Pease Porridge Hot

Piss in the pot

Please aim and hold

Please aim it in the pot

At nine, I was told

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So aim I did, a putting shot

The wind it blew too bold

I wince and jerk, it bent then jolt

Nine days scold..

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Tua Snia Bo Choon

(Version in Hokkien)

Tua Snia Bo Choon

Say Snia Bo Oon

Bo Snia Bo Gau Koon

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(Version in English)

Those who talk aloud are more often than not boastful

Those who speak softly are more often than not full of uncertainties

The silent ones are dangerous..

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About the Proverb/Saying:~

This saying and proverb rhymes so well, it seeks to advice the listener on how to judge people according to the way they talk. That those who talk aloud are generally boastful and quite often, they present distorted inaccurate facts. For those who speak too soft, they are full of uncertainties and therefore, may not give you much confidence at all whereas the quite ones are dangerous.

The author/owner has compiled for record, a collection of early Hokkien sayings, proverbs, rhymes and ditties to capture the essence and spirit of his hoi polloi, a community originating from the southern province of Fujian, China where individuals climbed aboard bum boats, crossing the South China Sea to settle in faraway lands to escape the brewing civil unrest and a way out from hardship carrying along with them in their journey, nothing except their trademark ponytails and their beliefs, very much rooted in Confucianism. These proverbs and sayings has always been a guide and lesson to the many who has never been to school so as to help them steer well in the river of  life and in a way, it seeks to retell their lifestyle way back then so that the younger generation can gain an insight and foothold to their origin..

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Chit Char Peh Char

(Version in Hokkien)

Chit Char Peh Char

Khau Peh Khau Bo

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(Version in English)

Seven Early Eight Early

Cry Father Cry Mother

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About the Proverb/Saying:~

“Seven Early Eight Early” literally means “In the wee hours of the morning” whereas “Cry Father Cry Mother” means “causing disturbances” or “mourning the deceased”. This saying is so commonly retorted back to the news purveyor “not to cause a fuss when the sun just rise”. Traditional Chinese are a superstitious lot and a calm peaceful morning is to them a good sign that the day will turn out good and whenever they hear unpleasant news or ramblings in the morning, it is to them bad luck~ just like having to mourn an unexpected death of a family member when the sun just rose hence the saying. Bill collectors or those who demand for payment in the morning would occasionally also be greeted with this saying.

The author/owner has compiled for record, a collection of early Hokkien sayings, proverbs, rhymes and ditties to capture the essence and spirit of his hoi polloi, a community originating from the southern province of Fujian, China where individuals climbed aboard bum boats, crossing the South China Sea to settle in faraway lands to escape the brewing civil unrest and a way out from hardship carrying along with them in their journey, nothing except their trademark ponytails and their beliefs, very much rooted in Confucianism. These proverbs and sayings has always been a guide and lesson to the many who has never been to school so as to help them steer well in the river of  life and in a way, it seeks to retell their lifestyle way back then so that the younger generation can gain an insight and foothold to their origin..

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Tim Kum

(1st Version in Hokkien)

Tim Kum, Keh Hoe Ang

Tim Kor, Chuar Hoe Bor.

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(1st Version in English)

Toss tangerines for a good husband

Toss apples for a good wife

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(2nd Version in Hokkien)

Tim Chang Keh Hoe Ang

Tim Chai, Tharn Tiok Hoe Knia Sai

Tim Choe, Ni Ni Hoe

Tim Thor Tau, Chiak Lau Lau

Tim Geng Geng, Ho Buay Keng

Tim  Kor,  Chuar Hoe Bor

Tim Too, Chuar Chit Leh Ho Sim Pu

Tim Chiok Thau, Khee Um Mor Lau

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(2nd Version in English)

Toss Spring Onions for a good husband

Toss Vegetables for a good son-in-law

Toss Red Dates for a good year ahead

Toss Groundnuts for longevity

Toss Longans for peace and glad tiding

Toss apples for a good wife

Toss Chopsticks for a good daughter-in-law

Toss Stones to receive a swelling on the head!

