When words fail, use idioms… Hokkien style (34)

First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest
vol. 29 | no. 14 | December 20, 2016-January 16, 2017

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.

無錢消膏照貼bo tsin siao ko tsiao taavail free medicationtrying to get something for nothing
日頭照脚倉 (屁股)dit t’ao tsio k’a tsengsun shining on the buttock sleeping until late in the morning
無出頭bo tsut t’aono excessno bright future
纒腳載手tin k’a tè tsiuentangling one’s foot and armspestering someone who is busy
烏鴉嘴oh ah tsuicrow’s mouthsaying inauspicious things
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