Papa Lang

(1st Version in Hokkien)

Papa Lang

Lang Ting Tang

Si Kin Tang

Apek Beh Bak Chang

Bak Chang Beh Bo Liow

Apek Chiak Ka liow!

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(1st Version in English)

Dragonfly

Lang Ting Tang (A Sanxian- type of Chinese stringed instrument)

Four catties in weight

Old man sells rice dumplings

As for those that are left unsold

The old man finished it all by himself!

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(2nd Version in Hokkien)

Papa Lang

Si Kin Tang

Chiak Bak Chang

Sai Bay Pang!

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(2nd Version in English)

Dragonfly

Four catties in weight

Eat rice dumplings

Makes you constipate!

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About this rhyme/ditty:~

This rhyme/ditty is about “Bak Chang” or rice dumplings. Rice dumplings are made from glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves left to steam in stacks of bamboo steamers. The end result is a steaming hot sticky recipe not encourage to be indulge in excessively as they are believed to conjest the digestive passageway and excessive consumption does make one sleepy in the afternoon! “Papa Lang” is also a traditional childhood game where one tags the other by the waist or shoulder forming a train like formation while chanting this ditty

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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Choot Jit Loh Hor

(Version in Hokkien)

Choot Jit Loh Hor

Thai Tu Peng Tor

Khit Chiak Ar Chow Boe Lor

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(Version in English)

Sunshine with intermittent rain

The butchers will turn over their bellies

And the beggars will hastily run away!

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About this rhyme:~

This rhyme speaks about unpredictable weather and how it affects business. Rain of this nature is also known to make people sick hence it is best to avoid it!

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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Um Po Cheh

(1st Version in Hokkien)

Um Po Cheh

Khow Lay Lay

Khow Snia Tai

Khow Beh Keh

Keh Toe Loke

Keh Ow Piak Kow

Ow Piak Kow Chow Huay Hoon

Keh Hor Cheong Koon

Cheong Koon Bay Leik Tow

Keh Hor O

O Beh Thye

Keh Hor Siew Chye

Siew Chye Beh Tiong Ki

Keh Hor Niow Chu

Niow Chu Beh Chng Lai Khang

Keh Hor Tio Hu Ang

Tio Hu Ang Beh Tio Hu

Keh Hor Chan Chu

Charn Chu Beh Thai Hair

Keh Hor Chooi Thang

Chooi Thang Beh Kun Chooi

Keh Hor Sau Chiu

Sau Chiu Beh Sau Tay

Keh Hor Beh Chap Huay

Beh Chap Huay Beh Lelong

Keh Hor Sai Kong

Sai Kong Beh Liam Keng

Keh Hor Leng

Leng Beh Choot

Keh Hor Nui

Nui Beh Tok

Keh Hor Gulu Lok Su

Gulu Lok Su Beh Sio Tu

Keh Hor Bey Bar Chee Hu

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(1st Version in English)

Cicada is grieving

Why are you grieving?

Grieving to be married?

Married to who?

Married to the back drain?

But the drain smells burnt

Why not the general then?

General buys some mung beans

Why not the oyster then?

But the oyster needs to be cooked

Why not the scholar then?

But the scholar needs to sit for his exams

Why not the rat then?

But the rats needs to burrow

Why not the fisherman then?

But the fisherman needs to go out to sea

Why not the bull frogs then?

But the bull frog needs to prepare the prawns

Why not the beer barrel then?

But the beer barrel is for brewing

Why not the broom then?

But the broom needs to sweep

Why not the grocer then?

But the grocery shop is now having a sale

Why not the medium then?

But the medium needs to perform his prayers

Why not the breast then?

But the breast needs to be suckled

Why not the eggs then?

But the eggs need to be sliced

Why not the pig cage then?

But the pig cage strangles the pigs

Why not your brother-in-law who is a butcher then!

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(2nd Version in Hokkien)

Um Po Cheh

Khow Ai Ai

Khow Snia Tai

Khow Beh Keh

Keh Hor Chui Chui

Keh Chiew Buay

Chiew Buay Beh Eo Hong

Keh Hor Sai Kong

Sai Kong Buek Liam Keng

Keh Hor Leng

Leng Buek Tnui

Keh Hor Nui

Nui Buek Tok

Keh Hor Chek

Chek Buek Thak

Keh Hor Bak

Bak Buek Buar

Keh Hor Chua

Chua Buek Liak

Keh Hor Khar Khiak

Khar Khiak Buek Cheng

Keh Hor Cheng

Cheng Boh Ean..

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(2ndVersion in English)

Cicada is grieving

Why are you grieving?

Grieving to be married?

Married to who?

How about the inflorescence then?

But the inflorescence needs to sway to the wind

Why not the medium then?

But the medium needs to perform his prayers

Why not the milk then?

But the milk needs to be weened

Why not the egg then?

But the eggs need to be sliced

Why not the book then?

