Ang Pow Giving

On the first day of Chinese New Year as Confucianist practice dictates, the entire household of an extended family would tidy themselves up, all nicely coiffured before presenting themselves to the head of the household, (generally the matriarch) to receive special blessings and ang pows (red colored packets containing money symbolizing good luck, prosperity, great health and joy). As receiving ang pows is hierarchical, so it is with the givers, each taking turns distributing whilst juniors kow tow and wish ‘Keong Hee Huat Chye’ as a mark of respect to the givers. In our family we went a step further by serving tea to the elders. It is also customary that once a child got married, they are obligated to give ang pows to their parents. The unmarried are exempted from ang pow giving because to the Chinese, they are still rated a child. Thus, any family members can receive ang pows for as long as they remained single. In our Hokkien tradition, only the womenfolk gives away ang pows. Reason is that the menfolk are supposedly the breadwinners of the family whilst the womenfolk are in charge of household affairs.

This is my extended family.

1st pic- my grandma Gek Kee, receiving blessings from my great grandma, matriarch Saw Kit, at Boon Siew Mansion. Generally as a senior in the family herself, my grandma is no longer entitled to ang pows but I guess that also depends on the generosity of individuals and the wealth of each family.. Matriarch Saw Kit’s life sized bronze statue still graces the Home of the Infirmary, Penang.

2nd pic- Aunt Guat Eng, Aunt Gim Ean (deceased), Aunt Guat Hong, Aunt Loh Ean, Uncle Kah Poh (deceased), unidentified Aunt and my mom (deceased). Aunt Guat Hong and 2nd Tniau Seng Leong kow towed.

3rd pic- Tiny tots group pic with matriarch. Kah Heng (deceased), Kah Bee, and Kah Kheng (deceased).

An extended family has added advantages except for privacy and at least three generations of one household lives and stays together. That was the in -thing of that period for well to do family’s with big houses.

Images copyrighted. Circa 50s.

Lang Ean Tau

(Version in Hokkien)

Lang Ean Tau

Cheng Snar Oo Bak Thau

Lau Peh Oo Tiam Thau

Khwi Khi Lai Tay Eya Oo Swnar Thau

Chay Motor Ay Gia Chiar Thau

Kong Uwa Ko Chong Thau.

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(Version in English)

You are a handsome man

And you wear branded clothes

Your dad is a shopowner

When you dig into your pocket, cash is plentiful

When riding a motorbike, you can perform stunts

And when you talk, the crowd is guaranteed to listen!

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About this rhyme:~

This ditty is more of a banter meant to praise guys who are handsome. When recited, it is guaranteed to put a smile on their faces.

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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Bak Hoo

(Version in Hokkien)

Lang Oo Ean Sio Tu

Lai Chi Peng Chniar Lu Chiak Bak Hoo

Nar Chiak Nar Beautiful

Chiak Loke Khi Lu Powerful

Nar Chiak Nar Wonderful

Um Meh Ko Ay Phak Chinese Kung Fu

Tuar Ti Bin Ch’ng Ko Ay Kar Ee Luan Luan Bu

Um Meh Ni Ko Ay Kar Ee Sneh Kong Chu

Lang Peng Ewe Eh Kau Koo Koo

Ar Bay Kau Ang Mor Uwa Kio BladyFool

Lang Lai Chi Peng Oo Ean Sio Tu

Kinna Jit War Bay Cho Cheng Hoo

Kar Khi Bay Bak Hoo

Bak Hoo Ko Chay Chay

Nar Chiak Nar Ho Say!

Lai Chi Peng Ko Oo Kow Ee Thang Chay

Ho Chiak Ay Si Ko Bay Chay Chay

Eng Lai Chit Peng Chay

Khar Eng Ko Khee Siam Tay

Cho Ong Tay!

Ginseng Tay Tay

Seng Chiak Por Sim Thay

Chiak Par Pnuar Mien Say

Por Lu Ay Sim Thay

Ko Por Lu Ay Khar Tay

Um Meh Ko Oo Lart Chniau Karaoke

Pang Keh Ko Ay Lai Holiday

War Eh Lang Ay

Pai Khar Ko Tay

Ang Mor Uwa Kio Everyday

Wa Ji Lai Bay Hoo Tay

Seng Chiak Seng Ho

Khoon Chneh Ar Mien Huan Lo

Chiak Par Khnua Astro

Um Meh Thiau Disco

Beh Chiar Bay Bakerol

Ch’oot Mooi Mm Si Chay Volvo

Chay Backerol

Meh Si Lu Ko Ay Cho Hero

Lang Ko Chin Ho

Lang Lang Khnuar Tiok Lang Lang Ko Ti O Lo

Oo Lang O Lo Tapi Bo Lang Tau

Liow Lu Chiak Liow Ko Chin Chniar Ean Tow

Tay Ya Ko Oo Sau

Bo Lai Chit Peng Chiak

Toe Chiak Teh Lau!

