When words fail, use idioms… Hokkien style (57)

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.

學好三年,學壞三日 ô ho san ni,

ô p’ai san dit

learn good in three years, learn bad in three days learning good is much harder than learning evil or maliciousness


um tian lao lang gian, tsia k’ui ti bak tsian not listening to elders’ words, suffering is right in front of your sight it pays to listen to what old people say to prevent from suffering losses
乞丐發大願 k’it tsia huat

tua guan

beggars making big vow describing people who make empty and unrealistic promises
嚴官府出厚賊 giam kuan hu tsut kao tsat strict officer produce more thieves even under rigorous watch of authority, subordinates still dare to fool around
好人毋做,要做壞人 ho lang um tsue, bê tsue pa’i lang don’t want to be good person, rather do bad describing someone who just wants to do shortcuts and take a wrong path
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