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(3rd Version in Hokkien)

Tim Choe, Ni Ni Hoe

Tim Thor Tau, Chiak Lau Lau

Tim Geng Geng, Ho Buay Keng

Tim  Kin Cheo, Kin Ni Tiok Beh Pio

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(3rd Version in English)

Toss Red Dates for a good year ahead

Toss Groundnuts for longevity

Toss Longans for peace and glad tiding

Toss bananas and you will strike lottery this year!

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About this Rhyme/Saying:~

Chap Goh Meh, literary translated as the ’15th night’ in Hokkien which is the last day of Chinese New Year was a very big affair. It was the only night in the whole calendar year when girls from traditional families get to go out. On that auspicious evening, the unmarried girls would be beautifully coiffured and made-up, decked in their finest of jewellery and transported downtown in horse-drawn carriages (motorcars in later years) inevitably passing by Esplanade or Sungei Pinang, the whole point of it is to be seen and also to ‘tim kum’ ( toss mandarin oranges) into the sea or river to wish for a good husband! Although man generally has more freedom, they too had to behave as gentlemanly as they can and could not approach the girls on their own. If one man likes a certain girl, he will jot down the vehicle number and hint his interest to his parents who would then send ‘investigators’ (matchmakers) to assess the suitability of the prospect. Tim Kor (toss apples) is a man’s obligation if he wishes for a good wife although it is often done discreetly.

On a lighter note, tossing of oranges and apples nowadays became a modern day matchmaking concern. Whereas in those days it was just a wish and like all wishes it might not come true at all, some smart alleck got these younger generations excited by making them toss oranges and apples with their names and contact numbers written on them and then arrange sampans to retrieve those tossed oranges back to the shore to be randomly distributed back to the participating tossers. For those who believe in fate, many a romance is sealed. Others, well they just ran for their lives!

The author/owner has compiled for record, a collection of early Hokkien sayings, proverbs, rhymes and ditties to capture the essence and spirit of his hoi polloi, a community originating from the southern province of Fujian, China where individuals climbed aboard bum boats, crossing the South China Sea to settle in faraway lands to escape the brewing civil unrest and a way out from hardship carrying along with them in their journey, nothing except their trademark ponytails and their beliefs, very much rooted in Confucianism. These ditties retell their story and their lifestyle way back then so that the younger generation can gain an insight and foothold to their origin..

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Chai Bee Chai Chek Lai Chee Kay

(1st Version in Hokkien)

Eh Lo Kay

Chai Bee Chai Chek, Lai Chee Kay

Chee Kay, Gau Kiow Kare

Chee Kow, Gau Booi Meh

Chee Thow Sneh, Yang Lau Peh

Chee Chow War,  Hor Lang Meh..

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(1st Version in English)

Eh Lo Kay

Plants rice, plants paddy, to feed the chickens

Rear a cockerel, it crows at dawn

Rear a dog, it barks at night

Raise a son, he will carry his father

Raise a daughter and you will be scorned!

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(2nd Version in Hokkien)

Eh Lo Kay

Tho Bee Tho Chek, Lai Chee Kay

Chee Chow War,  Par Lang Ay

Chee Thow Sneh, Kor Lau Peh.

 

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(2nd Version in English)

Eh Lo Kay

Beg for rice, beg for paddy, to feed the chickens

Raise a daughter, she belongs to another

Raise a son, he will take care of his father.

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About this ditty:~

This is a traditional ‘Hokkien’ ditty that emphasizes the age old Chinese preference for sons rather than daughters. Sons as they believe can serve as a crutch in one’s old age, whereas a daughter is considered a liability to be given away when the time comes for her to get married! The expression ” Eh Lo Kay” has been described by some to be a swing! (yet to be verified)

The author/owner has compiled for record, a collection of early Hokkien sayings, proverbs, rhymes and ditties to capture the essence and spirit of his hoi polloi, a community originating from the southern province of Fujian, China where individuals climbed aboard bum boats, crossing the South China Sea to settle in faraway lands to escape the brewing civil unrest and a way out from hardship carrying along with them in their journey, nothing except their trademark ponytails and their beliefs, very much rooted in Confucianism. These ditties retell their story and their lifestyle way back then so that the younger generation can gain an insight and foothold to their origin..