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(Version in English)

It is fate that made us meet

You come here and I treat you with “meat floss”

The more you eat the more beautiful you become

After eating you become more powerful

As you eat you feel more wonderful

In the evening you can display your Chinese Kung Fu

On the bed you are still very capable

At night you can still make scholarly babies

Our friendship will last long

If we can’t click, the English will call it “BladyFool”

When we come here its because of fate that makes us meet

Today I can’t form the government

Therefore I became a “Meat Floss” seller

“Meat Floss” aplenty

The more you eat the more prosperous you become!

Each time you come there will be seats for you

If it tasted good then you can buy more

Do drop by when you are free

If you are freer then maybe you’d go Thailand

And become an emperor!

Ginseng is short

If you eat it before others then it will benefit your body

After finishing you don’t need to wash the crockeries

It has nutritious value for your body

And it even benefits the sole of your feet

At night you have good strength to sing the Karaoke

When the school term breaks, you can come for a holiday

My person is short

Cripple and short

The English says “Everyday”

If you come often I will have trouble to keep it in containers

It is better if you eat first

When you are awake there is no need to worry

After eating you can watch “Astro” (our local tv channel provider)

At night you can dance the Disco

Buy a car, buy a Backerol

When you go out you don’t sit on a Volvo

But a Backerol

At night you can also be a Hero

And possess a good disposition

Everyone who sees you will be full of praises

Many will be flattering you and no one will speak bad about you

And after eating you will be more handsome!

And pocket loaded with Cash

If you don’t come here to eat

Most likely you are dining in a High Class Restaurant!

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About the Rhyme:~

This is a modern lengthy Hokkien Rhyme concocted by a ‘Bak Hoo Seller’ in Lorong Selamat to promote her meat floss. Armed with wit, she keeps her guests entertained with her rhyme while selling her meat floss.

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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Cantik Si Sooi

(Version in Hokkien)

Cantik Si Sooi

Hantu Si Kooi!

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(Version in English)

Cantik means pretty

Hantu means ghost!

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About the Rhyme:~

This rhyme teases damsels who were overly coiffured and applied too much of ‘bedak sejuk’ (a local rice-based moisturising cake) on their faces that makes them look as pale as ghost. The words “cantik” and “hantu” is in Malay meaning “pretty” and “ghost” respectively.

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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Hokkien Lang

(Version in Hokkien)

Teochew Lang

Khar Chwni Ang Ang

Hokkien Lang

Bo Hai Lang

Kong Hu Lang

Kha Chwni Sneh Thang!

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(Version in English)

Teochew people

Flush buttocks

Hokkien people

Never causes harm

Cantonese people

Backside grows worms!

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About the Rhyme:~

This rhyme describes the difference between these three distinct groups of Chinese that landed in old Penang- the Teochews, Hokkiens and Cantonese. More often than not this rhyme causes others to chuckle when uttered.

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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Sim Pu Teh

(Version in Hokkien)

Sim Pu Teh Tiok Ai Lim

Lim Ka Liow Barn Barn Thoon

Meh Ni Siang Ch’ew Phoe Soon

Chit Pnua Ay Soon Ay Cho Seng Lee

Chit Pnua Ay Soon Ay Cho Loh Koon

Oo Looi Toke Bay Masli

Bo Looi Toke Bay Datsun!

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(Version in English)

Tea served by the daughter-in-law, one must drink

Slowly but surely one must fnish it

By next year both hands would have carried a grandchild

Half of the grandchildrens are businessman

While the other half are doctors

When one is rich buy a Mercedes

If one is poorer buy a Datsun!

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About the Rhyme:~

This is a  rhyme recited by the Mistress of Ceremony (Sang Keh Mm) wishing upon the parents of the wedded couple bountiful blessings for able descendants.

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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Oo Hau Bo Hau

(Version in Hokkien)

Oo Hau Ay Chow Wa Cho Koay

Bo Hau Ay Chow Wa Poon Keh Huay

Oo Hau Ay Knia Sai Pai Snar Pie

Bo Hau Ay Knia Sai Si Ang Mor Phai!

