Idioms...Hokkien style

When words fail, use idioms… Hokkien style (67)

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.



si tse wâ tsia

sitting death and living to eat

too lazy and not bothering to work at all



pat lang kna,

si bue liao

it’s okay if other people’s children die

selfishness not caring about the welfare of others


si tsi pâ eh,

tsia go tsap sang

one hundred deaths is just fifty pairs

other people’s lives are so dispensable


tsia kin long pwna wna

eating so fast resulting in breaking the bowl

doing a task so fast but end up with disastrous results


k’ui tsui kuan ting, hap tsui kuan eh

opening mouth to manage upper part, closing mouth to manage lower part

someone who likes to meddle in other people’s business