A-E-I-O-U

(1st Version in Hokkien)

A-E-I-O-U

Ah Mor Bay Sau Chiew!

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(1st Version in English)

A-E-I-O-U

Englishman sells brooms!

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(2nd Version in Hokkien)

A-E-I-O-U

Apek Bay Sau Chiew

Sau Chiew Lin Loke Hai

Apek Chiak Kow Sai!

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(2nd Version in English)

A-E-I-O-U

Old man sells brooms

The brooms tumble into the sea

The old man thus eats doggie stools!

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About this rhyme/ditty:~

A-E-I-O-U just like “Ting Tong Tiang” is a traditional Hokkien rhyme/ditty recited in street games like “ar-chi-lo” (chasing) or “ba-ku-li” (marbles)! Very much like the tossing of the coin to determine which side shall start off with the game, this rhyme/ditty works in the same style but its usefulness became apparent when an unspecified number of individual players is involved in the game. As he recites each syllable, the player appointed by the group to recite the rhyme/ditty will point his finger concurrently to the next player gathered in front of him be it in clockwise or anticlockwise fashion and the person pointed at when the last syllable is recited would become the seeker. For example, in the game of hide and seek, the person pointed at shall be the seeker and the rest will all hide.

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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Ting Tong Tiang

(Version in Hokkien)

Ting Tong Tiang

Chui Chui Pang Phooi, Chow Hiam Hiam

Chiak Si Kay, Bo Liam Tor

Chiak Si Neow Choo Buay, Bo Cheng Khor

Chow Khi Ow Buay Lor, Thow Thng Khor

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(Version in English)

Ting Tong Tiang

Who was the one emitting the smelly spicy fart?

Like eating a dead chicken, without the guts removed

Like eating a dead rats tail, without wearing ones trousers

Run to the back lane, pretending to take off the trousers.

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About this rhyme/ditty:~

“Ting Tong Tiang”, just like “Chui Lo Chui Peng Peng” is a childs Hokkien rhyme/ditty recited in street games like “ar-chi-lo” (chasing) or “ba-ku-li” (marbles)! Very much like the tossing of the coin to determine which side shall start off with the game, this rhyme/ditty works in the same style but its usefulness became apparent when an unspecified number of individual players is involved in the game. As he recites each syllable, the player appointed by the group to recite the rhyme/ditty will point his finger concurrently to the next player gathered in front of him be it in clockwise or anticlockwise fashion and the person pointed at when the last syllable is recited would become the seeker. For example, in the game of hide and seek, the person pointed at shall be the seeker and the rest will all hide.

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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Oo Lay Ho Mnia Knia

(Version in Hokkien)

Oo Lay Ho Mnia Knia

Oo Looi Bay Hiow Siew

Cha Bor Luan Chu Tui

Tatajit Lim Chiu Chui

Ch’arm Ah Kow Ah Niau

Keh Lor Luan Chu Siau

Tuay Lang Puak Tua Kiau

Keh Hoay Su Liau Liau

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(Version in English)

Some wealthy children

Fritter away their money

Womanizing

Getting drunk everyday

Mixing with bad hats

Painting the town red with their pranks

Imitating others by placing high stakes on the gambling table

And finally squanders off everything he has.

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About this Rhyme/Saying:~

This Hokkien Rhyme/Saying speaks about the habits of some very rich kids who were endowed with so much wealth yet do not know how to be prudent till one day all their wealth/ inheritance got squandered off by their own carelessness. Especially on the gambling table.

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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Chiak Ka Lau Oak Ka Lau

(Version in Hokkien)

Chiak Ka Lau, Oak Ka Lau

Chiak Ka Si, Oak Ka Si

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(Version in English)

To be able to eat till one’s old age is to learn till one is old in age

To be able to eat till one dies is to learn till one dies.

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About this Rhyme/Proverb/Saying:~

This Hokkien Rhyme/Proverb/Saying sounds good to the ear and speaks a lot of truth. Truth that the Chinese believe in~ that education is but a lifelong learning process. Recognizing the importance of education, Chinese parents try to provide the best they could to educate their young as the reward is always certain.

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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Mak Ee Po

(Version in Hokkien)

Mak Ee Po, Chin Lo So

Ai Hor Lang Pho Ka So

Pak Lang Suka Chiak Tupat

Ee Lay Tet Pet Tho Bee Ko

Kong Uwa Kong Ka Khi Chui Tar

Kh’nwa Tiok Chui To Khar Kin Sar

Long Phuar Gilai Khi Latar

Tua Jiang Tua Ow Boh Lasa

Lau Liau Kong Uwa Ai Nyanyok

Lang Hiam Ka Lang Khi Hamok

Lang Kong Tang, Ee Leh Kong Sai

Lang Ch’io Chai, Ee To Mm Chai

Bodoh Swine Ko Gong Tua Tai

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(Version in English)

Old grand-aunt is a fussy pot

Craving for attention

When others prefer Ketupat (a Malay savory made of rice)

She would specially ask for Bee Ko (a sweet sticky Chinese savory made of glutinous rice)

She talks so much till her throat dries

When she saw a glass of water she would quickly seize it

And once she broke a glass she was really mad!

