When words fail, use idioms… Hokkien style (64)

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.

顧鼎頂也著顧鼎下 ko tian ting ya tio ko tian eh take care of wok top, as well as wok bottom take care of things from all aspects
賊走才關門 tsat tsao tsa kuin meng closing the door after the thief left Taking futile and useless measures after disaster happens
一樣米餵百樣人 tsit iun bee chi pâ iun lang one variety of rice feeds hundred kinds of people Same effort done on things but end up with various results
一面抹壁雙面光 tsit bin bua pia sang bin keng Wiping one side of wall but end up both sides of the wall bright and clean clever efforts done to accomplish more than expected
一雞死一雞啼 tsit kue si tsit kue t’i one rooster dead, one rooster crow losing something but gaining another
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