belief(s)
審查 sám2 chàah4 = to investigate; to examine
政治篩選 jing3 jih6 sāi1 syún2 = political screening
理據 léih5 geui3 = argument
摒棄 bing3 hei3 = to discard; to reject; to abandon
綱領 gōng1líhng5 = programme
提倡 tàih4 chēung1 = to advocate; to promote
迫不得已 bīk1 bāt1 dāk1 yíh5 = have no other choice; have no alternative
詮釋 chyùhn4 sīk1 = to elucidate
擁護 yúng2 wuh6 = to endorse; to support

效忠 haauh6 jūng1 = to devote oneself heart & soul to; to pledge oneself to

*For correct jyutping romanization, you can cut and paste any Cantonese vocabulary in this post onto the Sheik Cantonese website.

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(Opening)

參選區議會南區海怡西嘅黃之鋒被選舉主任裁定提名無效,係今屆去選唯一因爲政治主張被裁定提名無效嘅參選人。
Joshua Wong, a candidate in the district council elections for South Horizons West has had his nomination ruled as invalid by the returning officer. He is the only person running in this round of elections to have had his nomination ruled as being invalid on account of [his] political position.
Note: 屆 gaai3 is a measure word used with activities that occur on a regular basis. It is reminiscent of the English word “round”. In Cantonese 今屆 gām1 gaai3 = “this round”. It is also used in the sense of “this year’s . . .”, as in 今屆嘅香港小姐 = “this year’s Miss Hong Kong” and 今屆「狀元」 = “this year’s [crop of] ‘number one scholars’”.

黃之鋒質疑係政治審查,認爲選舉主任曲解佢嘅政治理念。
Wong said he suspected it was political examination (? = witch-hunt), and was of the opinion that the returning officer had misinterpreted his political beliefs.
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