When words fail, use idioms… Hokkien style (74)

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.

雜念大家 tsap-diam ta-ke a nagging
mother-in-law
describing a
nagger
會老袂大   eh lao bue tua growing older butnot bigger describing
someone who
always fails to
learn from
experience
聰明反被聰明誤 tsong-bing huan
pe tsong-bing ngo
smart person
commits lapses
due to his
intelligence
smart people are
also prone to commit mistakes due
to their over-
confidence
自己屎不知臭 kai-ki sai um
tsai tsao
one’s own stool
doesn’t stench
people never
realize one’s own
shortcomings
校長兼校丁,
教書兼敲鐘
hao-tniu kiam
hao-ting, ka-tse kiam k’a-tsing
principal also
serves as janitor,
ring the bell asidefrom teaching
someone who
performs many
tasks
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