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(Version in English)

Filial daughters bake cakes

Unfilial daughters divides fortune

Filial sons bow thee times to pay respect

Unfilial sons are the Western educated ones!

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About the Rhyme:~

This is a  rhyme describing how marriages to Westerners are more than often frowned upon.

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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Koay E’ni

(Version in Hokkien)

Lang Ay E’ni

Lu Ay P’ni

Lang Ay Ang

Lu Ay Peh

Kau Tay Lu Ay Si Ang

Ar Si Peh?

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(Version in English)

Ours is round

Yours is flat

Ours is Red

Yours is white

Actually yors is Red

Or is it white?

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About the Rhyme:~

This is a Childrens’ rhyme heard during the Winter Solstice Festival which is a month before the Chinese New Year. These round glutinous rice balls are a sweet served in many colors but predominantly the colors are red and white. This soup is also served to couples during their wedding ceremony.

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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Si Cheng Bo Kniar

(Version in Hokkien)

Si Cheng Bo Kniar

Bo Tiam Sniar

Sien Kniar Bo Ch’arm

Toke Bo Mia Sniar!

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(Version in English)

If the clock doesn’t move

No one knows the time

If the ruffians do not mingle around

They wont be famous.

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About the Rhyme:~

This is a rhyme and an advice to those wanting to be inducted into bad company. That you cannot be one if you are forever an unknown and therefore one has to stake a fearless reputation for themselves before others could fear them!

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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Or Kow Na Bo Khaw

(Version in Hokkien)

Or Kow Na Bo Khaw

Bar Girl Eh Gia Lai Cho Bor

Bar Girl Na Oo Ch’eng

Chor Kong Toke Chin Leng!

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(Version in English)

The day Guinness Stout is no longer bitter

Then, bar girls could become a wife

If only bar girls could show some gratitude

Our ancestors will forever be at peace!

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About the Rhyme:~

This is a rhyme lamented by one who harbor deep resentment for bar girls perhaps because he has been fleeced by one, two many a time!

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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Ch’eng Snar Eh Ow Si Eh

(Version in Hokkien)

Ch’eng Snar Eh

Ow Si Eh

Ho Ay Lai

Ph’nai Ay Khi!

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(Version in English)

Flap three times up front

Flap four times behind

Let the good come

And the bad to leave!

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About the Rhyme:~

This is a ritualistic rhyme recited by the elderly when a member of their household falls sick unexpectedly. The old adage attributes it to evil spirits and therefore this practice entails the flapping of “hell notes” on that sick person while chanting that rhyme after which the notes were to be burnt and tossed to the ground. The elder would then circumvent the ashes before returning back to the house. Strange but true!

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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Ch’eng Kai Snar Ow Kai Si

(Version in Hokkien)

Ch’eng Kai Snar

Ow Kai Si

Sio Kar Chwni

Chi Chneh

Kow Thni Kwni

Nor Chneh

Jit Thau Chiok Khar Chwni!

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(Version in English)

Flap three times up front

Flap four times behind

Let the wave heat the buttocks

Upon the first rise of day

It’s already the breaking of dawn

On the second

The sun already shone on the backside.

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About the Rhyme:~

This is a ritualistic rhyme taught by taoist temple mediums to mothers. A sort of remedy to appease offsprings who appear restless and refuses to sleep. In this rite, the mother holds a stack of white papers and flap it on the baby while she utters the rhyme. At the end of it, that stack of paper was burnt. Of course, it is more or less a believe.

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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Ang Bin Kuan Kong

(Version in Hokkien)

Ang Bin Kuan Kong

Kong Jee Khi

Sien Kniar, Lai Bin

Kong Chua Ji!

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(Version in English)

Red face Deity (General Guan Yu)

Forever talks about integrity

Inside his temple, the loafers

Talks about money!

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About this rhyme:~

This is a  rhyme about the going ons  in the temple where the deity stands idly by watching the worshipers gamble.

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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Chay Sien Khiar Sien

(Version in Hokkien)

Chay Sien

Khiar Sien

Thnia Hood Keng

Thnia Liow

Hor Lang

Eh Sim Cheng Cheng

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(Version in English)

Sitting meditation

Standing meditation

Listening to the mantra chants

As one listens

It makes one

Feel at peace!

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About this rhyme:~

This is a  rhyme promoting one aspect of  Buddhist philosophy and that is the virtue of meditation which brings about attainable peace.

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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Ang Mor Chiak Bak

(Version in Hokkien)

Ang Mor Chiak Bak

Lu Chiak Kut

Ang Mor Pangsai

Lu Khi Put!

