Tua Snia Bo Choon

(Version in Hokkien)

Tua Snia Bo Choon

Say Snia Bo Oon

Bo Snia Bo Gau Koon

.

(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..

.

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..

.

.

.

Chit Char Peh Char

(Version in Hokkien)

Chit Char Peh Char

Khau Peh Khau Bo

.

(Version in English)

Seven Early Eight Early

Cry Father Cry Mother

.

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..

.

.

.

Tim Kum

(1st Version in Hokkien)

Tim Kum, Keh Hoe Ang

Tim Kor, Chuar Hoe Bor.

.

(1st Version in English)

Toss tangerines for a good husband

Toss apples for a good wife

.

(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

.

(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!

.

(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

.

(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!

.

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..

.

.

.

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..

.

(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!

.

(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.

 

.

(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.

.

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..

.

.

.

Ang Ku

(Version in Hokkien)

Chiak Ang Ee

Tharn Chnee

Chiak Ang Ku

Tharn Hnooi Khu

Chiak Ang Tharn

Keh Ho Ang

.

(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..

.

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..

.

.

.

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..

.

(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..

.

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..

.

.

.

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..

.

(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..

.

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..

.

.

.

Thau Tua Thau Hong

(Version in Hokkien)

Thau Tua Thau Hong

Partor Tua Phong Hong

Khar Chnooi Tua Chut Hong

.

(Version in English)

Big Head, wind in the head

Big Tummy, wind in the tummy

Big Buttocks only farts..

.

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..

.

.

.

Huay Sniau Si Bor

(Version in Hokkien)

Huay Sniau Si Bor

Mm Knar Khow

.

(Version in English)

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

.

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..

.

.

.

Saigu Bong Guek

(Version in Hokkien)

Saigu Bong Guek

.

(Version in English)

A rhinoceros touching the moon

.

About the Proverb/Saying:~

A rhinoceros seeing the image of the moon reflected on the puddle thought it is within his reach. The moral is “One should realize one’s own limitation.” Also, do not make your goals too big or you will end up dissappointed.

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..

.

.

.

Ho Keng Mm Keng

(1st Version in Hokkien)

Ho Keng Mm Keng

Keng Kar Chow Geng Geng

.

(1st Version in English)

With so many to choose from the basket

One finally ends up with a bad longan.

.

(2nd Version in Hokkien)

Chit Keng Peh Keng

Keng Tiok Chow Geng Geng

.

(2nd Version in English)

Choose seven, choose eight

One finally chose a bad longan.

.

About the Rhyme/Proverb/Saying:~

If one is too choosy, one will end up with the wrong partner.

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..

.

.

.

Tua Liong Tua Hock

(Version in Hokkien)

Tua Liong Tua Hock

Chiak Ka Lau Kok Kok

.

(Version in English)

Generosity brings prosperity.

Live to a ripe old age.

.

About this Rhyme/Saying:~

It is believed that generosity begets prosperity and longevity.

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..

.

.

.

Leng Kow Leng

(Version in Hokkien)

Leng Kow Leng

Hong Kow Hong

Oon Ku Kow Tong Gong

.

(Version in English)

A dragon befriend a dragon

A phoenix befriend a phoenix

A hunchback befriends an idiot

.

About the Proverb/Saying:~

An observation that marriages should be between two people with similar traits, background, social status and intelligence.

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..

.

.

.

Tua Bak Sin Neow

(Version in Hokkien)

Tua Bak Sin Neow Chuay Bo Chau

.

(Version in English)

The big eyed bride cannot locate the stove.

.

About the Proverb/Saying:~

Physical attributes of a wife is secondary to her housekeeping skills

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..

.

.

.

Lau Peh Mor Peng

(Version in Hokkien)

Lau Peh Mor Peng 

Kniar Tiow Teng

.

(Version in English)

A pock-marked father

Scar-faced offsprings.

.

About the Rhyme/Saying:~

Two persons sharing unfavorable qualities very much equivalent to “Like Father, Like Son”

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..

.

.

.

Hai Tay Bong Chiam

(Version in Hokkien)

Hai Tay Bong Chiam

.

(Version in English)

Groping for a needle in the sea bed.

.

About the Proverb/Saying:~

Equivalent to “Trying to find a needle in the haystack”

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..

.

.

.

Bay Hiau Hnua Choon

(Version in Hokkien)

Bay Hiau Hnua Choon

Hiam Kung Aik

.

(Version in English)

A lousy navigator blaming the river for being narrow.

.

About the Proverb/Saying:~

Making excuses for one’s own incompetence. Equivalent to the English Saying “A bad workmen always blame his tools”

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..