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Ang Ku

(Version in Hokkien)

Chiak Ang Ee

Tharn Chnee

Chiak Ang Ku

Tharn Hnooi Khu

Chiak Ang Tharn

Keh Ho Ang

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(Version in English)

Eating Red Marble

Gain plenty of money

Eating Red Tortoise

Gain a lot of real estate

Eating Red Mussel

Gain a good husband..

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About this Rhyme/Saying:~

“Ang Ku” in the Hokkien lingo is literarily translated to mean “Red Tortoise”. It is a red colored sweet with nutty filling usually included as ritual food in Chinese religious ceremonies. The color red is highly auspicious to the Chinese and the turtle shape signifies longevity and endurance. Although the sweet is generally called Ang Ku, different names are given according to variations in shape, pattern and color. During Mua Guek (confinement period after a women gave birth), the inclusion of Ang Ee (Red Marble) signifies the birth of a new boy whereas if the offspring is a girl, Ang Thoe (Red Peach) would mark the occasion. Ang Tharn (Red Mussel) only appears in the Jade Emperor festival. In inauspicious occasions, the sweet is made in other colors dyed using non-toxic vegetable dyes. This old Hokkien rhyme or ditty associates a specific blessing with each food.

The author/owner has compiled for record, a collection of early Hokkien sayings, proverbs, rhymes and ditties to capture the essence and spirit of his hoi polloi, a community originating from the southern province of Fujian, China where individuals climbed aboard bum boats, crossing the South China Sea to settle in faraway lands to escape the brewing civil unrest and a way out from hardship carrying along with them in their journey, nothing except their trademark ponytails and their beliefs, very much rooted in Confucianism. These ditties retell their story and their lifestyle way back then so that the younger generation can gain an insight and foothold to their origin..

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Ah Phien

(Version in Hokkien)

Ah Phien Sneh Ti Thor

Choo Liau Kor Kor

Bo Chiak Tiong Hor

Chiak Liau Hor Tor

Bor Knia Im Kor

Chin Chnia Tnui Lor

Heng Kharm Siang Lau Thooi

Part Tor Tua Chiu Kooi

Khar Thooi Tua Chau Mek

Uwa Piak Cheng Khor..

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(Version in English)

Opium comes from the earth

Cooking makes it sticky

Don’t consume it and all is well

Smoke it and you will become reckless

Your wife and children will be neglected

Your relatives will severe all ties with you

Your ribs will resemble a flight of stairs

Your tummy, like a water barrel

Your legs, like grasshoppers

And you will need to lean against the wall to put on your trousers..

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About this Rhyme/Saying:~

Ah Phian is a ‘Hokkien’ word literarily translated to mean ‘Opium’. In the 19th Century, opium-smoking is a widespread vice among the Chinese in Penang. This advisory verse warns us of the dangers of smoking opium. Not only that it wastes the body, it also destroys relationships. This verse is communicated in the deeper idiom of old Hokkien.

The author/owner has compiled for record, a collection of early Hokkien sayings, proverbs, rhymes and ditties to capture the essence and spirit of his hoi polloi, a community originating from the southern province of Fujian, China where individuals climbed aboard bum boats, crossing the South China Sea to settle in faraway lands to escape the brewing civil unrest and a way out from hardship carrying along with them in their journey, nothing except their trademark ponytails and their beliefs, very much rooted in Confucianism. These ditties retell their story and their lifestyle way back then so that the younger generation can gain an insight and foothold to their origin..