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(Version in English)

The westerners eat meat

You eat bones

When the westerners shit

You need to scoop!

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About this rhyme:~

This is a  rhyme that expresses disgust over the Westerners perhaps because of the centuries of Colonial ruling in olden day Malaya where the locals were being treated unfairly! Later this rhyme grew to show disgust over English educated locals by the ethnic school children who are envious of them for not being able to communicate in English themselves.

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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Ah Ch’eng Ah Ch’eng

(Version in Hokkien)

Ah Ch’eng, Ah Ch’eng

Tua Liap Leng

Gu Sio Tark

Beh Sio Ch’eng

Ch’eng Lai, Ch’eng Khi

Ch’eng Tiok Nor Liap Leng.

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(Version in English)

Ah Ch’eng Ah Ch’eng

With big buxoms

The cows step on each other

The horses were fighting

Exchanging punches here to there

Until they accidentally punched the two buxoms!

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About this rhyme:~

This is a  tall tale rhyme about two people in a row with the poor women being punched in her breasts. Presumably it is a lovers quarrel.

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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Lau Ah Pek

(Version in Hokkien)

Lau Ah Pek

Chua Wa Khi Thak Chek

A, B, C,

Sinseh Thau Chiak Kali

Wa Phak Lu 

Lu Phak Ee

Wa Sayang Lu

Lu Sayang Ee.

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(Version in English)

Old man

Brought me to school

A, B, C,

The teacher stole some curry

I beat you

You beat her

I love you

You love him.

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About this rhyme:~

This is a  schooltime teaser rhyme recited by children while playing.

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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Gia Hniau Gia Keh Keh

(Version in Hokkien)

Gia Hniau Gia Keh Keh

Kh’uai Kh’uai Cho Lau Peh

Gia Hniau Gia Kuan Kuan

Kh’uai Kh’uai Cho Chong Guan.

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(Version in English)

When the joss sticks are held low

One would soon become a father

When the joss sticks are held high

One would soon become a high official!

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About this rhyme/saying:~

This is a  rhyme recited by the “Sang Keh Mm” (Mistress of Ceremony) with the wish for the bridegroom to be blessed with great success and lots of 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 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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Char Bor Bo Ch’eng

(Version in Hokkien)

Char Bor Bo Ch’eng

Siang Ka Ong Lai

Thai Cho Nor Peng.

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(Version in English)

A flirtatious woman

Is like a pineapple

Split into two!

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About this rhyme/saying:~

This is a  rhyme/saying sought to tell the listener of some flirtatious women in the act of betrayal. In this instance a pineapple known for its sweet taste but sometimes bites our tongue is used to describe the relationship.

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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Ah Kong Bo Looi Ah Kong Oo Looi

(Version in Hokkien)

Ah Kong Bo Looi

Chang Aik Chap Tau Pun Ch’au

Knia Soon Pun Ow

Ah Kong Oo Looi

Chang Aik Bo Chit Air

Knia Soon Kooi Tua Air!

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(Version in English)

If your grandpa is poor

He would still be smelly even if he bathe ten times

And his grandchildren would also smell stale

But if your grandpa is rich

And he bathes not even close to a fifth of a second

His grandchildren would still surround him!

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About this rhyme/saying:~

This is a  rhyme/saying sought to tell the listener of the sad realities in life where money indeed could buy relations.

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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Chit Chieu Phak Nor Chieu Ch’eng

(Version in Hokkien)

Chit Chieu Phak

Nor Chieu Ch’eng

Ch’eng Lai, Ch’eng Khi

Ch’eng Kar Tai Siang Loh Koon

Chau Khi Ah Phien Keng!

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(Version in English)

One hand beat

Two hands box

Exchanging blows from here to there

Box till their guardian deity

Ran to the opium den!

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About this rhyme/ditty:~

This is a  rhyme/ditty that describes the seriousness of having a fight till the guardian spirit could even turn the other away. An opium den in those days is  place where addicts laze all day long without a care for the outside world hence in this instance it is apt to say their own deity would choose to withdraw his blessing and ignore them and they would be left unguarded if they choose to carry on fighting.

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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Chay It Char

(Version in Hokkien)

Chay It, Char

Chay Jee, Char

Chay Snar, Bo Sniar Kua

Chay Si, Khoon Ka Par!

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(Version in English)

First day, wake up early

Second day, wake up early

Third day, not much noise

Fourth day, sleep soundly!