She screams and shouts without any care!

She is old and a little senile

When others accuses her she vent her anger

When others say East(one thing), she would say West(another)

When others laugh with approval, she would do otherwise

A silly swine and also unwise!

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About this Rhyme:~

This Hokkien Rhyme is an entertaining mix of two languages English and Malay used intermittently with the Hokkien lingo but quite biased in nature as it pokes fun at the older generation in this case, an old auntie whom the locals like to call them “Mak Ee Po’s” ( purely a Hokkien Phrase) which literally means the same thing. Well, as age would have it, one could do things a little odd due to senility but calling them a silly swine and a little unwise is a little offensive.

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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Botoi Ah Chek

(Version in Hokkien)

Botoi Ah Chek  Thnar Na Kuay

At Chiu Kio Ee Lai Khnua Huay

Butut, Botoi Kheok Chit Tui

Tin-Tin, Kong-Kong Kwi Tuar Tui

Khik Khik, Khok Khok ,Pai Hor Ee Snooi

Cho Sio Seng Lee Pneh Pneh Tharn Looi.

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(Version in English)

The bottle collector just passes us by

Waving and wanting him to come and see our wares

The glass bottles are sorted into one group

Cans and tins are everywhere

All other items are brought out for him to count

It is a small business that benefits both the seller and the buyer.

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About this Rhyme:~

This Hokkien Rhyme describes a trade that has seen its heydays. These bottle collectors are still around but nowadays they no longer go door to door on a tricycle to signal their presence. They have runners who pick them up from thrash bins or sites or people who would personally bring it to them to be sold. What they do is to buy it cheap, wash dry, sought it out and resell it to those who needed it. Of course they have a shop where one can visit. Some even dealt with old newspapers, furnitures etc. As for the cans and tins they gather, they have traders who picks them up to be melted down and recycled for other uses. Most of these bottle collectors are Indian.

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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Cho Lang

(Version in Hokkien)

Cho Lang Mai Sniau Kuay Thow

Tua Ti Si Karn Cho Gau Gau

Cho Lang Mai Sniau Kuay Hoon

Hibang Ch’oot Ho Knia Ho Soon

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Oo Lang Cho Ka Chin Ch’nia Tau

Ko Ork, Ko Tork, Ko Ow, Ko Chau

Ko Tharm, Ko Karn, Ko Ph’nai, Ko N’gai

Sneh Choot Lai Cho Luan Say Kai

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Ow Barn, Pi Pi, Soh Chok So Oui

Kow Siok Sneh Lang Hen Pian Mor Kooi

Chau Khar, Chiak Hor, Chiak Chniau

Arn Chnua Cho Ka Ar Neh Si Now

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Ph’ni Lang, Thye Lang, Pang Huay

Arneh Ee Cho Hami Kuay

Hai Lang Knia, Hai Lang Bor

Hai Lang Kui Keh Siu Tua Khor

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Hor Lang Keh Pnua Jin Bong

Cho Aneh Hami Song

Kholien Jin Seng Siu Pee Ai

Sia Huay Lang Kaki Po Huai

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Bo Chye Kharn Khor Chee Khi Lai

Liau Lien Tua Harn Pian Chin Ph’nai

Ho Knia Cho Ka Arneh Chau

Lang Hibang Th’arn Ho Chiak Lau

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Sneh Mia Si Chiam See

Ho Ph’nai Pun Tiok Si

Hamisu Cho Ka Arneh Suay

Lang Gin, Lang Leh, Barn Barn Puay

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Tay Eh Ho Mai Sneh Choot Lai

Na Si Lang Eh Mia Li Si Cho Phnai

Tisi Ka Ai Sniau Buek Keh

 Tarn Si Ki Teng Tarn Balu Chneh!

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(Version in English)

As a human, one must not go overboard

In this lifetime we must do good

As a human, never cross that line

So that one can wish for good descendants

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Some people became overbearing and proud

Fierce, cruel, repulsive, dirty

Greedy, wily, naughty and stubborn

Being born this way so as to bring havoc to this world

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Stubborn, outrageous, downright a disgust

To be born a human but alas! became devilish

Deceitful and a very big cheat

How did one become such a tyrant?

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To bully, to kill, to arson

Should one be such an antagonist?

Harming children, harming wives

Causing families untold suffering

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Uprooting family ties

What satisfaction do you gain?

It is a pity when others suffer this way

When social unrest became the order of the day

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It is not easy to raise them up

It is unfortunate when they grew up to be bad

A good kid became so despicable

When what others wish is to live a good rewarding life

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Our live is but temporary

Good or Bad we will one day die

Why must one act so ruthlessly?