.

.

.

Chng Kak Hwa

(Version in Hokkien)

Ch’ng Kak Hwa

Chow Bi Bi

Chow Lin Eh Tng Snuar Bo Liow Si

Oo Beh Pang Lai Khiar

Boe Beh Pang Lai Chay

Kim Hwa Tia

Kim Huah Tnia

Si Leh Lang Thai Gu

Pek Leh Lang Thai Eow

Philing Phalang Lang Chua Sin Neow

Sin Neow Hor Huay Sio

Knia Sai Puak Lo Kio

Chneh Mm How How Kio

How Mi lai

How Buek Chiak Tong Chai

Tong Chai Ar Buay Chu

How Buek Chiak Gniau Chu

Gniau Chu Ar Buey Thai

How Buek Chiak Ong Lai

Ong Lai Ar Buay Saik

How Buek Pek Chneo Paik

Puak Lok Lai

Khar Chnui Saik.

.

(Version in English)

Fingernail Flower

Your fragrance is unbearable

There is no need to go back to your native land

There are horses in the stable

But no horses for us to ride

Golden flower

Ornamented bridal chamber

Golden flower ornamented wok

There are four baskets of slaughtered cows

And another eight baskets of slaughtered lambs

And a bustling preparation to welcome the bride

But the bride perished in a fire

And the groom jumps from the bridge

And the mother-in-law was seen grieving

Why was she grieving?

She grieves because of her craving for preserved vegetables

But the preserved vegetable hasn’t been prepared

She grieves because of her craving for mouse meat

But the mouse hasn’t been prepared

She grieves because of her craving for pineapples

But the pineapples is still not ripe

She grieves because she longs to climb over the other side

But she fell

Sustaining bruises on her buttocks.

.

About this rhyme/ditty:~

Ch’ng Kak Hua, is a colloquial Hokkien term for ‘fingernail flower’ scientifically known as “Lawsonia Inermis”. This rhyme/ditty tells about a tragedy that befalls a certain marriage.

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…

.

.

.

Chow Mek Kong

(1st Version in Hokkien)

Chow Mek Kong, Gau Chee Gu

Gu Ta Lok, Gu Beh Gin

Gin Ta Lok, Gin Chuar Bor

Bor Ta Lok, Bor Sneh Knia

Knia Ta Lok, Knia Sneh Soon

Soon Ta Lok, Soon Khnua Aak

Aak Ta Lok, Aak Sneh Nooi

Nooi Ta Lok, Nooi Chnia Lang Khek

Lang Khek Ta Lok, Lang Khek Pang Sai

Sai Ta Lok, Sai Ark Chai

Chai Ta Lok, Chai Keat Chee

Chee Ta Lok, Chee Chnua Eu

Eu Ta Lok, Eu Tiam Huay

Huay Ta Lok, Huay Hor Chau Mek Kong Pun Sit..

.

(1st Version in English)

This old grasshopper is a good cowherd

So where is the cow? The cow had been sold for silver taels.

So where are the silver taels? The silver taels is being used as dowry for a wife.

So where is the wife? The wife has given birth.

So where is the child? The child had given birth to grandchildren.

Where are the grand children? The grand children are herding the ducks.

So where are the ducks? The ducks are laying eggs.

So where are the eggs? The eggs were offered to the guests.

And where are the guests? The guests are easing themselves.

So where are the nightsoil? The nightsoil are turned to manure.

And where are the vegetables? The vegetables started producing seeds.

So where are the seeds? The seeds were fried to extract oil.

So where is the oil? The oil was used to fuel fire.

So where is the fire? The fire was extinguished by the old grasshopper..

.

(2nd Version in Hokkien)

Chow Mek Kong, Gau Chee Gu

Gu Beh Gin, Gin Chua Bor

Bor Sneh Knia, Knia Sneh Soon

Soon Khnua Aak, Aak Sneh Nooi

Chit Liap Chiak, Chit Liap Khng..

.

(2nd Version in English)

This old grasshopper is a good cowherd

The cow sells silver, the silver got married

The wife gave birth, the child gave birth to grand children.

The grand children are looking at the ducks, the ducks are laying eggs.

One to be eaten, the other to be kept.

.

About this rhyme:~

Chow Mek Kong means ‘ Old Grasshopper’ in Hokkien. This is a children’s verse alternating between questions and answers. It goes a full circle ending back to where it started the old grasshopper. I cannot tell you exactly for sure if this rhyme came from China but I know for sure that “Chau Mek Kong” is one ditty I grew up listening to. Most rhymes are lively and a lot of them are not as refined as we wish them to be. But these ditties gave us an identity and it seeks to remind us of the good old days and the sacrifices our ancestors has made to give us, the younger generation a footing towards a new dawn.