But the book needs to study

Why not the ink then?

But the inkstone needs to be grounded

Why not the snake then?

But the snake needs to be caught

Why not the clogs then?

But the clogs needs to be worn

Why not the gun then?

But there is no smoke emitting from the gun..

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(3rd Version in Hokkien)

Um Po Cheh

Khow Ai Ai

Khow Snia Tai

Buek Chiak Chai

Chai Boh Heok

Khoon Phua Chiok

Chiok Oo Kharng

Chiak Bi Pharng

Bi Pharng Kau

Chiak Thor Tau

Thor Tau Teng

Koay Hor Teng

Hor Teng Kuan

Chiak Sng Uan

Sng Uan Layng

Phuay Geng Geng

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(3rd Version in English)

Cicada sadly grieving

Why do you grieve?

Craving for vegetables

But the vegetables has no leaves

Sleeping on a soiled mat

But the mat has a hole

Eat the rice crackers then

But the rice cracker is thick

Eat the groundnuts then

But the groundnuts are hard

So I crossed over the threshold

But the threshold is high

So I sucked on ice balls

But the ice balls are cold

So I eat it with longans..

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About this rhyme:~

“Um Po Cheh” literally mean “Cicada” is one rhyme that explains the triviality of finding the right marriage 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 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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Peh Bak Bai

(1st Version in Hokkien)

Ang Kong Sai

Peh Bak Bai

Bo Lang Chnia

Kar Ki Lai

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(1st Version in English)

God’s Medium (holy men)

With white eye brows

No one invited you

Yet you came!

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(2nd Version in Hokkien)

Thor Tay Kong

Peh Bak Bai

Bo Lang Chnia

Kar Ki Lai

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(2nd Version in English)

God of Earth (a deity)

With white eye brows

No one invited you

Yet you came!

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About this rhyme:~

“Peh Bak Bai” or “White Eye Brows” speaks about gatecrashers. The Thor Tay Kong or “God of Earth” as expressed in the second version is one of the many revered deities that a practicing Taoist believed in..

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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It Pang Kay

(Version in Hokkien)

It Pang Kay

Ji Pang Ak

Snar Pun Chuay

Si Sio Thar

Goh Phar Heng

Lak Phar Chiu

Chit Pien Khew

Peh Bong Phni

Kow Kar Hi

Chap Phar Khar

Chap It Long Chong Sar

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(1st Version in English)

The first rears chickens

Second rears ducks

Third blows the horn

Fourth stacks some stuffs

Fifth beats his chest

Sixth clap hands

Seventh got all wrinkled

Eight touches his nose

Ninth(dog) bite the ears

Tenth beat the legs

Eleventh grabs all..

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About this rhyme:~

This rhyme revolves around one man’s offspring hence all the differing characters..

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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It Leh It Thay Thay

(1st Version in Hokkien)

It Leh It Thay Thay

Ji Leh Chang Khar Chay

Snar Leh Oo Bi Chu

Si Leh Oo Tharn Thay

Goh Leh Goh Iak Iak

Lak Leh Choe Khit Chiak

Chit Leh Keng

Peh Leh Poo

Kow Leh Chng Heng Khoo

Chap Leh Tiong Chin Soo

Chap It Beh Bor Choe Tua Ku

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(1st Version in English)

The first is irresponsible

The second is always busy

The third has rice to cook

The fourth has time to rest

The fifth is temperamental

The Sixth is a beggar

The seventh is poor

The eight is wealthy

The ninth is always regretful

The tenth is a scholar

The eleventh knows no shame..

(2nd Version in Hokkien)

It Leh It Thay Thay

Ji Leh Thow Liak Kay

Snar Leh Oo Bi Chu

Si Leh Oo Pnui Chuay

Goh Leh Goh Iak Iak

Lak Leh Choe Khit Chiak

Chit Leh Keng

Peh Leh Poo

Kow Leh Kim Cheng Koo

Chap Leh Tong Chin Soo

Chap It Beh Bor Choe Tua Ku

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(2ndVersion in English)

The first is irresponsible

The second steals chicken

The third has rice to cook

The fourth has abundance

The fifth is temperamental

The sixth is a beggar

The seventh is poor

The eight is prosperous

The ninth has a golden mortar and pestle

The tenth is a scholar

The eleventh knows no shame..

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About this rhyme:~

This rhyme is about the story of a man with many sons, each with a different personality.

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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Sin Neow Hor Huay Sio

(Version in Hokkien)

Sin Neow Hor Huay Sio

Knia Sai Puak Lo Kio

Chin Keh Chneh Mm How How Kio

Tiok Bay Chai

Tiok Bey Bay Kiam Chai

Kiam Chai Eya Bey Bay

Khi Chiak Lau Chim Poe Eh Khar Chnooi Phay

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(Version in English)

Bride perished in a fire

Groom jumps from the bridge

The in-laws was seen grieving

We must buy vegetables

We need to buy salted vegetables

Salted vegetables hasn’t been bought

Go and eat the skin of your grandaunts buttock..