People hate, people scorn, every single day

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It is better not to be born at all

If one’s fate is to do evil

When then is one going to change?

Wait till the four nails sound before one realizes!

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About this Rhyme/Proverb/Saying:~

This traditional long winded Hokkien Rhyme describes the undesired consequence of having naughty children.

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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Thow Thow Kawan

(Version in Hokkien)

Thow Thow Kawan

Buay Lai Lawan

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(Version in English)

Friends at the very beginning

Enemies in the end.

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About this Rhyme/Saying:~

This Hokkien Rhyme/Saying describes the undesired consequence of friends turning foe. Note that the word ‘kawan’ meaning ‘friends’ and ‘lawan’ meaning ‘fight’ is borrowed from the Malay lingua but nevertheless has been part of our Hokkien colloquial since time immemorial.

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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Cho Lang Ay Tai Chi

(Version in Hokkien)

Phian Lang Ay Tai Chi

Kuay Liow Keh Bay Ki

Lau Lang Ay Tai Chi

Thau Thau Keh Ho Ee

Chiak Lang Ay Tai Chi

Chiak Liow Bo Por Pi

Ch’niow Lang Ay Tai Chi

Liong Sim Tok Loke Khi

Hai Lang Ay Tai Chi

Arn Chnua Cho Ay Khi

Thye Lang Ay Tai Chi

Sim Knua Kuay Ay Khi

Ph’ni Lang Ay Tai Chi

Lang Meh Lang Siew Khi

Parn Lang Ay Tai Chi

Lang Liak Lai Chut Khi

Uan Siew Lang Ay Tai Chi

Giar Ch’or Lim Loke Khi

Ch’io Lang Ay Tai Chi

Giar Knia Chiok Ka Ki

Larng Lang Ay Tai Chi

Giar Lang Cho Bakuli

Eong Lang Ay Tai Chi

Bo Cheng Kow Bui Khi

Cho Lang Ay Tai Chi

Oui Lang Oui Ka Ki

Siang Uak Pneh H’nua Hee

Peng Arn Kuay Jit Chi

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(Version in English)

After you have lied

You pretend it never happened

Before you bluff

You pretended to be nice

If you cheat

You will never gain blessings

If  you rob

Where then is your mercy?

If you harm others

What overcame you?

If you kill

Won’t your heart be troubled?

If you take advantage of others

Won’t you invoke resentment and anger?

If you betray others

Won’t they betray you back?

If you are envious of others

Try drinking a cup of vinegar

Before you laugh at others

Look at yourself in the mirror

If you tease others

You are treating them like marbles

When you use others

You bark like an ungrateful dog

To be human beings

We must all be mindful of others

We all lived together hence let us all be equally happy

And live out each day in peace.

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About this rhyme:~

“Don’t do to others what we don’t want others to do to us” is the whole gist of what this rhyme is all about. The phrase “Chiak Chor” in the Hokkien lingo means to be envious but if each of the words “Chiak” and “Chor” has its own meaning. “Chiak” means “Eat” and “Chor” means “Vinegar”. When used together, it can be taken to mean “Eat Vinegar” hence that expression “Try drinking a cup of vinegar”.

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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Chui Chui Kio Lu

(Version in Hokkien)

Chui Chui Kio Lu Tai

Beh Hiow Mai

Tong Kim Chiak Kiam Chye

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Chui Chui Kio Lu Gong

Beh Hiow Long

Tong Kim Chiak Tombong

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Chui Chui Kio Lu Puak

Beh Hiau Suak

Tong Kim Chiak Hong Kuak (pang kuang)

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Chui Chui Kio Lu Suay

Beh Hiow Puay

Tong Kim Bay Tit Kuay

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Chui Chui Kio Lu Sor

Beh Hiow Kor

Tong Kim Chiak Huan Chu Or

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Chui Chui Kio Lu Siau

Beh Hiow Liau

Tong Kim Chiak Loti Tiau

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(Version in English)

Who ask you to be stupid

Don’t know how to refuse

And ended up eating salted vegetables

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Who ask you to be stupid

Not to make some noise

And ended up eating old coconut seedbuds

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Who ask you to gamble

Never knowing when to stop

And ended up eating turnips

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Who ask you to be so unfortunate

Never knowing when to fly away

And ended up living by the day

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Who ask you to be foolish

Not knowing how to take care

And ended up eating sweet potatoes with yam

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Who told you to be foolish

Not knowing when to run off

And ended up eating bread sticks

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About this rhyme:~

This is more of an advise rather than a rhyme recited in retrospect towards someone else’s foolishness that sealed their fate. Coconut seedbuds, salted vegetables, sweet potatoes with yam, bread sticks, these are traditional dishes of the needy and the desperate and therefore it is being used in this rhyme to mean hardship suffered. Each stanza is a ‘haiku’ by itself and can be used separately making this a very interesting rhyme.

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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