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About this rhyme/ditty:~

This is a Chinese New Year rhyme/ditty. ‘Chay It’ means the 1st day of Chinese New Year, ‘Chay Jee’ means the 2nd day of Chinese New Year and so on and so forth. And after the first and second day of visiting and entertaining, the host will rest on the third day thence sleeping soundly on the fourth.

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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Kiau Bo Puak

(Version in Hokkien)

Kiau Bo Puak

Looi Tharn Bay Khnuar Uak

Kiau Na Puak

Si Ka Kh’nua Uak!

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(Version in English)

If one doesn’t gamble

All the money earned is meaningless

But when one gambles

It is more meaningful if one is dead!

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About this rhyme/ditty:~

This rhyme/ditty is a gambler’s own consolation and self reassurance to continue.

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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Ai Ai Bay Kiam Chai

(Version in Hokkien)

Ai Ai

Bay Kiam Chai

Sio Sio, Chit Ouar Lai

Leng Leng

Gua Mm Mai!

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(Version in English)

Ai Ai

Selling salted vegetables

Hot hot, bring me a bowl

Cold cold

Then I do not want it!

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About this rhyme/ditty:~

This rhyme/ditty is a teaser aimed at a lady named Ai Ai. The word ‘Leng Leng’ is a pun which could either mean ‘cold’ or ‘breast’.

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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Chiu Ow Gia Kuan Kuan

(Version in Hokkien)

Chiu Ow Gia Kuan Kuan

Kniar Soon Cho Chong Guan

Chiu Ow Gia Keh Keh

Meh Ni Cho Lau Peh

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(Version in English)

Raise your drinking glasses

Your descendants would become Court Officials

Holding your drinking glasses low

You would be a father by next year!

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About this rhyme/ditty:~

This rhyme/ditty is usually recited by the master of ceremony when toasting in a wedding function with a wish that the married couple would be blessed with successful 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 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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Chow Mek Kar Niau Mi

(Version in Hokkien)

Chow Mek Kar Niau Mi

Ka Kah Ngiang Ngiang How!

Lau Ah Po Heng Chua Ji

Heng Kah Ngiang Ngiang How!

Bak Sart Teng Kachuak

Kachuak Bok Bok Thiau

Bak Sart Si Khiau Khiau!

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(Version in English)

A grasshopper bit the kitten

The kitten cried out loud!

An old women pays her debts

Pay till she cried out loud!

A lice stung the cockroach

The cockroach jumps in a frenzy

The lice dies!

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About this rhyme/ditty:~

This rhyme/ditty came about to keep children entertained/distracted perhaps during bathing time when the water in the morning is so cold!

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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Chit Snua Koay Chit Snua

(Version in Hokkien)

Chit Snua Koay Chit Snua

Chuay Bo Niau Knia Lai Kow Suar.

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(Version in English)

Crossing one hill over another

Couldn’t find a rightful kitten to woo.

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About this rhyme/ditty:~

This rhyme/ditty screams of the anguish of a lonely heart in search of a suitor!

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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Puak Kiu

(Version in Hokkien)

Puak Kiu, Kiu Tiok Ai Liak

Puak Beh, Beh Tiok Ai Chiak

Puak Kor Phiok, Lang Tiok Ai Oo Giak.

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(Version in English)

In football betting, one must place stakes

In horse betting, the horse needs to eat

In buying shares, one must have sufficient capital.

Is out wandering !

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About this rhyme/saying:~

This rhyme/saying emphasizes the need of capital in all kinds of investment.

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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Poot Hau Ay Sim Poo

(Version in Hokkien)

Poot Hau Ay Sim Poo

Snar Twni Sio

Oo Hau Ay Chow Wa

Pnua Lor Eo!

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(Version in English)

The unfilial daughter-in-law

Keeps the daily three meals warm

Whereas her own filial daughter

Is out wandering !

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About this rhyme/saying:~

Life is full of contradictions. This rhyme/saying describes the sad state of affairs in some families whee an old mother needs to depend on her unfilial daughter-in-law for her three meals when her own daughter do not give much thought to her welfare.

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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Tiau Hwa

(Version in Hokkien)

Tiau Kooi Na Pak

Toe Bay Bong Tiok Bak

Tiau Kooi Na Cheng

Toe Bay Bong Tiok Leng!

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(Version in English)

To give away hundred dollars worth of garlands

Doesn’t mean you are allowed to touch her flesh

To give away thousand dollars worth of garlands

Doesn’t mean you are allowed to touch her breast!

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About this rhyme/saying:~

This rhyme/saying is rather crude but advises patrons especially those who frequent night clubs to be prudent in spending when lavishing performers with costly garlands..

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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