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..





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