When words fail, use idioms… Hokkien style (66)

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.

想空想縫 sniu k’ang sniu p’ang thinking of space and gaps thinking of means for one’s own benefit
雞母拖秤錘 kue bu t’ua chin t’ui mother hen pulling a steelyard weights people carrying too much burden
吃碗內,

說碗外

tsia wnua lai, sè wnua gua eat inside the bowl but speak outside the bowl doing harm to someone you benefit from
毋識字,

看廣告

mm pat di, kn’ua kong ko illiterate looking at advertisement illiterate able to look at illustrations only
一更窮,

二更富,

三更起大厝

it kni king,

di kni pu,

sna kni k’i tua tsoo

poor on the first stroke of time, rich on the second, build big house on the third acquire ill-gotten wealth quickly
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