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..

.

.

.

Hoay Kim Chneh

(1st Version in Hokkien)

Hoay Kim Chneh

Chap Goh Meh

Chnia Lin Eh Ku War Lai Lim Teh

Teh Sio Sio

Knia Lor Bay Kin Chio

Kin Chio Bey Ki Pek

Knia Lor Khi Bay Chek

Chek Bey Ki Thark

Knia Lor Khi Bay Or Bak

Or Bak Bey Ki Buar

Knia Lor Khi Bay Chuar

Chuar Bey Ki Liak

Knia Lor Khi Bay Kha Khiak

Kha Khiak Bey Ki Cheng

Knia Lor Khi Bay Ka Leng

Ka Leng Kang, Ka Leng Bo

Chnia Lin Eh Ku Wa Sio Ean Toh..

.

(1st Version in English)

Fireflies

On the fifteenth night

Invite your in-laws to come over for tea

Tea is hot

Go buy some bananas

Bananas unpeeled

Go buy some books

Books unread

Go buy ink sticks

Ink sticks not grounded

Go buy snakes

Snakes not caught

Go buy some wooden clogs

Clogs unworn

Go buy some mynahs

Male mynahs, female mynahs,

Invite your in-laws for a wrestling match..

.

(2nd Version in Hokkien)

Hoay Kim Chneh

Chap Goh Meh

Chnia Lu Eh Ku War Lai Chiak Teh

Teh Sio Sio

Knia Lor Bay Kin Chio

Kin Chio Bey Ki Pek

Knia Lor Bay Chek

Chek Bey Ki Thark

Knia Lor Bay Or Bak

Or Bak Bey Ki Buar

Knia Lor Bay Chuar

Chuar Bey Ki Liak

Knia Lor Bay Kha Khiak

Kha Khiak Bey Ki Cheng

Knia Lor Bay Ka Leng

Ka Leng Ko, Ka Leng So

Chnia Lu Eh Ku Wa Lai Thit Thoe

Thit Thoe Nyar

Chiak Kam Chiak

Kam Chiak Tnee

Chiak Lychee

Lychee Ang

Knia Sai Phar Tniau Lang

Tniau Lang Chow Khi Snua

Bay Bak Char Tu Knua

.

(2nd Version in English)

Fireflies

On the fifteenth night

Invite your in-laws to come over for tea

Tea is hot

Go buy some bananas

Bananas unpeeled

Go buy some books

Books unread

Go buy ink sticks

Ink sticks not grounded

Go buy snakes

Snakes not caught

Go buy some wooden clogs

Clogs unworn

Go buy some mynahs

Male mynahs, female mynahs,

Invite your in-laws out to play

If you win, come have some sugar cane

Sugar cane is sweet

Come have some lychee

Lychees are red

Bridegroom beat in-laws

In-laws ran up to the hill

Buy some meat to fry with pork liver (a traditional Hokkien dish).

.

(3rd Version in Hokkien)

Hoay Kim Chneh

Chap Goh Meh

Chnia Lu Ku War Lai Lim Teh

Teh Sio Sio

Bay Kin Chio

Kin Chio Chiak Bo Liow

Ah Ku Khi Puak Kiow

Kiow Su

Ah Ku Khi Liak Tu

Tu Chow

Ah Ku Khi Liak Kow

Kow Bui

Ehya Ehya Chay Tham Phui.

.

(3rd Version in English)

Fireflies

On the fifteenth night

Invite your in-laws to come for tea

Tea is hot

Go buy some bananas

Couldn’t finish the bananas

Uncle went a-gamble

No luck in gambling

Uncle went pig catching

Pig ran

Uncle went dog catching

Dogs Bark

Dwarfs sits on the spittoon.

.

About this rhyme/ditty:~

Hoay Kim Chneh is a ‘Hokkien’ word literally translated to mean ‘Fireflies’. However in another version, “Guek Kim Chneh” was used~ “Guek” meaning the moon and “Kim Chneh” , the stars and therefore, “Guek Kim Chneh, Chap Goh Meh”  were to mean “the moon and stars on the fifteenth night” which is also quite apt because the 15th night of Chinese New Year is an auspicious night where one gets to witness the full moon and stars lighting up the night sky! In the early days of the Chinese Settlers in Penang, Chinese of young or old will recite their favourite ditties to wile away their time while children especially will also dance to the beat and rhythm of the recital provided by two pieces of bamboo clanking against each other.

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..

.

.

.