About this rhyme:~

Sin Neow Hor Huay Sio is a rhyme not commonly recited. It speaks of tragedy yet the last line sounded strange..

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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Liew Liew Liew

(1st Version in Hokkien)

Liew Liew Liew

Heh Bo Chiew

Chia Kay Bah

Oon Tow Eu

Chiak Tin Na

Lau Bak Eu!

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(1st Version in English)

Shame! shame! shame!

Prawns without whiskers!

Eating chicken meat

With soy sauce

Beaten with a cane

Shed tears!

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(2nd Version in Hokkien)

Liew Liew Liew

Heh Bo Chiew

Chia Kay Bah

Oon Tow Eu

Chiak Si Kay

Boh Liam Tor

Chiak Si Niau Choo Buay

Bo Cheng Khor

Chow Khi Ow Buay Lor

Thow Th’ng Khor!

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(1st Version in English)

Shame! shame! shame!

Prawns without whiskers!

Eating chicken meat

With soy sauce

Eating dead chicken

Without removing the innards

Eating dead rat’s tails

Without wearing your trousers

Went to the backlane

Pretend to remove your trousers!

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About this rhyme/ditty:~

Similar to “Sun Kiew Kiew“, Liew Liew Liew is commonly heard in street games when we laugh at others shameful silliness, all in the name of fun!

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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Um Mong Mong

(1st Version in Hokkien)

Um Mong Mong

Niow Chu Kong

Amah Phar Ah Kong

Ah Kong Peh Khi Chang

Amah Chuey Bo Lang

Ah Kong Jiang Chit Snia

Amah Tio Chneh Knia!

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(1st Version in English)

A dark night

Grandfather rat

Grandma beat up grandpa

Grandpa took refuge up on the tree

Grandma couldn’t find him

Grandpa shouts so loud

Grandma was so shocked!

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(2nd Version in Hokkien)

Um Mong Mong

Niow Chu Kong

Kar Ku Kong

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(2nd Version in English)

A dark night

Grandfather rat

Bit grandpa.

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(3rd Version in Hokkien)

Um Mong Mong

Amah Tui Ah Kong

Ah Kong Peh Khi Chang

Amah Chuey Bo Lang

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(3rd Version in English)

A dark night

Grandma chases grandpa

Grandpa took refuge up on the tree

Grandma couldn’t find him.

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(4th Version in Hokkien)

Um Mong Mong

Niow Chu Kong

Amah Chuey Ah Kong

Ah Kong Peh Khi Chang

Amah Chuey Bo Lang

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(4th Version in English)

A dark night

Grandfather rat

Grandma was looking for grandpa

Grandpa took refuge up on the tree

Grandma couldn’t find him.

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About this rhyme:~

“Um Mong Mong” or “A Dark Night”  describes a minor row between a golden age couple. In the early days, an extended family concept is extremely popular whereby families were encouraged to live together under one roof except for the daughters who are to be given way once they tied the knot. As a mother who bears many children who then bears her grandchildren, she is automatically elevated to the rank of matriarch~ a sort of unofficial commander of the house who makes the laws, decides on everything and oversees the daily running of it hence, the inclination towards female domination expressed in this ditty! This rhyme is very similar to another rhyme titled “Kim Po Ka Ku Kong

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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Lo Kay Khi Thit Tho

(Version in Hokkien)

Cho Lo Cho

Lo Kay Khi Thit Tho

Tu Tio Chit Tin Char Bor Po

Teng War Ee

Hak War Ee

Thok Snar Ka Thok Si

Kong Snar Thok Si Bo Chai Kang

Chin Chnia Beh Cho Tui Bin Kang

Lin Nya Kharm Guan Nya

Boey Bo Buay Seng Cho Tok Thau Seng Kniar

Lin Tia Kharm Guan Tia

Pheng Kim Buay Seng Kong Tok Phua Kow Sia

Bo Keo Chay Gu Chia

Bo Bo Tio Ti How Hnia

Bo Bin Chng To Phar Phor

Bo Kow Eee Tok Chay Chiok Or

Bo Ean Chi Tok Gia Ean Thoon Si Snuar Kor

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(Version in English)

Come let’s go

Let us go down town to have some fun

Met a group of young damsels

Found someone I could relate to

Busily engaged in a conversation

It is no use trifling

More importantly both sides has to meet

Your mother and my mother

Even when nothing had been agreed upon, they began arranging

Your father and my father

As for the dowry, consider it withheld for the time being

No sedan chair but a bullock cart

No hat to wear but a scoop

No proper bed but a mat

No chairs except for spittoons

No lipsticks so, can we replace it with the soot from the flames?

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About this rhyme/ditty:~

This rhyme/ditty describes the dilemma couples has to face especially to those whose family are from different social status.

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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