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..




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