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Teik Gar Ki

(Version in Hokkien)

Teik Gar Ki

Mor Hor Chni

Choe Lang Eh Sim Pu Bart To Li

Um Um Khoon

Char Char Khi

Khi Lai Say Thow, Buak Hoon Tiam Ean Chi

Jip Pang Lai

Siew Chiam Chi

Choot Tuar Tniah

Cheng Tok Ee

Jip Chow Khar

Say Uar Tee

O Lo Hnia

O Lo Tee

O Lo Chin Keh, Chneh Erm

Gow Ka si..

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(Version in English)

Dried bean curd

Sweet flour cakes

A daughter in law must conform to etiquettes

Goes to sleep late

Wakes up early

Wakes up, combs hair, powders face, applies lipstick

In the bedroom

Plies the embroidery needle

Enters the main hall

Dust the furnitures

Enters the kitchen

Washes the bowls and chopsticks

Speaks well of her husband

And her children

Speaks well of her family, her in-laws

For bringing her up so well..

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About this rhyme/ditty/saying:~

Tek Gar Kee is a ‘Hokkien’ word literally translated to mean ‘Dried Bean Curd’. This rhyme/ditty/saying list out the traits expected out from a newly wed bride by her in-laws. If she passes the scrutiny, she will earn praises from the entire family as well as relatives and friends. The traditional underlying view is that a daughter-in-law must carry herself well for her conduct reflects on her biological parents who are responsible for her upbringing.

The author/owner has compiled for record, a collection of early Hokkien sayings, proverbs, rhymes and ditties to capture the essence and spirit of his hoi polloi, a community originating from the southern province of Fujian, China where individuals climbed aboard bum boats, crossing the South China Sea to settle in faraway lands to escape the brewing civil unrest and a way out from hardship carrying along with them in their journey, nothing except their trademark ponytails and their beliefs, very much rooted in Confucianism. These ditties retell their story and their lifestyle way back then so that the younger generation can gain an insight and foothold to their origin..

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Thau Tua Thau Hong

(Version in Hokkien)

Thau Tua Thau Hong

Partor Tua Phong Hong

Khar Chnooi Tua Chut Hong

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(Version in English)

Big Head, wind in the head

Big Tummy, wind in the tummy

Big Buttocks only farts..

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About this Rhyme/Saying:~

This rhyme/saying pokes fun at those with one or more of these physical attributes. Also used to describe a show off person with no true substance.

The author/owner has compiled for record, a collection of early Hokkien sayings, proverbs, rhymes and ditties to capture the essence and spirit of his hoi polloi, a community originating from the southern province of Fujian, China where individuals climbed aboard bum boats, crossing the South China Sea to settle in faraway lands to escape the brewing civil unrest and a way out from hardship carrying along with them in their journey, nothing except their trademark ponytails and their beliefs, very much rooted in Confucianism. These proverbs and sayings has always been a guide and lesson to the many who has never been to school so as to help them steer well in the river of  life and in a way, it seeks to retell their lifestyle way back then so that the younger generation can gain an insight and foothold to their origin..

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Huay Sniau Si Bor

(Version in Hokkien)

Huay Sniau Si Bor

Mm Knar Khow

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(Version in English)

When the monk’s wife passed away he dare not cry aloud.

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About the Proverb/Saying:~

Monks are supposedly celibate. This saying is used to describe a dilemma or an unfortunate happening that cannot be publicized or it will bring embarrassment to that individual.

The author/owner has compiled for record, a collection of early Hokkien sayings, proverbs, rhymes and ditties to capture the essence and spirit of his hoi polloi, a community originating from the southern province of Fujian, China where individuals climbed aboard bum boats, crossing the South China Sea to settle in faraway lands to escape the brewing civil unrest and a way out from hardship carrying along with them in their journey, nothing except their trademark ponytails and their beliefs, very much rooted in Confucianism. These proverbs and sayings has always been a guide and lesson to the many who has never been to school so as to help them steer well in the river of  life and in a way, it seeks to retell their lifestyle way back then so that the younger generation can gain an insight and foothold to their origin..

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