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.


(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.


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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