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.
|Idioms, expressions||Hokkien pronunciation||Literal translation||Meaning|
|見抹敗||kian bo pai||every touch fails||describing a clumsy person|
|吃軟飯||tsia neng peng||eating soft rice||having an easy job with a big pay|
|大聲小説||tua sian sue se||loud noise||speaking loudly|
|蠻木頭||ban tsa t’ao||stubborn wooden head||a very hard headed person|
|見生死||kin seng si||look for life and death||someone fighting for his right to the very end|
First published in Tulay Fortnightly, Chinese-Filipino Digest 28, no. 22 (April 19-May 9, 2016): 13.