Idioms...Hokkien style

When words fail, use idioms… Hokkien style (56)

Hokkien, on the tongues of Tsinoys, has grown and evolved, taking on a life of its own. Sometimes words simply fail us. With some creativity, Tsinoys have strung together words to form colorful phrases that simply hit the bull’s eye. Here are some expressions unique to Hokkien as favored by Tsinoys.



gin-na ai ni-tao, tua-lang duan tsao tsao children like New Year, adults are in a mess describing children are worry-free while parents bears all the burden
送番薯回芋 sang han-tsi he oo give sweet potato, receive taro give something and receive something in return, proper behavior of reciprocity


sin sai-hak,

ho pang-sai

new toilet, comfortable pooping everything new is nice and good to use


kue-neng bat bat, ah u p’ang egg is sealed but has unseen slit nothing can be kept as absolute secret


lang kong um t’ian, kui kio kuan kin tsao not listen when a person talks but quickly runs when a ghost calls tendency to listen to others rather than one’s own family