(Version in Hokkien)
Par Sarng Kuat Kuat
Tay Yar Boh Chit Puat
(Version in English)
Dressed up dandily
But however, one’s pocket are empty.
About this rhyme/saying:~
This Hokkien rhyme/saying is meant to poke fun but sometimes used sarcastically at people who are overtly concern about their clothing and appearance as quite often, it had been proven that these “dandys”, though they looked good are more than often broke! The word “puat” has been used by Penang Hokkiens since time immemorial and “Chit Puat” would mean “10 cents” as “Nor Puat” would mean “20 cents”. It is not known how the word “Puat” originated but I have a strong notion “Puat” could be borrowed from Thailand whose own currency is called “Baht” as the pronunciation is quite similar. However, if the denomination goes lower that 10 cents, then, we called it “lui” which could understandably have been borrowed from the “Dutch East Indies” who once issues currency known as “doit” which the Malay Peninsular later adapted it as “duit”. If the amount reaches a “Dollar” and beyond, it automatically switches to “Khaw” hence “Chit Khaw” means “One Dollar” and “Charp Khaw” means “Ten Dollars”. As an avid numismatist myself, I have never for once ever come across a denomination called “Khaw” if one were to research back the currencies used by the traders of the East since the Kingdom of Malacca exist. It might be of interest to history buffs that the northern states of Malaysia comprising Trengganu, Kelantan, Perlis, Kedah and Penang were once principalities of Siam till the 1800’s.
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..